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Biblelator is a desktop Bible display and editing program in development that handles the commonly-used standard USFM and ESFM (still dreamware!) Bibles as its native formats yet has access to other references including online versions when the Internet is available. It's built on the foundation of the Bible Organisational System (BOS) software.
It's primarily aimed at Bible translators around the world who want to see the Scriptures translated into their own language or dialect but do not have access to UBS Paratext or who need access to the source code to make program modifications to handle a particular task, and/or want an alternative to Bibledit and translationStudio.
We currently have a prototype (incomplete) version (v0.39) working. We have been using it (still somewhat cautiously) as a working editor since February 2016 -- in particular for back-translating from one project to another (both of which originated in Paratext). Biblelator doesn't have original language (Hebrew/Greek) displays working well yet, so it's not yet ideal for translating from the original, nor are the parts for “native” projects (not shared with Paratext) well-developed yet.
It has a smallish main window from which you can open on-disk or online Bibles as viewable translation resources plus you can open one or more USFM Bible edit windows to work in. It can currently display USFM and other local/on-disk Bible formats, some Sword (Bible) modules, and Digital Bible Platform (FCBH) online versions.
Documentation: You can look here to learn about the design philosophy behind the program.
Current status: Version 0.39 (or development version 0.40) can open basic reference Bible and lexicon resources in separate windows, and/or open a single window with a collection of resources inside, plus start or open one or more Paratext 7 (USFM) projects for editing. (Not fully tested yet for the just-released Paratext 8.) This document explains the basic operating philosophy of the program. A few menu options still do nothing. We are still experimenting to change menu and window layouts around a little to give a sensible and logical user experience. Settings files between versions are not guaranteed to be compatible until v1.0, so at worst you may have to set-up your various windows again. Backup your work often. (Sorry, we'll try not to lose your work, but do take care, especially with development versions.)
Feedback: We'd certainly like to hear about it if you're trying out Biblelator --
either your successes/likes or failures and dislikes. Probably our
Contact Page is the easiest way to just informally let us know.
For more serious feedback, you can view our own ToDo list here first, and you can submit bug reports and feature requests on GitHub (preferred, but requires an account), or you can just use the Contact Page of this site.
GUI: Tkinter (usually automatically installed as part of Python). It's not the prettiest GUI in the world but it's powerful enough and reduces installation pain (dependencies).
Platforms: Aiming for anything that can run Python3. The program is developed and tested on a Linux desktop as well as Windows-10, but we eventually hope to aim for OS X desktops, as well as Chromebooks, and Android and other tablets.
Mode: Stand-alone program. We're eventually hoping for the best of online (cloud) operation with a graceful fall-back to offline.
Dependencies: Not too many hopefully -- we want to make it as easy as possible to install -- there's no compiling involved (but no fancy installer yet either).
Release date: The first basic (unfinished) test version (v0.30) was available in March 2016. Biblelator is used every day (and improved most weeks) by the developer. There is no target release date yet for v1.0. (Still a long way to go and the developer has an Old Testament to finish first, but Biblelator is being used on that Old Testament.)
Code availability: The foundation Bible Organisational System (BibleOrgSys) is available here.
The Biblelator source is available here.
These two repositories should be installed side-by-side in two folders.
You must also have Python3 installed on your system.
You can start the program by creating a desktop or similar link to run Biblelator.py in Python3.
Run it with --help to see all the available command line parameters.
(If there's a problem, start it in debug mode with the --debug command line flag
in order to get more debugging information printed on the terminal.)
Any of our code which is still in proof-of-concept stage and not yet publicly released can be requested using the Contact Page. Python developers familiar with Git might want to pull from the development branch on GitHub.
General testing: We'd be very grateful for one or two people who could test the current version of Biblelator as a general Bible display program, and as a general text file editor. You don't have to be a Bible translator to do this. Contact us here.
Icon: Yes, it's a feather which hopefully will make the user think of a quill -- an old-fashioned ink pen. Note, however, that they used reeds (not feathers) to make ink pens in Biblical times, but we didn't feel that would work so well as an icon. So please excuse the anachronism. Thanks to Josh Hunt for the icon work.
The Biblelator preliminary releases can be used as a USFM editor (in unformatted mode—displaying the USFM markers and text fields line by line). New features are continually added to the development version (but still requiring testing and tweaking), and new alpha versions should be released every month or so.
As soon as the new USFM v3 is released (which will be used by Paratext 8), we hope to be able upgrade Biblelator (and the BOS) to handle the new USFM extensions.
The ultimate aim is to have a modular Bible translation editor that is capable of parallel display of multiple resources (in various languages and versification systems), while allowing a writable Bible translation project to be entered and edited (similar to the Paratext and Bibledit editors). Biblelator differs primarily by being designed from the start to be hackable (relatively easy for a programmer to extend or customise).
Another step is to see if BibleGateway.com (or other similar sites) will allow us to also access their online resources.
|Editor||USFM||USFM||USFM||USFM (plus ESFM to come eventually)|
|View formats||Five complex views (but can be sluggish)||Unknown||Unknown||Unformatted only so far -- more planned|
|View chunks||By chapter (also whole book but too slow to use)||Unknown||Unknown||2-3 verses||Verse with context, by section, by chapter, by book, by verse|
|Autocorrect||Yes using cc table||Unknown||Unknown||Yes (but still set-up in program code)|
|Autocomplete||No||No||No||Yes (several options)|
|Status||v8 RC (release candidate) just recently released (most users still on v7.5)||Deprecated (no longer being developed)||Regular new versions||v9.2||v0.39 early-test release|
|Development||Still getting v8 stable and bug-free||Deprecated (no longer being developed)||Regular new versions||Continuous development and regular test releases|
|Distribution||Program itself is less restricted now with v8, but online Biblical resources are very restricted||Freely available||Freely available||Freely available|
|Available on Linux||Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty LTS, 16.04 Xenial LTS||Yes||Yes||No||Available now (in development)|
|Available on Android tablet||No||No||Yes||Yes||Planned|
|Available/usable on Android phone||No||No||Yes||Unknown||No|
|Available on Ubuntu tablet/phone||No||No||Unknown||No||Planned|
|Available on 64-bit Windows||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Available now (in development)|
|Available on 32-bit Windows||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (beta)||Available now (in development)|
|Available on OS X||Maybe via Linux?||Difficult||Yes||Yes||Untested|
|Available on iOS||No||No||Yes||No||Unknown|
|Available on ChromeOS||No||No||Yes||Need to use developer mode to install Python and/or to install a Linux using Crouton|
|Original language Bible resources||Yes but separate secure download||??||??||Planned|
|Translated Bible and commentary resources||Lots but separate encrypted downloads||??||??||Planned|
|Lexicon resources||Lots included||??||??||Planned|
|Outside resources||Digital Bible Library (DBL) restricted online resources||??||??||Almost any unencrypted Bible on your system|
|Exports available||USX, HTML, others with SIL Pathway||??||??||Many|
|Typeset publishing path||Publishing Assistant (restricted distribution) with InDesign (expensive and can be sluggish)||??||??||??||Through SILE (evolving)|
|Other tools||Very powerful and integrated||??||??||Planned|
|Modular (for users)||No||No||No||Planned|
|Source code available||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|