For some time now I’ve been thinking about the state of bible study software. Features are constantly being added to these tools. Yet it always seems that someone would like to do something a little differently, or would like this or that little tweak. I’ve thought before now that an extensible model for bible software would be a good idea. That way users with the skills could also contribute modules, not just books or commentaries or notes but actual new functionality. This would allow people to pursue the particular features they would like to see and perhaps other users would not ever need to install or use that functionality. This approach is fairly common in software.
Another thing that has also struck me, and others, as problematic is that while users may create modules in some software, these modules are often more restricted in what functionality they offer. This makes such modules rather like second class citizens. This seems completely unnecessary and could be readily done away with.
While considering these and other aspects I realized that one could make the argument that bible study software is in fact too narrowly focussed. Much, perhaps almost all, of the features available in bible study software could be deployed in the study of other texts. One could imagine the study of Shakespeare using such software, even creating a syntax model for Early Modern English. Likewise morphological tags could be created to permit morphological queries against other literature, the Edda’s perhaps. Why not ? And the note taking and highlighting and other support of these tools plus of course the search capabilities would find great use.
The attached documents explore the possibility of the creation of a fully extensible language study tool, one which could be developed on open source principles if desired.