Last Update: Jan 2006
Manufacturer: CrossWire Bible Society
Title: Sword Project
Version/Date: 1.5.6 (Aug 2003; Windows Version)
Contact: WebSite: www.crosswire.org.
Description: The Sword Project is an project to produce a fully free Bible reader under the GNU license scheme for the Windows, Linux, MAC and other operating systems. The software and many modules are available at no cost at the Crosswire website. There are a lot of modules available and the interface is clean. The tree-style bookmark feature is very well done.
Other programs inlcude: JAVA based JSword and BibleDesktop program; LcdBible with the Word English Bible for a tiny (500kb) Bible Reader, PalmBible+ for Palm OS, SwordReader for PocketPC, and more.
Comments: Sword Project is lacking some of the advanced features of the competition, such as note taking ability. The search function is powerful and allows complex searches to be performed through the use of regular expressions, as well as allowing searching on the results of a previous search. However, use of these abilities is not "user friendly" for those not used to these tools.
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The Sword Project interface provides four windows in a block format. Above these windows, the top row of the screen contains the menu bar. Below this is a search/goto tool. The upper left window displays your current Bible version text. There are tabs for each loaded version such as KJV, Young's Literal Translation, Hebrew Names Version, etc.. The right window displays commentaries, and also has tabs for multiple commentaries. The bottom left window displays dictionaries and lexicons. The bottom right window displays the dictionary/lexicon pick list, such as the word or Strong's number. The windows can be resized as desired. Footnotes and Strong's numbers (Strong's in KJV only) can be toggled on or off to appear in the Bible text. The Help file is very well done and features graphics and thorough explanations.
Navigation in the Bible window is performed chapter by chapter. That is, you can scroll to the end of the chapter in the window, but then you have to use the GoTo tool to move to the next chapter.
Preferences allow you to toggle saving the screen layout, showing hint pop ups, and saving bookmarks. Settings are provided for defining default modules for Greek and Hebrew language support. A daily devotional can be defined, allowing you to view a devotional study when the program is started each day. Display preferences allow you to select a color and font scheme for viewing.
Modules: As an Open Source project, modules for The Sword Project have grown tremendously. Modules available include many public domain works including over 33 English bibles, 8 Greek/Hebrew texts, foreign language bibles, Bible commentaries, 17 English language dictionaries, lexicons, and so forth. The abundance of foreign language works would be valuable for those who need these.
An Install Manager tool is available to help you install new modules. It can find modules that are stored on your local system, on a CD-ROM or other removable media, or even on the Internet.
There does not appear to be a capability to limit the modules that load upon startup. For example, if you have installed 15 Bibles, then 15 Bible tabs will appear in the Bible Window. While you can un-install modules, there is no simple method for toggling these on or off. I have not examined if there is a resource impact from having many modules installed.
Search: The search window allows you to enter a word or words, then select multi-word, Phrase, or regular expression search. You can select case sensitive or not, and search either the entire module or only the currently open portion. Search speed was moderate. The list of references without context is shown in the search window, but when a reference is selected, the context is shown. A double click opens the reference in the Bible module. The ability to use regular expressions provides power, but they are not user friendly since you use special symbols for wildcards and Boolean operators (such as a | for OR, ^ for NOT, and so forth).
Sword Project passed the eat AND meat search test, finding 35 matches in the KJV (see Evaluation Criteria).
Module Linking: The commentary follows the verse selected in the GoTo tool. So if you want to see if a particular verse has a commentary or note attached to it, you can select that text in the GoTo tool. A right click on a word (or Strong's number) allows you to perform a dictionary lookup using the currently active dictionary. Clicking in the Bible screen provides three level of selection: one click places the cursor, a second click selects the word or Strong's number under the cursor, and a third click selects the entire verse.
The Bookmark feature is well done. There is no practical limit to bookmarks, and bookmarks are stored in a tree format. Thus, you can create subject titles, with a list of applicable scripture references stored under that title. For example, you could have a heading such as "Angels", and place bookmarks under this title dealing with Angels.
Notes: No note taking features are provided. You can copy text to the clipboard as needed.
Greek/Hebrew Tools: Greek/Hebrew modules are available. No specific morphology tools are provided.
Cost: Free under the GNU license. Donations are accepted.
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