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Thread: Bibleworks 8 and Unicode

  1. #1

    Default Bibleworks 8 and Unicode

    I use both Bibleworks and Logos, having been a Bibleworks user since v4 and the two together serve me very well. And I do all of my studies using Unicode and Microsoft Word.

    Bibleworks ability to export text using Unicode has worked well, but simply selecting some Hebrew or Greek text and hitting Ctrl+C pastes ASCII characters to the clipboard and not Unicode text.

    Also, I find the latest SBL Hebrew and Galatia fonts exceptionally clear and well hinted - almost beautiful - and this makes reading on-screen (using Logos very pleasant).

    I see from the latest features that BW 8 has increased Unicode support, hence the two questions below:


    1. Will selecting text and pressing Ctrl+C put ASCII or Unicode text onto the clipboard?
    2. Can SBL Hebrew and Galatia (or other Unicode Hebrew & Greek fonts) be used to display text in the results window, etc?


    If not, what is the chance that Bibleworks 8 might provide these 2 features?

    Sincerely,
    Stuart.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    915

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartro@gmail.com View Post
    1. Will selecting text and pressing Ctrl+C put ASCII or Unicode text onto the clipboard?
    Yes or yes. In BW 8 you have options to send Unicode or non Unicode fonts to the clipboard or to the BibleWorks editor. There were some bugs in this in beta testing, and which operating system you have may make a difference. But BW is determined to get Unicode to work in all exporting
    Quote Originally Posted by stuartro@gmail.com View Post
    2. Can SBL Hebrew and Galatia (or other Unicode Hebrew & Greek fonts) be used to display text in the results window, etc?

    If not, what is the chance that Bibleworks 8 might provide these 2 features?
    SBL Hebrew is the default export font, and it can be used for your notes and editor, but searching is still done in done based on the non-Unicode BibleWorks fonts, so Unicode is not used in what used to be called the "Results" window, but is now (beginning in BW7) called the "Browse" window.
    By the way, SBL Galatia has caused problems for me with Windows XP, so I use Times New Roman Greek or Uncial as my Greek Unicode export font.
    Mark Eddy

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Do you know whether Unicode fonts are planned to be supported in the browse window either in the near future or on a future release of BW8?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuartro@gmail.com View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Do you know whether Unicode fonts are planned to be supported in the browse window either in the near future or on a future release of BW8?
    Unforunately, I don't think we're quite there yet. I am not a programmer, so I can not speak about this with complete accuracy, but I copied here the reason I stated earlier why Unicode in the Browse Window is not yet possible:

    "the fact is that the way Windows handles Unicode has not yet reached a stable point so that it's possible to do that. The way BibleWorks handles lightning quick searching among other things has to do with how the databases function in Windows and if Windows hasn't yet decided how it's going to deal with Unicode, if BibleWorks functioned internally using only Unicode, the program would not work if Microsoft changed the way it works. So BW has a choice, it can take its chances and make everything Unicode, but then risk their program breaking if Microsoft makes more changes. OR it could use Unicode and completely change the way databases are searched. If they do this maybe they're not able to do lightning quick searches anymore. If they lose this, I think a lot MORE people would complain. OR, they keep using their fonts, but make Unicode exporting as efficient as possible. And this is what they've done. Now some people may disagree with this choice or wish that it were something different, but as far as I've heard from the programmers, the reason why they can't go all Unicode has little to do with their programming ability, but a lot to do with the Microsoft structure."

    I could be wrong on this but I don't believe Accordance uses Unicode internally either for much a similar reason. Logos can use Unicode because its program is based around marked up text documents. But the downside then is that it's searching capability is nowhere near as fast as Accordance or BibleWorks. Again, I'm not saying I have the reasoning 100% right, but it seems that the reason is not that BibleWorks can't program it in Unicode, but that the surrounding Windows environment is not yet stable on this point.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  5. #5
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    Default Unicode

    I am not sure why it matters whether Unicode is supported in the Browse Window or not. Why does anyone care about that? All they care about is the ability to export texts in the format that they need. Right? Greek and Hebrew are exported in Unicode by default in version 8 and it stays that way unless you change some configuration settings. And it seems to work well. Unless I told you that the internal Greek and Hebrew fonts were non-Hebrew, you really wouldn't have any way of knowing. In other word the program functions the same whether we use Unicode internally of not. Maybe I am wrong, but that is the way I have been looking at it.

    We have tried to maintain support for both Unicode and non-Unicode Greek and Hebrew simply because some users don't want to use Unicode - because Biblical Greek and Hebrew are still not fully supported in Windows. Even Vista does not ship with usable Greek and Hebrew fonts for use with the Biblical languages. We ship both SBL and SIL Hebrew fonts which work great, but do not have a decent Unicode Greek font that we have a license to ship (SBL is supposed to do one some day). Under Vista BW8 defaults to Times New Roman for Greek Unicode, which looks decent, but there is no decent alternative in XP. The sad fact is that if someone wants to share Hebrew and Greek documents with others, they still have to ship the fonts with the documents or insure that they have the same fonts installed. We have given permission for users to pass around our fonts (non-Unicode) but they cannot legally do that with the SBL font, even though it can be downloaded for free by individuals.

    The real question in all this is what we can do differently that will serve the needs of those who want to use Unicode Greek and Hebrew. We have tried to do everything we could along those lines in BW8. The only thing that hasn't been done is convert all the CHM files that have Greek and Hebrew to Unicode. We would really rather NOT do that until Windows ships with decent Greek and Hebrew font capability. Greek is there in Vista, but not Hebrew, as fas as I know anyway. In the mean time please let us know what else we can do.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell View Post
    In the mean time please let us know what else we can do.
    My opinion on what you can do: Maintain the things that sold me on my purchase:

    1) Keep it fast
    2) Keep it inexpensive
    3) Keep it valuable (good databases)
    4) Make it look good in Bibleworks

    As far as what goes on under the hood...I really don't care too much so long as the car runs well. Interoperability with other programs (which includes copy/paste functions) is just icing on the cake to me. And from all I can tell so far there's a lot of icing!

  7. #7
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    Default

    I see two benefits for moving to internal unicode support:

    1. We could then select a non-default keyboard layout for use on the commandline.

    2. Display of text in preferred font.

    However, neither of these two things are important enough to me if speed of searches etc. decreases (a la Logos). As Mike points out, for general usage of the program it does not matter if BW supports unicode internally or not so long as anything exported is as the user wants, unicode or otherwise.

    In any case, my first point could even be accomplished if BW chose to make available in the 'Keyboard Layouts' keyboard selections non-default keyboards already installed on the system. In my case, I use a slightly modified SIL Hebrew keyboard layout that I've gotten quite used to that I would like to select as the preferred method of entry on the commandline for Hebrew, but cannot do so as the option in the drop-down list is not there.

    But like I've said, I do not want this if it makes the program slower.

    Regards,
    David Kummerow.

  8. #8
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    Default More Unicode

    David,

    In BW8 all Greek and Unicode in the program can be done in either Unicode or non-Unicode (except for CHM files). You can set the Uniocde fonts that you want for Greek and Hebrew. But the default is Unicode SBL Hebrew and Unicode Times New Roman for Hebrew and Greek under Vista.

    The Browse Window may some day be able to display Unicode Greek and Hebrew, but it is not in there now and when we do it depends on how high a priority users put on it. Time spent on that takes away from time spent on other things . What's there now looks good (in my opinion) and works well. We need a pretty good reason to change it. The most important thing is Unicode export and that should be covered for Greek and Hebrew. We are still waiting for better Windows support.

    Of course the new Chinese, Japanese, etc. versions are Unicode and they do display in the Browse Window. As we add new versions that require Unicode, we will use Unicode. Duh. That's obvious I guess.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Default

    Gday Mike,

    Sounds fine reasoning to me.

    Can't wait to see version 8. For me it's a question of guessing the exchange rate -- purchase now by myself, or early next year with my institution and group discount. (But then there's also the question of convincing my wife that I need the new version rather than want it ... could take til next year anyway!)

    Regards,
    David.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MBushell View Post
    We ship both SBL and SIL Hebrew fonts which work great, but do not have a decent Unicode Greek font that we have a license to ship (SBL is supposed to do one some day).
    This is really funny.
    I thought, one of the main reasons to use Unicode it that you do not need a specialized font!
    Since you still need specialized fonts, what's the advantage?
    This Unicode thing creates more bad than good so far. Remember the websites in Unicode where you are told that it will display correctly only if you use this or that particular font?
    Also, where is the tool to write fluently Greek in Unicode? Is there one in BW?
    Best wishes
    Wieland
    <><
    ------------------------------------------------
    Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
    http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie
    Textcritical commentary:
    http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html

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