With all the energy that Keith Williams and others are putting into revitalizing the NLT Blog, I thought I ought to get on the stick and make some announcements of my own. Ever since finishing my work on the NLT Study Bible in 2008 and participating in the ensuing world promotional tour, I’ve gone back to quietly working in the background on new and interesting things. Most of my energy over the past couple of years has been pouring into the area of digital Bibles.
Today we are announcing the launch of http://NLT.to, a new site that provides what I believe to be a superior and richly rewarding experience with the New Living Translation online. Why do I say that? Here are some interesting aspects of the site:
- Reference lookup: Type a Bible reference. The only requirement is that you include a book name and at least one chapter number. Example: http://NLT.to/Mt.5
- Short URLs: Once you type a reference or search term, you will notice that the URL for the result page includes the search term or reference. We did this so that you can easily share URLs to the NLT on Facebook, Twitter, your website, or your blog.
- Facebook “Share” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons on each page make sharing to those services very easy, or you can copy and paste the URL from the address bar in your web browser.
- Beautiful NLT text display. The NLT text display has been designed to look just as beatiful as a print Bible. We’ve even made the text look like it appears on white paper (with a nice drop-shadow in recent browsers like Firefox and Chrome). Example: http://NLT.to/Ps.23
- The NLT text notes are fully incorporated — click an asterisk (*) in the NLT text and you’ll see the text note in a right-aligned pop-up. Click the asterisk again to hide it. Example: http://NLT.to/Gn.1
- Keyword search with word stemming: Type keywords to lookup, and it will find them and related word forms. (Note: We’re still refining the word stemming dictionary that’s being used.) Examples: http://NLT.to/run, http://NLT.to/run+live
- Exact text search: put “quote marks” around your search term and you can get an exact text search. Example: http://NLT.to/”run”, http://NLT.to/”run+for+your+lives”
- Regular expression search: The exact text search actually recognizes regular expression patterns, so power users can go hog wild (there’s my Iowa background coming out) doing power searches on the NLT text. (The full syntax of our regular expression flavor is documented here.) Example: http://NLT.to/”(^|\s)r[ua]n”
- Search includes the NLT textual notes. Many Bible software tools omit the textual notes from the search function, but we view the NLT text notes as an integral part of the text, so we have included them in the search function. The text notes appear in the search results immediately below each result verse. Example: http://NLT.to/”hebrew+reads”
- The homepage of NLT.to features a beautiful wordle of the entire NLT text (cached; JPG). Okay, that’s a pretty minor feature of the site.
We have plans for many more features and improvements in the coming days, but that’s about it for now. The new site runs off the same codebase that powers http://NLTinterlinear.com, and we will have some exciting announcements about that site in the days to come. Keith told me today that NLTinterlinear.com is the best way he knows of to get into the Greek text of the New Testament quickly and painlessly.
I hope that’s enough to whet your appetite; take a minute to head over to NLT.to and give it a go, and let us know what you think.