We’ve known about the NET Bible since its beginnings, and several years ago we licensed the NET Bible for use in our products. We knew the Bible had extensive notes but didn’t think that would be a problem for PocketBible.
We put one of our employees to work on it and after several months it became clear that the challenges it presented were going to be greater than the potential revenue we could gain from it would justify. The problems were related to converting the original language references in the notes from a variety of proprietary fonts into the standard Unicode notation we use in PocketBible. I don’t recall all the details but do recall a meeting in which we decided to just drop the project.
A year or so later we heard from a programmer who had extensive experience with the NET Bible and wondered why we hadn’t yet made it available. I explained the issues and he said he’d be happy to tackle it. I sent him everything he needed to tag the NET Bible and notes for PocketBible. He asked a couple questions over the next week or two, but then disappeared. The NET Bible had taken another victim.
Then last November I heard from David Richards. David is a long-time Laridian customer and a fan of the NET Bible. He had been experimenting with our BookBuilder program, which allows anyone to create reference materials that are compatible with PocketBible, and wondered if we had plans to publish the NET Bible. I told him the story and warned him of the bodies it had left in its path. He seemed undeterred, so we came to terms on a price for his work and he set out to work on it. I figured that would be the last we’d hear from him, and went about my business.
Surprisingly, when I heard from David it wasn’t to ask questions. It was to give me samples from what he had gotten done. Before long he had made it through all 60,000 notes. We ran a brief test with a group of testers left over from PocketBible for iPhone and after just one update the NET Bible was ready to ship.
I wanted to tell you David’s story for a couple reasons. First is that we’re pretty excited about finally having the NET Bible and know what an accomplishment it was for him. He deserves a little recognition for his efforts.
Second is that David’s is a story we’ve seen play out a couple of times in the past and we’d like to see it happen more often. We’ll be releasing a collection of reference books in the next couple of weeks that were tagged by another customer who got interested in BookBuilder a year or two ago and has since tagged a couple of projects for us after doing some of his own. Our A.W. Pink, F.B. Meyer, and Andrew Murray collections were tagged by a customer, as was the Dake Study Bible Notes.
Of course tagging books isn’t for everyone. It usually requires extensive use of what’s called “pattern matching”, “regular expression”, or “grep” search-and-replace operations to convert a book from whatever format it might be to begin with into our HTML-based format for BookBuilder. You need to have a head for details and it doesn’t hurt to have a little programming background.
David and each of these other taggers are being compensated in some way for their work. We’d love to add you to our list of available taggers for new projects. You can get the standard BookBuilder program for $29.99 and see if it’s something you want to try. We have an inexhaustible list of books that need to be tagged. Maybe you have a favorite commentary series or reference title you’d like to see in PocketBible. Rather than wait for us to get around to it, why not volunteer to do it yourself?
Feel free to contact me directly if you’re interested: firstname.lastname@example.org.