Douay Rheims Bible Online Optimizations

Hey Readers,

I am currently working on a tinkering project involving the Project Gutenberg Douay Rheims Bible. While tinkering, I keep getting new ideas for various ways to improve that project.

The primary purpose of this thread is to share some optimizations I’ve made based on that project, but also, I want to suggest some possible use-cases for this project and open it up to your suggestions so that you guys can let me know any additional things you’d appreciate.

Let me share some of the background of this project, its present status, and things I am considering doing, then you can make your suggestions.

Background. The Douay Rheims Bible is a Catholic bible that was originally published in 1582 A.D. for english speakers. For almost 400 years, this bible was the primary bible for english speaking Catholics, and was frequently re-released in new editions. Its status is comparable to the King James Version, and when computers were invented, the Douay Rheims Bible was one of the first books to be digitized and uploaded to the internet.

Recently, I decided I wanted to listen to use a text-to-speech app to listen to the Douay Rheims Bible. I looked up the Project Gutenberg edition that I’ve linked to above, and downloaded it into my app. I discovered that the text had several problems which needed to be solved in order for it to be useful with my text-to-speech app.

Among these problems were the following: the footnotes and chapter headings are not differentiated from the biblical text or even introduced by a word such as “Footnote.” Trying to mentally differentiate while listening is distracting. I decided I want an edition without footnotes and chapter headings. Also, my app reads each chapter and verse number in every single verse, which is annoying to me. I decided I want an edition without verse numbers, though I do want to keep it telling me when I’ve reached a new chapter. I also wanted there to be fewer line-breaks, and I wanted the Books of Maccabees to come after Esra and Nehemiah (the historical books section) rather than after Zechariah and Malachi (the prophets section).

Current Status. My project is not an official project of Project Gutenberg, but when I am done I may submit my work to them. To fix my problems, I used some find-and-replace software to make a few editions of the Douay Rheims Bible optimized for text-to-speech software.

Optimization 1 - Features: No footnotes. No chapter headings. No verse numbers. Each biblical book is named, the chapter numbers are given, and then there’s just plain text. Line-breaks are minimized, with a new line for each chapter and a double line-break between each biblical book. Within each chapter, the verses are all on the same line, separated only by a space, like a new sentence. 1 and 2 Maccabees are placed after Esra and Nehemiah rather than after Zechariah and Malachi.

Optimization 2 - Features: all the above, but the books are given their modern names. Hosea instead of Osee, for example, and Revelation instead of Apocalypse. The names within the text are still the old names, though. So Hosea (the book) is called Hosea in the title, instead of Osee, but within the book of Hosea, Hosea (the prophet) is still called Osee.

Optimization 3 - Not optimal for text-to-speech apps (in my opinion), this optimization keeps the verse numbers and gives each verse and each chapter a new line. It still has no footnotes or chapter headings, and retains the old book names. This one departs very little from the Project Gutenberg edition, but it does fix some of that version’s formatting, specifically by giving each verse a single line rather than breaking some verses up in the middle like Gutenberg currently does.

Optimization 4 - Again, not so good for text-to-speech apps, this optimization keeps the verse numbers but does not give every verse a new line, just each chapter. Still no footnotes or chapter headings, and retains the old book names. Okay, now you know the background and the current status of this project. I’d also like to make some suggestions about possible use-cases for files like these.

First, text-to-speech apps. The first two optimizations are good for these. Second, smartphone apps. These optimizations arrange the biblical text in a way that can be useful to programmers. Do you know anyone programming a bible app who needs to easily copy-paste the text of a Catholic bible? Look no further!

Some stuff I’d like to work on: I’d like to arrange the Psalms according to the modern order. The Douay Rheims Bible uses an older order of the Psalms which offsets some of them by one or two chapters. Thus Psalm 110 in most bibles is Psalm 109 in the Douay Rheims. I’d like to make an edition where that isn’t the case. I’d also like to update the name spellings to their modern forms throughout the entire text, rather than just in the book titles. And, since I’ve made a version where the footnotes are removed, I also might like to make a document with just the footnotes and chapter headings, and not the biblical text. Anyone who wants to just read the footnotes (or keep them as a supplement) could download it like an appendix.

So what about you, readers? Can you think of any optimizations You’d like to see? Also, if anyone finds these files useful, please don’t hesitate to notify me of any errors.

Some stuff I’d like to work on: I’d like to arrange the Psalms according to the modern order. The Douay Rheims Bible uses an older order of the Psalms which offsets some of them by one or two chapters. Thus Psalm 110 in most bibles is Psalm 109 in the Douay Rheims. I’d like to make an edition where that isn’t the case.

The difference in Psalm numbering is due to the Vulgate from which the D/R is translated. Maybe you can use a disclaimer that for ease of use, the Psalm numbering has been modified to be consistent with modern translations which all use the “original” languages. However, realize, that even so, modern translations do not all agree with one another on Psalm numbering. :wink:

Wow, this is a big project you have undertaken, and I think it will come in handy for a lot of people. I know that the text-to-speech version will be used a lot! Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Thank you! I will update my progress at this thread. For example, here’s an update: I just made a first draft of an android app based on one of my optimizations. For this app, I used the optimization that still has verse numbers. This is my first-ever app, and the only programming language I know is javascript, which is super lightweight and low on features. But that’s all I had, so it’s what I used. As a result of using a low-power programming language, my bible app is faster than most bible apps, but also has no page-flipping animations or anything fancy like that. It also didn’t take long to make, only about three days. I haven’t uploaded it to the Google Play Store because it costs $25 to get an account with upload privileges, but if anyone wants to sideload my app I can give you the link. If 25 people are willing to pay a dollar for it, I’ll upload it to the Play Store.

I also made a very similar webapp that mimics most of the look of the smartphone app, except I haven’t yet gotten the navigation bar to work quite right in the web version. As a result, the web version is kind of flukey in some browsers, especially mobile ones. If you’d like to give the web version a try, here’s the link: dmar198.github.io/drb-web-index.html

So there you go! An update on my progress.

Is it possible to create it so that a reader could make a selection between:

  1. The Bible without Footnotes and
  2. The Bible with Footnotes at the end of every Chapter?

Yes, that is possible. Allow me to use some programming terminology for a moment. When you program something, a very common thing you use is called an element. An element is a label that you can attach to a paragraph of text. They are very similar to the quote tags that this web forum uses, the ones that you put on both sides of a paragraph of text to quote it. In javascript, elements work similarly to that, where you put a label on both sides of a paragraph of text. Elements are useful because some programming languages, including javascript, can only manipulate a paragraph of text if it has element tags on both sides. (At least, that’s the only way I know how to do it. I’m sure there are experts who know how to use the language better than I do.)

Anyway, one of the reasons I do not currently have footnotes integrated into the text is because, until recently, I couldn’t figure out a way to get elements wrapped around them without going through the whole biblical text and manually inserting them each time…which would take like a month. But recently, I think I figured out a way to do it quickly using a few tricks from my favorite find-and-replace software.

If I get the footnotes and chapter headings wrapped in element tags, it would be only take a few lines of code to make them manipulable. I could let readers toggle their visibility, for one thing. For every verse that has a footnote, I could attach an asterisk to it, or some other symbol that won’t affect text-to-speech software. If the reader clicks that asterisk, the footnote would become visible. I could do a similar thing with verse numbers. I could create a button which makes the verse numbers disappear if you tap it, and put them back if you tap it again.

As for putting them at the bottom of a chapter, yes, I can do that too, though it would take a bit more programming. I think I would need to create a special element called a

and put one at the bottom of each chapter, which is not hard to do if I use find-and-replace software. Then I could put all the footnotes for each chapter in the appropriate
, and let the users toggle its visibility. I think that would take a bit more programming, but it’s very do-able.

Is it possible to enable skipping the announcement of the verses but leave the verses into the bible?

Yes, and my favorite text-to-speech app can already do that. It has a pair of boxes where you can type a word in the first one and type how you want it to prounce that word in the second one. If you leave the second one blank, it won’t pronounce that word. Since the software doesn’t know the difference between numbers and words, I could put all the verse numbers in the first box, and leave the second box empty, and it would simply not pronounce them. I’m not sure how the programmers do that, because that’s beyond my level, but I do know it is possible and that some text-to-speech software already enables that feature…including the one I use.

This would be helpful when one start listening/reading the Footnotes. It would be very good for the Footnotes to announce which verse it refers to, and if possible read that full verse again or read the word that is being referenced to into the Footnotes.

I think this would involve a lot of programming, wouldn’t it?

Some would, yes, but there are shortcuts. I described how I would do something like this above. I’m sure other, better programmers would know better ways.

That is all I had for now. And I will wait to see what input others have.

Thank you for allowing us to share into your project.

No problem! I hope you like my project so far.

Nevermind, I’m pretty sure I’ve fixed that problem. Let me know how it works in your browser: dmar198.github.io/drb-web-index.html

I added a button which toggles verses. Right now it’s just text; I hope to make it an actual button soon. For right now, the button appears when you open up a chapter and leaves when you hit the home button or the menu button. I want to put the verse toggler in a more permanent place in the user interface, and I’m open to suggestions. Should it go in the menu? What do you guys think?

dmar198.github.io/drb-web-index.html

That’s very flattering, thank you. I’m not much for design…pretty terrible at it, actually. I prefer function to form, and, in my opinion, the app functions well, though in my opinion it lacks much in the way of beauty.

I spent a lot of time today working on it, and got THIS CLOSE to making the footnotes and chapter headings available in an optional way…similar to how the verses are toggleable, I ALMOST got the footnotes and chapter headings that way too. Something went wrong, I’m not sure what yet, but I have to do some tinkering to get it working with the commentary. I did, however, manage to get part of the work out of the way that I thought would be the hardest: I managed to put programmable elements on all the notes and chapter headings, and it actually turned out to be a pretty quick job. Hopefully the rest of the work will go as quickly.

The best way you may get it on Google Play Store is to contact one of other brothers who have one uploaded and find out if they will be willing to upload it.
Otherwise, with 250 as of now, I am sure that anyone may afford 10 Cents and have this app up and running.

Lol, I doubt anyone here is going to go through the trouble of sending me 10 cents. If six people say they’d buy it from the Play Store for a dollar, I’ll count that as good enough to put it out there. I can always update it to fix bugs and add more features. Several important features work right this moment and could justify putting it out there.

Thank for answering all my questions.

No problem!

Also, do not forget to properly name the entire app as Douay Rheims Bible 1752 or Douay Rheims Challoner or something else to indicate that it is Challoner’s not the 1582-1610.

I will rename it. I might just call it The Challoner Bible.

I am currently working on the 1582-1610 and my plan is to make it available in as many formats as possible. See the attached

1582 New Layout

1582 Old Layout

Awesome! I especially like the fancy capital letter. It looks like it will be a lot of work to make this available.

It is far from being completed. I still do not know what the best font is, I am not sure if people won’t be displeased to see the side notes at the bottom of every chapter. But before I make it public, I will make survey for all the questions that have in order to understand what they may want. Changing it is not bad after I have everything in place.

The main thing is to make it available. Hey, maybe after I’m done making my first Challoner Bible app, I can make a Douay Rheims Bible app based on your work.

FYI…just in case you’re interested in that…be aware that it is easier to code stuff the more unique the verse numbers are. Right now your verse numbers are just like this: “…which I do say. 22 And withal provide me…” See how the verse number is just a plain number in the middle of the verse? Well, if myself or any other programmer in the future eventually wants to manipulate that text with javascript code, part of the work involves searching through the whole bible for every verse number, and such a search can unintentionally catch numbers that aren’t meant to be verse numbers, such as the numbers in the footnotes. This can result in software bugs that take a long time to fix.

If you differentiate the numbers which are verses from all the other numbers, it should make it easier on future programmers. So, for example, you might write the above phrase as: “…which I do say. [22] And withal provide me…” or “…which I do say. 01:22 And withal provide me…” or even better: “…which I do say. [01:22] And withal provide me…” <-- typing your verse numbers in that manner would make it very much easier to program later, because it is unlikely that a set of characters like that would show up anywhere else but as verse numbers…making it very easy for a computer to find them all and encode them without any bugs.

I hope that made sense. Just a thought! There’s kind of a pick-and-choose thing here. The more programmer-friendly you make a text, the less reader-friendly it becomes. But now you know which option I would choose!

Today I got the commentary working. I put in these blue links on every verse where there is a comment, and if you click or tap that blue link, it gives you the commentary. Let me know what you think:

dmar198.github.io/drb-web-index.html

Also, be aware that I renamed it “The Challoner Bible.” I’m pretty sure I’m going to put it on the Google Play Store shortly, but the above version is available for free and should work just fine on mobile devices. Really, it’s almost identical to the app version. The only real differences are:
[LIST]
*]The web version can take a while to load because it has to pull the entire Bible and commentary from a server every time you load the page; the app version doesn’t need to do that because it stores the bible on your device and accesses it there
*]The app version keeps the navigation bar at the top of your screen, and the web version does not
[/LIST]
Those are the only real difference, so feel free to use the web version for free. I’m not sure how much to charge for the app version, probably a dollar.

Both versions come with the full Bible text as I modified it from Project Gutenberg.

Also, be aware that I renamed it “The Challoner Bible.”

You should probably include the information from the project regarding the origination of the text.

stuff like:

This etext was prepared by Dennis McCarthy, Atlanta, Georgia
and Tad Book, student, Pontifical North American College, Rome.

and:

CREDITS

Without the assistance of many individuals and groups, this text of the
Douay-Rheims Version of the Holy Bible would not be available for the
Project Gutenberg collection. Our most grateful and sincere thanks goes
to those at ‘Catholic Software’ who have provided the electronic plain
texts of the 73 books of the Bible. ‘Catholic Software’ also produces a
Douay Bible program on CD-ROM that features a fully searchable Douay-
Rheims Bible, footnotes, Latin text and dictionary, topical index, maps,
Biblical art gallery, and other features. For more information of this
and many other products contact:

Catholic Software
Box 1914
Murray, KY 42071
(502) 753-8198
catholicity.com/market/CSoftware/
waubrey@aol.com

Additional production assistance has been provided by volunteers from
the Atlanta Council of the Knights of Columbus. Tad Book compiled and
reformatted the texts to Project Gutenberg standards. Dennis McCarthy
assisted Mr. Book and transcribed selections from the first editions
included as appendices.

This too:

This e-text comes from multiple editions of Challoner’s revised Douay-
Rheims Version of the Holy Bible.

That’s a good idea, I will add an “about this app” page and include relevant information in that section. Thank you for the suggestion. I will mention that Dennis McCarthy, Tad Book, and the Atlanta K of C helped digitize the text. I am unable to mention Project Gutenberg anywhere in my derivative project because their terms of service say that if you charge any money, you have to remove all references to their organization. Where would you put an “about this app” page? I’m thinking of putting it in the menu, under the books. Does that sound reasonable?

I didn’t look too much at what your markup does, but one thing I noticed was if you increase the font size the text will bleed outside of the bounding divs. Not noticeable on a big screen, but it would be noticeable on a phone for instance.

I believe something along the lines of “overflow:hidden; text-overflow:ellipsis;” will make it at least not overflow. If you want the text to hyphenate it would be something like this in your CSS:


-webkit-hyphens: auto;
-moz-hyphens: auto;
-ms-hyphens: auto;
hyphens: auto;

You’ll have to tinker with it. I just noticed web scripting going on and well, I’m a programmer, I’m also bored and should be sleeping right now, so naturally I wanted click on it. :smiley:

With enough work, you might be able to develop this into a base framework so that any book could be done with this.

Don’t look too hard at my programming…there’s a TON of inline javascript and inline css. Some stuff just seemed to stop working if I put it into the header, I’m sure that means I broke proper syntax or had conflicting instructions, but I’m not a good enough programmer to know what I did wrong. I’m very new at this, it’s my first app.

I can put in the overflow:hidden and text-overflow:ellipsis, that’s not hard. Actually, after I typed that last sentence, I went and did it in the css for the div labeled “contents,” which is where all the biblical text goes. Thank you for the suggestion!

The main thing I am currently worried about is the visual appearance of the app. It’s horrible. The buttons are grey blocks on a grey background, the text has serifs, the “Toggle verses” button should be a real button, the home and menu buttons are either too dark or they are on a background that is too dark, the app contains no animations, the menu items are too small, the menu items ought to be centered, and in general, I just have no eye for design. I can theoretically fix all that stuff, but I’m sure there’s a lot of visual design flaws that I’m just not astute enough to identify and correct.

BTW for those who are keeping up, I’m almost done with the “About” page. I should have that up before the morning, I think. I did some bug squashing today in the Psalms where a verse accidentally got turned into a footnote (now resolved), and a paragraph was incorrectly labelled as a new chapter (now resolved). Not to mention…I got all the commentary in! I’m so excited by that, I’m not sure any other Bible app on the Play Store contains the Challoner Bible Commentary. Also, the app version now has an icon and a config file, which means I’m one step closer to uploading this thing to the Play Store. Woot!

Guess what, guys? The Challoner Bible and Commentary is now available on the Google Play Store:

The Challoner Bible and Commentary
play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.historyandapologetics.challoner

I’m now officially a developer/programmer/software designer.

Will do. I just pushed out an update to the app version which adds a settings page and several new features. These updates will be hitting the web version next, hopefully by tomorrow.

The web version has received the latest update and now has the same settings page and About page as the app version. It also should be much easier now to update both nearly simultaneously; I updated my work files to streamline all the changes I need to make to convert the app version into the web version.

For the next update I want to add the following features:

  • The settings page ought to save the changes you make in settings permanently so that the next time you load the app or webapp, your settings remain the same as they were when you left. (Currently, settings are only saved while you are using the app, and the next time you open it the settings are restored to their default values.)

  • There should be a way to highlight verses and comments and/or add your own notes to the text.

  • I want to introduce another settings option where you can have all chapters automatically open up when you click a book title. Currently, if you click Genesis, for example, you also have to click what chapter in Genesis you want to read, and click each chapter after that to open those up too. I want there to be a switch in settings that will set all chapters to open up at once as soon as you select a book. This could be useful for people who want to open a book, copy the whole text, and paste it into a text-to-speech app. Currently, they have to open each chapter before copying the text, and that takes time.

  • I want to fix a linebreak bug I introduced in this current update. This bug creates two additional linebreaks at the beginning of certain chapters of the Bible. This appears to happen in Psalms 100-150, and I’m not sure if those are the only places where it happens.

  • I want to fix another linebreak bug that results from the “Note alert” switch that was introduced in Settings. When you turn on the Note alert switch to put identifying phrases around lines of commentary, at least one of the note alert phrases usually gets placed either two lines above the commentary or two lines under it.

  • Long term, I’d like to introduce a search feature that allows you to search the whole Bible for a word (e.g. “law of the Lord”) or for a verse address (e.g. “Deuteronomy 4:6” or “Deut. 4:6”) and have the app take you directly to that verse, or to a search page with all the verses containing the word or phrase you searched for.

I’m really learning a lot with this project. Thank you all for supporting me. Don’t forget to check out the latest revision on the web:

dmar198.github.io/drb-web-index.html

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