John Dyer and Digital Bible Society Introduce Bible Browser

Was meandering about the web when I saw a note from John Dyer speaking about a new(ish) project he worked on with the Digital Bible Society (DBS). Called the Bible Browser, its very similar to the apprach I’ve taken with the All Books Project in terms of making a Bible reader that is built with HTML, CSS, and jQuery. John’s a better coder (by a few country miles) than I, and there were several groups participating in this project, so the end result is a good bit more polished, and further ahead. Still, the Bible Browser represents what I think should be the base level of performace and integration we should be seeing in the use of HTML as a platform for publishing with the Bible starting as the foundation.

Here’s a bit more about the project from John’s announcement:

…Now, there are already lots of amazing Bible website and applications out there today built by wonderful Christian brothers and sisters, so it might seem unnecessary to build yet another Bible application. Each of these has a place in what God is doing in the world, but the software that DBS creates has some special requirements that necessitates something new:

  • Must be able to run without Internet access
  • Must be able to run without being “installed”
  • Must be able to run in any browser on any device

In a country where it’s illegal to follow Christ or ask about Christianity, installing Bible software and accessing Bible website are big no-nos, so this security is absolutely paramount. The best solution we have so far is to create an HTML/JavaScript application that runs on whatever browser the user has installed.

The challenged is that HTML-based applications can be a bit slower than full desktop software (like the awesome apps Logos, Accordance, or SWORD) and since we are designing them to run without Internet access (like the amazing YouVersion or Biblia) they can’t have a powerful server to do things like process search queries. This makes for some interesting programming challenges, but it’s also part of the fun of doing something different to serve the church at large. The app also needs to be able to run on very basic phones with limited HTML/CSS support, another fun challenge.

For those technically inclined, the basic setup is that each chapter of the Bible is a separate HTML file linked together by jQuery Mobile which makes browsing the Bible work really well on basic phones all the way up to iPhone/Android. Then a desktop application reads these same HTML files and uses them to produces the multi-pane application you see in the video above…

Very cool stuff. We’ve added it to the Bible Apps page and definitely want to encourage you to check out the Digital Bible Society’s website and support their efforts. John Dyer also has some other neat projects which are great to take a look into (, Bible Web App, etc.) and support.

Now, back to work on All Books… am encouraged to continue and persue this project’s direction.