BIBLUS: a CLI Data Gem

Posted by oconnojb on January 26, 2018

Biblus is a Gem I developed for Flatiron’s CLI Data Gem project. It can tell the user the “Bible verse of the day” as scraped from and then also allow the user to read the full text of the chapter the verse is from, if they so choose. Someday, I hope to add a look up functionality that would allow a user to type in a book, chapter, and verse number and it would show the user that text, but I haven’t gotten that functionality working yet!

The main files for my gem were created by the bundler. In the terminal, I ran bundle gem biblus and BOOM! there was my project structure!

You can check out the whole project here if you want, but I’ll also be pasting relevant snippets right here if you just want to read along!


The fist file I edited was the Gemfile. I knew there would be some gems that I would need to be using for this project, and I wanted to make sure I had them connected in before I got going. Bundler started my Gemfile with this code:

source ""

git_source(:github) {|repo_name| "{repo_name}" }

#Specify your gem's dependencies in biblus.gemspec

Becasue I didn’t want to break anything unnecessairily, instead of editing this, I just specified the gems I wanted to include below it. It is quite possible that I could have deleted the given code and just used my own, but I didn’t want to risk it. I added:

source ""

gem 'rspec'
gem 'pry'
gem 'require_all'
gem 'nokogiri'

I probably did’nt need to include rspec, but I’m thinking that as I add further functionality to this gem, I might benefit from a test suite, so I threw it in!


The bin directory used to contain a file called console, I renamed it to run-biblus. This is the file that the user interacts with. It really only does one thing (ok, well, it requires some files before it does this one thing):

run-biblus makes a new CLI and tells it to start going!


This file is biblus/lib/biblus/cli.rb Ready for a line-by-line of the CLI?

I’m only providing line numbers for the lines I want to talk about. The line numbers will not coencide with the line numbers within the code if you are reading along on github

Fist, my code:

1 class Biblus::CLI
2  attr_accessor :todays_passage

3  def initialize
4    @todays_passage =

5  def call
6    welcome
7    sleep(1)
8    menu
9    input_manager

10  def welcome
11    puts "Welcome to the Bible!"
12    puts "Today we have a great passage from #{} for you!"
13    puts "I can also look up any bible verse for you!"

14  def menu
15    puts "***"
16    puts "To see today's passage, type 'today'"
         puts "To get started looking up a verse, type 'lookup' (note: not functional yet)"
         puts "And, you can always type 'menu' or 'exit'"
         puts "***"

17  def display_todays_passage
          puts "***"
18    puts "#{@todays_passage.text}"
19    puts "#{} #{@todays_passage.chapter}:#{@todays_passage.verse[0]}"
         puts "*"
20    puts "If you liked today's passage, you can type 'full' to read the rest of #{} #{@todays_passage.chapter}"
         puts "***"

21  def update_todays_passage
         puts "***"
22    puts "Sorry! I didn't realize I was out of date!"
23    hm = @todays_passage
24    @todays_passage =
25    if hm.text == @todays_passage.text
            puts "***"
            puts "Hey! Turns out I had the correct passage all along!"
             puts "***"
             puts "Here, I should have the right passage now!"

26  def display_full_chapter
27    full_chapter_array =
          puts "***"
28    puts "#{} #{@todays_passage.chapter}"
         puts "*"
29    i=0
30    full_chapter_array.each do |verse|
31      if (verse != "") && (verse != ", ")
32         i+=1
33         puts "#{i}. #{verse.gsub(/\u00A0/, "")}"
          puts "***"

34  def input_manager
35    input = gets.strip
        if input.upcase == "TODAY"
        elsif input.upcase == "UPDATE"
        elsif input.upcase == "MENU"
        elsif input.upcase == "FULL"
        elsif input.upcase == "LOOKUP" || input.upcase == "LOOK UP"
          puts "***"
          puts "I'm sorry, that functionality hasn't been prgrammed yet!"
          puts "Ask me something else!"
          puts "***"
        elsif input.upcase == "EXIT" || input.upcase == "END"
          puts "***"
          puts "Amen."
          puts "***"
          puts "***"
          puts "I'm not sure what you mean by that... try again!"

And now, the commentary, line-by-line :)

  1. I define the class Biblus::CLI
  2. I wanted the CLI itself to store the passage of the day so that we can access it throughout the program. I used attr_accessor to make an @todays_passage instance variable that I will be able to use within my CLI.
  3. The initialize method is run right when the CLI is created.
  4. Right away, @todays_passage is set to the passage of the day. This is accomplished through a BibleScraper object (Biblus:BibleScraper). #scrape_todays_passage is a method that scrapes the passage of the day from and returns a Passage object with some attributes scraped from the web. We’ll talk more about the BibleScraper and Passage objects later.
  5. Call is the method that gets run by the user in run-biblus. Remember the line This method calls other methods specified below. I wanted to make the call method as abstract as possible.
  6. the welcome method welcomes the user
  7. I wanted interacting with my CLI to feel like interacting with a librarian. I didn’t want it to be instantaneous. Otherwise, I have a difficult time following the output. I use sleep(number_of_seconds) throughout the applicaiton to slow down the computer and hopefully make the program easier to interact with.
  8. the menu method displays the menu
  9. the input_manager method facilitates the input logic for the CLI.
  10. The welcome method!
  11. I wanted my program to sound cheery and informal. Here, I welcome the user to the Bible :)
  12. Because the CLI instantiates with @todays_passage set to a Passage object, the welcome message can give the user a little teaser about the passage of the day. I should take a moment to mention that the Passage object has the followin attributes: @book, @chapter, @verse, @text, @link_to_full. In line 12, welcome draws on the so that the user sees something like “Today we have a great passage from Genesis for you!”
  13. This line references that extended functionality that I am hoping to add down the line.
  14. The menu method!
  15. I have this puts "***" sprinkled throughout my code as well as sleep time. It’s purpose is to aid readability in the console. With these lines added, it becomes easier to follow the information being presented by the program. Once the program starts printing full Bible chapters to the console, these stars help a reader orient him/herself within all the text.
  16. The next few lines are the menu, they clue the user into the commands that the computer can respond to.
  17. display_todays_passage is the method that gets called when a user types “today”.
  18. The first thing printed to the console is the passage’s text.
  19. Below the text, the computer prints the citation for the passage.
  20. After waiting a second, the computer offers to show the user the rest of the chapter. Using some string interpolation, the computer can more accurately tell the user what it is offering to do for them.
  21. Let’s say a user leaves this program running overnight and tries to interact with it the next day. update_todays_passage comes in handy!
  22. A little humor, but also a way to let the user know that the program is working for them.
  23. This line is to facilitate a little extra humor I threw into this method (see #25)
  24. This is the main point of this method. It sets @todays_passage to the output of a new BibleScraper which scrapes todays passage. This is the same line of code that the CLI auto-runs on instantiation.
  25. This if statement facilitates the punchline to #23. If the user ran the method unnecessarily, it gives them a bit of sass before showing them the passage again. Or, if it was actually in need of updating, it gives an apologetic-ish message to the user before showing the passage.
  26. display_full_chapter shows the user the full chapter of the Bible that the passage of the day is taken from. The method is designed to work in conjunction with a method within the BibleScraper class called scrape_full_chapter(link). We’ll talk about it in more detail later, but for now know that it returns an array of the whole chapter separated by verse.
  27. This line encapsulates the interaction described in #26. It sets that array returned by scrape_full_chapter to a new variable: full_chapter_array. It passes scrape_full_chapter the link to the full chapter using the @link_to_full attribute of the Passage object. The BibleScraper’s scrape_todays_passage method is responsible for setting the @link_to_full attribute.
  28. The computer gives the citation before launching into the chapter.
  29. a counting variable to help display the chapter
  30. tells the computer that we are going to iterate through that array and do something with each verse.
  31. If that verse isn’t blank and it doesn’t only have a comma in it the rest of the code runs. I originally omitted this if statement, but unfortunately my array has some blank spaces and commas that are unhelpful to the user. This if statement will keep those useless lines from printing.
  32. Up the counter at the beginning so the first one will use i=1 instead of i=0. Alternatively, I bet I could have set i=1 in line 29 and increased i after the output (see #33)
  33. This line prints the number of the verse followed by the verse. Oddly enough, the scraper starts each verse with \u00A0, so I used .gsub(/\u00A0/, "") to take it out of there!
  34. The input_manager method handles the user input.
  35. It starts off by getting input from the user.
  36. A set of if statements help the computer determine what the user is trying to do. Using .upcase on the input makes it so capitalization doesn’t matter. The program won’t break if someone leaves capslock on. The conditions for my ifs and elsifs match up with the options presented in the menu. “FULL” and “UPDATE” aren’t in the menu. FULL, the computer prompts it later in the interface (after showing them the verse of the day, it asks if they want to read the whole chapter) but a savvy user could jump to it wheneve they want. UPDATE probably won’t be used much because I don’t anticipate users leaving my program running overnight. It would be an easy fix to add it to the menu if I so chose at a later date.
  37. You will notice that each option reruns input_manager at the end to keep the program from closing out. Only the EXIT (or END, just in case a user forgets how to exit and types end instead) command doesn’t rerun input_manager becasue thats when we want the program to close out.


Passage objects represent an exerpt from the Bible. Each passage has a book that it comes from, a chapter that the passage is in, and a verse number (or set of numbers). It also has a text attribute for the text of the passage and an attribute called @link_to_full which is the link to the full chapter. The code for the Passage class is pretty simple but has one funky bit in it, that isn’t quite relevant yet. I am picturing that, later on in this program’s life, it will be able to look up multiple verses, like this: Genesis 7:3-8. So I instantiate each Passage with it’s verse attribute set to an empty array. I have a feeling this will help me when I want to add the look up feature, but I haven’t planned that feature out yet, so it could be scrapped by the end. Check out the Passage class, I keep it in biblus/lib/biblus/passage.rb:

class Passage
  attr_accessor :book, :chapter, :verse, :text, :link_to_full
                #chapter is a number
                #verse is an array of numbers

  def initialize
    @verse = []



I think it would be easiest to do a line-by-line of the BibleScraper, so lets dive in!!

1 require 'nokogiri'
    require 'open-uri'
    require 'pry'

2  class Biblus::BibleScraper
3    attr_accessor :todays_passage, :todays_chapter_array

4    def scrape_full_chapter(link)
5       doc = Nokogiri::HTML(open(link))
6       full_chapter = []
7       chapter = doc.css(".passage-content p")
8       chapter.each do |p|
             full_chapter << "#{p.text}"
9       str_ch = full_chapter.join(" ")
10    @todays_chapter_array = str_ch.split(/\d+/)
11    @todays_chapter_array

12  def scrape_todays_passage
13    doc = Nokogiri::HTML(open(""))
14    @todays_passage =
15    @todays_passage.text = doc.css(".votd-box p").text
16    citation = doc.css(".votd-box a").first.text.split
17 = citation[0]
18    sp_array = citation[1].split(":")
19    @todays_passage.chapter = sp_array[0]
20    @todays_passage.verse << sp_array[1]
21    @todays_passage.link_to_full = ""+doc.css(".votd-actions-component a")[1]['href']

22    @todays_passage
  1. I start off by requiring the gems I know I will need. I put these gems in the Gemspec file, but better safe than sorry!!
  2. Defining the BibleScraper namespace
  3. Some attributes that the scraper has. I don’t know why they are instance variables, the code would definitely work with regurlar variables, but I think it might come in handy down the line, so I just went with it.
  4. scrape_full_chapter(link) was the second method I defined, and is more complex than scrape_todays_passage. This method is responsible for scraping the text to the full chapter of the verse of the day. It only works when you pass it the link to the full passage. For more info, see #27 in Biblus::CLI
  5. doc is now a nodeset with the full html of whatever link was passed to the method.
  6. Here I am just starting an empty array called full_chapter, I’ll use it in a few lines.
  7. The chapter variable is now a nodeset with all of the p elements within the element with the class passage-content. These p elements contain the words we need.
  8. Becasue we only need the text from each p, this block goes through all the p’s in the chapter and pushes their text to the full_chapter array.
  9. Lines 9 and 10 facilitate an issue I was having where the text is unruly to read when printed to the console. Because the p’s sometimes contain one verse and sometimes contain multiple, it was getting messy. The purpose of 9 and 10 is to get each item in the array to be one vese. Line 9 combines the full chapter array into one long string.
  10. And then line 10 re-splits that string at each number (.split(/\d+/ the \d represents a digit and the + tells the computer that, as long as they are next to each other, any number of digits should be considered together) and sets it to the instance variable @todays_chapter_array
  11. The scrape_full_chapter method returns @todays_chapter_array so the CLI can iterate through it and print it to the console.
  12. scrape_todays_passage was the first method I defined, it is simpler than scrape_full_chapter
  13. This scraper only ever needs to go to the biblegateway home page, but other than that it is almost the same as line 5 above. Even though I wrote this one first!
  14. Sets @todays_passage to be a new Passage object. Though right now it still does not have any attributes.
  15. doc.css(".votd-box p").text points to the text of the passage. This line sets the Passage’s text attribute.
  16. On, the book, chapter, and verse are presented as a single string that looks like this: “Genesis 1:1”. This line splits it at the space. Now citation[0] is the book name while citation[1] is the chapter and verse separated by a colon.
  17. Uses citation[0] to set the Passage’s book attribute.
  18. This line splits up the chapter and verse into a new array using .split(":").
  19. Sets the Passage’s chapter attribute.
  20. Becasue a passage might end up being multiple verses, here I push the verse number into the Passage’s verse array.
  21. Sets the Passage’s link_to_full attribute as the link to the full chapter. This is the attribute that gets passed to the scrape_full_chapter method when the user wants to read the rest of the chapter.
  22. Finally, the method returns @todays_passage so the CLI can do something with it when asked :)


This file acts as my environment. I’ve seen other programs that use an environment file, and I guess I could rename this file to reflect that, but biblus.rb was generated for me by the bundler and it was alerady requiring some other files, so I used it for my environment. It looks like this:

require 'open-uri'
require 'nokogiri'
require 'pry'

require_relative "./biblus/version"
require_relative './biblus/cli'
require_relative './biblus/bible-scraper'
require_relative './biblus/passage'

That’s all folks!

That sums up the Biblus CLI Data Gem! If you think it’s a cool gem, feel free to make use of it :)

“everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine” -John 17:10