TW4’s Hottest Module Type:
The Hybrid: A Book+Commentary Module
Consider for a moment the two digital module types that are used to recreate real world Bible commentaries: commentaries and general books. Each have distinct advantages over the other; each have glaring weaknesses, too.
The “Commentary” Module Format
First, let’s consider the “commentary.” TW’s “commentary” module format typically
follows this file naming convention -
Well, all of TW’s non-
I think the advantages of this format are relatively easy to see (!!). But there
is a drawback: a general inability to present a logical flow of information (outside
of the verse-
The General Book Module Format
That brings us, secondly, to the “General Book” module type -
The big advantage for the general book module type is hierarchialism (no, not bad philosphy; good organizational flow!). Many real world books have not only chapters, but also “volumes.” Here’s a real world example: Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology has 8 volumes in the original hard cover set. So, converted to a digital module with one file, it looks something like the accompanying picture. (For a comprehensive review of Chafer’s Systematic Theology, click here. To see a review of how it is implemented in TW, click here.)
But many modules have not only “volumes;” they also have “units”, too. Again, using Chafer’s Systematic Theology, any one of the volumes has more than one “unit” of study. Volume One has three units (plus a “Table of Contents” for Volume 1): Prolegomena, Bibliology, and Theology Proper. But these units have individual chapters, too. “Theology Proper” has four chapters under it. With theWord’s hierarchial topic structure, it is quite easy to see the flow of Chafer’s thought. Check out the information in the picture to see it for yourself.
In smaller titles, this type of organization may seem superfluous. But in a larger module? Wow! Does it ever make a difference in helping to understand an author’s flow of thought!
The downside to the general book module is that it is incapable of linking directly to a verse (or verse range). Pity.
But What About Single Volume Commentaries?
There are many single volume commentaries that are written not only with chapter
and verse divisions, but also with unit divisions as well. A good commentary doesn’t
only give you a verse-
Well... now they can!
Introducing TW4’s Hybrid Module!
TW4 includes a beta feature: a module type Costas calls a “hybrid” module. It has the properties of a general book module (even the .gbk.twm file format) but with the ability to link to specific verses of the Bible like a commentary. So it truly is the best of both worlds!
The hybrid module is still in the beta stage; that simply means that it is stable
enough for the public to use, but it hasn’t yet reached it’s planned development
as a proven bug-
An example of TW4’s hybrid module type is Douglas Moo’s Romans for the New International Commentary on the New Testament series. (To see my comprehensive product review, click here. To see how it flawlessly works with TW, click here.) Take a look at this picture to see how it works as both a commentary and a general book module. What you’ll see is the combination of the best elements of the commentary and general book modules.
The picture shows the Bible window set to Rom 3:24, the book module linked to comments at Rom 3:24, and a beautiful hierarchial flow in the topic tree. Gorgeous implementation indeed! Bravo, Costas!
There is a downside to this hybrid type of module. Commentaries that are built as
hybrids (like the Moo Romans module from NICNT) cannot be used with the inline Bible
setting. They also do not yet work with “commentary links.” And third party module
builders cannot yet build them. These negatives will range from “non-
I can, though, tell you this: updates that will correct all three of these issues are currently being developed for an imminent software update. When completed, the hybrid module will be just about perfect.
I myself have several modules already published that I will enjoy turning into hybrid modules. I’m sure over time that more and more general books will be reformatted to hybrids, making them more and more useful in the study of God’s wonderful book.