Reflections and Projections

OpenLP 3.0 Alpha 1: Refactored Rebecca

At long last, we are proud to announce the first alpha release of OpenLP 3.0!

The biggest new feature in version 3.0 is the new renderer. Still based in HTML, but using the new Chrome-based QtWebEngine component, it should deliver much better performance, and it also enables us to offer something people have been requesting for a long time: transitions!

But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.

Exodus 9:32

Below is a list of known issues, new features, enhancements to existing features, and bug fixes. Download links are at the bottom of this article.

Known Issues

  • Disable BibleServer support for now

  • Remote API is still unstable

  • Old web remote doesn't work, new one on the way

  • QCollatorKey error when loading services created by OpenLP 2.4.6

  • After installing on Windows OpenLP does not start automaticly even though "Launch OpenLP" is checked

New Features

  • Implemented a new renderer

  • Transitions in themes

  • Drop all media players other than VLC

  • Planning Center plugin

  • New screen selection widget

  • New icons

  • New song importers:

    • Singing The Faith

    • LiveWorship

    • ProPresenter 5 and 6

    • EasyWorship 6

  • New Bible importers:

    • SWORD

    • WordProject

  • Searching by Song Number

  • Guitar chords (in ChordPro format)

  • Update license GPL version 3 or higher

  • Added a Zeroconf service to aid devices detecting OpenLP on the network

  • Video changes

    • Ability to show Streaming

    • Sound for Preview

    • Ability to loop videos

    • Show video time and how long it has played

  • Support Impress for presentations on macOS via Pyro4

  • Support PJLink2 specification for projector control

  • New dark theme for OpenLP

  • Global proxy settings

  • Totally new internal API server

  • Added SongBook name, Song Number and Alternative Title to "Entire Song" search

  • Support more fields in song search: topic, copyright, CCLI number search

  • Natural sorting for song book searches

  • Revamped the Bible tab interface in the Library

  • New logo and branding!


  • Refactored how settings work

  • Better layouts in Theme wizard

  • Better parsing of scripture references

  • Sort the authors when exporting the songs

  • Alerts are now able to scroll

  • Update the about dialog

  • Updated translations

  • Some performance enhancements

  • Add epub, cbz, and fb2 support to pdf controller

  • Catch some errors to provide user friendly error messages

  • Replace PyICU with PyQt's QCollator

  • Add proxy settings button to First Run Wizard

  • Remove proxy settings from individual bibles and use the central OpenLP proxy server settings.

  • Use appdirs instead of pyxdg

  • Raise minimum Python version to 3.6

  • Implement natural sort for authors, topics, songbooks, themes

  • Added QR code and link for iOS app to remote plugin ui

  • Hide the splash screen when a message shows during startup

  • Hide the Projectors manager by default so that it doesn't confuse people

Plus a whole lot of code cleanup and feature streamlining...

Bug Fixes

  • Fix window titles so that the main window just says 'OpenLP'

  • Update the translation process files and fix issues

  • Use PyMySQL rather than MySQL Connector

  • Fix service Print code

  • Fix deleting song books

  • Fix bible reference search when text matches multiple books

  • Strip unwanted formatting characters when pasting into song editor

  • Word of Worship file importer fixes / rework

  • Fix choruses, bridges & etc. being imported as verses in CCLI txt files

  • Attempt to remove/reduce circular imports

  • Fix dvd clip selection

Tons and tons of other minor bug fixes



Windows 7+ Windows 7+ (32-bit) Windows Portable Windows Portable (32-bit)


macOS 10.13+


Fedora    (Debian & Ubuntu downloads unavailable at the moment)

Source Code:

Source Code

OpenLP is now on GitLab

One of the steps toward OpenLP 3.0 was moving to git and GitLab, and this has now been completed. After many years on Launchpad and using Bazaar, it was clear to us that unfortunately there was no future in either of those, due to them being all but abandoned by their developers.

You can now find OpenLP on GitLab:

Further News

We've also recently made great strides toward an alpha release recently. The new rendering engine is almost complete, and the VLC-based media framework is also pretty much done. There are a couple more minor things like bug fixes and general cleanup that need to be done, and then we're going to release OpenLP 3.0 Alpha 1.

Again, we don't have an exact date, but it will be pretty soon.

Helping with Development

Just a reminder, if you want to help with development (and that includes non-coders!), please take a look at the getting started page on our wiki, and making sure to join the mailing list and hang out with us in IRC.

Integration with BibleGateway Broken

Over the last few days we have received a TON of reports about OpenLP's integration with BibleGateway being broken. Users who rely on web Bibles from BibleGateway are telling us that they get an error message whenever they try to look up new passages (verses are downloaded from Bible Gateway on an as-needed basis in order to comply with Bible translation copyright terms).

Unfortunately there is no quick fix for this, and because some of the libraries that OpenLP 2.4.6 uses are no longer available, we are not able to create new builds for the OpenLP 2.4.x release series. We are investigating other options, but we cannot guarantee anything.

While we are well aware that some bibles available on BibleGateway are not available elsewhere, there are other sources for a lot of Bibles, such as Zefania or from the homepage of Open Song. In both cases do remember to extract the zip file before importing. See the Bibles section of the manual for more details on importing Bibles from other sources.

Alternatively, going to and copying and pasting the Bible text into a custom slide is also an option.

The only good news here is that the new implementation for web Bibles in the upcoming OpenLP 3.0 release is not affected by this, although it is not ready for production use.

We apologise for the problems people are experiencing. The bad side of using an external service like BibleGateway is that when they change something, OpenLP is not built to handle the change, and appears to be "broken". Sadly, there is no real way to prevent something like this from happening again.

OpenLP Now Licensed Under GPL Version 3

As of today, the 1st of May 2019, OpenLP is officially licensed under version 3 (or higher) of the GNU General Public License.

Simply put, we're updating to a newer version of the license we already use.

Does this affect me?

People reading this blog post will no doubt be asking themselves, "does this affect me?" and the answer depends on what your role within OpenLP is.

End user

If you're an end user, someone who downloaded and installed OpenLP and is using it in your church, youth group, Bible study, or somewhere else, this change does not affect you. Your freedoms remain the same, you can still use it whenever, wherever and however you want. You can still give OpenLP away to as many people as you want, without needing to obtain permission (the license expressly gives you permission to do this). This newer version of the license ensures your freedoms the same way the old version did, but adapted to a newer age of technology.


In many ways, this change does not affect people contributing to OpenLP either. From today onward, however, your contributions to OpenLP will be covered by version 3 (or higher) of the GNU GPL.

Do I need to do anything?

No, this is just a change to how we the developers are licensing OpenLP. You don't need to do anything.

Why the change?

Version 2 of the GPL was sufficient for many years, but many of the libraries and projects that OpenLP uses have moved forward, not only in code but also in licenses. With this in mind, OpenLP had to change our license to be compliant with the licenses of the libaries and project we use.

Getting closer to OpenLP 3.0

It has been almost 2 years since the release of 2.4.6 and understandably we are getting a lot of questions as to when the next release will be ready. The answer is always the same: "When it is ready". So what does "ready" mean? Currently there are 2 major features that we need to finish before we feel we can begin the release process:

  • The new renderer engine.

  • The new VLC based mediaplayer framework.

Once these are in place we will release the first Alpha (2.9.1) and then work from there towards the final release of 3.0.

So how far are these features from being complete?

The new rendering engine is fairly close to being complete, but we need to make sure we have all standard use cases (songs, image, etc.) working correctly.

The new mediaplayer framework still needs some work. All the hard ground work has been done (i.e. playing videos works), so it is now more a question of connecting the different parts of the code to make everything work correctly and ironing out the bugs that have crept in.

But why is it taking so long?

The thing is that it requires time to do development, and as volunteers, time is a scarce resource when you have full-time jobs and families. In fact, within the last year, 3 of the 4 core developers have been blessed with babies, which means even less time for OpenLP development.

Another reason for the long wait is that we might have been a bit too ambitious with this release. The thing is that when you start adding code to introduce new major features you often see that the "old way" of doing things is not optimal for the new features and therefore you want to change the old code to better support the new code. Sometimes this can lead to using time rewriting code that strictly speaking does not need rewriting, thereby "stealing" time from new features. So while the end result is a lot better, it also means longer development time.

License change

A few months ago we were made aware that OpenLP's current license is not compatible with the licenses of some of the libraries that OpenLP uses. For instance, PyQt5 is under the GPLv3 license, which is incompatiable with OpenLPs GPLv2. To resolve this we are planning to relicense OpenLP under the GPLv3 license. To do this we have contacted all of the known contributors to OpenLP to get their permission to relicense. So far it has been a success, even though it is a slow process. Not everybody has replied yet, so if you have contributed in the past but have not been contacted about this, please contact us.

Other news

Around the time of the upcoming release we will also migrate the OpenLP bug tracker and source code from to GitLab. This also means migrating from bzr to git.

Shutting Down the Support System

Due to a lack of resources within the OpenLP team we have decided to close down the e-mail support system (not to be mistaken for the forums which will not be affected).

For some time now a single person has answered almost all the support requests the support system has received. And since that person is also one of the most active developers of OpenLP, it has drawn a lot of time away from actual development. In order to free up more time for development the only solution was to close down the support system.

We are really sad to do this, as we feel our support is one of the defining parts of OpenLP, but since we need to move OpenLP forward we do not believe we have any other choice - though it was not an easy decision.

In future anyone who e-mails will get a message that redirects them to the manual and the forums.

[ Image Credit: Closed by Rob Brewer ]

Looking for an Icon Designer

Many years ago, when OpenLP was first released, computer screens with millions of colours were very new, and most people had what are tiny screens by today's standards. I remember getting my first 17" monitor, and it was positively HUGE - it could even show 1024 by 768 pixels (a pixel is a single dot on your screen). Wow!

In those days, most icons were 16 by 16 pixels because if they were any bigger, they'd get in the way of the rest of the user interface. And so we created static icons that were stuck at 16 by 16 pixels. Time moves on, but sadly without a designer, OpenLP was unable to move on too, and now we're stuck with tiny icons and 4K screens.

If you're a designer and you'd like to contribute to OpenLP, now's your chance! We really need a refreshed icon set, one that can scale with the monitor sizes of today. You'll need to have working knowledge of Inkscape (or be willing to learn how to use it), and the time available to design about 150 icons (or less, if we have a number of designers who work together).

You can get into contact with us via IRC, the forums or info [at]

[ Image Credit: Drawing opals by Mauro Cateb ]

Making the Web Site Translation Friendly

Over the years, we have tried to have a multi-lingual website. Unfortunately each time has ended up with the same scenario:

  1. User gets excited

  2. User joins the translation team

  3. User translates 50% to 80% of the website

  4. User forgets about translation

  5. Translation is no longer maintained, and we get requests to fix a language we don't speak

If you've ever wondered why our manual is only in English, this is why.

Earlier this year, however, after some more requests by users to be able to translate the website, we looked at a new feature from online translation site called Live Translation. Essentially this allows you to translate your website without the need for much maintenance. So we decided to silently roll out a beta phase of a translatable website.

We're quite pleased with the result so far. We've had a number of people translate the website, and most of those translations have stuck to 100% completion. We also don't publish a translation until it is 100% complete. This helps us to keep a website that looks great no matter which language it is being displayed in.

Along the way, however, there have been a couple of hitches. One of them is that there was a lot of HTML in the strings that needed to be translated. We have gone through the website and tried to address this as much as possible. There are still some HTML tags here and there, but more complicated stuff like links and icons have been removed, which should make translating the site much easier.

Unfortunately this does have the side effect that a lot of the strings that were already translated will now have to be translated again, but we trust you will bear with us while those folks who have volunteered to translate the site bring it back up to 100% translated.

Would you like to be involved in this project? Just sign up on, and join the website project.

As a side note, the blog has been puposefully kept untranslated.

[ Image Credit: Whisky Zulu by Dennis van Zuijlekom ]

Progress on OpenLP 2.5

This blog post is written by Phill Ridout, one of our developers.

Like many other open source projects, OpenLP uses even version numbers to denote a stable release, and odd version numbers to denote an unstable (or development) release.

Currently we're in the process of working on OpenLP 2.5, which is the current unreleased and unstable version. We're still not in a position to make a new release, but I thought I'd write this blog post to assure you that lots of work is being done behind the scenes.

So what have we been working on?

New features:

  • Support for chords in songs

  • Support for bibles from the SWORD Project

  • Support for ProPresenter 5 song import

  • Support for EasyWorship 6 song import

  • Upgrade the network projector controller to support the PJLink 2 protocol (in addition to PJLink 1)

  • Video backgrounds to songs, Bible verses and custom slides (depending on your platform)

  • Video timing display so you can see the time left for a media item

  • The splitting of the Web Inferface from the core code allowing faster updates and user defined variations

  • A new dark theme for Windows and macOS (see Advanced Settings)

Behind the scenes:

  • A new renderer and display based on Reveal.js, which should allow us and you to do a lot more in the long term

  • A new RESTful API for better remote control and potential integration from other apps

  • The migration to a new web interface framework allowing easier integration for new funtions

  • The change to save themes in JSON instead of XML

  • Change to the way file paths are represented internally in OpenLP to make interoperability between different operating systems better. This will help with things like transferring service files between different computers.

  • A whole lot of bugs fixed

So while we might seem to be quiet, the real reason is because we're trying to get everything ready for another feature-packed release.

Last, but not least, we've decided to make the next release version 3.0 due to the large number of new features and changes.

[ Image Credit: Waiting by Solmaz Zohdi ]

More Ways to Donate & Debian Updated

Over the last few years since we started accepting donations we're received a couple of enquiries from people looking to be able to donate via credit card or Bitcoin, and without needing a PayPal account. We're pleased to announce that you can now donate to OpenLP in Bitcoin or with a debit or credit card.

Just head on over to the donate page which now has options for Bitcoin and debit/credit card too. Debit/credit card payments are powered by Stripe. As always, if you run into any issues please let us know.

In other news, we've recently updated OpenLP in Debian Linux. For a while we were unable to update the package because of preparation for the Debian 9 release. Now that Debian 9 has been released, we're able to update the OpenLP package again. OpenLP should come through with your regular updates.

[ Image Credit: Credit Cards and Cash by Sean MacEntree ]