Software I Use in Conjunction with BibleSupport
I thought I'd share good experiences I've had with software, much of which I've used in conjunction with this website:
A lot of my graphics come from Photoshop. I've used Photoshop for years and I'm not sure what I would do without it.
Box Shot 3d (www.boxshot3d.com)
This is a great way to produce highly marketable, 3d images of books, magazines, CDs/DVDs, software boxes, screenshots, coffee mugs, etc.
Primarily, this is screenshot software. I used it for creating the e-Sword documentation. Secondarily, it's a great image editor for when you don't need full fledged Photoshop. It's also great (and fast) for drawing arrows or boxes to illustrate a screenshot.
Microsoft Word (Office.Microsoft.com)
My love affair with Word's been well documented elsewhere. Every module I make (of any size) usually has VBA macro code that greatly expedites it's creation. One of my latest macros scans the text for CHAPTER X (certain font size) and then "knows" to fill in Ver. 3 with ÷Matthew 3:3 (for example) for input into ToolTip NT.
It used to be fashionable to hate Microsoft because they were going to take over the world. Now that's Google's function and most of the M haters have become G haters. But I don't resent others' success. I believe in harnessing it. I've used word processors since the days of Commodore 64's SpeedScript. Word 2010 is the best, most powerful, best presented word processor I've ever used. It's the Gmail of word processors and I've even bought copies for other module makers to increase their productivity.
This website currently uses about 60 gigs and WordModules.com uses 3 gigs. Then there's the database for each website, since the websites' content is stored in a MySQL database. And then there's the Linux setup (Apache, PHP and MySql configurations; firewall configurations; email settings; etc). All that really must be backed up. Without a backup, we're always one hard drive failure away from starting over!
Retrospect makes a nightly backup, but it does not need to back up the entire 63+ gigs every night. Instead, it performs an incremental backup that backs up only the data that's new or changed. I like this backup option better than paying my web hoster because what if they burn to the ground? Or go out of business? Retrospect puts a backup in my hands so we're never more than 24 hours out of date in the event of a disaster. Great software, great support, great pricing!
Bitvise Tunnelier (www.Bitvise.com)
Tunnelier acts as an SSH terminal and Super FTP file transfer client. It's perfect for managing remote servers. Like a lot of my most used and must have applications, it's free!
Want to make a self installing file, where the downloader can run a program and install your module? Or your program? Or your slideshow? And create the icons in Windows in the Start menu and/or on the desktop? And you want it all free? Innosetup is the way to go. Highly scriptable and configurable, this application is used by everyone from Fortune 500 companies to little people like me.
Here's a sample configuration file for creating a self installing e-Sword module.
esword installer.zip (949bytes)
Need to digitize text? Hate typing it all in?
Abbyy Finereader (finereader.abbyy.com)
Finereader outperforms Omnipage, in my experience. It has a higher level of accuracy, accurately recognizes curly quotation marks, and corrects spaces around punctuation. I also prefer it's interface and proofreading screens, which help sidentify suspect characters. Finereader can even recognize and properly structure footnotes, at least some of the time!
DownloadThemAll! (Firefox Add-on)
Ever find a lot of PDF files or other resources and wanted to download everything on the website? On the page? In a specific directory? Thanks to DownloadThemAll, you can and with a few clicks. For one module, I used this resource to download over 1,100 files! Talk about saved time and frustration avoided...
Copy Filenames (www.ExtraBit.com)
This handy and free utility allows you to copy a list of file names from Windows Explorer. This is immensely helpful when creating a "Collections" resource with a dozen or 100 e-Sword modules. I can select the list of files, right click, and choose Copy Filenames to paste into to the Collections e-Sword file listing!
Galaxie Font Converter (www.Galaxie.com)
Sometimes when you extract text from a PDF, the Greek and Hebrew words were written with normal fonts instead of unicode. That means, the Greek and Hebrew won't look correctly unless the Greek/Hebrew characters are rendered with that font. And that's largely incompatible with Bible software module creation. It's certainly not the preferred way of making a Bible software module--unicode is.
Galaxie has a font converter (Microsoft Word Macro application) that will convert Greek/Hebrew fonts shown below to unicode so you can create e-Sword modules more easily.
Galaxie will convert the following foreign language fonts to unicode: Alexandria, Koine, Gideon, Mounce, Bwgrkl, SymbolGreekP, Graeca, WinGreek, GraecaII, SuperGreek, Sgreek (also Hebraica/II, Bwhebb, SuperHebrew, Shebrew)
Also see this website for more obscure Greek and Hebrew fonts (the above are by far the most common you see).
The success of BibleSupport.com should prove beyond any doubt that IPBoard is the best overall community software ever written. It's one of the few community software suites that includes a built-in Downloads section. Competing products have add-on Download Manager modules created by third parties that may or may not be around 2 years from now!
IPBoard handles a stunning number of requests and website interactivity on a daily basis and has performed flawlessly thus far.
WorkSpace Macro Editor (TethysSolutions.com)
WorkSpace Macro lets you record mouse movements and events. You can edit your script if you want to change certain items, but you don't have to. Then you can play it back 5 times or 500,000 times to automate repetitive types of activity. You can speed up the playback process to move quicker than a human can move the mouse.
Do you have a repetitive task that's scriptable? I sure did when I wanted to convert the Pulpit Commentary from TheWord to e-Sword. The module was encrypted and I'm no cryptography expert. I already had WordSpace installed that I purchased for business use. So I used WorkSpace Macro to copy the module's contents to an unencrypted module and then I converted it to e-Sword. Nice, huh? I thought so.
ToolTip NT (BibleSupport.com)
ToolTip is an application that would cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop. ToolTip is a What-you-see-is-what-you-get module development environment—in other words, it's a word processor.
It's that not hard slice an RTF file into database records. The real magic is with the versification of verse references--it's better than anything else I've seen. Even theWord, which has this built in, does not do as good of a job with converting verse references to clickable format (tooltipping) as Brent Hildebrand's ToolTip does. The algorithm there is nothing short of magical.
The best part of ToolTip is the ability to import text with a symbol (÷) system. Manipulate your data properly and you can avoid a line-by-line system of module creation!
A lot of people talk about doing great things. A few people actually do great things. Raymond's created a highly specialized RTF editing tool that people use with several different Bible Software modules. It's versatile and allows for directly editing the RTF or HTML in a Bible software's SQLIte module. This utility has saved me dozens of hours so far.
Have valuable resources locked up in a now dead software format called STEP books? The company that created the standard is long gone and the companies using this format are fading fast. You can convert your STEP resources into RTF files so you can view or edit them in a word processor. Or make a Bible software module from the content.