Friday, December 12, 2008

Bible Software Reviews are complete!

It's finally done. After the initial release of my software reviews back in April, I have finally finished my roundup. Seven more reviews have been added to the original 13. In addition, I have linked to another 15 software packages with a short blurb and explanation on why each one wasn't included in my review (most of them fell outside of my specific inclusion criteria).

You can find the launch pad for the reviews here: Bible Software Review. A summary of the final scores are below (scale=1-5).

Now its time to go reintroduce myself to my family...

(Click on the product name to jump to an in-depth review of that product)

1.WORDsearch 8............4.0
2.The Word 3..............3.8
2.SwordSearcher 5.........3.8
4.Bible Explorer 4........3.7
5.PocketBible.............3.5
5.Logos 3.................3.5
7.e-Sword.................3.2
7.QuickVerse 2008.........3.2
9.Pradis 6................3.0
10.PC Study Bible.........2.8
11.Theophilos 3...........2.7
11.La Parola..............2.7
13.BibleSpeak 4.0.........2.5
14.Alkitab Bible Study....2.3
15.The SWORD Project......2.2

16.Bible Pro 12...........2.0
16.SwordBible.............2.0
18.Bible Analyzer.........1.8
19.Online Bible...........1.6

20.Lightning Study Bible..1.3


7 comments:

Tommy Keene said...

Wow. This is a very helpful list. I will link to it on my blog, which like yours specializes in Christianity and technology tools.

One area missing from this list is online Bible software. I have several posts about that, if you are interested. http://www.nerdlets.org/2008/09/26/another-web-based-bible-application/

Also, Ubiquity with the ESV plugin is very handy for quickly searching and listening to the Bible. http://www.nerdlets.org/2008/12/09/use-ubiquity-to-listen-to-the-bible-online/

Les said...

It was nice to see your review of PC Study Bible has been posted. I appreciate your website because I think it can be very helpful for those in the market for Bible software. Your opinions are very valid, and I agree with most of what you said about PC Study Bible.

In the past I've been a fan of PC Study Bible and currently own version 5.0f that you reviewed. Version 2 was the best in my opinion, but the resource list outgrew the capability of the Interface and it had to be reorganized. Since then Biblesoft has messed up the ease of the Bible notes portion of the program and they've been terrible at putting out new versions too early, so I'm not as big of fan (but their great customer support makes it hard to leave).

Anyway, as a result of the above experiences, I purchased Quickverse on a great closeout deal three years ago and I've tried several of the free programs as well. I've updated Quickverse along the way because of new resources offered for a great price, but the program's ability to link one to all material relevant to the verses being studied still lags way behind Biblesoft and others and so frustrates me. When it comes to the free programs, they just don't offer the books I want. Based on your evaluation, I'm left wondering if I should have purchased Wordsearch.

With all that said, however, I still would like to put in my two cents worth for those using your site and also to perhaps persuade you to adjust your evaluation of PC Study Bible a bit in one and maybe two areas. First, I think the Interface score should be at least two points higher because once getting used to the fact that it works differently than other programs, it is very powerful and intuitive; and more importantly because it actually does do a good deal of what you apparently thought it did not do.

For example, if you switch from the Explore mode to the Focus mode the program will open a commentary in the adjoining window instead of in a new tab. For another example, though comparing verses in the parallel window panes might at first appear more difficult than in other programs, if one chooses to change the paragraph mode with the button on the bottom toolbar or in the preferences set up, every verse in a translation can begin on a separate line which makes it relatively easy to look from one pane to the next to compare verses. For a third example, I've never experienced the moving Bible tab syndrome mentioned. Maybe there is a navigating option that does such, but I've not run across it. I'm using Windows XP. Perhaps there is an issue with such when using Windows Vista, or maybe there is a preference setting inside the program that was changed on either your program or mine?

The second area that I would have given a higher score to (albeit simply opinion)is in the area of resources. Your website gives Quickverse a value of 3, E-Sword 4, and Biblesoft a value of 2 for resources, but after one considers different counting schemes it appears to me that Biblesoft has more resources available than Quickverse and many more than E-Sword. I know you are considering price and availability in base packages in your scoring, but since you have a separate category labeled "value" I would think price would have a low enough weight in the "resources" category to certainly put Biblesoft higher in this area than E-sword. And considering both the bit larger number of resources available (depending on the counting scheme) as well as the linking capability of the resources in Biblesoft compared to Quickverse I would think Biblesoft would at least tie if not beat Quickverse in the resource area too.

Well, so much for my opinions. That is just what they are and in no way do I mean to demean yours, but your readers might want to consider some of the above. Thanks for letting me weigh in.

P.S. Quickverse 2009 now has the delayed hover option for anyone interested in knowing. Also, even in the updated version of 2008 you can attach the quick search line to the window border so it is always available, unlike was the case at the time of the review listed on the website.

Jerry said...

Tommy -

Thanks for the kind words. The omission of online Bible software was intentional. I mentioned in my main review page that I was sticking to Windows desktop software - I had to draw the line someplace! :)

Thanks for the Ubiquity link, I'll check it out.

Jerry said...

Les -

Thanks for the great post, and I appreciate your perspective. I'm sure it will be useful to many.

Believe me, I tried hard to make PC Study Bible work for me. But it never happened. And it wasn't for lack of trying - I used it for about three weeks.

Finally, a point of clarification - I gave BibleSoft a "3" for resources, not a "2".

God bless.

Paul B said...

Jerry, fantastic set of reviews. Much appreciated. I came across your page on The Word's forums.

I have Logos, but frankly am tired of its unfriendly interface and memory management. I just discovered The Word, and am excited about its potential. I believe it is going to grow.

I'm going to link to this page, because I think it's a great guide for many Bible readers.

Blessings,
Paul

Jerry said...

Thanks, Paul, I appreciate the kudos. The reviews are starting to get just a bit dated, but from an overall standpoint, I think overall they still hold up pretty well.

Donovan said...

Great reviews. Would love to see an update to this at some point! Also, because Accordance will run on the PC with an emulator, I would suggest adding this to your list.