Reflections and Projections

Service Item Notes

The latest version (723) now has the ability to store Notes against a service item.

Right click one the item title and select "Notes" .

OpenLP and PowerPoint viewer

Raoul posted a screenshot of OpenLP 2.0 and OpenOffice Impress a few days ago, and for an open source application, this is a great pairing. In addition I've also been working on getting PowerPoint Viewer support working in Windows...

"Why?" You may ask. Well there are times when a visiting preacher pops in 5 minutes before the service with his PowerPoint created presentation, and you find that he's using LatestWhizzyUnnecessaryFeature(tm) which just doesn't format correctly in Impress and you don't have time to fix it. Since PowerPoint costs money better spent elsewhere, and native PowerPoint viewer doesn't support dual screen, this hasn't left many options.

So I spent some time trying to automate PowerPoint viewer. This will only work on Windows of course, and since the viewer isn't designed to be automated, it may have the occassional quirk. However I have managed to get basic support working in 2.0 as you probably can't see too well in the small low quality screenshot above!

Also a useful tip for Windows 7 dual screen users. Sometimes you may want to display something on the projector which OpenLP doesn't yet support, maybe a webpage. However dragging it across the screen in full view of the congregation isn't very professional and is a bit hit and miss. I've discovered that Windows 7 has a new key combination to assist with this. If you press the Windows key, the shift key and the right cursor key all at the same time, this will move the current window to the other screen/projector. If you then press Windows key and up arrow, this will maximise the window... although some apps also support "F11" for fullscreen.

Alert Framework

Over the last few weeks the alerts framework has been extended, adding new requested features.

These features include.

  • The ability to change the alert Font size.  The Background will resize to fit.
  • The ability to place the alerts at the Top or Bottom of the screen
  • The ability to store all alerts issued.
  • The ability to add / amend / delete from the alerts history.
  • The ability to select and resubmit an existing alert.  This does not re-save it unless the text has been changed.

SongUsage Plugin

In version 2 of there is a pluging called "SongUsage" which records all Live songs and when they were used.  This is to help with the production of yearly usage returns.

The Plugin geneates a CSV file which can be procesed using OpenOffice.

This can replace the existing utility which extracts the data from the service files.

OpenOffice.org Impress & OpenLP - destined to be together!

As you can see our OpenOffice.org Impress integration seems to be working pretty well. This was just a small test I did this morning to see how well it worked, and I was pleasantly surprised. Well done to gushie for all his hard work on getting this working!

200 and Counting!

The milestones for OpenLP keep on coming. Today we reached 200 Facebook fans! Excitement is building for the release of version 2.0, and version 1 has been receiving some nice improvements over the last few months. There have also been some comments about users leaving high priced software and coming to OpenLP. With the economic situation today more and more churches are turning to OpenLP because of cost. After turning to OpenLP many are being pleasantly surprised at how well it competes and in many cases performs better than its high priced alternatives. With the buzz ever increasing we look forward to the next 100 fans and enabling more churches to enhance their worship and their ministries.

If you're not already a fan, why don't you head over to ourFacebook Page and become a fan! Don't forget to follow OpenLP on Twitter, and add the RSS feed to your aggregator! We also have a group on Facebook, and a group on LinkedIn.

Revision 700 and the Better Bible Plugin

Well folks, we've reached another milestone with OpenLP 2.0 - revision 700. And not only have we reached a big revision, the Bibles plugin is now better than before!

The importer has been reworked, both interface-wise and code-wise. It features a Wizard style interface, well known in computer interfaces these days, making it faster and easier to use the importer. The code has been changed fairly dramatically now as well, to facilitate a pluggable import system, where developers can easily add new importers with little hacking.

General searching has also been improved. We've reduced the number of times verses are pulled from the database, opting for an all-in-one-go approach, which should speed up the displaying of Bible verses, especially when displaying dual verses.

There are a few other fixes hidden in there too, but the work on the Bibles plugin is the most prominent feature of this revision.

Where are all the OpenLP users?

A few days ago, sjpslabbert asked the question in a forum post how many people are using OpenLP? As I said in the reply, it's close to impossible to answer that question. All we know is that we average 100 downloads a day, there were over 16000 downloads of version 1.0.1, this site has over 2500 registered users and we are approaching 200 fans on facebook.

What we don't know is how many of those downloads are new users who go on to use OpenLP regularly.

So I thought perhaps we could add a page to our wiki where users could add their church, if using OpenLP. However since the wiki is currently focused towards v2.0 development it wasn't really appropriate. Also as good as a list is (e.g. see Drupal's) it needs to be maintained and not everyone knows their alphabet. I know this from my churches pre-OpenLP days trying to keep our large box of OHP transparencies in order!

So then I wondered if we could use google maps. I had seen the map of OpenLP developers locations on launchpad and investigated doing the same for OpenLP users.

The keen eyed among you will have spotted the Worldwide Usage on the left hand menu. If you a regular OpenLP user, or hope to be, it would be great if you log into your Google account, head over to the map, click the edit button. Then just drag a placemarker to your churches location (you might want to zoom in a bit) and put a little comment with the name of your church and how you use it.

Over time this will then give us an idea of where the regular users are and perhaps might even help us know which translations or culture specific features will benefit the most people.

And whilst I'm blogging... As some of you know, I maintain a few utilities to help do a few things with openlp which are not currently built in. You'll be pleased to know that the 2.0 team are doing a good job at incorporating some of this functionality into the new version. However a new budding utilityist has wandered onto our shores, cowjam. He has written a web-based OpenSong converter, which I'm sure will be easier to use than mine and helps add functionality to the opensong importer built into 1.2. If you have need to import opensong songs or bibles, please check it out.

openlp.org 1.2.4 released!

Yet another bugfix release. This one, however, pulls in a fix for a bug in an external component use to import CSV bibles, and does some fancy footwork around PowerPoint (again).

Here's a complete list of fixes:

  • Corrected the Bible CSV import bug where verses containing comma's were not imported properly
  • Added *.mp4 to the list of video file extensions
  • Powerpoint XP compatibility updated
  • Changed Powerpoint handling so that if an instance of Powerpoint is already running at startup, that is used instead of trying to create a new instance. Also, in this case, Powerpoint will not be shut down when OpenLP closes
  • Fixed Author import bug from .usr SongSelect files

As usual, you can get the latest file from the download page!

Mac Contributors Needed

OpenLP 2.0 is moving along nicely at this stage, and we're probably not too far off an initial unstable release, but before we get there we are in need of one thing in particular: people with Macs.

Currently most of our developers are using Linux, and we have plenty access to Windows XP, Vista and 7, but we don't have anyone at a developer level on Mac OS X. The only problem with this is that we can't test out OpenLP on Mac OS X, nor can we package it for Mac OS X.

If you have a Mac and you have some development experience, and are willing to help us out with getting OpenLP up and running and packaging it for Mac OS X, please get into contact with us, either through the IRC channel or by private messaging me on the site.