Reflections and Projections

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. 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.

100 Facebook Fans!

OpenLP has hit another milestone with 100 Facebook fans! This is yet another sign of OpenLP's growing popularity. 2009 has been a great year for OpenLP. Version 1 has seen updates and is better than ever and version 2 is coming along nicely with many of the frequently requested new features and an overall improved look and feel. As more and more churches move to using media to enhance their worship experiences it only stands to reason that the popularity of OpenLP will continue to increase. What will 2010 bring to OpenLP world? A release of 2.0? 200 fans on Facebook? 500? perhaps even 1,000 Facebook fans? Whatever happens it is great to see that OpenLP is gaining in popularity and also helping Christians all over the world worship Him more effectively.

If you're not already a fan, why don't you head over to our Facebook 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.

Version 1.2.3 is available

V1.2.3 is mainly a bug fix release, with 1 or 2 small enhancements.

  • A correction for a theme edit bug where the horizontal and vertical alignment sometimes went haywire
  • A correction for an error when loading a image file for a theme background which contains international characters
  • A correction was made to the "Add Song Wizard" which fixed a bug where songs were not being saved.
  • Improved handling of Bible imports to avoid importing a bible with the same name as an existing bible.
  • When displaying verses in the Live window, the slide list now auto-scrolls up to show the next slide in the same way as the lyrics slides.
  • A change made to the SongSelect web import. The mechanism for importing songs now monitors the lyrics export to file function in the webpage. The reason for the change is because the lyrics are now embedded as a PNG file and not as raw text.

I had hoped to release this for Christmas, but hey, at least it's still THIS YEAR ... only just though ;-)


A baby boy...

At last, after five hours of labour, the new mother was resting with her newborn son gently nursing while her husband was taking care of the last few things after the birth. It hadn't been an easy day and she was glad that it was over.

After a number of days' travel, they had reached their destination, the so-called "City of David." However, even after the journey was over, they struggled to find accommodation. Eventually, an old innkepper, seeing a heavily pregnant woman, had pity on them and offered them the only place he had left open, his stables. And it wasn't over yet, just as they settled down, Mary's labour started. Now everything was over, and they could finally rest.

Joseph put the last of the cloths in the bucket of washing water, and walked over to his wife. Despite the hour and the preceding labour, her face was glowing, and she was happy. He looked down at the boy in his wife's arms, and thought back to the miracle of how the Lord had made his wife pregnant, despite her being a virgin.

While this boy was not technically his, Joseph already regarded the baby as his own. One day, this little Jesus would save the world, but until then, he needed a father here on earth.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7 ESV

To all our brothers and sisters in Christ, we wish you a blessed Christmas.

The OpenLP Team.

Transitions and Verse Tagging

In the last few weeks a number of requested features have been added to the 2.x code base.

  • Transitions where a song slide will fade into the next slide automatically. This option still needs to be made configurable as it is expected some people will not wish to use it or find it distracting.
  • Verse tagging where each slide is given a tag  eg Verse, Chorus, Bridge , Intro.
  • Verses will also be given a number as there can be many of them in a song!

It will then be possible to simply change the order of the verses, if required. One advantage of this is that each slide is only stored once but can be used may times.

For example a verse list could look like:

V1 V2 C V3 C B V4 C V1

A Verse (V1) can be one or many slides, all tagged the same and treated as a block.

Quietly Hacking Away

Hmmmm... things have been quiet around here. I see the last blog post was exactly a month ago... Don't worry, we haven't stopped working on OpenLP!

In fact, we've been hard at work on things like video and transitions (the two most-requested features). So, to allay your fears, here's a screenshot of the latest revision of OpenLP.

V1.2.2 is available for download

Hi All

This is a fairly minor update release, but I guess more minor to some the others :)

Changes in 1.2.2.

  • Correction for bug prevent song information display from being deactivated
  • Added option to ignore saving the unsaved OOS content when selecting to open a new OOS
  • Fixed bug preventing the theme export to use any folder outside of the "Documents and Settings" folder.  Themes can now be exported to any folder.