My last blog on the topic of Bible software, found here, included a comparison of two powerhouse programs, BibleWorks 8 and Accordance 8. Since that blog, both BibleWorks and Accordance have released version 9 of their software. So what exactly is new with these two programs?
I am in no way an expert on either one of these programs, but I have been using both of them quite extensively throughout my five year seminary career. Both BibleWorks and Accordance have made some pretty neat changes to the functionality of their programs, and I want to focus upon some of the more significant new features.
With Accordance, one of the biggest new features is its mobile device versions that are provided free-of-charge with the purchase of the software. In the recent years we have seen newer and more powerful mobile devices that have created a society constantly connected to technology no matter where they are. Accordance understands this new craze in the mobile computing world, so they have released a mobile version of their program that works with the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod touch. This mobile version began with a few bugs, but those have since been fixed. Overall this is an effective mobile Bible software tool. How cool is it that I can bust out my iPhone or iPad and have a good portion of my Biblical library searchable at my fingertips. (See a demo of this software in action here) BibleWorks is yet to release something similar for the PC user, but hopefully there will be something on the horizon. Hopefully….
Also new with Accordance is the improved organization of workspaces. In previous Accordance versions, you would open up different tools and before long could have quite a cluttered mess of tabs at the top of your workspace. Now, Accordance has improved this by allowing users to have multiple tools open in the same workspace with its new feature called Zones. You can customize and re-size all of these zones into a paneled look that fits your own specifications. (See image below)
Finally, an extremely cool and convenient upgrade to Accordance 9 is the Easy Install feature. Before, when you wanted to order a new module for your software, you had to purchase the module online, or in a store, then wait to receive a code to unlock the feature on your software. Now you can receive more than 90% of Accordance’s library of tools instantly after purchase with their Easy Install feature. Simply buy the module online at Accordance’s website, then download it in your program via Easy Install. Its super easy and super convenient.
For a detailed video about the newest features in Accordance 9 check out the video here provided by Accordance.
BibleWorks has also added some cool features to its newest version. One of the most obvious things you will notice different about BibleWorks 9 is its added fourth column. (See image below)
This fourth column allows for another group of analysis tools to be open at the same time as the others. You can customize these columns so that your two favorite tools are open simultaneously along with the Biblical passage you are studying. BibleWorks has also cleaned up its interface a bit with the introduction of newer and cleaner looking icons. BibleWorks 9 still does not have the same aesthetic beauty or simplicity of a program like Accordance, but it has improved.
One of the biggest upgrades, and the thing that continues to separate BibleWorks from Accordance, is more added content. BibleWorks is by far the better bang-for-your-buck software package when it comes to content. Newly added to BibleWorks 9 are the BibleWorks Manuscript Project, The Moody Atlas of the Bible, more Greek New Testaments, the ESV Study Bible, Systematic Theologies, and more English Bible translations. All of these come along with the already stellar grouping of tools from BibleWorks 8 in the base BibleWorks package. All of these modules are also available in Accordance 9, but you will pay a whole lot more for them. For a listing of the new features in BibleWorks 9 check out the link here.
Overall, I am pleased with the changes to both programs. I personally am still a fan of Accordance and the work that they do, but BibleWorks continues to be a big competitor in the world of Bible software. One of my biggest critiques of BibleWorks is their lack of mobile functionality. I feel this is a huge oversight on their behalf. Other PC Bible Software packages like Logos offer this capability to its users. Hopefully BibleWorks will offer it as well soon.