Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Short URLs for Scripture: part 2

If you haven't already you should read Short URLs for Scripture: part 1
I have recently found two services that utilize short, predictable urls to address online scripture. Because of their surprising depth in features I have decided to do a two part series. Otherwise the post was going to be way too long. They are both really great examples of ministry integrating well with web technology.

Part Two: Read.ly



First, the short url redirect service. Read.ly has a strict url format. I think they have chosen the simpliest one (albeit not the shortest one, ref.ly tends to be 2 characters shorter). They have the format http://read.ly/gen1.1.NIV - three character book abbreviation then chapter dot verse dot abbreviation for chosen Bible version*. Although, their url shortener is basic their online Bible offering is where they really shine.

Here are some of the things that make YouVersion.com great.
  • 40 versions in 22 languages!
  • Search widget. This widget is exactly like the Ref.ly one.
  • Contributions seems centered on social sharing.
    • Your account allows for following so you can see what your friends are doing.
    • Hub for likes, bookmarks, journal-ing, contributing, and tagging. They provide a lot of different ways to interact with Scripture.
    • A distinction between contributions and journal(private) items.
  • Mobile apps for all the major players. This is an important web space. It turns your web capable device into a powerful research/devotional tool. Not to mention mobile is the perfect venue for short url sharing.
  • Public facing profile listing you activity (excluding your journal which is private). At this time there are no privacy settings available, however, I am not sure if they are necessary.
  • Adjustable font size. Makes sense to these weary eyes.
  • Reading in parallel. You can lay out two versions next to each other. This is really powerful and they do it well.
  • Audio Bible component.

Concludings

Here are some high points from both services.
  • Ref.ly online has a more flexible redirect service.They connect a user to a online and offline product and seems aimed at the ministry professional. There is a lot of value there.
  • Read.ly is no slouch. The social aspects of scripture reading and the multitude of ways to interact with the Scripture make for a very inviting user experience. Their site is a little more attractive as well. The reading in parallel feature is pretty awesome. Lastly, the audio book option also sets them apart.
I really expected to have an obvious winner. Both services provide a great deal of value. I think it really comes down to the features that would serve you best. It is great to have two online options for url shortening and Bible research.

[*Update: it appears on closer inspection (thanks richschmidt) that the required abbreviations varies by book. ex. Gen is three letters but Exod is four. This is pretty disappointing and kind of a deal breaker for me. By not picking one or the other and since the urls are very strict (it will not search and guess for you like ref.ly) I find the Read.ly service sadly crippled. I think one of the powers of these services is their compos-ability (I made that word up). And I unfortunately will not be able to remember which books require 3 and which require 4 characters. Hopefully YouVersion will fix this.]

The important thing is to get in there and start sharing those great little urls! Please share your thoughts in the comments. I am interested is your take/experience.

You can also follow them on Twitter
@logos and @youversion

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2 comments:

  1. Did you know that you can create short urls with Shortest and make $$$$ for every click on your shortened urls.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice tool! I used few shortened links for my virtual data rooms clients . It was useful.

    ReplyDelete