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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Thursday, May 22, 2008  

Reasons Our Work is Never Done

In my last post, I reflected on the fact that in software development, as in writing, one can never claim to be finished. I then reminisced about the release of version 5. After the release of Accordance 4, we had addressed most of the crucial needs of our users, and version 5 was an opportunity for us to offer a wide array of extras. Yet instead of shortening our to-do list, we soon found that list growing longer. This can be attributed to a number of factors:

  1. The biggest was that with OS X, the Mac interface was changing. What had worked well in the Classic Mac OS now looked dated and out of place. And of course, each version of OS X had new features which users wanted to have supported.
  2. Another factor was that each new feature we introduce tends to generate requests for further development. For example, user tools were a huge addition which opened all kinds of new possibilities to our users, but they also sparked requests for more features, import options, etc.
  3. Finally, as Mac OS X revitalized the Mac market and drew more and more users away from Windows, we had increasing numbers of users coming to Accordance who were familiar with Windows Bible software. In most cases, they were pleasantly surprised by what Accordance could do, but they also had cherished features they had become accustomed to—features which they now began requesting from us.

All of these factors combined to spark a new period of Accordance development. With version 6, we overhauled the Accordance interface according to OS X conventions and still managed to add a host of new features. Accordance saw no less than 11 free incremental updates over the following two-and-a-half years, and then we released version 7! Accordance 7 was released on my birthday nearly two years ago. It too was a huge release, offering such features as compare texts, slide show, new graphs and charts, root searches, punctuation searches, the ability to apply a highlight style to search hits, etc.

As we've hinted before, a new version of Accordance will be coming soon. What's in store for Accordance 8? The fact that Accordance 8 will now be Universal to run natively on Intel Macs is a long-awaited "must have" and a major low-level change. Much of what Accordance 8 will offer can be categorized as "gravy"—things you could probably have lived without but which you'll be sure to savor. The bulk of its enhancements, however, will be things you didn't know you needed, but which you'll soon be wondering how you ever got along without. That's all I can say for now, except that you can expect Accordance 8 to address all three of the factors listed above.

Can't you give us a teeny little hint on what "soon" means? Six months? A month? A year? Pleeasseeee?

I appreciate these posts on Accordance's future. I've been using it since v.5 and sometimes I admit I have felt the Accordance team was very reluctant to adapt to the changes in the OS X land. e.g. the look of the GUI, unicode support, universal binary, etc. I know you are a small team with limited resources, but months after monsters like MS Office and Photoshop have been ported (surely, Accordance code base is not nearly as complex?), more communication like this, not less, would be appreciated.


Another reason your work is never done is - I hate to say it - that there are a vast majority of the planet's inhabitants whose primary language uses a non-Roman script, and so they're still waiting for Unicode support so they can read the Bible in their mother tongue.

Any sign of that coming?

Thanks for this. Please, keep tickling our curiosity bone AND please tell us when we can expect this.

Thank you, David! Just to confirm...the new Universal Binary Accordance 8.0 will still work on Tiger?

Oh yes, the Universal Binary will run on Tiger or Leopard, and on non-Intel Macs as well as Intel. There will be alternate versions of Accordance for 10.2 to 10.3, and for Classic Mac systems.

We are eager to adapt to the the new capabilities that improvements in the Mac OS offer us, but we want to get them right, and we cannot abandon users on older systems. This has involved a lot of work, and hence a lot of time.

Unfortunately, supporting Unicode non-Roman languages is a lot more complex than it sounds. We are looking into it.

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