[sword-devel] Xiphos 3.2.0

Karl Kleinpaste karl at kleinpaste.org
Wed May 7 20:46:52 MST 2014

Xiphos 3.2.0 was let loose earlier today.  Source tarball and Win32
installer are available at
https://sourceforge.net/projects/gnomesword/files/Xiphos/3.2.0/.  Fedora
builds will be forthcoming.  Ubuntu tarballs (because we still lack a
packager) are also available.  See /topic on our IRC channel.

Aside from bug fixes, it has 2 feature enhancements that I think are
interesting and important.

One is the generalization of companion modules, something I first did
several years ago, but not very completely.  This is something requested
by Wycliffe when I met some of their folks at BibleTech.  Basically, if
a module's configuration includes "Companion=Abc,Def,Ghi" then when you
open the module, you are asked whether you want to open the others.  Of
that set, the first listed will be opened in the main window, and the
rest will be opened in detached windows.  Note that there is no engine
support implied by this; it's entirely a UI issue.  The reason for this
feature is that Wycliffe produces multiple commentaries to go with a
single Bible.  The particular use case for which this was intended was
when they have a "fast" commentary (verse by verse) as well as a "slow"
commentary (more detailed review of longer sections of the Bible).  The
idea would be to have the "fast" commentary as the 1st listed companion,
and the "slow" commentary as the 2nd, leading to them both being open
and co-navigating as the Bible is used.

The other is BibleSync.  This is a shared navigation protocol over local
network multicast.  It has several interesting use cases:
- you have several apps with which you are working at once, that you
want to navigate together.
- you are working closely in a small team, such as perhaps translators,
whose Bible programs should nav together.
- you are in a classroom environment, where there is a Speaker who xmits
nav to the Audience.  The Speaker receives no nav and the Audience
transmits no nav.

One of the better particular uses of BibleSync is sharing verse lists. 
Say you've got a weaker app on a mobile device and a desktop with strong
search capability.  Search on the desktop app, send results to the
mobile app.  It's pretty cool to watch in action.

The base code for BibleSync is extremely general, totally agnostic about
the greater application in which it lives.  It is unaware of The Sword
Project at all.  I've attached a file "biblesync.7" which is a man page
for the programming reference.  The intention is to pull the BibleSync
code out of Xiphos into a separate library of its own so as to make it
available for any app.  A number of other apps' authors have indicated
interest in and support for this, including theWord, Accordance,
Laridian, BibleAnalyzer, and Scripture4All.  I think it would be neat if
a bunch of Sword Project apps could gain this ability in the relatively
near term, but of course that's up to each app's team.

You might experiment with BibleSync and tell me what you think.  I've
been running as many as 7 simultaneous Xiphoi on assorted real hardware
and VMs, making them all follow along with each other.  Beware the
existence of your firewall; either disable it or punch a hole for UDP
port 22272.  See Xiphos' manual under Preferences for further discussion.

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