I started exploring an idea for using narrative reports in a way that minimises computer generated fact sentences in favour of a report dominated by fact notes. A prior approach was to customise fact sentences to point form, i.e., no attempt at formulating grammatically correct sentences. Repetitious point form is not as discomfiting as proper but repeating sentence structures and words and it does save space. This new concept goes a step further and would suppress fact sentences, leaving point form presentation of facts to tabular reports such as Individual Summaries and Family Group Sheets. However, applying the concept stimulated bizarre results in the Narrative Reports which suggests some underlying problems that may be affecting to some degree more common usage.
Click the thumbnail to see a side-by-side comparison of the first page of a Descendant Narrative created under two boundary conditions:
- Left side: using all default sentences
- Right side: using all custom local sentences whose content is simply a pair of square braces, "".
I have also tested with "ZZ" as the custom local sentence with the same result so the fact that square braces are the control codes used to denote a sentence variable is immaterial. My initial test was with an empty sentence switch, "<>"; same results but the square braces help to parse what is going on.
The red rectangle highlights the dislocation of the person's name and events when appearing as a parent or as a childless child.
For the same people, the blue rectangle points out that the default sentence for "people with no entered facts" is being outputted despite that the person has "entered birth facts". This is illogical and misleading in that it is the absence of any default event sentences for the person in the report that is the trigger. My inexhaustive testing suggests that if every event for the person has a custom local sentence, even ones containing the usual variables, the report process outputs the "factless" sentence.
A child who is a parent gets a built-in "sentence" (effectively a point form) of vital facts on both sides (green rectangle) while a childless child gets the same narrative treatment as he would if appearing as a parent (a childless child does not reappear in the report, unlike a child who will be reported later as a parent). So the narrative generator for a parent and childless child is probably common to both; at least, if there are two generators, they share the same faults.
There is no difference between the two reports' endnotes and indexes of names and places. However, one report has no places outputted so the index works from the raw data, not what is actually output.