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Accordance Note Taking Discussion


Greg Terry

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I was trained in FORTRAN in the first century BCE.

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I wasn’t trained in it, but I took a course in WATFIV (Waterloo FORTRAN IV) at the Univ. of Waterloo in 1980 BCE (Before the personal Computing Era). I still remember running decks of punched papyrus cards through the machine.

 

Edited by Michel Gilbert
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11 hours ago, Daniel L said:

You'd have a ton of developers to help you develop in Python or C Sharp. A re-write could be a new birth with much faster improvements.

 

Sure, it's something we've considered.   But if you think we had bugs in the 14 release, imagine how many we'd have after converting 900,000 lines of code to a new language.

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29 minutes ago, Silas Marrs said:

 

Sure, it's something we've considered.   But if you think we had bugs in the 14 release, imagine how many we'd have after converting 900,000 lines of code to a new language.

 

Yeah, agreed. Porting to a new platform is not a v.14 fix. You need time and also space to attempt it - mental, financial, technical, etc. Sure, there's the possibility of working a migration path in layers, but such a major rewrite has little if any payoff until the whole thing is done. As I said, it's not easy.

 

As a user, I'd rather see your team bring v.14 to stability first - just as in fact you're doing.

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I'm not quite understanding and am just a little curious. Are the above posts saying v.14 had a rough start because it was written in a new code? Or rather, it was written in the same code, and the above is talking about what would hypothetically happen if the code was re-written?

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My favorite introduction to programming is the text Oh! Pascal!! by Cooper and Clancy. My first programming text was McCracken’s a guide to FORTRAN IV programming that I used in a programming class in 1967.  I took a few more programming courses for university credit in the early 1980’s and my final for credit course in computer related studies in 2005. I have also had the enjoyment of self study with a variety of computer languages and many hours of creating my own programs with a variety languages on a variety of computer systems.

 

I have the highest respect for those who earn their livelihood by writing computer programs. I appreciate the complexities of the tasks and the work to perfect the product. Above all, I understand the impact of small changes that may create large side effects and unintended consequences. Monday morning quarterbacking is a popular activity, but I have played the programming game enough to know that any suggestions I may have aren’t really useful or appropriate because those doing the real work are way ahead of me in the problem analysis and mitigation.

 

However, I may provide useful information to the programers by thoroughly documenting the circumstances of the bug—Accordance version, operating system, hardware, task involved, crash logs, any systems I have that do not crash given the same task, and any procedure I have discovered to get around the problem. I test multiple macOS systems as well as a Win10 and iOS system.These are useful clues to those who are working with the program code to begin to understand the problem. It is especially useful to report repeatable bugs and the specific steps that led to them, for a repeatable bug is fairly easy to debug (my favorite debugger is DDT from my CP/M assembly language days). Simply, random bugs are just plain difficult to find, so keep experimenting with your system and try to find a way to make that error happen consistently. If you understanding programming, you know what to do because you probably have a few guesses about what is going on. If you don’t understand programming, take extensive notes about what you are doing including what works and does not work. Document everything you do! Thoroughly reviewing your notes may reveal some patterns you did not pick up before reviewing the notes. Real-use data are extremely useful in debugging and more is better than less.

 

Let us be helpful and supply the kind of information to the programmers that help them solve the problems. ;)

 

Very thankful for the hard working programmers,

 

—Joseph

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1 minute ago, Kristin said:

I'm not quite understanding and am just a little curious. Are the above posts saying v.14 had a rough start because it was written in a new code? Or rather, it was written in the same code, and the above is talking about what would hypothetically happen if the code was re-written?


The latter. 

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Preach it, brother Joseph. 

 

Not saying it's the case here, but I am amazed how often on different forums for complex software products people who aver they have a programming background vent aggressively about the incompetence or lack of integrity of the company or those who program the product and how it should be so easy to solve a problem or add a feature.

 

Complaining and asking for bug fixes and features is par for the course in forums, so I'm not saying anything in an attempt to discourage that. It's just hard to read direct accusations targeted at the people who are clearly doing their best to deal with a situation they have admitted over and over was serious mistake.

 

Look, the biggest reason I pre-bought Accordance 14 was the advertised cloud feature. Nobody was more taken aback and disappointed than I that when the product came out no such feature existed, and since that time we have not been given a date when it is coming. So I'm not smelling roses.

 

But language that can most certainly be taken as belittling others is not helpful in these situations. It adds nothing. Someone may think they are applying legitimate pressure, but perhaps they are instead opening a window on themselves. Perhaps a tad of grace is in order, even when someone might think it is not deserved. Let our speech be seasoned with grace even when it is a matter of business.

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Amen to that. The reason for the issues in V 14 is rushing the release, so let's not rush the fixes. The team is doing its best and needs encouragement not criticism. Personally, I have only minor issues with V 14 and would not want to go back to V 13.

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5 hours ago, Kristin said:

I'm not quite understanding and am just a little curious. Are the above posts saying v.14 had a rough start because it was written in a new code? Or rather, it was written in the same code, and the above is talking about what would hypothetically happen if the code was re-written?

 

It's not as straightforward as that.

 

In programming, there's the language (Pascal, Java, Python, etc) and there's what's known as the tool chain - the editor for writing the program, the compiler to turn human-friendly text into machine-readable code, utilities to do version control, features that support re-architecting of code, and even apps that generate human-friendly code from a formal model (concept drawings).

 

The discussion has mentioned Pascal, an old programming language, and might have given the impression that its age is to blame for the bugginess of v.14. But Pascal is a very nice language to work with. Blaming it for the v.14 bugs is like blaming society's evils on its people speaking English instead of newer languages like Esperanto. It might be harder to express some more recent programming idioms, but language itself isn't the root cause of the v.14 problems.

 

It's probably not even the tool chain, even though there have been great advances in tool chains over the last few decades that automate tedious and repetitive processes.

 

Then there are programming practices - regularly checking that changes made to implement new features don't break old features, backing up regularly, version-controlling units of code to be able to easily revert to versions known to work, things like that. Now, I'm not part of the Accordance programming team, so I don't know the specifics of what went wrong, but my own experience in the field is that where the tool chain doesn't make it quick to follow best-practice programming disciplines, those practices tend to fall by the wayside under time pressure.

 

Beyond even programming practices, there is software architecting. This includes micro-level things like file formats, as well as macro-level things like the way pieces of code talk to each other so that triple-clicking a word brings up the right resource in a different window. Software architecting is tricky. What works well in one user-environment can trip up in another. For example, when Accordance first launched (v.1), personal computers such as Macs had very little memory and were objectively slow compared to today's machines. Having one machine was already expensive - most people wouldn't have multiple tools to swap among, e.g. phone, laptop, tablet, all running Accordance. Technical decisions need to balance future expansion with current efficiency.

 

By way of analogy, a bicycle is light and quick for commuting within a village. When you need to carry groceries, you might add a basket to the front handlebars. By the time you need to fetch a couple of friends from the airport with all their luggage, it's no longer a matter of just adding more baskets and seats.

 

Pascal isn't the bicycle - it's just the language of the blueprint. Software is a lot more flexible than metal and plastic, so the programming team can go a long way further than bicycle manufacturers when it comes to added features. It's a bit of a judgment call as to when you need to move on to a fundamentally different architecture, and the discussion has been speculating as to whether that time has come: can we make do with adding a basket or swapping to off-road tyres, or do we now really need a car? It's a tough call, particularly when in the middle of fixing a puncture.

 

Hope that helps. Accordance is still a good platform for Bible research and I'm confident that the programming team can patch v.14. Unless they're adding a third seat and airbags, I'll trust Nathan's comment that v.14.0.5 will be out soon, and that it should make for a much smoother ride.

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2 hours ago, Lawrence said:

Blaming it for the v.14 bugs

 

I don't blame the language for the bugs. The point I was trying to make is that very few people use Pascal these days.

 

The lack of developers in the job market who are competent in Pascal could be a problem, and the scarcity can only get worse. (To contrast, a modest demand for COBOL is kept alive by giant companies running old mainframes. Pascal has nothing to sustain it.) On the other hand, a seasoned developer knowing multiple languages may not have too much trouble adapting to Pascal.

 

But equally plausible is that Accordance simply doesn't think it can afford to hire more developers, regardless of candidates' skills, so the language might not be the real issue. To support five platforms (including web/cloud), Accordance needs far more developers than it has. The four platforms they have are improved at a snail's pace, and now they're adding a fifth. I applaud the ambition and expansion, but the company isn't employing adequate development horsepower. They need a new major infusion of investment in their production capability (i.e., more, better developers), which would pay for itself many times over.

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By the way, we have expanded our programming team in early 2023 around the time of my own hiring. Some of the expansion isn’t posting publicly to the forums to ensue that time is spent on Accordance programming. However, I am regularly attending Accordance programming meetings and will be one of the primary liaisons between customers and our programming team on public announcements.

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33 minutes ago, Daniel L said:

I don't blame the language for the bugs. The point I was trying to make is that very few people use Pascal these days.

 

My reply to Kristin was somewhat broad. No offense intended.

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1 hour ago, Nathan Parker said:

By the way, we have expanded our programming team in early 2023 around the time of my own hiring. Some of the expansion isn’t posting publicly to the forums to ensue that time is spent on Accordance programming. However, I am regularly attending Accordance programming meetings and will be one of the primary liaisons between customers and our programming team on public announcements.

I find it slightly amusing many people have made the assumption that Accordance doesn't  have enough or isn't hiring programmers. Just because something isn't fixed or added right away doesn't mean its not being dealt with in my mind. 

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10 minutes ago, jhntruevine said:

I find it slightly amusing many people have made the assumption that Accordance doesn't  have enough or isn't hiring programmers. Just because something isn't fixed or added right away doesn't mean its not being dealt with in my mind. 

 

Hi @jhntruevine,

Just to clarify, the issue why people were nervous is not from making an assumption that Accordance isn't hiring. The concern people had came from the fact that there was a huge staff turn over around the launch of v.14. Certain personality types like consistency, and having the old forum moderator gone is just an example of what has made people wonder what caused the staff turnover. Perhaps things are totally fine, (I certainly hope so! And it is great to see the energy Nathan has as it seems very sincere to me!), but for those who didn't find it amusing, it is not from an assumption of a lack of hiring, but rather stress from a major staff turnover. There is likely no reason to be nervous, but for those who are and weren't amused by it, I think that is likely the reason.

 

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@KristinFair enough, since I wasn't on here at that time, I wasn't aware of the turnover. I did own 6 when I switched to Mac for a couple years while i was pastoring. I ended up going back to windows and the other guys of which i already had a library. I did upgrade to 13 & started using it some & just recently decided to add to my Accordance & upgrade to 14.

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On 1/2/2023 at 11:24 AM, Donald Cobb said:

 I do wonder if the the way installation is done changes behavior. I didn't install v. 14 over 13, but rather renamed 13 (just in case) and installed 14 in parallel. I've read a number of posts saying that a clean installation has often cleared up the worst problems.

 

I think there's some truth to this. I first downloaded V 14 over a pre-existing V 13 (actually ported from an older laptop) and experienced lots of crashes, so much so that I re-installed V 13 to avoid the problems. When Tech Support advised against running V 13 and V 14 on the same machine. I completely uninstalled everything (except for my ungodly number of workspaces) and installed V 14 on one laptop (keeping V 13 on another laptop). This has made V 14 much more stable. It still has some crashes and some other issues, but it is much more stable than before.

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We had to lock a handful of threads recently due to one poster who completely disregarded the Accordance Community Guidelines. I also used locked threads on my own announcements since they were more of “blog post” type announcements instead of actual discussion threads. I’m hoping and praying the worst is behind us there, and moving forward, we’ll have overall productive discussions on the forums. We have a great user community overall, and it’s a shame when an occasional poster has to muddy the experience for everyone else.

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1 hour ago, Donovan R. Palmer said:

 

I have always run Accordance because of its uncompromising and unflinching commitment to quality. I honestly don’t recognise what Accordance has become.
 

Also locked threads? I can’t recall a time before where this close knit community needed to be managed this way. 
 

The Accordance way has always been substance and delivery, so I await to see by its own standards what the future holds. 

 

 

 

 

Locked threads have been used for years whenever (as @Nathan Parker mentions above) discussions have gone beyond Guideline boundaries. Some people just don't like to play by the rules 😉

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23 hours ago, Lester P. Bagley said:

Locked threads have been used for years whenever (as @Nathan Parker mentions above) discussions have gone beyond Guideline boundaries. Some people just don't like to play by the rules 😉

I don't think I've been on a forum where they haven't had to lock threads, as long as we have our sin nature its bound to happen...😁

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On 1/7/2023 at 12:17 AM, Nathan Parker said:

Good pointers, and customers should definitely not pay extra or wait for another .0 release for bug fixes. Our goal is to ensure Accordance 14, what you already paid for, is rock solid. Accordance 14 is out of the gate, and customers expect it to “just work”. It’s our goal to work hard to ensure Accordance 14 is rock solid, and you can enjoy both all the new features in it plus all of the existing features you’ve come to depend on over the years. Accordance has had a solid reputation over the years for being some of the finest Bible software on the market, and it’s our job to keep up that reputation. The biggest lesson learned is we simply do not release a new version until it’s ready. 

 

 

Honestly for me what's more important than new features is that the code-base needs to be modernized. I want Accordance to be around for 20 or 30 more years, but not lagging behind as some legacy software that we feel stuck with because of a "sunk cost" feeling. Not only that, but a modern code base like Swift would make keeping up with macOS updates easier and stuff like dark mode wouldn't be such a bear to adopt since it's more or less native. That way development hours can be spent on more important features and not just keeping the app working.

 

There's some really awesome things being done in React.js and TypeScript these days (i.e. just look at Obsidian.md) and they're blazing fast and incredibly-cross platform. Obsidian is a really interesting piece of software because it allows for community plugin development and modifications of the software. While Obsidian itself is commercial and somewhat closed-sourced, the possibilities for community development are endless and it adds a lot of value to the software by being able to fine-tune it exactly the way a person wants to use it.

Edited by Spencer
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1 hour ago, Spencer said:

Honestly for me what's more important than new features is that the code-base needs to be modernized. I want Accordance to be around for 20 or 30 more years, but not lagging behind as some legacy software that we feel stuck with because of a "sunk cost" feeling.

 

I agree 100%. In addition, I would suspect what you wrote would also create Note and Highlight stability? It has gotten to a point that I still do use Notes because I use them in class, and I am STILL looking for a practical way to export them, but for any new important note I write, I write it somewhere else, since I truly can't risk Note corruption for a 4th (5th?) time.

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10 minutes ago, Kristin said:

I agree 100%. In addition, I would suspect what you wrote would also create Note and Highlight stability? It has gotten to a point that I still do use Notes because I use them in class, and I am STILL looking for a practical way to export them, but for any new important note I write, I write it somewhere else, since I truly can't risk Note corruption for a 4th (5th?) time.

For backing your notes up, have you ever just done CTRL-A, CTRL - C and then paste into Word? That at least gives you everything that you had in case it is corrupted.

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46 minutes ago, Erhard said:

For backing your notes up, have you ever just done CTRL-A, CTRL - C and then paste into Word? That at least gives you everything that you had in case it is corrupted.

 

Hi @Erhard,

Thank you for the idea, but that does not work in my situation because of the size of my notes. (Accordance gives an error message if I try). I have even been on the phone with Tech Support a few times and they confirmed my notes are too massive for that to work.

I have since copied my notes 500 verses at a time (which literally took a year to do), but the problem is if I ever make an edit to a note, I need to manually change and export that verse alone. If I am working for 18 hours a day, I am obviously working on more than one verse at a time.

After I did that, I tried to stop my work every time I made an edit, copy the edited note, paste it where I am now storing them and move on, but that was an insane amount of wasted time and became impractical.

Since I had put in the year of work and have manually copied the notes, I at least have something, but the copy which I have and the copy on Accordance is simply not the same, and I just flat out don't have the time to do that again since it had taken a year to do. So now I do my best to create notes somewhere else.

On top of everything, since Notes are not included in Research (why? Tools are....) Notes are just not practical going forward.

I need something which:
1) I can export to a logical format (I like Numbers since the notes work beautifully in a table separating the verses from the note and makes it all searchable and sortable).

2) Doesn't corrupt if you look at it funny, so that exporting the notes would just be something to do if you wanted to, and not critical as it is now.

3) For it to be searchable data like everything else in Accordance for Research.

4) To be stable IN CLASS. As it is, if I scroll too fast the text writes over itself as I have spoken about before. That is not too serious as I can just close the note and re-open it and it is ok, but it is disruptive in class.

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13 minutes ago, Kristin said:

I need something which:
1) I can export to a logical format (I like Numbers since the notes work beautifully in a table separating the verses from the note and makes it all searchable and sortable).

2) Doesn't corrupt if you look at it funny, so that exporting the notes would just be something to do if you wanted to, and not critical as it is now.

3) For it to be searchable data like everything else in Accordance for Research.

4) To be stable IN CLASS. As it is, if I scroll too fast the text writes over itself as I have spoken about before. That is not too serious as I can just close the note and re-open it and it is ok, but it is disruptive in class.

That is a real issue then for sure. @Nathan Parker, did you ever get any more info on this? You were going to check on it a while back to see if there was any progress or plans on this issue.

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