View Full Version : Default "Control Character" for Searches

12-21-2010, 02:56 AM
Dear BW Staff,

I love the ability to specify whether I'm looking for a word, multiple words, or a phrase in the command line using ., /, and '. I love how fast it makes the searches compared to other Bible software.

However, I would like to suggest that the user be given a default option. After years of using BW, I still forget to type the Control Character, and I still do it almost every time I use the program! To make matters worse, it usually happens when I'm in a hurry, trying to do a quick search. In that situation, the last thing I want is a popup telling me what I did wrong and requiring an extra click to get back to my search (this is definitely helpful the first time, but not every time!). I just want to get on with my search as quickly as possible.

For that reason, I would love to see you make one of the three Control Characters the default, so that whenever I forget to type a Control Character, I know it will just do the default type of search. I would make the AND (.) Control Character the default, but ideally there would be a setting somewhere giving each user a choice.

I can only think of one objection to this solution... How will I know if I meant to type a Control Character and simply forgot? My response is this... do you forget when you're using Google? When I want to search for an exact phrase in Google, I just put that phrase in quotes. If I don't include the quotes, I know that a default set of results will be returned. After using Google for a while, I intuitively grasp the fact the default won't return my exact phrase, unless I include the quotes.

It makes complete sense for the type of search I use the most to be the type of search that automatically takes place unless I specify otherwise. That's the way Google works, and that's the way BW should work. I'm not suggesting that you do away with the Control Characters. Don't take away any functionality. Just make the current functionality more user-friendly.

I can imagine the uproar now, if Google decided that in order to run a "regular" search on their homepage, you MUST type a period (.) first. If you don't type the period, you get will a popup instructing you how to type a period. Every. Single. Time.

I'm being a bit facetious, and I hope I haven't offended you. I absolutely LOVE BibleWorks. I love its functionality, I love its speed, I love the time, effort, philosophy, and genuine concern for the gospel that is behind it. But, I truly believe this small change would make an incredible program even more incredible.

Does anyone agree?

Rusty Taylor

12-21-2010, 10:49 AM

With all due respect, I must disagree. Often times the Command Line is used to perform operations that don't require a control character. Examples of this include changing search and/or display versions, switching to another verse reference within the same version, etc. So, respectfully, I must disagree with your request.

Michael Hanel
12-21-2010, 10:58 AM
One potential problem with that is that the command line is used both for search and navigation. So every time you typed "Mat 2" it would search for it rather than jumping to it.

I guess this particular issue hasn't ever bothered me. I don't view the command line as identical to a Google search box, but I could see how it's confusing if that's what you're thinking.

If you mistype, you can just hit "enter" again, there's no need to touch the mouse. If you want to save keystrokes. Type the up arrow to recall the unsuccessful search, home key to move the cursor at the beginning and then type "." and enter again. Depending on your search, it may save you a few keystrokes.

12-21-2010, 12:30 PM
Thanks for your comments, guys. I can definitely appreciate your point. Really, there already is a "default", and it is navigation to a particular passage. That makes sense and is fair enough.

This is just a minor pet peeve, and is obviously not a big deal, but I do think it is worthwhile to keep brainstorming to help out those of us who don't find control characters intuitive.

Even with the navigation side of it complicating things, I do think Google is still a good model. I've been told the reason for the control characters is so that the program doesn't have to waste time parsing the input text, thus speeding up the search.

Somehow, though, Google has been able to accomplish just that without sacrificing speed. They have a much larger body of data to work with (to say the least), plus they have to deal with internet connection issues. But, I can still type in my aunt Gertrude's address and it immediately recognizes it as just that, as opposed to a simple math equation or a question about spaghetti squash. And it does it without control characters or multiple input fields.

My point is not just to say "Come on BibleWorks, why aren't you exactly like Google?" I'm sure with a few extra billion dollars, you could be if you wanted to. My point is that it has been done, and it can be done. So, even if it's not practical in the short term, my humble opinion is that it would definitely be worthwhile to start looking for ways to head in that direction.

One thing that has certainly amplified my frustration (if I can call it that) with control characters is the other issue I posted about in this forum last night. I work primarily with Hebrew in BibleWorks, and Hebrew doesn't work well in a left-to-right computing environment without Unicode. Somehow, I repeatedly find myself typing a phrase into the command line in Hebrew only to mistype a letter and quickly (without thinking) hit Backspace. But, because the computer is thinking left-to-right while I'm typing right-to-left, Backspace doesn't delete the last letter, it deletes the control character (and the entire phrase I just typed along with it!). So, the whole process starts over again... so much for speed.

Another factor is that I don't use the command line to navigate to a verse very often. So, maybe an idea would be to give us an option of what to use as the default. Personally, I would rather type "." (or something else) every time I want to navigate to a passage and not have to type anything when I want to do an AND search. I'm certain many of you would disagree, which is why an option might be nice.

Anyway, thanks for the helpful suggestions. I'll try them out. Honestly, despite all my complaining, I'm quite content with the program the way it is now, so I'll keep looking for ways to work efficiently with it the way it is. These are just some things I've been thinking for a while and I thought I'd share.

Rusty Taylor

12-21-2010, 01:29 PM
Hey Rusty, your humility and graciousness are refreshing. I can certainly appreciate your sentiments. Not being a programmer, I have no idea how hard it would be to create a Command Line Options dialog such as you suggest. You may want to submit your idea to the dedicated BibleWorks Suggestion page here (http://www.bibleworks.com/ideas.html).

By the way, are you studying under Van Gemmeren at Trinity? Is he over the MA Program there?

Dale A. Brueggemann
12-21-2010, 06:58 PM
Please don't do what Rusty is suggesting :eek: ; I like the setup as it is.