[sword-devel] Titles/preverse mess rant

Peter von Kaehne refdoc at gmx.net
Fri Jun 22 01:38:01 MST 2012

Hi guys,

I know that it never comes in good to moan publicly.

But the latest thread, started by Karl is yet again another aspect of
the total mess the preverse setup is.

And it covers a multitude of angles and probably several programmes.

And it has been highlighted again and again by various module makers,
reaching back several years, with very little progress, in fact, I would
think with very obvious new regressions.

As a module maker this is hugely embarrassing for me. And I have no way
of fixing it as I am not even clear what all is involved.

What I can say is that there is essentially very little reliable and
predictable output coming out of any number of ways to encode
pre/interverse content.

So as a result, we can see titles moving a verse higher than they should
be - either (and that is bad) being appended to end of the last verse or
(and that is unbelievably worse) being prepended to the last verse!!

Further, we can see titles appearing doubled up (see Karl's recent
thread) and we can see titles appearing/vanishing in unpredictable
fashion to the title filter.

What I do know is that

a) modules compiled with older versions of osis2mod generally fare better.
b) some of the output of usfm2osis.pl is not helpful (interleaving of
verse sID (new verse) and verse eID (last verse) tags)
c) even old modules suffer from title duplication (see Karl's thread)
d) the filter system is not completely error free
e) not all frontends deal with preverse filter output in the same sane way

Now a lot of this is known, well known, regurgitated and remasticated
for several years now. I am quite sure it would require not a huge
amount of actual individual programming effort to get right. But it
would require a joint effort and a joint willingness to see this as a
shared problem instead of the repeated passing the buck stuff I got fed
up seeing here.

As I say, as a reasonably prolific module maker with some limited
programming skills it is way out of my ability to solve by myself.
Believe me, I have tried. I have learned some XML skills and I have
added and subtracted attributes, shunted tags about and what not else.
But that is not really all of it as there is essentially no clearcut and
definable input which will produce a correct output.

We do need to solve it. We are messing the people who rely on us (Bible
publishers, specifically) endlessly about and we can do so only for so long.

Right now I am holding back on 4 texts which I can not fix properly
(Turkish, Azeri, Fijian and Pohnpeian). The former two are for people
groups counting to several dozens of millions and having electronic
bibles available makes a huge difference.

So, please, take this seriously.


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