Reflections and Projections

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

Media Kit Updated

Just a quick note to say that the media kit has been updated, the release date of OpenLP 2.0 in the media kit needed to be changed in light of the recent decision to postpone the release. Additionally, we've added another wallpaper.

You can download the media kit either as a zip file, or a tarball.

Update: We've just updated the media kit again, this time adding a set of example blog posts for those folks who want to blog about OpenLP but are unsure of what to say.

Version 2.0 Release Postponed

OpenLP version 2.0

As many of our users know, we've been aiming to make the final release of OpenLP 2.0 this coming weekend. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to postpone the release till the end of November.

When releasing software there comes a point where you need to decide whether or not it is good enough to be released. With OpenLP we had a look at the number of major, minor and trivial bugs outstanding and made the decision that it is not quite good enough for a final release. We would rather release OpenLP when we are happy with the quality of the software than with a bunch of glaring bugs we could have fixed if we waited just a little bit longer.

Don't forget that this gives everyone an extra couple of weeks to translate OpenLP, find more bugs, or just promote it in your Church circles.

See you at the end of November!

Update: After some discussion the development team has decided to release OpenLP 2.0 on the 1st of December 2012.

Let's Get Translating!

Translate OpenLP

Our non-English users would have noticed that some of them can use OpenLP in their own language. Now, I am an English speaker, so I don't have any issues using OpenLP as-is, but I can imagine that it would be way better to be able to use OpenLP in English if it were only available in another language.

The good news for our non-English users is that we already have a number of languages which are 100% (or close to 100%) translated. Unfortunately, the bad news is that not all the translations are complete, so there are still English words creeping through in a few translations. Additionally, in order to produce a top-quality final version of OpenLP, we'll be dropping any incomplete translations from OpenLP when we release it in 2 weeks time.

Here's the break down of the different translations we currently have:

Current Status of OpenLP Translations

Helping out with these translations is easy! Just go to Transifex and register, then go to the OpenLP project page, and then request to join a language team. Once you've been added to that team you will receive an e-mail notification, and all you need to do is login and start translating! It couldn't be simpler!

Translations need to be completed by midnight Tuesday, 23rd October UTC.

Media Kit Now Available!

OpenLP Media Kit

As promised (though more than a few days), I've created a basic media or press kit. I'll add more to the media kit as time goes by, but I wanted to get something out there now so that folks can start promoting OpenLP on their own sites and blogs.

In the initial version of the media kit, you'll find the following:

  • An OpenLP branded wallpaper in the follwing display ratios: 16:10, 16:9, 4:3 and 5:4.
  • The OpenLP icon in the following sizes: 16x16, 32x32, 48x48, 64x64, 128x128, 256x256 and 420x420.
  • An 80x15 badge for your website.
  • A project summary document for a quick blurb on websites.
  • Sample interview questions and answers for anyone who wants to interview the team (or wants an interview but doesn't want to actually interview us!).

As I gather more items, I'll add them to the media kit, so be on the look out for more updates, including more wallpapers and website badges.

For Windows uers, and those who like zip files, you can download OpenLP-MediaKit.zip, and those who prefer tarballs can download OpenLP-MediaKit.tar.gz.

Now go forth and multiply!