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Any news on RM 8 complete rewrite?


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#1 david.harrison

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 03:59 PM

Some time ago another poster said that RootsMagic 8 is a complete rewrite. Is there any news on what exactly that means and when it is going to be available for download? Is the UI going to be much more modern, multi-threaded and far less serial in fashion? And are we going to have to wait for RM 8 until we get the Ancestry.com  tree sync feature. Conversely will the release of RM8 be delayed until RM can implement the Ancestry.com tree sync feature?

 

I have submitted several UI improvement feature requests over the last few months which have been accepted and added to the RM feature request list. Question is when, if ever, will we see these?

Being a retired SQL database application developer and an experienced .NET Windows Form GUI developer, I am writing for myself a Windows .NET program using C# called "RMTools - The Missing UI". This is a play on the series of computer software books called "XYZ - the Missing Manual", where XYZ is the name of your favourite software application. In it I am producing many of the UI features that RM doesn't have that I wished it did.

 

It will be multi-threaded, take advantage of modern high resolution screens using large multi-purpose forms instead of the endless forms you have to double click on in RM 7. The forms will not be modal. i.e. you can have multiple forms open at once and click between them without having to close the last one you were working on. Inter-form communications will ensure that changes in one form are reflected elsewhere.

For now, this is just a personal project, but I might contact RM to see if they are interested in buying my IP and advanced UI ideas. Maybe their UI team can do with a bit of help and an injection of some new ideas.



#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 06:34 PM

RM has announced that the ancestry.com tree sync feature will be an update to RM7. It will not use the existing ancestry.com sync feature which apparently being withdrawn by ancestry.com. Rather, it will use a new ancestry.com sync feature that has not yet been released to third party developers. So RM cannot develop their code until after ancestry.com releases their interface.

 

The only other thing that RM has announced for RM7 is an additional partner for the WebHints feature.

 

It's actually quite unusual for RM to announce any new feature before the feature is released.

 

Only RM knows what features will be in RM8, what the UI will look like, or when it will be released. I personally doubt that we will see it this year, but I make note of the fact that major RM releases often appear in December. Whether that's predictive of the release of RM8 is anybody's guess.

 

Jerry



#3 Trebor22

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:04 AM

If you're accepting feature requests David then an alternative to the 'RM hosted' website feature would be high on my list, 'stand alone' rather than having to be hosted on RM servers!!  



#4 TomH

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:16 AM

The only thing we know for sure is that RM8 is being developed on a more advanced platform than prior versions with the objective of producing versions for different operating systems from the same code base.

David, it would be wonderful if you would share what you are doing. I'm not a programmer and struggled to package some SQLite scripts into a C# app that is long overdue for updating with some of the later scripts from the wiki linked in my signature.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#5 david.harrison

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:50 AM

The only thing we know for sure is that RM8 is being developed on a more advanced platform than prior versions with the objective of producing versions for different operating systems from the same code base.

David, it would be wonderful if you would share what you are doing. I'm not a programmer and struggled to package some SQLite scripts into a C# app that is long overdue for updating with some of the later scripts from the wiki linked in my signature.

Folks, my C# application is nowhere near ready for sharing yet and I am not taking feature requests. In any case when it is "production ready" I will likely sell it, not give it away as the amount of time I am devoting to this is considerable. I am not planning on writing another RootsMagic like complete application, only providing an alternate application that supplements the existing RM7 with some more modern, advanced UI feature's to make working with some of the forms much more efficient and pleasant instead of being so frustrated with RM7's very outdated and outmoded UI.

 

BTW, I am also a C developer so have taken the SQLITE C source code and modified it to support his ridiculous RMNOCASE collation that RM introduced that otherwise makes it difficult to work with 3rd part SLQite DB managers.



#6 cabarber

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:51 AM

A complete rewrite cannot come soon enough, IMHO. I have only been using RM a few months, but am already looking for something else. The inability to easily move through the records, and having to work off essentially paper reports is very frustrating. Links have been around for years now. It is a shame the DB is not more robust.

#7 david.harrison

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 09:57 AM

A complete rewrite cannot come soon enough, IMHO. I have only been using RM a few months, but am already looking for something else. The inability to easily move through the records, and having to work off essentially paper reports is very frustrating. Links have been around for years now. It is a shame the DB is not more robust.

Actually, the RM database is VERY robust, being built on the open source and most widely used SQLite database engine in the world. If it is good enough for Airbus to use in their airplanes, I think you have to agree it must be pretty darned robust! I don't think that is the term that is relevant here. There may be some functionality missing that you would like, but that does not mean the database is not robust.

 

What, in particular, "links" are you referring to that RM does not have? No it does not have so called "links" to citations like FTM has, at least it doesn't call them "links" like FTM does, but you can memorize (not copy) and paste a citation from one place to another so these are in fact "linked" citations since they are the SAME citation, not a copy. RM also has shared facts which FTM does NOT have. These shared facts are very powerful and save a great deal of time for things like census and residence records.

What paper reports are you having to use that are not available in the UI?

 

One of the things I am doing is producing a List Sources Form that lists all the sources, you click on one and in another panel in the same form, it shows all the citations using that source. Then you can click on any one of those citations and it will display the Footnote, Short Footnote and Bibliography for that citation in other text boxes in the same form. In a tabbed lower portion you will be able to see the WebTags for each citation, if any, and simply click on any one to go there in a web browser. You can also double click on any source in the list and go directly to its source template editor. And in that editor, you can edit in place the field definitions, e.g. Fieldname, Display name, Type, Hint etc. directly in its list of Field Defs, without having to open up yet another form.

All that is in a single form. RM7's notion is that you have to double click on something and then bring up yet another form which you have to then exit before you can go anywhere else - all very serial, nothing in parallel.

 

RM, please take a few hints here!! If I can do a much better job at your UI, why can't you?



#8 david.harrison

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:05 AM

RM has announced that the ancestry.com tree sync feature will be an update to RM7. It will not use the existing ancestry.com sync feature which apparently being withdrawn by ancestry.com. Rather, it will use a new ancestry.com sync feature that has not yet been released to third party developers. So RM cannot develop their code until after ancestry.com releases their interface.

 

...

 

Jerry

Hi, Jerry. I think many of us are probably aware that the API that RM will use will not be called TreeSync, which is what FTM currently uses but will be this new API that Ancestry.com is developing. To be honest, I don't think any of us care what form the API takes, or that it is new, or what it is called, as long as it works properly since Ancestry.com obviously won't make their API available in the public domain - it will only be available to RM and MacKiev. anyway.

 

However, I do wish that Ancestry.com would hurry up and get their act together and make that API available to RM so that RM's developers can start integrating it into RM7. It really shouldn't take almost a whole year for that to happen.



#9 Vyger

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 10:40 AM

It will be multi-threaded, take advantage of modern high resolution screens using large multi-purpose forms instead of the endless forms you have to double click on in RM 7. The forms will not be modal. i.e. you can have multiple forms open at once and click between them without having to close the last one you were working on. Inter-form communications will ensure that changes in one form are reflected elsewhere.

For now, this is just a personal project, but I might contact RM to see if they are interested in buying my IP and advanced UI ideas. Maybe their UI team can do with a bit of help and an injection of some new ideas.

 

David, there has been much frustration with what I have to call the outdated Rootsmagic user interface and personally I hope a lot of those frustrations will be overcome in a completely new user interface reflecting 2016 programming standards. However making such a quantum leap may not be something the developers have in mind and we will just have to wait and see.

 

Regardless, I believe a fairly priced companion program, such as you describe, would have broad popularity and certainly help boast your retirement fund, certainly I would be interested.


Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. ...

 

 

Current user of Rootsmagic version 7.5.7.0, Family Tree Maker 2014 and Legacy 7.5 on Win 10

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#10 dmossfritch

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:15 AM

 

One of the things I am doing is producing a List Sources Form that lists all the sources, you click on one and in another panel in the same form, it shows all the citations using that source. Then you can click on any one of those citations and it will display the Footnote, Short Footnote and Bibliography for that citation in other text boxes in the same form. In a tabbed lower portion you will be able to see the WebTags for each citation, if any, and simply click on any one to go there in a web browser. You can also double click on any source in the list and go directly to its source template editor. And in that editor, you can edit in place the field definitions, e.g. Fieldname, Display name, Type, Hint etc. directly in its list of Field Defs, without having to open up yet another form.

All that is in a single form. RM7's notion is that you have to double click on something and then bring up yet another form which you have to then exit before you can go anywhere else - all very serial, nothing in parallel.

 

 

In other words, you are duplicating the Source tab structure found in FTM. Good! That is an excellent feature that I have only noted in FTM over the years. Just wish other software had something similar where you could work with all source, citations and the notes or media associated with a citation, all in one location.



#11 david.harrison

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:06 PM

In other words, you are duplicating the Source tab structure found in FTM. Good! That is an excellent feature that I have only noted in FTM over the years. Just wish other software had something similar where you could work with all source, citations and the notes or media associated with a citation, all in one location.

Exactly right. My wife and I have been FTM users for the last five years and migrated to RootsMagic about 3 months ago after the Ancestry.com debacle announcement about dumping FTM. At that time I made the wise decision to migrate to RM7 and haven't regretted it since. I love the data structure and open source SQLite database that RM is built on and I love the advanced functionality such as shared facts and extensive source and sentence template functionality that RM has. But to be honest, the RM7 UI looks like it was written by database people, not UI specialists. The RM7 UI is very dated and very, very serial in nature and behaviour. I am aiming to provide a companion program that provides a far more efficient UI.

If the RM developers catch on and catch up with what I am doing, then great. If not then I may indeed offer my version for sale at a reasonable price. I am already a small business man operating my own R/C model sound system business - Model Sounds Inc. www.modelsoundsinc.com.

 

My idea for the one form Source List was indeed taken from FTM and that is a major piece of functionality we liked very much in FTM that is missing in RM7. So that will definitely be coming. My current focus is my combined Source Template List/Template Editor form and the Source List/Citation form will be next.

 

My development platform is Windows 10, 64 bit, and that is what it will be built and tested on. I haven't the resources to support multiple platforms or ancient Windows OS versions.



#12 TomH

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:28 PM

... you can memorize (not copy) and paste a citation from one place to another so these are in fact "linked" citations since they are the SAME citation, not a copy. ..

Actually, the pasted copy is a new record in the CitationTable that shares nothing in common with the original citation except the Master source and the replicated data. They can be independently edited at the Source Details level. There is an outstanding wish for linked or shared citations.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#13 TomH

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:46 PM

BTW, I am also a C developer so have taken the SQLITE C source code and modified it to support his ridiculous RMNOCASE collation that RM introduced that otherwise makes it difficult to work with 3rd part SLQite DB managers.

That's great! Is your collation compatible with the RM RMNOCASE collation? That is, after REINDEXing with your collation, does the RM Database Integrity test report OK and vice versa. I did a similar fake collation for my C# RMtrix utility but it is just a pseudonym for the NOCASE collation which is different from RMNOCASE. 


Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#14 david.harrison

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:33 PM

That's great! Is your collation compatible with the RM RMNOCASE collation? That is, after REINDEXing with your collation, does the RM Database Integrity test report OK and vice versa. I did a similar fake collation for my C# RMtrix utility but it is just a pseudonym for the NOCASE collation which is different from RMNOCASE. 

No, I did what you did, simply equate RMNOCASE with NOCASE. When, if ever, I have time in the future I might try to find out exactly what the RMNOCASE rubbish is all about and write a proper SQLite C function to implement it properly.

 

Why did RM introduce RMNOCASE anyway? Was it just to thwart 3rd party application developers like us or does it add any real value to the RM application?



#15 dmossfritch

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:16 PM

I understand David. I spent a couple of years with FTM (my 'preferred' genealogy software discontinued the end of 2007) after retiring the second time. (1983 - US Army and 2009 - Silicon Valley's software industry) Unfortunately FTM does not include a date span (from {date} to {date}), allowing only date ranges nor multiple individuals recorded for an event (shared or witness events), otherwise I might consider staying with what the new FTM developer offers.

 

When Ancestry announced the end of FTM, I returned to my previous software, yet I do have licenses to several other genealogy software products. So I have RM7, yet find the Research Manager not acceptable using text, duplicating data in existing database tables (places, repositories, sources, etc). The RM UI reminds me of Family Origins (Bruce's earlier product for which I also had a license). To see extended families in FM7 I use the Timeline tab for the 'yours, mine, and ours' family members especially for people during the 1800s, yet that solution does have its limits. I will be very interested in RM8's UI changes.



#16 TomH

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:42 PM

Why did RM introduce RMNOCASE anyway? Was it just to thwart 3rd party application developers like us or does it add any real value to the RM application?


It is my impression from things Bruce has said over many years is that it supports non-English alphabets, better than NOCASE, as is born out by the comparatively fewer failures in the integrity check when the fake RMNOCASE collation is unifuzz rather than NOCASE. Unifuzz.dll is C so you could readily use it instead, I should think. I just don't know how to do these things in C or C#.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#17 Vyger

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:52 PM

I understand David. I spent a couple of years with FTM (my 'preferred' genealogy software discontinued the end of 2007) after retiring the second time. (1983 - US Army and 2009 - Silicon Valley's software industry) Unfortunately FTM does not include a date span (from {date} to {date}), allowing only date ranges nor multiple individuals recorded for an event (shared or witness events), otherwise I might consider staying with what the new FTM developer offers.

 

When Ancestry announced the end of FTM, I returned to my previous software, yet I do have licenses to several other genealogy software products. So I have RM7, yet find the Research Manager not acceptable using text, duplicating data in existing database tables (places, repositories, sources, etc). The RM UI reminds me of Family Origins (Bruce's earlier product for which I also had a license). To see extended families in FM7 I use the Timeline tab for the 'yours, mine, and ours' family members especially for people during the 1800s, yet that solution does have its limits. I will be very interested in RM8's UI changes.

 

One would hope that the developers of RM have some pride (above commercial drives) in creating a software package that stands well above the competition. With the demise or change of several other popular packages this has brought many new insights, ideas and expectations to these forums and I can only hope that the RM developers are open to those needs.

 

I also have to hope that, in this ageing world of genealogy software and providers, the RM developers are fully up to speed with modern programming techniques, if not I would suggest they employ some outside help in bringing RM up to a modern standard and user expectation.


Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. ...

 

 

Current user of Rootsmagic version 7.5.7.0, Family Tree Maker 2014 and Legacy 7.5 on Win 10

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#18 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:19 PM

In other words, you are duplicating the Source tab structure found in FTM. Good! That is an excellent feature that I have only noted in FTM over the years. Just wish other software had something similar where you could work with all source, citations and the notes or media associated with a citation, all in one location.

If I understand FTM correctly, there is one feature of FTM that you will not be able to duplicate in your program because of limitations in the underlying RM data structure. That feature is FTM's shared citations. In RM, a memorize and paste operation on a citation causes a whole new citation to be created. On it's face, that may not sound so bad. But it's utterly maddening if you paste a citation 15 or 20 or 25 times and then discover that there is something you wish to change in this pasted citation. You have to make that change 15 or 20 or 25 times.

 

I was very excited to discover the shared citation feature in FTM and I have added it as a feature request for the RM rewrite. Like all other wishes for RM, I have no idea if the RM developers will smile on this feature request.

 

Jerry



#19 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:27 PM

To be honest, I don't think any of us care what form the API takes, or that it is new, or what it is called, as long as it works properly

 

I think the concern is that the new API somehow or other will be less functional than the old one, and hence that RM's sync will be less functional than FTM's old one. We shall just have to see what happens.

 

Jerry



#20 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 07:55 PM

My sense of RMNOCASE is that it attempts to sort letters according to what they look like rather than according to where they lie in the alphabet of any particular language. For example, a Norwegian å sorts as if it were an a even though å is the 29-th letter of the Norwegian alphabet. And of course, RMNOCASE is not case sensitive.

 

RM supports UNICODE, but that's only about 1% of what's required for multilingual support. Lots of things are included in the missing 99% of multilingual support, including reports in different languages and sorting that's language and culture specific.

 

Jerry