Upgrade Your Browser!

h2. …and set a World Record

It’s an exciting time for the web world, with some big developments coming up.

Download Day 2008

h3. Firefox 3

If you haven’t tried “Firefox”:http://getfirefox.com, the web browser better than “that other one”:http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/default.mspx, now is the time.

“Firefox”:http://www.spreadfirefox.com/ is a web browser that is faster, more secure, and customizable. And it’s free. The current version is “”:http://mozilla.com/firefox for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Even better is “Firefox 3”:http://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox3, which will be released on June 17, 2008.

The cool kids at Mozilla are trying to set a new Guinness World Record, for most software downloads in 24 hours. “Download Day”:http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord/ for “Firefox 3”:http://getfirefox.com is “Tuesday, June 17, 2008”:http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord/.

So, help us set a new Guinness World Record, and “Enjoy a Better Web.”

h3. Opera 9.5

Opera 9.5 logo

In the meantime, “Opera 9.5”:http://www.openoffice.org/products/desktop/ has been released. “Opera”:http://www.opera.com/ is a pretty good browser too, though web developers will probably wait for “Dragonfly”:http://www.opera.com/products/dragonfly/.

OpenOffice 3

OpenOffice logo

While you’re at it, you might want to upgrade your Office suite, as well. “OpenOffice”:download.openoffice.org/3.0beta/ is a free open-source office software suitex, for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. Latest release is version 2.4.1, and “OpenOffice 3”:download.openoffice.org/3.0beta/ is in beta.

In fact, my shiny almost-new Vista laptop has never run Microsoft Office. A statement I never expected to write, but with “OpenOffice”:http://www.openoffice.org/, I don’t even miss it.


Acts 2

Based on a “challenge”:http://godbit.com/article/bible-markup-pattern#c001602 from the venerable “Carl Camera”:http://iamacamera.org/:

h3. Acts 2

h4. The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

^1^ When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. ^2^ Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. ^3^ They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. ^4^ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[1] as the Spirit enabled them.

^5^ Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. ^6^ When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. ^7^ Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? ^8^ Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? ^9^ Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, ^10^ Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome ^11^ (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” ^12^ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

^13^ Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine[2].”

h4. Peter Addresses the Crowd

^14^ Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. ^15^ These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! ^16^ No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

^17^ ” ‘In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

^18^ Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

^19^ I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.

^20^ The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

^21^ And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved[3].’

^22^ “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. ^23^ This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men[4], put him to death by nailing him to the cross. ^24^ But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

^25^ David said about him:

” ‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

^26^ Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will live in hope,

^27^ because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

^28^ You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence[5].’

^29^ “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. ^30^ But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. ^31^ Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ[6], that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. ^32^ God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. ^33^ Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

^34^ For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand

^35^ until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet[7].” ‘

^36^ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

^37^ When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

^38^ Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ^39^ The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

^40^ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” ^41^ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

h4. The Fellowship of the Believers

^42^ They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ^43^ Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
^44^ All the believers were together and had everything in common. ^45^ Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. ^46^ Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, ^47^ praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

??(bibleref)Acts 2:1-47??

h3. Footnotes (NIV(New International Version)):

fn1. “Acts 2:4”:#en-NIV-26943 Or languages; also in verse 11

fn2. “Acts 2:13”:#en-NIV-26952 Or sweet wine

fn3. “Acts 2:21”:#en-NIV-26960 Joel 2:28-32

fn4. “Acts 2:23”:#en-NIV-26962 Or of those not having the law (that is, Gentiles)

fn5. “Acts 2:28”:#en-NIV-26967 Psalm 16:8-11

fn6. “Acts 2:31”:#en-NIV-26970 Or Messiah. “The Christ” (Greek) and “the Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean “the Anointed One”; also in verse 36.

fn7. “Acts 2:35”:#en-NIV-26974 Psalm 110:1

h3. “New International Version”:http://www.ibs.org/niv/

_Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society [Zondervan]_


Bible Markup Pattern: A Proposal

_(Also published at_ “Godbit”:http://godbit.com/article/bible-markup-pattern.)

What is the _best_ way to mark up text from the Bible? I’ve been thinking about this question for more than a year, and in that time I have sought an answer, or at least a proposal.

If you’re impatient, here are the examples: “Exodus 20”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/exodus-20, “Psalm 23”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/psalm-23, “Matthew 5”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/matthew-5, and “Matthew 6:5-15”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/Lord%27s+Prayer.

h3. Caveats

Please remember this article presents only a proposal for consideration. I am no theologian; nor am I a renowned expert on front-end code. Nor does every page of every site I’ve ever built have “best” markup, however I do make every effort to do so.

However, it seems to me that–of all texts in the world–it should be important to make an effort toward best practices in marking up the Bible.

Of course, I welcome corrections and commentary, any thoughts or additions.

h3. Background

Some good work has been done on citation of online Bible quotes, including “BibleRef”:http://www.semanticbible.com/bibleref/bibleref-overview.html and “OpenBible.info”:http://www.openbible.info/blog/2007/05/bible-microformats/. There are even some “WordPress plugins”:http://www.semanticbible.com/bibleref/bibleref-faq.html#wordpress for BibleRef.

bq. Bibleref is a simple approach to automatically identifying Bible references [in] web pages.

I use and recommend BibleRef, which is a foundational proposal that focuses directly on the citation, for example: @2 Tim 3:16@. All of the present examples use the “BibleRef”:http://www.semanticbible.com/bibleref/bibleref-overview.html citation format.

But I wanted something more comprehensive, that would help with marking up entire biblical texts or even a whole Bible.

bq. Bibleref is part of a general movement toward markup that expresses more semantic, rather than presentational, element.

So, my question is broader than citation format: what elements should we use,
as best practice?

h3. What’s “Best”?

When considering what may be a “best” way to mark up the Bible, several requirements or principles come to mind.

First, it means using (X)HTML in a way that is valid, minimal, and semantic. In this case, the term *”valid”* means essentially “meeting the requirements set by the “W3C”:http://www.w3.org/ of the specification selected by the “Doctype”:http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/Doctype of that document.”

*”Minimal”* refers to adding as few “elements and attributes”:http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#general as reasonably possible to the text itself, while preserving its structure.

And for purposes of this article, *”semantic”* means a few things: using meaningful elements that match each portion of the text, and communicate its functional meaning. In other words, if some text is a primary heading, use an

(heading) element; if it’s a paragraph, use a

(paragraph) element; if a block quote, use a

element, etc.

The word “semantic” also mandates general web standards principles, including:

* no tables for layout,
* avoid inline styles,
* avoid frames,
* avoid numerous

and elements (especially those with class attributes that mimic other elements, like headings and paragraphs),
* don’t require JavaScript or Flash.

h4. CMS(Content Management Systems) – Friendly

Another principle for my project is to recognize the ubiquity of the “content management system”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_management_system. Most current content on the web is no longer in static web pages; rather, it is stored in a database and presented dynamically when someone asks for it.

So, the four examples I’ve prepared are all marked up using the excellent “Textile”:http://textile.thresholdstate.com/ syntax, the “humane Web text generator”.

h3. Not a Microformat

I support and use “Microformats”:http://microformats.org/, but it should be noted that this Bible markup pattern is _not_ a Microformat, and for various reasons it probably never will be.

h3. Current Practice

I did some research on how some publishers and versions are presented on the web, basically by looking at as many of these four examples in the four versions that were available on these five sites: “Bible Gateway”:http://www.biblegateway.com/, “English Standard Version”:http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/, “eBible”:http://www.ebible.com/, “YouVersion”:http://youversion.com/, and “WEB Bible”:http://www.ebible.org/web/.

The markup was about what you might expect from large sites with big content management systems. With very few exceptions, the markup of the pages were all invalid, not minimal, and not semantic.

However, they all at least declared a Doctype, and compared to many enormous commercial sites, most of the markup was rather clean. In fact, almost all used heading elements well, and used some arrangement of mainly paragraph elements with some class attributes. Depending on the content management system, my impression is that much of this Bible text markup could be much improved without undue effort.

h3. Thing One, and Thing Two

Some informal study indicates there seem to be two basic semantic types or “genres” of biblical text.

The first type can be categorized as _prose_, and includes paragraphs, lists, and block quotes. The second type may be called _verse_, which includes poems, songs, and other lyrical matter.

I realize this may be gross over-simplification, but when constructing any taxonomy there is a tension in selecting the number of categories. In this case, I propose simply two categories, which adds semantic richness while being simple enough for this introductory article.

bq. The two main genres in the Bible are narrative and poetry.
— “Editors’ Preface”:http://www.esvliterarystudybible.org/preface to the “ESV”:http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/ Literary Study Bible

p. Even a simple two-category taxonomy can yield powerful results: pick up a Bible and compare Genesis to Psalms, which contain mostly _prose_ and _verse_ respectively. It’s obvious they are presented differently, and this basic presentational character can be preserved in the markup.

h3. Examples

As examples of this proposed Bible markup pattern, it seemed appropriate to use passages from both Old and New Testaments, including prose, block quotes, and verse.

I selected four texts as examples, which are posted on my blog: “Exodus 20”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/exodus-20, “Psalm 23”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/psalm-23, “Matthew 5”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/matthew-5, and “Matthew 6:5-15”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/Lord%27s+Prayer. These passages are also known as the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and … the Twenty-Third Psalm.

Each example is presented in a different version: Exodus 20 in the NIV(New International Version), Psalm 23 in the ESV(English Standard Version), Matthew 5 in the WEB(Web English Bible), and Matthew 6:5-15 in the KJV(King James Version).

h3. Overview: The Method

# *Bible:* The first step is simple: a container element, such as a

, gets a class attribute of “bible”.
# *Headings:* The second step is also easy: Headings use heading elements, such as


, etc.
# *Paragraphs:* Put almost everything else in a paragraph.
# *Block quotes:* surround one or more paragraphs of a block quote in a

# *Verse numbers and Footnotes:* At first, I thought it would be clever to use ordered lists for the verse numbers, but that only works if everyone begins all their Bible quotations from the beginning of a chapter. So, verse numbers are elements. Similarly, footnote reference numbers are elements with a class attribute of “footnote”.
# *Verse, Poetry, etc.:* As between “prose” and “verse,” I chose to make “prose” the default. If some or all of a passage is verse, then enclose that text with an element (such as a ) with a class attribute of “verse”.
# *Additional:* There are a few additional aspects, including div elements to enclose multi-paragraph “stanzas” of verse (see “Psalm 23”:http://michaelmontgomery.net/bible/psalm-23), and the markup of the footnotes.

h3. The Styles

For ease of reference, the Bible style information is embedded in the head of the examples, so you can simply view the page source.

In actual use, they should be included in a separate CSS(Cascading Style Sheet) file with the other styles for that page. A sample CSS file of the Bible styles is available for “download”:http://godbit.com/file_download/48/Bible.css.

h3. The Future

Some thoughts for the future:

* How to markup _Selah_ or a closing _Amen_? Perhaps class="affirmation"?
* Initial caps for the chapter number, superseding the verse number of the first verse of that chapter?
* Perhaps a print stylesheet, for selecting a slightly different font stack, or sizing the printed text in points.
* And the one I’m almost afraid to ask, what about class="wordsofchrist"?

Let the discussion begin….

_This article is (c) Montgomery 2008. Some rights released with a_ Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.


WordPress for Non-Technical People

Let’s say your new WordPress site has been set up, and you know how to login. Something called the “Dashboard” is on the screen. _Now what?_

This is an introduction to a few of the basics to using WordPress.

h3. Write a New Post

_(This article is written for WordPress 2.5 and similar later versions.)_

!/images/108.png! The first thing you notice is a big orange bar that says *”Right Now,”* and has buttons for “Write a New Page” and *”Write a New Post”.*

That last one sounds good, so click it: *”Write a New Post”.*

!/images/109.png! Now there’s a “Title” box (that one seems self-explanatory), and a “Post” box (and some other stuff down below). Type a title in the obvious place, and then let’s consider this “Post” box, with its associated tool buttons.

First, to the right of the label “Post” are two tabs: “Visual” and “HTML”. Eventually, you’ll want to use the HTML setting, so your code is as good as your prose.

!/images/112.png! For now, confirm that “Visual” is selected, and start typing your post.

h3. Formatting Buttons

There are several presentational buttons, in a row along the top of the “Post” box. You can select some text, then click these to make it bold, italic, etc. (Again, this produces HTML code that is pretty messy, so you’ll want to leave this “Visual” setting behind someday.)

!/images/111.png! Three of these formatting buttons, I just don’t recommend for non-technical people: Insert Image, Insert More Tag, and Show/Hide Kitchen Sink. So if you want to insert an image, instead use the “Add Media” buttons just above the main formatting buttons:

h3. Add Media

!/images/110.png! With these buttons, you can add an image, video, audio, or other media.

*Add an Image:* To add an image into your post, place the cursor about where you want the image to be. Click “Add an Image” (not the button with the picture of a tree, rather the button next to “Add media”).

Remember, do _not_ use the “Insert/edit image” because it’s a bit more geeky, and assumes the image is already uploaded to the internet (rather than on your computer).

!/images/114.png! A pop-up thing will … pop up. (Technically, this is called a “modal window.” Now you can impress people at parties with your technical knowledge.)

To select an image on your computer, click “Browse…” and select it from the right folder (“My Pictures,” for example). After clicking Okay or Open, click “Upload.” Then, you may wish to edit the title, caption or description. And you may wish to delete the “Link URL.” Next, select an “Alignment” and “Size,” and click “Insert into Post.”

*Add Video* and *Add Audio* use similar methods.

*Add Media* is also similar, but can be used to upload a PDF document. If you do upload a PDF, make sure to keep the link address that is automatically generated, since that is the link to the PDF document.

h3. Categories

Depending on which Theme you select for your WordPress site, most of the options below the main post won’t be relevant yet.

!/images/113.png! The one that’s probably important is “Categories” (or perhaps “Tags”), because your designer may have used them to dictate on which Page this post should go. For example, a post with category “Blog” will go on your blog page, and a post with category “Articles” will go on your articles page, etc.

When you’re done with your post, click “Publish” and take a look at your site. If all looks well, hooray!

If not, just go to the “Manage” tab (and the “Posts” sub-tab), and click the post to edit it.

h3. Next Steps

Future articles may cover other aspects of maintaining your WordPress site. Till then, enjoy publishing your content.