Review of QuickVerse for Mac

My Impressions of the Latest Bible program for Mac OS X

by Rino Dattilo (Posted: 7/6/05)

The New Kid in Town

I love the Mac platform and I love new software and I love my Bible. So when I heard there was going to be a new kid in town where Bible software for the Mac is concerned, I was elated. I believe for the pastor/ teacher there has only truly been one game in town on Mac OS X, and that has been Accordance Bible Software. This is wonderful software, extremely powerful Bible Study software. But for many of us that have been on the Mac platform for a short time or are from the PC side of things, we cut our teeth on other applications. For me I started with Quickverse on PC and then WordSearch on PC, and when I made the "switch" to Mac I was initially an Online Bible user. With each transition to a new software program I found that there were always things I loved about the other packages that I wished I had again. So I ordered QuickVerse in the hope that it would meet needs not being met elsewhere.

Christmas in July

I don't know if I am the only grown up that feels like a kid when new software arrives, but that is how I am. I am sure I am not alone, right? So when QuickVerse came in the mail I loaded it on my PowerBook right away to see how it would stack up. I had many expectations for the application, but the biggest things I was looking forward to were (1) The "Tiger specific" items it was advertised as having – a Spotlight plug-in and a Dashboard widget, and (2) the fact that QuickVerse was totally rewritten in Cocoa by programmers who know and love the Mac. From the way QuickVerse was advertised, I don’t believe that my expectations were too high.

When I opened the package, which was just a CD and a small manual, it all looked very professional and the presentation was classy. It was now on to the install.

Overall Impression

After I installed QuickVerse and began to work with it I found myself lost as to how this app was supposed to work. I don't find myself needing a manual very often, but with this program I had to think that I must be missing something. Even after reading the manual, the bottom line was that I wasn't missing anything; this program simply was not intuitive to me. Now it could very well be that I am now just accustomed to Accordance, but I just did not like how QuickVerse was set up. I found it to be counter-productive to study. Consequently, I am afraid that the word "cumbersome" is going to be my theme for this review.

First the set up. The QuickVerse Library is organized by what they call the List View. This is where all books installed are available. From there you move to the Book Window. This is the window that has the book your are looking at or studying from, and each book will have its own window and Table of Contents (see the illustration). So the first thing you will notice, that is a lot of windows! On top of that, there is no way to switch books in an open window. Let’s say that you are in the NLT and you want to switch to NKJV. I was unable to find any way to do this without having to open yet another window. The same goes for every reference work too. Again, that is a lot of windows and I am on a 12" Powerbook!

I did eventually discover that you can open more than one book in a single window, but I did not find the process very intuitive. By dragging and dropping a book title from the Library List view onto an open Book window, you can add a pane containing that book. You can also hold down the Apple key while clicking multiple titles in the Library and then choose Open from the File menu. This will open a new Book window displaying each book you selected.

Your study with commentaries works either independent of the Bible window or in sync with your study. Window Sync is not very well implemented and again cumbersome. The whole idea with window sync is that your windows stay in sync with what you are studying, right? Well with QuickVerse that is still very rough. I personally had to move my study text past the point I was studying until the sync recognized what it was supposed to do and then go back to the text I needed. It worked fine from then on, but it felt buggy.

Going to a specific verse reference is not all that intuitive either. I am so accustomed to just having a window in which I can type a reference and see the text I want to see. In QuickVerse there is a "VerseFinder." In the manual it states, "QuickVerse VerseFinder is a powerful tool for quickly locating verses in your Bibles that works in three easy steps." Mind you, it is not that the steps are not easy, but three? This method reminds me a lot of the way I have to navigate bible searches on my Palm. It is cumbersome to say the least.

Now on to the parts of the application that I was really looking forward to: the Tiger specific features of Spotlight compatibility and a Bible widget. Well, when I ordered QuickVerse the website said that they were there, but when I installed the CD, they were nowhere to be found! Neither is there any mention of them in the manual or even now on the website! That took my hopes for a cool application down to frustration because it made me feel that I was lied to. Whether on purpose or not, that is not good business practice.

QuickVerse is not a total loss and I don't want to leave that impression – what I am trying to do is inform you the reader what my impressions are. This is version one, and it does for the most part run well. It is the first commercial Bible application for OS X developed in Cocoa, which means that there should be a lot of cool features to come because of the program's OS X underpinnings.

The manual says also that QuickVerse for Mac is STEP book compatible, but this is so new not even the folks at QuickVerse could answer this one for me. For the most part they all believed that it was not STEP compatible but that QuickVerse was going to aggressively add modules that they have publication rights to.

Lastly, what you receive for the money is really nice. I purchased the Black Box version, which included a few Bible translations that you have to pay extra for with other applications. The commentary list is small, but there are additional resources in the works. I only paid $79 for the early purchase with free shipping. Another thing I did like were the word pronunciations, and the QuickVerse maps and pictures are really a nice touch!

For the novice or Sunday School teacher this is a wonderful value, but for the scholar or pastor, I believe that there is a lot more work that needs to be done. Will it be done? I believe so. The volume of interest and sales generated for version one surprised even the QuickVerse sales team.

[Editor's Note: For more on QuickVerse for Mac, see the companion article: QuickVerse Bible Software Comes to the Mac]

Rino Dattilo is the Senior Pastor of South Coast Church in Goleta, California. He and his wife, Brenda have three daughters: Justina, Emilia, and Micaela.