RefTagger on Your Desktop

RefTagger is the perfect tool for making the Bible references on your blog or website more useful for your readers. Thousands of people have installed it, and we’ve delivered more than 100,000,000 Bible verses so far. If you don’t have it on your site yet, why don’t you give it a try?

We’ve received lots of good feedback regarding features you’d like to see implemented. Many of the improvements that we’ve made since we launched RefTagger a little over a year ago are the result of suggestions you’ve sent. So, thank you!

One of the things that has been requested on several occasions is the ability to use RefTagger in desktop applications like Microsoft Word or in emails. Based on the technology that RefTagger uses, it is not currently possible to use it anywhere other than on the web. So, unfortunately, I’m not announcing a desktop version of RefTagger (perhaps eventually—we’ll have to see).

However, there is a way to get some of the benefits of RefTagger on your desktop. You can use the power of RefTagger to add hyperlinks to Bible references in your sermons, papers, articles, books, emails, etc. You won’t get the tooltips, but at least you (and the people you share your content with) will have one-click access to the passages at Bible.Logos.com.

Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Copy the content of your Word document or email into a page or post on a website of yours that has RefTagger installed.
  2. View the page on your site.
  3. Copy and paste the content that RefTagger tagged back into your original document.

Voila! You now have the Bible verses in your document or email hyperlinked to Bible.Logos.com. If you have lots of Bible verses that you want to have hyperlinked, this will definitely be a big timesaver.

If you’re on the techie side, you might want to check out Sean Boisen’s post “A RefTagger Hack,” where he explains how to create a simple form that makes this even easier.

Logos on Twitter

twitter.jpgFor all you Twitter users out there, we wanted to let you know that Logos is now on Twitter.

As a self diagnosed Twitteraholic (shameless plug) I’m pretty excited to see the Logos Twitter page up and running. I’ve been using Twitter for almost a year now and have really enjoyed it as a way to stay up to date with not only my friends, but ministries and companies I’m interested in.

If you’re on Twitter and want to follow us, you’ll soon see that Twitter is a great way for you to keep tabs on things like new prepubs, blog posts, tips and tricks from Morris Proctor, office news, and (of course) the occasional Twitpic. Outside of these common uses, we’ll be experimenting with Twitter and how to use it in such a way that the Logos Twitter community can really benefit. While we’ll likely have multiple people contributing, I’ll be the main monitor for now. So, feel free to DM me @Logos if you have any ideas for how to make our Twitter better for all of our users.

For those of you reading this post and wondering what Twitter is all about, here’s a short video explanation:

Enjoy.

Adding RefTagger to a bbPress Site

bbPress is free forum software from the makers of WordPress. Though it’s not as popular as some of the other options, it’s looks to be a nice, simple alternative to more complicated platforms. It also has the advantage of integrating nicely with WordPress.

The latest version of bbPress, 0.9.0.2, does not allow you to edit your theme from the admin panel, and no one has developed a RefTagger plugin yet either. So to add RefTagger, you’ll need to do it the old fashion way—via FTP access to your site’s files.

Here’s how to get it set up:

  1. Navigate to your bbPress folder.
  2. Open the bb-templates folder, and then open your theme’s folder. The default theme is kakumei.
  3. Locate footer.php and save a local copy (and a backup copy too).
  4. Open the file in Dreamweaver, WordPad or your favorite code editor.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and paste the customizable RefTagger code right before the </body> tag.
  6. Save the file and upload it back to your server.

You’re all set. RefTagger is now transforming your bbPress site.

If you’re using RefTagger on your bbPress site, send us an email and let us know!

Adding RefTagger to a WordPress Blog

WordPress Logo WordPress is one of the most popular and powerful blogging platforms. It comes in two flavors: the hosted version (i.e., WordPress.com) and the self-hosted version (i.e., WordPress.org). This tutorial addresses how to add RefTagger to a WordPress.org blog since it is currently not possible to add it to a WordPress.com blog. WordPress.com bloggers, jump to the bottom to find out how you can help to change that.

There are two ways to set up RefTagger on your WordPress.org blog: (1) use the plugin or (2) set it up manually. The plugin is the best option since it keeps the code separate from your theme, which allows you to change themes without having to reinstall the code. It also enables you to keep up to date easily with future changes and feature additions to RefTagger with WordPress’s simply one-click plugin updates. But some of you may prefer the control of the manual route or may just not know how to find your WordPress files via FTP.

So take your pick with either of the below methods.

Method 1: Using the Plugin

To use the plugin, you need FTP access to your site’s files—at least for now. With WordPress 2.7, you will be able to browse and install plugins right from the admin panel!

If you’re like me and happen to be using WordPress 2.7 Beta 2, adding a new plugin like RefTagger is amazingly easy.

  1. Simply navigate to Plugins > Add New (i.e., http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/plugin-install.php) and search for RefTagger. RefTagger should show up as the top search result.
  2. Click “Install” on the far right, and then click “Install Now” in the window that opens. It takes just a second or two to install, and then you’re taken to a screen where you can activate it.
  3. Click “Activate Plugin,” and then navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like.

If you’re playing it safe and running WordPress 2.6.3 or earlier, here’s what you need to do to set it up.

  1. Go to http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/reftagger/, and click “Download.” Save the zip folder, and then extract the contents.
  2. Fire up your favorite FTP program. (FileZilla is a nice free option.) Then navigate to the place where you installed WordPress. It’s probably in a folder called “public_html” or “www.” Locate the “wp-content” folder, and then open it. You’ll see a “plugins” folder inside. Open it, and then copy the RefTagger.php file that you extracted from the zip folder into that folder.
  3. Log in to your WordPress admin panel, and then go to your Plugins page. Find RefTagger in the list of inactivate plugins, and then click “Activate.”
  4. Navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like.

Method 2: Adding the Code Manually

  1. Log in to your WordPress admin panel, navigate to the “Design” page, and click on “Theme Editor.”
  2. Find your theme’s “Footer” template, and click on it to open it.
  3. Scroll to the bottom, paste the customizable RefTagger code immediately before the </body> tag, and click “Update File.”
  4. Navigate to the RefTagger page under the Settings menu to customize it, if you’d like.

WordPress.com users, are you feeling a little left out? We want to help, but there’s only so much we can do. The good folks at WordPress.com are willing to consider adding built-in support for RefTagger, but they need to see that there is enough interest. One of the things that they look at is the number of times that our plugin has been downloaded and installed. If you have friends using WordPress.org, encourage them to download and use the plugin.

Finally, a word to those of you who create WordPress themes or help churches and ministries get websites set up with WordPress: please consider adding RefTagger as a standard part of your theme or site set-up process. It’s a great way to improve the service you provide to people—at no cost to you and with very little effort.

Now Your Visitors Can Customize RefTagger

RefTagger Control Panel Dark Grey WideIf you manage your own website or blog and use RefTagger, you get to choose the default Bible version that is used for the tooltips and the links to Bible.Logos.com. But your readers probably don’t all have the same favorite version as you do. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could all see the Bible passages in their preferred version?

Now they can with the RefTagger control panel. Every one of your visitors gets to chose their favorite Bible version and decide whether or not they want to see the links to Libronix. All you have to do is add one of the small control panels anywhere on your site—like in your sidebar—and your readers will be able to set their own preferences. The control panel uses a cookie to remember these preferences every time they return to any page on your site.

Try It Out

The control panel is now in the sidebar here on the blog, so test it out to see how it works. Watch what it does to these Bible verses: 1 Thes 2:13; Exodus 5:5ff; Rev. 1:1-3.

Add It to Your Site

Set up is a simple, two-step process. Just click on one of the sample control panels to get the necessary code and instructions on how to add it to your site. We provide you with eight different options to choose from, but we invite you to style the control panel any way you’d like to match the look of your site.

If you have RefTagger on your site, consider adding the control panel to make RefTagger even more useful for your readers.

Spread the Word

If you frequent a site that uses RefTagger, drop the site admins a note and encourage them to add the control panel. We don’t have contact information for all of the 4,000 sites using RefTagger, so we need your help to let them know about this cool new tool.

Adding RefTagger to a Joomla! Site

Joomla! is one of the the most popular Content Management System software. It’s a great choice for church and ministry websites, and I’ve seen many build some sharp sites with it.

Setting up RefTagger on a Joomla! site is quite easy.

There are the simple steps to getting it up and running in no time:

  1. Log in to your admin panel (http://yoursite.com/administrator/).
  2. Hover over the “Extensions” tab and click “Template Manager.”
  3. Click on the name of the template that you are using. The default with Joomla! 1.5.2 is “rhuk_milkyway.”
  4. Click the “Edit HTML” button at the top right.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the code and paste in the customizable RefTagger code from the RefTagger page right before the </body> tag.

That’s it! RefTagger is now working on your entire Joomla! site!

Adding RefTagger to a vBulletin Site

vBulletin Forum Software from JelsoftvBulletin is perhaps the most popular forum software on the market. If you’ve been to a forum site, chances are you’ve been to a vBulletin site.

Do you administer or moderate a vBulletin site that has biblical content? Why not add RefTagger? Your site will instantly become much more useful for your readers, and the immediate access to the Bible will no doubt have positive effects on your site.

Here are several possible benefits to consider.

RefTagger . . .

  • promotes citing the Bible more carefully.
  • encourages citing the Bible more frequently.
  • makes reading the Bible easier.
  • keeps people at your site longer.

TheologyOnline is a nice example of how RefTagger can really enhance a forum site.

By following these brief steps, you can have RefTagger up and running on your site in just a couple of minutes.

  1. Log in and navigate to your admin control panel (e.g., http://www.yoursite.com/forums/admin/).
  2. Click on “Styles & Templates” in the left column to expand it, and then click on “Style Manager.”
  3. Locate your style in the list (i.e., the one with the checkbox checked), and choose “Edit Templates” from the dropdown box.
  4. Locate the “footer” template in the list on the left, click on it, and then click “Edit” under “Controls.”
  5. Scroll to the very bottom, paste in the customizable RefTagger code, and click “Save.”

That’s it. Your Bible references are now interactive and far more usable for your readers.

If you frequent a forum site that still has plain old bare Bible references, perhaps it’s about time to contact a moderator or the site administrator and let them know about RefTagger.

Get more help setting RefTagger up on your site at the tutorial section of the RefTagger page.

RefTagger Gets New Versions . . . and Much More!

Over the last few weeks our web team has been working hard on even more cool enhancements to RefTagger, so we have several updates to share with you.

1. RefTagger Now Links to Bible.Logos.com

As of Monday, RefTagger is now directing all links to our new online Bible site, Bible.Logos.com. This allows us to bring you a more tightly integrated experience and to continue to improve RefTagger by adding more functionality. We also think Bible.Logos.com is a pretty cool place to read and search the Bible online. :)

2. Several New Bible Versions

Not too long ago we added support for the NIV, TNIV, and NIrV. On Monday—after numerous requests—we were finally able to add the NASB as well. If one of these is your default version, you’ll now see the appropriate text in the tooltip windows. If we still don’t have your favorite version, please let us know.

3. User Control Panel

As a webmaster you get to decide which Bible version RefTagger will display on your site. But what if your readers prefer a different version? To solve this problem, we’ve created the RefTagger control panel. Adding the small control panel somewhere on your site allows your readers to set their preferences, like which version they want to see and whether or not to display the icons linking to Libronix.

You should be able to get the control panel from the RefTagger page very soon—perhaps later today or Monday. I’ll update this post as soon as it is available.

4. Multiple Version Citation Support

Until now RefTagger allowed you to specify a single version to use for all Bible references on your site, but what if you want to cite a version different from your default for comparative purposes? You’re readers could click the link to Bible.Logos.com and then switch versions to compare, but we can do better than that—and we have. Now RefTagger will recognize when you cite a version other than your default and display the appropriate version when you use one of the following three formats:

  • John 3:16 NLT
  • John 3:16, NLT
  • John 3:16 (NLT)

5. Easier Plugin Upgrades for WordPress Users

Our RefTagger WordPress plugin is now proudly hosted at the official WordPress Plugin Directory. This is good news for users of WordPress.org (i.e., the self-hosted version). No more having to manually check for updates. WordPress’s built-in plugin update notification system will inform you when new versions are available, and one-click automatic updating allows you to get the latest version with ease.

This is also potentially great news for users of WordPress.com (i.e., the version they host), who, unfortunately, can’t use RefTagger right now. We’ve been in talks with the folks at WordPress.com about getting built-in RefTagger support for WordPress.com. If our WordPress.org plugin is popular enough, they said they will likely make it available on WordPress.com as well!

So if you’re a user of the self-hosted version of WordPress, please download and install the plugin and give it a good rating. WordPress.com users need your help!

Spreading Across the Web

We’re thrilled to see the response to RefTagger. Dozens of new sites are adding it every day. It’s now on more than 2,600 sites! RefTagger keeps getting better and better because of the helpful feedback you send. If you find a bug or have a cool idea for a new feature, please let us know.

Adding RefTagger to a Movable Type Blog

Movable Type is probably the most common platform for corporate blogging and happens to be the software that we use to power our blogs. It’s also used by many for personal blogging.

Adding RefTagger to a Movable Type blog is can be accomplished in just a few minutes. Here are the steps you need to take to get RefTagger up and running on MT 4.21, which is presently the latest version.

  1. Navigate to your admin panel (http://yoursite.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi or something similar).
  2. If you have more than one blog, select the blog you want to add RefTagger to first from the main dropdown menu at the top left.
  3. Hover over the “Design” tab, and click on “Templates.”
  4. Scroll down to Template Modules, and click on “Footer.” (If you don’t see anything under Template Modules, then you’re probably using an outdated template. Considering updating to a new one, or see the additional instructions below.)
  5. Scroll to the bottom, and then paste the customizable RefTagger code right before the </body> tag.
  6. Click “Save.”
  7. If you have more than one blog, repeat steps 2-6.
  8. Publish your changes.

You’re good to go. RefTagger is now working on your entire site—no matter how many years you’ve been blogging.

If you’re using MT 3.x or a pre-MT 4 template that lacks built-in support for template modules, you’ll need to add the RefTagger code to the following templates. Repeat steps 4-6 above for each of the following templates:

  1. Main Index (under the Index Templates)
  2. Category Archive (under the Archive Templates)
  3. Date-Based Archive (under the Archive Templates)
  4. Individual Entry Archive (under the Archive Templates)

If you need help, don’t hesitate to send an email to reftagger@logos.com and let us know.

Bible.Logos.com Now in Beta!

Most of us still use desktop applications when we want to do serious work, but web applications are improving rapidly and fast becoming viable alternatives, at least when it comes to basic functionality. Desktop applications simply can’t compete with the convenience of being able to access your data from any computer connected to the web.

That’s why Logos continues to develop web-based tools and applications.

WBSA

A little over a year ago we re-released a site that’s come to be referred to as WBSA (short for “What the Bible Says About”), an interactive online version of the New Nave’s Topical Bible. WBSA allows you to enter a Bible topic and quickly get access to relevant Bible passages.

RefTagger

Then about six months ago we launched RefTagger, a powerful free tool that makes your Bible references come alive and gives websites the feel of your Bible software.

Bible.Logos.com

Now we’re releasing a beta version of our online Bible site.

Why another Bible site? What makes Bible.Logos.com different? Here are a few reasons we think Bible.Logos.com will soon become your first choice for searching the Bible on the web.

  • Efficient UI: Its unique user interface allows you to do more—more quickly and more conveniently—without having to continually load new pages and without losing your place. (1) Search results and Bible text are side by side. (2) Both use infinite scrolling. (3) Switching to a different version is seamless; your location and search results are instantly mapped over.
  • Incredible Speed: It’s blazingly fast. Searches are instantaneous, and pages load in a flash.
  • Smart Searching: It uses cutting-edge fuzzy searching technology so you can search the Bible more like you search the web. Search results are prioritized so you get the best hits first.
  • Seamless Integration: WBSA, RefTagger, and Bible.Logos.com will all be tightly integrated into a growing family of websites allowing you to have a more connected Bible study experience—both on and off the web.

Help Us Test It

As soon as Bible.Logos.com is ready to handle all the traffic that RefTagger is generating, we’re going to flip the switch and connect the two.

This is where we need your help. We’ve been beta testing the site with a small group for the last two weeks, and we’re ready to open it up to a broader audience to help us work out any remaining bugs. We want to make sure that it’s really ready.

Here’s what you can do. Spend 5 or 10 minutes looking up passages, running searches, and navigating through the various translations that are available. Give it everything you’ve got.

Type in things like:

  • all sorts of Bible references using a variety of formats and abbreviations (e.g., Jude; Job 22; Mal. 3:11; Jn 5:5-10; Mt 6.1-3; Rv 4:8-9)
  • words and phrases from the Bible (e.g., good, love, lion, in Christ)
  • words and phrases that you think might be from the Bible (e.g., honor your parents, I love Jesus)
  • words and phrases that sound like they could be from the Bible, but aren’t (e.g., God helps those who help themselves, cleanliness is next to godliness, do your best and let God do the rest)
  • anything you want to (e.g., I’m very tired, drink milk)

Go give it a try.

Please send your bugs and feedback to bible@logos.com or drop us a note in the comments.