[sword-devel] Pathway, SIL, GoBible and CrossWire

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 07:55:35 MST 2011


My initial thought was Greg may have been using an early test version
or a module which had some problems. A further problem that And Bible
suffers from (YouVersion hits the same problem) is lack of fonts on
Android systems. GoBible overcomes this by using Graphite somehow. For
instance I'm looking at the Burmese Bible in AndBible right now and it
displays a beautiful set of blank "missing glyph" boxes interrupted by
occasional Arabic numerals for verse numbers.

I will encourage him to re-look at the crash issue. Any ideas on the
possibilities of including fonts with an application?


On Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 3:08 AM, Martin Denham <mjdenham at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Greg,
> AndBible has always been able to display Psalm 119, even on low powered
> devices, and many people say that, far from being slow, it is very
> responsive.  I can only think that Greg was getting confused with some other
> bible software.
> Martin
> On 19 October 2011 19:29, Greg Hellings <greg.hellings at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Some time ago David pointed out the SIL Pathway project, which is a
>> plugin for the Paratext. Paratext is a popular scripture translation
>> editor which is available from the United Bible Societes
>> (http://paratext.ubs-translations.org/) and is popularly used within
>> Wycliffe Bible Translators. Paratext, from what I understand, natively
>> operates in USFM for saving and editing files. Pathway is an FOSS
>> plugin (http://code.google.com/p/pathway/) that SIL has developed for
>> use with Paratext and FieldWorks which will facilitate digital
>> publishing of works out of Paratext and into various media. It is
>> mainly developed to help streamline the process of export and
>> encourage the translators to consider things like copyright, licensing
>> and DRM. It supports export at present to GoBible, PDF, E-Book (epub),
>> Logos and Open Document Text (OpenOffice/LibreOffice). For the GoBible
>> export, Pathway will actually create the entire .jar file ready for
>> directly loading onto a cell phone.
>> David had expressed surprise at why there was not method to export to
>> a SWORD module but there was a method for GoBible export.  I was down
>> at the Wycliffe/SIL center in Dallas yesterday for the finale of their
>> biennial Bible Translation conference. While there I had a chance to
>> sit in on a talk being given about the uses of Pathway, its purposes
>> and its aid to the WBT community. Afterwards I got to speak with Greg
>> Trihus, who is the lead of that project about the absence of SWORD
>> export.  His comments were quite illuminating.
>> The real thrust of the Pathway project is getting the scriptures into
>> an electronic form that is useful for distribution on mobile devices
>> or for print.  As such they support GoBible for low-end machines,
>> E-Book and Logos for smart phones, ODT for to-print media and PDF to
>> cover all of the above.  Several people in the discussion asked about
>> getting the scriptures into a form where they could directly enter a
>> scripture reference rather than having to scroll through an ebook or
>> PDF on a smartphone (the Logos option supports that, but involves
>> several more steps for the content author who needs to pass the file
>> through the hands of several people at SIL and then on to Logos so the
>> work can be hosted in the official Logos content system). Greg told me
>> that he had considered the Android mobile options - since many of the
>> target people with smart phones would be Android users - but when he
>> had tested AndBible it had been woefully slow and had even crashed
>> when opening longer passages like Psalms 119. Therefore he had avoided
>> putting his own human resources onto developing a SWORD format
>> exporter and was not advertising that through the Pathway project. He
>> did leave me with a few action points which he would love to see:
>> 1) Since Pathway is open source, he would welcome anyone from our
>> community who wanted to develop a Paratext/Fieldworks -> SWORD
>> converter. The export is done through an XHTML/CSS pathway, and they
>> are supporting any form of output, not just scriptures. This would
>> include commentaries, dictionaries and general papers/books. Pathway
>> is written in C#, so if there are any C# developers around looking for
>> something to do, this would be a highly desired project which wouldn't
>> be another "Just write a front-end in my language because I want to"
>> contribution to both world-wide scripture distribution and CrossWire.
>> 2) Improve the quality of AndBible (JSword based?) and/or Bishop
>> (Troy's proof-of-concept frontend based on the SWORD library with Java
>> bindings). There is a round-about way that SIL can publish these
>> scriptures to the YouVersion application framework, but YouVersion
>> does not incorporate any linkages with Dictionaries. Greg expressed a
>> strong desire to see SWORD formats supported due to our ability to
>> closely integrate a text with a lexicon/dictionary - a sister text
>> which almost all WBT translation projects will develop in parallel
>> with their scripture translation. Those of us over in the BibleTime
>> world are also hoping to eventually support mobile versions of
>> BibleTime, but the time frame for those is definitely long term since
>> it would involve a major refactoring effort on BT to separate the
>> backend code from the GUI portions before any work could begin on a
>> mobile UI based on Qt.
>> 3) Help with the C# bindings for SWORD. I know some people have talked
>> about them in the past, but I don't know what state they might be in.
>> Since Pathway is written in C#, it would be a great help to anyone
>> writing a SWORD export path if they could access the engine bindings
>> directly through C# rather than having to dump to a file and somehow
>> invoke a copy of the utilities.  The people who are interested in
>> using Pathway are incredibly illiterate when it comes to technology -
>> most of them weren't even able to identify the differences between a
>> smart phone and a "feature phone". So any export would need to write
>> out an entire module, ready to be uploaded directly to a hosting
>> location (or possibly a single ZIP archive which could be emailed to a
>> technical member of SIL by the translator for hosting). Our SWIG
>> bindings are OK and already in use for Python and Perl, and SWIG
>> supports C#, so hopefully getting them working would not be a huge
>> burden for someone. As the current pumpkin holder for SWIG I am
>> willing to work with anyone who wants to tackle adding C# to the set.
>> I don't work in C# at all, so I can't touch that myself.
>> Greg's final comment was along the lines of, "There is desire and need
>> for SWORD support in Pathway, but no one is asking for it because they
>> don't realize they need and desire it." That sentiment is in line with
>> the (extensive) questions I heard after the presentation. I have
>> passed on to him information about PocketSword, because they do also
>> want to support the iOS platform and he was not aware of PocketSword's
>> presence there. I would encourage anyone with fingers in these areas
>> or a desire to help on any of these action points to take them up
>> (including putting them on a list of available projects on the wiki,
>> David, if there is such a page?). SIL did not overlook us because they
>> don't want to support us or because they are unaware of us - there
>> were just some technical challenges.
>> --Greg
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