From CrossWire Bible Society
Module Development Overview
If you want to learn how to create a SWORD module, this is the place to start. Here is a brief overview of the process:
- Collect and install the necessary software tools.
- Obtain the source text and permission from the copyright holder if you wish to distribute a copyrighted module.
- Prepare the source text for import.
- Use an XML validator to check that your source file is properly constructed.
- Import the source text using the appropriate tool.
- Create a .conf file.
- Install and test that the module displays correctly in several of the SWORD front-end applications.
- Submit your module to CrossWire for distribution.
Creating a module
Collect and Install Software Tools
- Install SWORD and collect SWORD module creation tools. This may sound obvious, but for Linux (and Mac?) many of the module creation tools come installed with SWORD, so if you aren't comfortable installing from source simply install from your distribution's repositories. For Windows, you will need to download the module creation utilities from http://www.crosswire.org/ftpmirror/pub/sword/utils/win32/. Be sure to download the most recent icudt dll and unzip it in the folder where you place the utilities.
- The latest build of the Sword utilities for Windows requires the Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable x86 version. If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, and you have installed only the Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable x64 version, you will also need to install the x86 version.
- Obtain a good programmer's text editor. jEdit is a good place to start because it runs on any system with a Java runtime environment installed. If you install the XML plugin, you can check your OSIS and TEI documents against the schema. Of course you may use any text editor.
Obtain Source Text and Permission to Distribute
- The easiest texts to work with, especially for learning how to make a module, are texts in the public domain. For example, you might try downloading a text from CCEL first to get you started on the process of moving from a prepared text to a compiled module. Be sure to verify that the source text you obtain is indeed in the public domain.
- Some people provide texts that are freely distributable under some sort of license (GNU GPL, Creative Commons, etc.) or no formal license. Be sure to document where the source provides that permission and check to see that they have the right to grant such permission so you can produce it if you want to distribute it with CrossWire.
- For copyrighted material, you will need to contact the publisher or author to obtain permission. First check to see that someone else in CrossWire hasn't already pursued permission for that work. A list of requests and attempts to obtain rights on behalf of CrossWire can be found at Module Requests.
Prepare the Source Text for Import
For Bible modules, SWORD now supports Alternate Versifications. A prerequisite for a module that would not match the default versification for the KJV Bible is to decide which of the several versifications is most suitable for the new module.
Note that the SWORD Project requires all submitted texts to be Unicode (UTF-8) encoded documents. For English language texts that only make use of ASCII characters, no change to the source encoding will be required. For other European language and most other languages, there probably exist simple encoding converters for ISO and national standards to UTF-8. For more complex source encodings, you may need to create your own converter or adapt an existing one. Some currently available conversion tools that you may find useful, depending on your platform and needs, include:
- uconv (part of ICU), available compiled for Win32 in the utilities ZIP at http://crosswire.org/ftpmirror/pub/sword/utils/win32 or in source format from ICU at http://www.icu-project.org/.
- font2uni from CCEL, available at http://www.ccel.org/info/gkheb/.
uconv is best suited for standard encodings and font2uni is best suited for font-specific encodings. When creating XML texts, the only entities that should be used are & for '&' and < for '<'. All other entities should be encoded as their UTF-8 equivalents.
A common problem in texts created by people less aware of Unicode principles is presence of characters which fit graphically but are out of set for this particular language. E.g. a Cyrillic a and a Latin a look identical but use different code points. It is important to clean this up prior to import as our module search depends on clean texts with consistent use of letters. Below a short shell script which will produce a list of all characters employed in a text.
cat *txt |\ uni2ascii -paU |\ sed -e "s/u/\nu/g" -e '/\./d' |\ sort |\ uniq -c -w5 |\ sed -e 's/\\//' -e 's/\W+/\t/g' -e 's/\s*\([0-9][0-9]*\).*u\([0-9A-F]*\)/Character \\x\2 (u\2) was used \1 times/' |\ ascii2uni -aB |\ grep 'used' > charactercount.txt
Images can be included in any type of module. The specifics of how to do this is dependent upon markup and some markups do not have support for images.
Some SWORD applications are able to use virtually any image format, but SWORD only offically supports JPEG and PNG image files. Using any other kind of image, e.g. GIF, will result in a module that cannot be used in one or more SWORD applications. Submission of a module with other image formats will hinder its acceptance into the CrossWire repository as such images will need to be converted into a supported format.
(see also Various Tools)
We recommend that texts be marked up in OSIS or TEI, but will still accept texts based on CCEL documents that are marked up in ThML. Internally, SWORD can process text in one of four formats: OSIS, TEI, ThML, and GBF. From these formats, it can convert to other formats, including RTF and HTML, for display. OSIS 2.1 is now the preferred format for Bibles and commentaries. At the moment OSIS does not have thorough support for complex dictionaries. For that reason we support TEI for dictionaries.
You may find documentation for each of these standards at their respective websites:
- Open Scriptural Information Standard (OSIS) : http://www.bibletechnologies.net/
- Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) : http://www.tei-c.org/P4X/DI.html
- Theological Markup Format (ThML) : http://www.ccel.org/ThML/
- General Bible Format (GBF) : http://www.ebible.org/bible/gbf.htm
In SWORD, for modules encoded with ThML and OSIS, each verse, dictionary entry, and book division needs to be well-formed XML or it will result in display problems in some front-ends. SWORD only handles the subset of the ThML tags that we have found necessary, but we are willing to supporting additional tags, as the need arises.
Use of ThML for Sword is deprecated. Supported ThML tags include: <sync> (with type parameters of Strongs, morph, & lemma), <scripRef>, and <note> (plus closing tags where appropriate). HTML tags that ThML inherits, which may be used in SWORD modules include <div> (with types of sechead for section headings and title for titles, <i>, <br>, and <b>. Additional HTML tags may be interpreted by those SWORD front-ends that render HTML, but will not be translated to RTF for the Win32 front-end. Do not submit untidy HTML and label it ThML--it's rude and lazy.
GBF is deprecated and no GBF modules will be accepted by the SWORD Project. Supported GBF tags include: <WG>, <WH>, <WTG>, <WTH>, <RX>, <RF>, <FI>, <FB>, <FN>, <FR>, <FS>, <FU>, <FO>, <FV>, <CA>, <CL>, <CG>, <CM>, <CT>, <JR>, <JC>, <JL>, <TT>, and <TS> (plus closing tags where appropriate). In addition, SWORD allows full use of UTF-8 rather than merely ASCII as the GBF standard specifies.
- See also File Formats.
ThML and OSIS Formatted General Books
With ThML and OSIS formatted general books, provided your document is well-formed and valid XML according to the ThML DTD or the OSIS 2.1 Schema, you should not need to do any further processing. You can use your XML file with xml2gbs. For OSIS encoded Bibles use osis2mod.
VPL or verse-per-line format may only be used in creating Bibles. This format requires that each line start with a verse reference that SWORD can understand, such as "Genesis 1:1" or "Jn 3:16". Most English abbreviations are acceptable. Following the verse reference, the verse itself should be written, in any kind of markup. For example:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
This format is used with the utility vpl2mod, discussed below. To import Bibles that have have combined verses, you will need to use imp format, instead of vpl.
The IMP or import format is the most versatile of the import formats and may be used in creating all types of modules (Bibles, commentaries, dictionaries, daily devotionals, glossaries, general books, etc.) in any supported markup (GBF, ThML, OSIS or TEI). Each entry in an imp file may take as many lines as are needed. The first line of the entry will have a format such as "$$$<key>" and will be followed by all lines of text that should be included with that entry. So our above example in imp format would be written as:
$$$Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. $$$Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Commentaries would follow the same format, but would probably include a greater number of lines of text. If your Bible or commentary uses a single entry to handle multiple verses, simply give a list or range of verses as the key (e.g. "$$$Genesis 1:1-5", "$$$Exodus 1", "$$$Leviticus 1:1,5"). Lexicons, dictionaries, glossaries and daily devotionals would take a form such as:
$$$Adam Adam was the first man created by God. $$$Eve Eve was the first woman created by God.
For daily devotionals, you must encode the key as "$$$mm.dd", such as "$$$01.01" for January 1st and "$$$12.31" for December 31st.
General books are encoded with each book division as a separate entry. The entries are then listed as a tree hierarchy with keys similar to a file system directory structure. For example, if you were encoding the Josephus' Works, you might have a structure like this:
$$$/War The War of the Jews $$$/War/Book 1 Book 1 of the War of the Jews $$$/War/Book 1/Chapter 1 Chapter 1 of Book 1 of the War of the Jews $$$/War/Book 1/Chapter 1/Section 1 Section 1 of Chapter 1 of Book 1 of the War of the Jews $$$/War/Book 1/Chapter 1/Section 2 Section 2 of Chapter 1 of Book 1 of the War of the Jews
Validate the Source Text
If your source text is either OSIS or ThML, you should definitely check it with a suitable XML text editor before proceeding to the next step.
- Check that it has valid XML syntax
- Validate the XML contents against the specified XML schema
Import the Source Text
Now that your text is ready to be imported, you will need to use one of the command line utilities for converting documents to SWORD format. Depending on the format of your document at this point, you will need to use the appropriate importer.
- If your text is a valid ThML document, use xml2gbs.
- If your text is a valid OSIS Bible, use osis2mod.
- If your text is a valid OSIS Commentary, use osis2mod.
- If your text is a valid OSIS document of some other type, use xml2gbs.
- If your text is a valid TEI P5 dictionary, use tei2mod.
- If your text is a vpl format Bible, use vpl2mod.
- If your text is an imp format Bible or commentary, use imp2vs.
- If your text is an imp format dictionary, lexicon, glossary, or daily devotional, use imp2ld.
- If your text is an imp format general book, use imp2gbs.
You may find these files in the SWORD Project source distribution or compiled for Win32 at http://crosswire.org/ftpmirror/pub/sword/utils/win32/. Each utility has brief usage information that can be viewed by running it once without any arguments.
To compress a Bible, commentary, or LD module, use the mod2zmod utility. First you will need to install the module so that it can be accessed using the SWORD engine. Next, run:
mod2zmod <modname> <datapath> [blockType [compressType]]
blockType can be 4 = book (default), 3 = chapter, or 1 = verse and indicates the granularity of the compression blocks. The larger the block is, the longer it will take to access a piece of the text, but the smaller the resulting module will be. compressType can be either 1 = LZSS (default) or 2 = Zip.
You may wish to try different compression settings to find out which is best for your module. Typically, we use chapter compression for large commentaries, book compression for Bibles, and the Zip compression algorithm.
To lock a rawText Bible or rawCom commentary module, use the cipherraw utility. Just run:
cipherraw </path/to/module> '<key>'
Further miscellaneous tools that are 'not ready for public consumption' but may be useful to modules authors are found in DevTools:Misc. These includes scripts and programs that are used for the preparation and conversion of various specific modules.
If you are not the module creator and thus do not have a copy of the source text file, some of the SWORD utilities can be used for help in debugging a module. It is especially useful to note that mod2imp followed by [imp2vs | imp2ld | imp2gbs] (depending on module type) often produces a lossless round-trip, no matter what the markup variety was used to make the original module. Editing the IMP file in between these two steps can therefore be used as a method to evaluate sensible conjectures regarding the apparent cause of a bug in a particular module.
- N.B. mod2imp followed by imp2(vs|ld|gbs) is not guaranteed to round-trip losslessly. mod2imp will give an accurate record of the contents of each content entry in the module, but skips past link entries. So for investigating entry contents in order to track down bugs, this process is fine, but CrossWire would never release content that had gone through this process.
If you have created a 'plain text' Bible module using either imp2vs or vpl2mod, it can be worthwhile to see what the module outputs with mod2osis. If the resulting osis file fails to pass the XML syntax check when viewed with a suitable XML editor, this may point to unexpected residual items in the source text. The proper solution then would be to raise the matter with the provider of the source text.
If you have created a devotional, imp2ld appears to have a bug that prevents it from creating the module correctly unless you use the trailing argument 2. For example:
imp2ld MyLD.txt MyLD 2
Create the .conf File
In order to test and before submitting a new module, you need to create a .conf file, which tells Sword how to recognize and what to do with your module. Instructions for creating a .conf file are on the DevTools:confFiles page.
Install and Test the Module
Install the Module
Once you have imported the source document as a binary, several files will result. The number of files depends on the type of module, but you should make sure all of them are in the same folder. That folder will go in the modules folder, and the .conf file should go in the mods.d folder wherever your SWORD modules are installed. Open a front-end and see that it is recognizing the presence of the module. If it appears then you have installed it in the right place. Check to make sure that the content appears, and you are ready to start testing.
Checking for Missing Verses
You can use the utility emptyvss to find verses in a module that contain no text, since this may indicate errors in the module. Just run:
emptyvss <module name>
on an installed module to generate a list.
Submit the Module to the SWORD Project for Distribution
After you have tested your module, you may wish to submit it to the SWORD Project for public release so that other people can benefit from your work. All modules submitted to the SWORD Project for distribution either on the internet or on CDs should include both the module as a single document and the .conf file.
The module itself should be an uncompiled, plain text document in either vpl (verse-per-line), imp (import), ThML, OSIS or TEI format, ready to be run through one of the import tools. Do not submit built modules that you have imported to Sword format; submit only source documents.
Before any module will be considered for posting, we expect that the following minimum set of tags be included in its .conf file: DataPath, ModDrv, Lang, Description, About, DistributionLicense, and TextSource. We also strongly prefer that an LCSH line be included with the .conf file, but will look the LCSH up ourselves if you have trouble deciding on a value. (You can look at other .conf files for examples.)
When you feel your module is ready to be submitted, you may email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to email it or would prefer to send the files by some other means, you may contact us at the same email address, and we can discuss other arrangements.
- A Basic OSIS Tutorial
- Guide to Writing OSIS Bibles
- OSIS Book Name Abbreviations
- Guide to Writing OSIS Commentaries
- Guide to Writing TEI Dictionaries
- Guide to Converting SFM Bibles to OSIS
- Guide to Writing ThML modules
- GenBook and OpenOffice
- Definition of Encoding
- List of Known Module Repositories
- Module Requests