So, we've been developing openlp.org for a few years now, but to be honest, I've never looked at the commercial offerings. I know about them, and I know that most people seem to hear of them first, but I've never actually installed them and tried them out.
So last night I installed 4 applications:
- SongShow Plus
- Sunday Plus
I basically just installed everything, and then opened each program and tried to figure out how to use it without looking in a manual.
Apart from SongShow Plus, the applications installed in apretty straight forward manner. SongShow Plus, however, was a nightmare. It has a whole bunch of "components" which you can choose to install, only each and every component is an installer in and of itself. This means, that with a default install (pre-selected components), you install 26 components, and you have to click buttons on each installer a minimum of 3 times... that's a minimum of 78 clicks! It took about 15 minutes to install SongShow Plus, thanks to all their installers. I was not impressed with SongShow Plus after that.
First Impressions EasyWorship
If you wanted to say that openlp.org copied someone's interface, it would be EasyWorship's. Of all the applications, EasyWorship's interface is the most like openlp.org's. For me it was simple and easy to see what to do and how to do it. EasyWorship is also written in Delphi, like openlp.org, but it uses the archaic Borland Database Engine.
SongShow Plus has a very flashy interface, with a silver look and little effects here and there. However, as my wife pointed out, all the icons look the same. It's interface is somewhat similar to openlp.org and EasyWorship, but not quite as intuitive.
Eyesore. That was my first impression of SongPro. It doesn't look good. The backgrounds of the text boxes are turquoise or yelow, and I couldn't initially figure out how to put together an order of service. The buttons are all too big, there's too much whitespace around certain elements, and it really looks like it was hastily put together with no regard for how it looks.
Bizarre, just plain bizarre. When you open Sunday Plus, it shows you a small window in the middle of your screen that looks more like a calculator than anything else. From there I was absolutely baffled as to what to do. How do you set up an order of service? How do you add/edit/delete songs? I couldn't figure out how to use Sunday Plus after 5 minutes, so I just decided to leave it.
Features are not king. If you application doesn't look good, and isn't easy enough to figure out how to use, then people will not be impressed with it. From what I've read in forums on the Internet, a lot of people like EasyWorship because of it's smart, not too simple but not too complicated, and easy to use interface.
I think it's important to have a decent set of features, but it's more important that your interface looks good (but not flashy) and that your program is easy to use, without having to read the manual.
If you think I'm right or wrong or missing something or overlooking something, please leave a comment.