SwordSearcher 8.4 released

A few days ago, Amazon sent me an email notifying me that I cannot resupply them with copies of SwordSearcher, because they need to devote incoming shipment processing to household goods and other essentials.

Literally days before California’s governor ordered all non-essential work in the state to be suspended, six boxes of SwordSearcher 8.4 discs and packaging were shipped out of the manufacturing facility in Santa Ana. They’ve arrived safely in Oklahoma, so I am now prepared to announce the new version (see below). Since I work out of my home, there’s no reason I can’t fulfill orders.

I suppose if the boxes had been held up for an indefinite period of time, I would have done a digital-only release of 8.4. But there are still people buying SwordSearcher who don’t have an internet connection good enough to download over a gigabyte of installation bits. So, I am thankful that I was able to get the product in time.

My heart goes out to business and workers that can’t function exclusively from homes. As convenient as technology has made working from home for so many, it is impossible to have an economy based entirely on people working out of their homes.

Anyway, this is supposed to be an announcement for the new release of SwordSearcher 8.4.  I had planned to do this tomorrow, and will likely still hold off on sending an announcement email until then, but everything is ready now. So here we are.

Head on over here for the actual release announcement.

25 Years a Bible Software Developer

In 1994, just after I got married, I started working on a DOS program for doing Bible searches. Yesterday, I released version 8.3 of this same program.

Of course, the original code I wrote in 1994 isn’t actually being used any more, but what originally was known as Bible Assistant was consistently re-worked and improved to eventually become the mature application today known as SwordSearcher.

Here’s a picture of me holding up the very first order form I ever received for my Bible software.

Me, holding the very first order for my Bible software.

The order form is dated December 26, 1994. (I’m outside in a short sleeve shirt because I was living in Hawaii.)

At the time this photo was taken, my “real job” was digging ditches and working on septic systems. I didn’t know it back then, but my real job was really writing Bible software.

It took me another seven years to get to the point where I would no longer need to hold down side-jobs to pay the bills. In the early 2000s, I quit my job at RadioShack, where I helped customers find batteries and resistors for five years.

Since then I have spent most of the working hours of my days developing my own Bible software and working as an independent contractor on other people’s projects.

It only dawned on me last night, as I wrote up an announcement for version 8.3 of SwordSearcher, that I had been doing this for 25 years. What tremendous grace of God I have been shown – to be able to work on technology for studying the Bible for nearly my entire adult life!

I released SwordSearcher 8.2 yesterday.

It just goes to show how neglected by blog has been that I forgot to even write about SwordSearcher 8.1 here. Anyway, yesterday I publicly announced SwordSearcher 8.2 (here’s what’s new).

I’m most enthusiastic about the new Word Trees explorer. Here’s the help file section on Word Trees (I still need to make the video tutorial).

I also completely re-designed the SwordSearcher website. It has been six or seven years since I made any significant changes and the site was just not up to par for 2018. Hopefully this will be a bit better, and Google will stop telling me that I am losing traffic because the site wasn’t mobile-friendly… Now I just need to write more content. I much prefer the coding. :-)

eWallet, Data Lock-in, and Liberation. Or, how I exported my eWallet data for Enpass.

Vendor lock-in is a barrier to entry, not an incentive to stick around.

15 years ago or so, I started using a program called eWallet to store sensitive data like passwords, financial account info, and pretty much anything I need to keep around but wouldn’t want someone else to see, locked with a master password. Over that time my database grew to over 900 items. For YEARS I have been frustrated with this application because their mobile support only barely works for me — there is no automatic sync and their Windows Mobile support is essentially abandoned, and manual mobile sync was one-way. The worst part of this is that Illium Software deliberately locks you in to their system by not giving you a structured export method. You can dump your data but only into a flat text file with no field delimiters (and despite my expertise using RegEx to parse stuff, there would be no way to do a thorough conversion without manually fixing hundreds of custom fields). So you can imagine I have been reluctant to switch! But I really wanted to start using Enpass — because they support all platforms and even Windows Hello on my Windows Phone with a great UWP app, with auto sync using OneDrive…

Today I finally found a way to move my data without loss and extreme amounts of labor. Somebody wrote a “data liberator” for eWallets that runs eWallet in its own process, pulls all your structured data from memory and dumps it into an XML file for KeePass. So, I installed KeePass, imported my wallet data into KeePass, exported that to a KeePass XML file, and finally imported into Enpass.

Looks like I have everything, even all my custom fields, in proper folders, with only a little bit of category management to do. Yay!

This is all to say I hate data lock-in. I give users of SwordSearcher a way to dump their entire user content into complete HTML files that don’t lose ANY of their data or formatting, because it’s THEIR DATA. Be nice to your users! Remember that user lock-in is just as much a dis-incentive for people to try your stuff as it is an incentive (or set of shackles) for your current users to stick around. Here’s a good article making a case against data lock-in.

And NEVER use important applications that don’t give you a way to export your data in a usable form.