Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Review of Pradis Bible Software

Dan Phillips, who has written reviews of Logos Bible Software and BibleWorks 7, asked how Pradis was.

I downloaded my free copy of Pradis, with the NASB (1995 update) and the UBS4 Greek New Testament. Here’s a cursory review of that system, written for Dan and anyone else who might be interested. Remember, you can get it free until the end of the year.

The checkout process was easy, and it took me longer to download than it did to check out. Download was about 25MB. Once I installed it, it was up and running in a few seconds.

Navigation is available by chapter on the sidebar, or you can do a search. The NASB text is displayable in either verse or paragraph format (very nice, since this is hard to find), while the UBS text is verse only.

Like other higher end Bible software, this one comes with the ability to link texts, save desktops, and a right-click will give you the option to copy verse, chapter, or selection. But there aren't many options for the format of the text itself. For instance, you can't leave out verse numbers or the headings.

The text window has an optional display of footnotes and cross references at the right or bottom of the screen. Only one of those items can be shown in a position; the footnotes on the side aren't legible, so realistically, the setup has to be cross references on the side and footnotes on the bottom. Cross references have popups, or you can click through to them. Removing the footnote and cross reference panes removed them from the text as well. One annoying thing here was that if you split the windows, you couldn’t adjust the size of the panes.

The link option between the UBS & NASB worked perfectly when both were displayed as verses only. When displayed as paragraphs, the search took you to the nearest paragraph.

The Greek text was the biggest disappointment. It uses the same technique found on the Basics of Biblical Greek CDRom. In fact, the font from Pradis and the Mounce font use the same transliteration scheme. In fact, the two fonts are almost identical. I can understand the reasoning for doing the Greek font that way. You maximize compatibility when you provide your own font and scheme. That's good for printing (assuming a good quality font), but you can't use it for e-mail, blogging, etc.

I'm not sure how useful it would be to someone else, particularly if you already have BibleWorks or the Greek module for Libronix, except for maybe the person who is invasively curious about the differences between the UBS Greek text and the Greek text underlying the NIV.

In summary: This review is limited, and based on initial impressions only, due to the constraints of trying to get something out there for someone who's thinking about getting some free software. I’m sure some of the limitations I've mentioned are due to not having a bunch of modules installed, just my two free Bibles, and also not working with it very much. But the main perception that I got from my use of it is that it is truly intended to be a retail product - not geared toward either scholars or those in ministry, but laypeople.

As for myself, I got a copy of the NASB 1995 update for free, so I won't complain too much. There are some preferences I'd rather see, but I can live with it. No Unicode for the Greek means no help with blogging. That's disappointing, but I may get some use from the Greek module using word processors like WordPerfect, which don't support Unicode. I probably won't use this software as much as I do other tools, but it will be there for when I need it.

If you’re going to take advantage of the free offer before its expiration at the end of the year, consider getting two English Bible translations instead.

1 comment:

DJP said...

Thanks for going to the trouble. Actually, what I'm thinking about it for is NIDOTTE, which is only out in Pradis. If I do that, I might get another title or two. Wish NIDOTTE were in Libronix.