Tag Archives: St Bede’s Breviary

Breviary Updates

Holiday-based stress is in high gear; lots of extra rehearsals for the older daughter for Nutcracker which will simultaneously occur and finish over the weekend.

I need to start writing here more and will try and be more intentional about that… I think my chief problem is tat I keep trying to do huge topics which then never get finished to the degree I’d like. Perhaps shooting for bite-sized might work better…

The breviary was down a little bit at the beginning of the week. I had to do some surgery on some critical files and make sure the lectionary was functioning properly. That’s all in good working order now. I also solved the persistent problem around preferences and iDevices that had popped up since I added the RSV.

Additionally, I also put into place the first-fruits of collaboration with the Anglican Breviary project: the antiphons on the psalms are now “of the season.” Look for more fruits of collaboration as time becomes more available…

There were also a few cosmetic changes with the .css files. I continue to not be satisfied with the aesthetics of the breviary. I have a vision, but haven’t achieved it yet.

Breviary Preference Glitch

Surfacing briefly to comment on a problem…

I’ve been totally intending to post here a while. In fact, I’m planning a fairly lengthy answer on the good question posed (a bit ago now) on the relationship between “Anglo-Catholic” and “Rite I.” But it hasn’t gotten done.

I’m still spending a great amount of time and energy trying to finish off the “Great Cloud of Witnesses” for the SCLM’s submission to the Blue Book and I find myself unable to do much writing here until that gets done. (It’s an energy-sink kind of thing.)

In any case, I have put the RSV into the St. Bede’s Breviary. However, in modifying the Preferences to include that option, I have dislodged something somewhere that is causing issues for people who are trying to adjust said Preferences. I’m not sure what’s going on. I haven’t had much time to run it down,  nor am I replicating it, so I suspect it might be an iDevice issue. If people are experiencing this issue, please email me a sample of the broken url so I can see what is wrong with the preference code that it is trying to pass.

Breviary Update 1.5

Thanks to those of you who tried your iOS devices (and Windows 8 devices) against my attempted solution. Needless to say, it failed the test… Interestingly, while the solution worked on my Kindle Fire, I likewise failed to get a satisfactory result on my Android phone.

I’m looking into some of the newer browser capabilities/technologies that came along with the HTML5 standard and, after reading and playing a little with the cache capability, I’ve discovered that what I’m looking for is actually the local storage function. Again, it’s a fairly new technology and I don’t know how widely it’s implemented. However, I think there’s a good chance that most mobile devices should be able to handle it.

I was trying to figure out how to make it work with my code and came to the realization that I’m using a lot of server-side code to create client-side implementations. Not the best way to go… As a result, I need to retool several functions and transform them from (server-side) PHP into (client-side) JavaScript. Luckily, the syntax between the two is similar enough that this shouldn’t be too difficult.

So—I’ll have another test for you modern mobile users in a little bit, that (hopefully) will be more successful than the last!

[Update: Actually, before I recode everything, let’s see if this will do what I hope it will… iOS/mobile users, please try the “Save your Preferences” button at the bottom of this page: http://stbedeproductions.com/breviary/test/combined_preferences.php

There should be a pop-up mentioning local storage and perhaps a string with gibberish in it. I’ll fix the gibberish if this is actually going to work… Thanks again!]

Question for Lutheran/Protestant Users of SBB

…if there are any, that is…

The current OF Roman kalendar is waiting in the wings at the breviary, but I received a suggestion that I should include the Lutheran or other protestant kalendars for my non-Anglican/Roman readers. Is there sufficient interest and a large enough body of Lutheran/protestant sorts who use St Bede’s Breviary to make this worthwhile?

Commons and Saints

Over the weekend, I’ve been working on the Commons of the Saints for the Breviary. I started early Saturday morning  then, when I went out for an easy 5-miler in the afternoon, I had an epiphany that will result in a complete overhaul in the way the breviary does sanctoral kalendars. More on this anon.

In working through the Commons of Saints, though, what I keep running up against is the sheer difference between the “old” system and the “new” system. That is, in the Old system things were pretty clear-cut; if you were a saint, you were either:

  • Apostle
  • Evangelist
  • Martyr
  • Confessor
  • Virgin (or Monastic—some early medieval sermons I have in mind group monks and hermits with virgins; other sources lump them into confessors.)

But what do we have now with Holy Women, Holy Men? We have things like:

  • Witness to the Faith
  • Prophetic Witness
  • Missionary
  • Priest and Theologian
  • Monk and Iconographer
  • Hymnwriter
  • Priest and “Friend of the Poor”

Now–I’m not saying any of the above are bad things, mind you. The two issues I’m rolling around are these:

  1. There’s no coherent system of classifications inherent in these labels. That may not matter much if all you’re doing is using a Collect to liturgically remember someone. But what if you’re trying to fit hymns, versicles & responses, and a gospel antiphon to it? Your best option is to fall back to the old categories at which point you realize just how many of the folks in HWHM fall simply into “Confessor”
  2. These two lists are fundamentally different in kind. They’re two entirely different ways of conceiving of people. The second is fairly clear—they’re being grouped by occupation; this is most evident when several people get lumped together based on their profession. Case in point is November 21nd: “William Byrd, 1623, John Merbecke, 1585, and Thomas Tallis, 1585, Musicians.” But the first category has nothing to do with occupations. It’s not quite as easy to wrap your head around but if I had to define the system of classification, it would be one based on how much people are willing to give up for the Gospel. That’s not quite it….but it’s something like that. Whatever it is, it’s very different from what the saints did for a living. On one hand I can see the New system connecting into how modern society measures personal worth and status; on the other it seems that we may have lost something profound that I can’t quite put my finger on…

Programming Kalendars

Back when I first got serious about coding the Breviary—I guess it’s been a couple of years now—I talked to Fr. Chris about it and we discovered that we’d been doing some parallel development.

One of the first issues to tackle is how to figure out what “today” is liturgically. Both Fr. Chris and I approached it the same way. That is, we take “today’s” date as given to us either by the server or the local computer then a) run it through an algorithm to determine where you are in the temporal cycle, then b) compare it to a table to determine if there’s something sanctoral going on.

What I kept running up against was the problem of transference. There are certain circumstances when a feast must be moved from its original date. For instance, Major Feasts that fall in Holy Week and the Octave of Easter are transferred by order of occurrence into the Second Week of Easter (cf. BCP, p. 17). Too, Major Feasts that fall on Sundays outside of green seasons must be transferred; major feasts in green seasons may be transferred.

At one point, for the sake of moving forward, I threw up my hands and said enough… It seemed easier to simply create a table for the year and to work everything out ahead of time. This saved me the trouble of coding transference. What it created was:

  • more moving parts. Currently I have a kalendar code that must correspond to the same code in the collect table and the lectionary table. Some of the recent Scripture reading issues (like the one that occurred today…) was the result of a perfectly normal and legal kalendar code that didn’t synch up with the lectionary code (though it did with the collect code…).
  • setting aside a block of time at the right time to work out a year’s worth of dates. And ends of years tend to be busy times. I’m clear through the end of 2010, but if it goes further…?
  • A restriction to the dates that I have a coded table for. This is less an issue with the St Bede’s Breviary than some historical projects I have in mind. For instance—what if I wanted to know what liturgy was appointed for February 18th in 892? There’s no way I’m going to code tables for thousand year spans!!

As a result, I’m rethinking my decision. This won’t happen immediately—it may not happen for quite a while, actually—but I think the issue can be broken down more logically than I was considering before. So what would this look like?:

  • Get the date
  • Run the temporal algorithm and determine where we are in the year
  • Now–different pie (sets of kalendrical rules not pastries) have different rules for privileged octaves and when transferences happen. So, this is where each kalendar system will have to have its own algorithm. Within those, however, things may not be so bad. For instance for the ’79 BCP all I should have to do is add in a three step process:
    • Is today the Monday after Easter 2? If no, keep going, if yes, then see if we need St Joseph, the Annunciation,  St Mark, or SS Phillip & James.
    • Is today the Tuesday after Easter 2? If no, keep going, if yes, see if we need the Annunciation.
    • Is today a Monday not in a Green season? If no, keep going, if yes, see if yesterday was a major feast
  • Now check today in the Sanctoral cycle to see if anything needs to be celebrated.

I think there may be some real benefits to this approach—I’ll keep thinking about it…

Scripture Trouble at the Breviary

Over Christmas we’ve been having some Scripture trouble at the breviary… The problems stem from one of the initial decisions I made about the project. Rather than selecting out all of the readings individually, I decided to install entire Bibles, then to install a parsing mechanism that would determine which passages to select. This gives the breviary a tremendous amount of flexibility, because it opens up the option of putting in new translations and new lectionaries without have to go and cut and paste a whole new edition.

Unfortunately, it also means working out how to deal with various complications in a lectionary with likes to leave out verses in the middle of a selection.

Too, the interactions between the kalendar codes, the lectionary codes, and the Bible tables is one of the reasons why I say the site is still in beta.

Today’s problem has been solved and I’m working on the lingering issues…

SBB: Handheld Devices

Ok—two thing on mobile devices:

  • The new design setup does not, I believe, function on mobile devices. However, I just made a modification to the style sheets that should (in theory) work. Someone who has one of these, please check it out and leave a comment. (M’s crackberry is with her in Philly…)
  • I have looked into what sort of development would need to be done for an iPhone app. Apparently, the development suite used for such things only runs on Macs—and I don’t have one. Too, the materials I read suggest that trying to develop for the iPhone without actually having one might…complicate…matters. Which makes sense. If, therefore, anyone with the skills, interest, and equipment would like to take a shot at this, be my guest.