Reflections and Projections

OpenLP 2.0 Release Cycle

As some folks might have noticed, we released OpenLP 1.9.2 "Hairy Habakkak" (aka Alpha 2) about three months after we released our first alpha release. The more adventurous folk might have even noticed that on the developers' wiki, the rest of the releases are all aimed to be about 3 months apart.

While we aren't 100% set to those timelines, we have mostly decided to get a new release out every 3 months, for a few reasons:

  1. Firstly, to show people that we're actively working on version 2.0. I think a lot of folk wondered about it, since we were making a lot of noise, but no one had seen anything yet.
  2. Secondly, to widen our testing. The more folks who test OpenLP and find bugs, the less bugs there will be in the final version.
  3. Thirdly, to give ourselves a deadline. This helps us as developers to have a goal to aim for, and motivate us to accomplish certain tasks by the release date.

With this all in mind, we'll be having a developer's meeting at the end of August, to asses our progress and see if we want to make a release happen at the end of September, and what will be included in that release out of all the features we planned to develop. These developer meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend, are usually announced on the developer mailing list, and held in our IRC channel.

You can read up on our proposed releases on our developer wiki. Please note that these are NOT finalised, they simply serve as a guide for what we want to achieve.

Alpha 2 Released - OpenLP 1.9.2 "Hairy Habakkuk"

This morning we are pleased to announce the release of OpenLP 2.0 Alpha 2!

Please remember to read through the Frequently Asked Questions before using OpenLP - it answers many questions you might have about the new version. The download page will be updated later today.

This release brings a number of improvements and bug fixes since release 1 as well as a lot on new features.  Since Alpha 1 there have been two major changes which will effect those upgrading.

  • Alpha 1 Saved Service files are not compatible with the new version
  • All configuration settings will have been lost and will need to be set up agan. Themes are not effected by this.

New Features since Alpha 1

  • Web Interface to allow remote access.
  • Basic Song book imports have been developed and will be improved in later releases,  (Requires OpenOffice)
  • Many UI changes and improvements.
  • Themes now can control their line spacing.
  • UI is now translatable, thanks to the hard work from Christian Richter, Meinert Jordan and Frode Woldsund.

Download and enjoy!

350 Fans and counting!

OpenLP has hit yet another milestone, 350 Facebook Fans. While not scientific, it appears that OpenLP's popularity is ever increasing as the developers continue chugging along with version 2. There are constant improvements being made, feature request being filled, and I think the developers even find time to sleep and have a life on occasion.

As you can see OpenLP 2 is running very nicely on Ubuntu.

Please be advised that version 2.0 is still in the alpha stage. It will likely crash and do strange things without warning, so we can use all the testers that have the time to try things out. If you are interested in trying out OpenLP 2.0 check out the FAQ . It would not be advised to depend on version 2.0 for your every day needs just yet.

Please try OpenLP 2.0 out and help us make it the best release possible. Also, feel free to join us in chat anytime.

Web control, text over video plus more - Latest v2 update

Being a rainy public holiday here in the UK, I decided it would be a good time to update you all on v2, since we've now sailed past revision 800 and there have been a number of changes since the last update.

I've been continuing to work on Song Imports and have now added the ability to import Word/Writer and Powerpoint/Impress documents via an interface with OpenOffice.org. The import itself is fairly basic and makes some assumptions on the format of the file, but will hopefully save some typing in many cases. I've also worked on the remote interface and now made it possible to control OpenLP with a web browser. This will require the remote plugin to be enabled and then connecting to http://localhost:4316. It's very basic at the moment, and it doesn't have any inbuilt security so if your church computer is on the internet or public network then you will need to consider the risks.

Tim has been battling with text over video and has got it working on some systems, although not on all - but we're hoping to find a solution for all platforms soon. He has also given us line spacing adjustments, the ability to override the output resolution if preparing a service for a computer with a different setup, the show desktop and theme output buttons are now working, some nice drag and drop improvements and an improved Nursery Alert system.

Meanwhile Jon has been working on saving the application layout so everything looks the same as when you last ran it, a recent file list and a fair bit of cleaning up after the mess some of us other devs leave behind :)

Raoul has made some improvements to the song editor to allow author names to be typed in and auto-completed, which is easier than choosing from a big list. Finally, in development are also some internationalisation fixes, song import wizard improvements and one developer has also been experimenting with spell-check, but we'll have to wait and see if this makes it into the final version.

Alpha 2 is still a fair way off, but as you can see there are going to be a good number of improvements. If you want to see what we're hoping to achieve, then please check out our Milestone page

Fedora Packaging update

OpenLP alpha 1 is now available in the Stable repository of Fedora 12 and testing repository of Fedora 13.

Adding FreeBSD to the mix

Thanks to some hard work from Thomas Abthorpe (assisted by Jon Tibble) we now have OpenLP Alpha 1 in the FreeBSD ports! You can find it in the ports under "multimedia/py-openlp".

Fedora Packaging

OpenLP has now been sponsored by Fedora and the Alpha 1 release is now available in the testing repository under the tag OpenLP-1.9.1.1-1.fc12.

If you are use Fedora give it a go and provide feed back.

Post Alpha 1 changes - so far!

Following the success of alpha1 and comments in testing, a number of improvements have been added:

  • Images and bible verses can be added to existing service manager items (of the same type) by using the context menu within the plugin.
  • It is now possible to re-order and delete images within an Image service item.
  • In the latest release it is possible to add multiple songs, presentations, media and custom items to the service manager.  This can be achieved either by drag and drop or the context menu.
  • In single screen mode it is possible to turn off the main display. This would be useful setting up a service on a single screen machine.

Please note that services saved in alpha1 will not be able to be loaded by a post alpha1 build.  This is due to internal changes in the storage of the data.  I hoped that post alpha2 the format will be backward compatible.

Two Quick Converters

A while ago I wrote two scripts as part of the OpenLP 2.0 rewrite, to convert the openlp.org 1.0 songs database and bible files to OpenLP 2.0 format. Unfortunately these scripts were Linux/Unix-only until recently, because I couldn't get the SQLite 2.8 module for Python compiled on Windows.

However, Jonathan Corwin did some digging, and found out how to do it, and so I've compiled those two scripts into two stand-alone command line executables for Windows. We'll eventually include both songs and Bible imports in OpenLP 2.0, but for the moment, you can use these two command line apps to convert your databases for you.

Songs: openlp-1to2-converter.exe

Bibles: bible-1to2-converter.exe

How to use them:

Both scripts support a "--help" parameter, which provides you with the usage of the script, and extra parameters that you can pass to the scripts.

C:\> openlp-1to2-converter.exe --helpUsage: openlp-1to2-converter.exe [options] OLDDATABASE NEWDATABASEOptions: -h, --help       show this help message and exit -o, --overwrite  Overwrite database file if it already exists. -v, --verbose    Outputs additional progress data. -d, --debug      Outputs raw SQL statements (overrides verbose).

Note that the songs database is "songs.sqlite" and is found in C:/Documents and Settings/<username>/Application Data/openlp/data/songs on Windows XP. Bibles are "Version_Name.sqlite" and found in C:/Documents and Settings/<username>/Application Data/openlp/data/bibles.

Song imports

Well 2.0alpha1 has been out in the wild for just over a week now, and we're both relieved and delighted that the response has been positive! According to the stats, just over 400 of you have been brave enough to download it and give it a try, and we've been been bumped up to 246 in the SourceForge rankings which I think is pretty good for a niche application, out of 266090 registered projects.

If you haven't tried the alpha yet, I'd urge you to please take a look. We'll be interested in your comments, both good and bad as to the progress we've made so far.

You'll be pleased to know that the developers have decided not to take a post-alpha nap, but are instead working as hard as ever towards the alpha-2 release. One of the things we're going to be focusing on is song imports. We all know how tiresome it is to type in the lyrics to the songs, and so we're trying to make your lives easier in this respect.

Raoul is working hard making the existing Song Import menu options functional and pretty, Tim continues to work hard to support the underlying infrastructure, whilst I've been looking at incorporating some of my external v1 utilities into v2. I've already managed to complete the Songs of Fellowship import, and some will be pleased to know that this now uses OpenOffice.org Writer, rather than Microsoft Word. Next I'm going to be looking at a few online options, to get the lyrics from sites such as nethymnal.org, kingswaysongs.co.uk and pwarchive.org. If you're aware of any other sites which offer Christian lyric downloads without requiring registration, then please let me know. On the horizon is a general purpose PowerPoint/Impress/Word/Writer text import.

We've also got newer members of the team working hard to document the database formats used by other worship presentation software in the hope we can also support imports from these. We've even got a couple of guys taking the time to learn to program in Python, so they can contribute import code to the project, which is great!

CCLI import is a bit lower down the priority list, since our CCLI guru (Derek) is still working hard fixing a few things in v1.2.4. However we're hoping that you'll soon stop reporting bugs in that version, so Derek can join in the 2.0 fun with the rest of the team :)

Anyway please continue to report your feature requests, bugs and comments. Even if we don't respond or implement it all (we're busy people!) we do read everything you've got to say.