bibsearch Program History

bibsearch began on 31 October 2007, on my laptop (running a highly de-Ubuntuized Ubuntu; I like Ubuntu's hardware recognition, but end up running it a lot like my former distro, Debian), when I realized suddenly that I had no good, Catholic Scriptural utility for Linux.

In Windoze land, there is Vulsearch, a superb utility which even integrates Whitaker's Words, an excellent Latin vocabulary tool. But it's heavily graphical and thus beyond my ability to port. In any case, I wanted something firmly in the Unix tradition: do one thing well, without any unnecessary complication. A good, old-fashioned, command-line utility was what I needed.

There is kjv-bible; however, that has a couple of shortcomings as far as Catholics are concerned as well as in general, which are discussed more thoroughly in the FAQ. So I decided I needed to write my own.

Originally, it was in C. Indeed, the program was mapped out in C. But I quickly found myself repeatedly reinventing the wheel. I decided to switch to a language that had built-in regular expressions and was designed around text processing, since that's what I was doing. I also wanted something that was nearly universal (on Linux and other *nixes) so that people wouldn't be forced to install a new programming language to make it work. Perl fit the bill in every respect. So I rewrote the skeleton in Perl. Good programmers assure me that you'll always have to rewrite a program at least once from the ground up; I guess this means I'll have to do it at least twice.

It was a good choice; the program began falling together relatively easily after that. I was able to integrate all the major features that I wanted to see: getting; searching; some options on results; and most especially the ability to save results to the buffers, and if desired save the buffers permanently. Adding new languages is also trivial, should I ever find sufficiently open texts to format for the program.

Of course, I needed texts. Fortunately, the author of the Vulsearch program has done some fantastic work digitizing the Douay-Rheims and Clementine Vulgate, and has with remarkable generosity released those texts into the public domain. For more information about this superlative texts, please visit the Vulsearch website explaining the origin and quality of the texts.

There are still some kinks to work out, and a few new features I'd like to add (how about comparing two buffers to one another? writing the results to a third buffer?). Having a firm faith in the open source model, I decided that beta testing would be the best way to iron those out. Don't be fooled by the less-than-one version number, however; bibsearch is remarkably stable, and does precisely what it's supposed to do. The only thing really describable as a bug that I've found so far is the inability to write to or append to a buffer in the same query as one searches it. But I'll figure it out. Or one of you good beta testers will contribute.

In any case, I hope that bibsearch is an aide to you in your Scriptural reading and studies. May St. Jerome guide you in all your perusals of Holy Writ.

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