Syntax: What’s New?

There have been a number of changes and improvements to the syntax feature of LDLS 3.0 in the last couple of beta releases. To obtain Beta 7, visit the Logos Beta Download page. You’ll need to install both the LDLS 3.0 Beta 7 download and the 3.0 Beta Resources in order to get all the functionality I describe below.

I’ll start off with what’s new with the Syntax Search dialog, which can be accessed by choosing Search > Syntax Search from the main LDLS menu. The Syntax Search dialog has seen a lot of exciting changes. If you’re interested in syntax at all, I encourage you to use and abuse these new features. If you find any bugs, log onto the beta newsgroup on our news server and let us know.

Loading & Saving. This is probably the biggest and best change. Make a syntax query, then hit the Save or Save As… buttons, and the query will be saved to your My Documents/Libronix DLS/SyntaxQueries folder. The query can then be loaded up again later by hitting the Load… button in the dialog.

A syntax query can be shared with others by copying the Libronix Syntax Database Query (*.lbxsdq) file from your hard drive and sending it to whomever you want to share it with. They can then save the *.lbxsdq file to their My Documents/Libronix DLS/SyntaxQueries folder and load it up in the dialog.

Copying Terms. Select any term in the query, and press the “Copy” button. An exact clone of that term and any child terms it may have is pasted to the end of your query. This should save lots of time making complicated queries.

before copy …

after copy …

Entry Helpers. Speaking of saving time, did you notice the “Add: …” line in the screenshots above? Beneath each search term there are now “entry helper” links. Select a term and then hit entry helper link for the term you would like to add. This is exactly equivalent to going to the Add menu and choosing the term you want to add. What used to take two clicks now takes one.

Constraints on “Anything”. If you make a query like the one below, you aren’t going to be happy with the amount of time it takes to execute. Why? Because you’ve asked for a word, then anything followed by another word. The anything could literally be anything, including every word in the Hebrew Bible. (Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to restrict queries like this to be with a larger structure, like a phrase or a clause.)

As of Beta 6, however, you can set limits on what the anything operator is allowed to match. When you select an anything operator, you can allow it to match any number of text units (that would be words or text segments) or only a specfic number of units. Thus, the anything operator essentially becomes a WITHINWORD proximity operator for syntax databases.

If we set the anything to match only between 1 and 2 segments, we get a query like the one below, which executes in under a second and finds two hits:

Much better.

Term-level “OR”. A new term is introduced for all syntax databases: OR. When placed between sets of terms, the OR operator lets one or the other match. For example, if you wanted to find where “this” or “that” appeared in the subject of a clause, you could make a query that looks like this:

Granted, that’s not a very interesting query. What if you want the subject to be only elohim or ha-elohim. Then you could create a query that looks like this:

The OR alternates between everything that is above it (on the same level or generation of the query family tree) and everything that is below (on the same level), not just its immediate neighbors. Thus, that query should be read as (elohim OR (article, elohim)) not ((elohim OR article), elohim). Got it?

You can list as many alternates as necessary, and each of the alternates can have its own structure. The following query will match any subject that contains “elohim”, or “ha-elohim”, or “yhwh elohim”, or a phrase that has two segments that are glossed “God of”, and “Israel”.

Next: What’s new with the Syntax Search results.

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Written by
Eli Evans

Eli Evans is a Software Interaction Designer for Logos Bible Software. He is responsible for designing user experiences for many Faithlife/Logos products. Eli occasionally writes the “Bible as Art” column for Bible Study Magazine. He resides in Bellingham with his wife, Olga, and their five children. He is a “Sunday composer” (Soundcloud) and has published an 11-movement suite for orchestra and choir based on Genesis 1, Creation.

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Written by Eli Evans