Two Plugin Ideas for the Christian Blogging Community

I‘ve had an idea in mind for a WordPress plugin for quite some time, and I’ve tried a few times to code it myself — or modify existing plugins to get some of the functionality that I want. Today, the idea came back to me in an expanded form.

I believe that the plugin would be a huge benefit to anyone running a Bible study, theology, or church site, and I’m hoping that someone out there reading either has the skills or knows someone who has the skills to accomplish this for the benefit of the community. I’m willing to help in whatever way I can, but remember that I’m posting this because, well, I’ve tried and failed.

The plugin is a combination of two ideas, and I suppose they could be developed separately.

Idea 1: BibleRef Markup

The first seems like the simplest: automatic BibleRef microformatting.

Let me say up front that there are plugins similar to what I want already out there. The Holy Scripturizer rewrites Bible references to be links to online Bibles; these links contain the desired microformat.

And RefTagger uses JavaScript to not only markup verses (dang near perfectly, I might add), but also display very nice verse popups.

What I would like is a server-side version of RefTagger’s markup. The Scripturizer has this, to an extent, but it is nowhere nearly as flexible as RefTagger’s parser.

I don’t want verse popups or links of any kind added. All I’m looking for is a way for verses to be microformatted automatically. This seems easy at first — the hard part to get started is putting together a bulletproof regular expression to catch all possible verse references, like RefTagger has — but there are important details to keep in mind: verses should default to being wrapped in cite tags, with the BibleRef markup being added to those tags. If those tags aren’t already present, they should be added. If the verse is within a link, then the BibleRef class should be added to the link.

It should also be possible to ignore verses in preformatted blocks, code fragments, headings, and other select elements.

The reasons why I want this are threefold:

First, external services would be able to index your posts based on the verses they contain, essentially creating a Web-wide Scripture index.

Second, other plugins could be written (or may already exist) to take advantage of the BibleRef markup, such as verse popups, links to online Bibles, and so on.

Third, BibleRef markup is required for the second part of my idea.

Idea 2: Scripture Index

At the end of many books I own, alongside the standard index, can be found a Scripture index. This index is very basic and contains simply a list of verses referenced in the book, followed by the page numbers upon which they appear.

I want something like that for my site. I want to be able to create a page, designate it a Scripture index, and have that page populated with a list of Bible verses, each with a sublist of links to the posts/pages containing them.

Generating the list on the fly would be very server-intensive, so the list needs to be updated when posts are saved/modified/deleted or in the background via WordPress’ cron service thing… or a combination of both.

This idea would seem to require an additional table in the database with columns of unique ID, reference, and posts. The posts column would be populated by a comma delimited list of the post/page IDs which contain the verse reference.

There may be simpler ways of doing it, but that makes the most sense to me at the time.

I truly think that such a plugin(s) would be a huge benefit to the Christian blogging community, so I hope that someone picks up the burden of this project. I’ll keep trying to come up with some solutions on my own, but I’m not promising anything. Regular expressions are my arch-nemeses.

3 thoughts on “Two Plugin Ideas for the Christian Blogging Community”

  1. Rick, thanks for pinging me on twitter. These are great ideas.

    I love the idea of being able to index your posts by verse reference. I don’t think I can work on this anytime soon, but I’d like to look into it and see what the possibilities are. You might also try asking around at which has a fairly active community of Christian web developers.

  2. I have recently set up a Christian Blog with Goddaddy Quickblogcast but plan to soon move it over to WordPress. I just purchased the Thesis theme and trying to figure it out. This plugin sounds awesome, if anything becomes of it I would like to know about it or anything similar to it. Thanks

  3. Hi Rick, Aren’t you proud of me. I haven’t had to ask any Thesis questions in FOREVER! :)

    I LOVE the idea of the Scripture reference index! I use encouraging and inspirational Bible verses regularly at SandwichINK – verses to encourage those caring for elderly parents, verses to encourage grandparents, Bible memory verses for grand children, etc. I would love a way to have them all on one page – ideally with the option to assign one or more categories for them.

    I’ll definitely have to check back to see how you do with this. Thanks for your great idea AND for all the help on Thesis over the years. :) Have a blessed week!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

the Rick Beckman archive
Scroll to Top