Reflections and Projections

He is Risen!

We, the OpenLP team, wish you all a very blessed Easter time. We hope that you remember our Lord almighty, who sent his son Jesus into the world to save us.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

John 11:25-26 ESV

Things have been rather quiet recently on the OpenLP front, and we wanted to give you an update about the current state of development. We will be releasing another bug fix version of the 2.0 release in the near future (most of us are just rather occupied with real life), and will continue with these bugfix versions until either 2.2 is released, or there are no more bugs (yeah right!). Of course we've been putting most of our effort behind continuing the development of OpenLP, implementing more features and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to ensure OpenLP remains a stable product.

Image Groups

Some nice features have been added recently:

  • The "Blank to" buttons in the live controller expand into 3 separate buttons if there is enough space (like in version 1.2.x)
  • You can create "image groups"
  • The remote plugin can now use HTTPS
  • The remote plugin can now also be password protected

SSL and Password

Some other internal improvements:

  • Save services without media files
  • Media players (such as Phonon and VLC) are now in OpenLP core, instead of the media plugin
  • Various bugs in the media players have been fixed
  • Preparing to move our code from Python 2 to Python 3 numerous performance improvements have been added to the code
  • Rewritten the Settings code
  • Various other internal rewrites and cleanups

We also have some new Czech Bibles available for download in the First Time Wizard.

NOTE: The current development version is not stable. Do not use it at church, it will crash :)

We are also happy to see that the community is growing, with more people helping out on the forums. We are always grateful for every helping hand.

Android 1.0 release

OpenLP Android Remote

After six months of testing, we are proud to announce the release of Version 1.0 of the Android client.

In addition to various features and bug fixes, 6 new translations have been added, which brings the total of supported languages to 25.

If you already have the remote client installed, you should see an update for it. If you don't have it installed, and you want to try it out, you can get it from the Google Play store, just search for "OpenLP"

Workaround for DEP error in Windows

Windows

Recently we have had users report issues with OpenLP running on certain installs of Windows with an error about DEP. This seems to be mostly on Windows Vista but could possibly be an issue with more recent versions of Windows. DEP stands for Data Execution Prevention. In short this is to prevent malicious programs from using memory in a way that it shouldn't. That is a really poor description, but the folks at Wikipedia have a detailed description. You can find out more from Microsoft too.

When a program you know you can trust experiences an issue with DEP you should be able to disable DEP for that program. There is an issue, however, chances are if you try this method OpenLP will not be listed (manually selecting the exe will also not work from my experience). This will make it impossible to disable DEP for OpenLP and to use OpenLP. This leaves us at Plan B, disabling DEP system wide. From my reading this doesn't apear to put you at a terribly greater security risk if you have good safe computing practices. Using system restore (creating a restore point), backing up your system, contacting your systems administrator, and all other warnings are in play here since this will in theory weaken your computer's security.

Now you are aware what this does, here is how to disable DEP and get OpenLP running.

First, you need to open an elevated command prompt or administrative command prompt. If you are unsure how to do that, Vista x64 has a great guide on how to do it.

Next enter this command into the elevated command prompt:

bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOff

You should get a message back letting you know the changes have been made successfully.

Close the command prompt and all running applications then reboot your machine.

OpenLP should now start and run for you. If you want to enable DEP later open an elevated command prompt and enter:

bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx OptIn

Reboot and DEP is now enabled again.

These instructions were taken from instructions on the Vista x64 site I suggest you give it a look also.

This may not be the best way to do this as we don't seem to have any real DEP/Windows experts here so if you have a better way let us know in the comments below and if it checks out we will update the blog entry.

Our First Bugfix Release: OpenLP 2.0.1 AKA Buggy Benjamin

Unfortunately it seems that the 2.0 release of OpenLP didn't go quite as smoothly as planned, and a few bugs crept into the release just a few days before the deadline. Fortunately we've been able to track these bugs down and fix them.

The bugs we've fixed are:

  • Song export and import now works correctly
  • Transparent themes are once again transparent
  • PowerPoint/lmpress files with unicode characters in the filename can be imported
  • OpenLP is now more usable with the XFCE desktop on Linux

Please note that it will still be necessary to use an older version of VLC on OS X (2.0.3) as more recent versions are still troublesome (2.0.4 and 2.0.5) and we are attempting to rectify the problem.

We hope that despite the name, this version is less buggy than the previous one and that you can use it with confidence during your acts of worship.

As usual, you can grab this release from the download page. The torrents, portable versions and various Linux packages will be updated over the next week or so.

Using Images as a Slide Show

Image

A feature we have been using regularly at our church has been images as a slide show. We use images for announcements since we have someone who is gifted with photo editing software. It makes some really nice slides for announcements and very personalized. This could also be useful for those last minute needs such as someone wanting to show pictures snapped at a youth event or outing or a variety of other things.

Images

To start select the images you want to use from the Media Manager, then add to the service.

The easiest way is to multi-select the images by holding Control to select individual images or holding Shift to select a series of images in a row. Then add to the service. You can also drag one image at a time and then drag on top of the existing images and select add to selected item.

That is it you should now have a group of images under the heading "Images" in the Service Manager.

Service Manager

 Next when you are ready to show your images, go live with the group of images. You will now see a timer option in the Live pane. Select the amount of time you want the images to stay on screen and push play.

image3

You now have a very easy image slide show. We usually have some music in the background playing as people come in. We have a very pro looking pre-service set of announcements that can be put together at the very last minute.

Windows 8 and Buggy Benjamin [Updated]

Windows 8

We've had a number of reports recently of users with Windows 8 being unable to run OpenLP. Unfortunately from our side we have not had any problems with our tests on Windows 8. If you have Windows 8 please contact us to let us know your experiences, both good and bad. Even if everything is working perfectly fine, we want to know that.

We also need a few technically-inclined people who are experiencing these issues to help us figure out what is going wrong. You should be comfortable with the command line as there are a number of technical bits and pieces that you will need to do, such as installing Python and some of OpenLP's dependencies.

Secondly, we have found two regressions in version 2.0, which have been fixed but are waiting for a release. The first is an issue with transparent themes which are no longer transparent, and the second is a bug in the export function.

Interestingly, we never realised how much the export feature was used until it was broken. We've had quite a number of folks reporting the issue.

If you are experiencing either of these issues on Windows or Mac OS X then we recommend downgrading to version 1.9.12, which can still be found on SourceForge. Users on Linux can either patch their version of OpenLP with help from us, or sit tight until we make a bugfix release.

We're hoping to make a release sometime in December.

Release Update

We're hoping to release version 2.0.1 on Sunday the 6th of January, the first release of the new year.

Getting videos to work correctly in OpenLP using VLC.

VLC

Videos are a great way to enhance the worship experience. Sermon illustrations, home grown videos for announcements before or after a service, showing videos to help set a “mood” of worship before a service starts or through a multitude of other creative ways, videos can be effective tools for worship. OpenLP has the ability to play videos as part of the service using the Media tab. You simply add your video, or audio to OpenLP then use it as you do a song or Bible verses in your service. Easy.

If this works for you, don’t read any further, but what if you set up OpenLP and videos do not perform correctly? Actually, if videos work for you keep on reading anyway you might still need this someday. We are going to walk through a sure fire way of getting videos working in OpenLP without a lot of work.

First, lets look at how OpenLP plays videos. OpenLP uses resources already installed on your computer to play videos. That is enough detail, if you want to do an in-depth look at audio and video codecs by all means please do but just understand in theory if your computer will play a file, OpenLP “should” play this file also. Theories are great, but as with many this theory fails many times in practice. In the past the solution was to install codec packs and do a variety of other rather hackish things with hopes that videos would work. This is no longer the case, thanks to another open source project VLC paired with OpenLP 2.0.

If you have not heard of VLC lets just put it this way it is the premier media player, regardless of operating system. If VLC won’t play your file, stop, nothing will play your file. That may not be entirely the case, but chances are if VLC won’t play it nothing will. So what does this have to do with OpenLP you ask? Remember OpenLP uses resources on your computer to play videos and with VLC installed OpenLP can use this most awesome media player to take care of all of your media problems.

The first step is to download VLC from HERE. If you are running a Linux distro it should be available using your distro’s package manager. You will need version 2.0.3 or above to work correctly. Once you have VLC installed we are just about finished.

Now we need to tell OpenLP to use VLC to play all media. Don’t worry you won’t regret this and if you do you can always change this setting back. Go to Settings, then click on Configure OpenLP. You should now be greeted by a window that looks similar to this:

Configure OpenLP

Click on Media on the left hand panel to enter the media settings. You should see a list of available media players. Click on the check box to enable VLC. In the player order box, click on VLC and use the up arrow to promote it to the top of the list. You can also disable all the other media players if you wish. If you check the “Allow media player to be overridden” check box you can change the player on the fly from the Media tab in the Media Manager. This is a good option for some users, but really if you are using VLC you shouldn’t need to do this.

Media Configuration

That is it, you should now be able to play about any video you will ever get your hands on.

Note: If you install VLC while OpenLP is running you will need to restart OpenLP after installing VLC.

At Long Last, OpenLP 2.0 Has Arrived!

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Psalms 96:1-2

We are ecstatic to announce the first stable release of the 2.0 series of OpenLP! We've been developing this new version of OpenLP for four years now, and this long awaited mature release contains numerous improvements over OpenLP 1.2.

New Features We Like Most

It is difficult to pick a single favourite with so many new features, so we decided make a list of our top favourites instead:

  • Support for four major operating systems - Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD (a first priority for many of us)
  • Better media support by integrating VLC into OpenLP (requires VLC to be installed)
  • An enormous list of programs to import songs from, so that switching to OpenLP is fast and easy (see below for a full list of supported programs)
  • More Bibles available (there are more import formats supported)
  • Remotely control OpenLP via any device with a browser
  • Android remote control app
  • Stage view
  • Show and control PowerPoint presentations through OpenLP

For a full list of features, check out our Features page.

Features You'll Know From Version 1.2

And of course most of the old core stuff works just as well as, or even better than before:

  • Presenting songs and Bible verses
  • Showing images and playing videos
  • CCLI reports

Making the switch

We all know that the worst part of switching to a new program is getting all your songs from the old one into the new one. Typically this involves a whole lot of copying and pasting between programs, or just plain re-typing songs from scratch. We realised that this is a huge pain, and so OpenLP ships with a song import wizard which can import your songs from a record number of existing applications. OpenLP will save you time and import your whole lyrics database from any of the following programs:

  • DreamBeam
  • EasySlides
  • EasyWorship
  • FoilPresenter
  • MediaShout
  • OpenSong
  • PowerSong
  • SongBeamer
  • SongPro
  • SongShow Plus
  • Songs of Fellowship
  • Sunday Plus
  • Words of Worship
  • ZionWorx

Known Limitations on Some Platforms

  • Not all versions of VLC work with OpenLP.  VLC 2.0.3 has been tested and is known to work well.
  • On Windows, OpenLP is a 32bit application and therefore only works with a 32bit VLC.
  • On Mac OS X, the only version of VLC that works with OpenLP is 2.0.3. Using an alternate version will cause OpenLP to crash.
  • Transparent themes have stopped working on Windows.

What Makes OpenLP So Awesome?

The number one thing we are proud of is that it is free software, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means that OpenLP is and always will be free. Not only free in that you don't have to pay for it, but also you can freely download the source code and add your needed feature or let someone else do it for you. Furthermore, as long as there is at least one developer who needs improvements in OpenLP, the project will not fade away, like a number of commercial solutions have, leaving you with a program which will not run on your current operating system and all your songs locked away in a now-useless database.

In short, even if your church's budget is not that tight, there are plenty reasons why OpenLP is still a winning solution.

Where Do I Start?

Wow, you made it all the way down here without rushing off to download OpenLP? Impressive dedication! Well, go ahead and download OpenLP now!

If you are new to OpenLP, take a look at our list of video tutorials done by members of our community. A good video to start with is the Getting started with your service in OpenLP tutorial. If you get stuck, or want to learn more, we have a user guide (currently still being worked on) to show you how to do the most common tasks in OpenLP, and a reference manual which contains everything you'll ever need to know about OpenLP.

Finally

Last, but not least, I want to thank all the folks who have managed to make OpenLP 2.0 a reality. I would not have been able to accomplish such a huge task by myself. So, to the core team, Tim Bently, Jonathan Corwin, Andreas Preikschat, Martin Zibricky, Stevan Pettit, Wesley Stout, John Cegalis, Philip Ridout and Mattias Põldaru, and to all the others who have contributed to OpenLP, I want to say a big THANK YOU. You guys have been awesome, and I really appreciate all the hard work you do. It is often a thankless task.

In His name,
Raoul Snyman
OpenLP Project Leader

A minor Faux Pas, and some web site down time

Computer

It seems that we made a bit of a miscalculation, as some of us thought that the 1st of December was a Sunday. Only once we were getting closer to the release date did we realise that it was a Saturday!

Site Maintenance

So, we're still releasing OpenLP 2.0 this weekend, just on Sunday the 2nd of December, rather than Saturday the 1st. Are you ready for version 2.0?

In semi-related news, we'll be running some maintenance on the web site this weekend just before the release. So don't panic if see a "website under maintenance" page, the web site will be ready for the release on Sunday!

Last Call for Translators!

Translate OpenLP

Update: Instructions on how to test your translation out have been added to the bottom of this blog post.

This is the final call for all translators. If you wish to have OpenLP in your langauge you need to have completed the translation of OpenLP on the Transifex site *by midnight UTC (GMT) on Friday the 23rd of November 2012*.

Because we believe strongly in quality over quantity at OpenLP, we will not be including any translations that are incomplete into the final build. This means that if you want your language to be part of the final release of version 2.0, you need to make sure it is 100% done by the end of Friday the 23rd. This deadline also gives you just over a week to complete any outstanding translations.

Currently, the following translations are more than 85% complete, but still need some work (ordered from most complete to least complete). My estimate is that none of these should take longer than an hour to complete.

  1. Afrikaans
  2. Dutch
  3. German
  4. Hungarian
  5. Japanese
  6. Polish
  7. Spanish
  8. Greek
  9. French
  10. Danish

The following translations are between 20% and 65% complete. Unless these are worked on this week, they probably won't make it into the final release of OpenLP.

  1. Russian
  2. Finnish
  3. Slovak
  4. Bulgarian
  5. Italian
  6. Chinese (Taiwan)

Lastly, the following translations are less than 10% complete. If any of these translations makes it into the final release, I will be very surprised. These translations seem to have been abandoned by their translators.

  1. Korean
  2. Latvian
  3. Romanian
  4. Albanian
  5. Chinese (China)
  6. Korean (Korea)
  7. Spanish (Chile)

Current Status of OpenLP Translations

Testing Out Your Translation

To test your translation out, do the following:

  1. Make sure you are running the latest nightly build
  2. Install Qt Linguist Windows and OS X users can download Qt Linguist from here: http://code.google.com/p/qtlinguistdownload/downloads/list Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux and Unix users can install Qt Linguist from their package manager
  3. Download the language file from Transifex
  4. Open it in Qt Linguist
  5. Open the File menu, select "Release" and save the resulting release file with only your language code as the file name (see Transifex for your language code)
  6. Copy the release file to OpenLP's i18n directory Windows: C:\Program Files\OpenLP\i18n or C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenLP\i18n Mac OS X: /Applications/OpenLP.app/Contents/MacOS/i18n/ Linux: /usr/share/openlp/i18n/ *BSD: /usr/local/share/openlp/i18n/
  7. (Re)start Openlp and select your language