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RTF faults - Family Group Sheet

RTF FGS Family Group Sheet

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#1 TomH

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 08:22 PM

A new user reported to the Facebook group problems with the outside borders and the person's image in FGS reports saved to RTF and opened in MS Word. The vertical outside borders are incomplete, stopping after the first fact row for a person. The images are cut off at about 2/3 width. I reprise the problems here because they can easily get buried in the FB group.

 

I had a look at the RTF file and varied some parameters using a text editor. What I have concluded is that there is a mismatch between the target image size and the defined column width in which it is to fit. Either can be varied to make the image fit. I have not found a fiddle to the RTF that produces a continuous border so have to apply the "Outside Borders" control of Word 2010 to each and every table in the report.

 

More info on what I changed in the RTF file is in the FB discussion.

 

Renee, please confirm that this is in the tracking system. Not that anything seems to have been done about it since I reported the same things plus others in 2012.

 

13260208_10209398820876505_3853703901205


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.


#2 TomH

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 02:47 PM

Because these problems have persisted for four years or more, since RM5, if not earlier, and may not be fixed until RM8 (which may still be a long way off), I have had a look at what might be done to the RTF file itself. I came up with search-replace workarounds for the dangling borders and crowded date-details that should work across all layouts. I also identified why the photos get cut off for which I am not sure there is a reliable solution short of a program that can read and write size parameters and calculate better ones. Evolution of these workarounds can be found in the Facebook discussion.

 

Here is the result as saved from Word 2010 to PDF (the person image looks truncated in Word but is fully revealed in its PDF).

13332885_980463382072371_812429595720091

The border control problem is most easily addressed by eliminating all of them. I quite like the clean result.

The loss of the vertical line between event date and details exacerbated the crowding problem. The easiest solution was to add cell padding on the right side of all cells which affects all the right-justified Date cells. It also can affect word wrap in other cells and lead to changes in pagination.

 

Here are the search and replace terms as used in NotePad++:

1. Eliminate all borders
Regular expressions:
Search: \\clbrdr[blrt]\\brdrs
Replace:

2. Add padding between date and description
Reg exp:
Search: \\clwWidth([\d]+)
Replace: \\\\clwWidth$1\\clpadr57\\clpadfr3
The right pad parameter of 57 twips is equivalent to 0.1cm in my default Word 2010 setup.
 

These are applied to the FGS RTF file exported from RM before it is modified by Word.

 

For the truncated image, I have to see whether the cell widths are expressed uniformly across all layouts and a simple search & replace will suffice. Otherwise, higher level programming is required.

 

Of course, best of all would be for RootsMagic to be revised to produce the report fully compatible with Word 2010 and any other versions of Word having the same problem.


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.


#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 04:46 PM

....  and may not be fixed until RM8 (which may still be a long way off),

 

... and perhaps not even then.

 

It's encouraging that one of the things we know is happening in the RM8 rewrite is that the report engine is being rewritten. Perhaps the report engine rewrite will address this kind of issue (and several others) in the RTF files produced by RM. My fear is that the emphasis on the report engine rewrite will be on the fancier reports such as wall charts and fan charts and the like, and that the more ordinary reports such as narrative reports and family group sheets will not receive the attention they need.  We shall see.

 

One apocryphal story about software development goes like this. Suppose you start a new company to write software and suppose you want to remain small and have only five programmers in all. How much software can your company write? The answer (both true and facetious at the same time) is not very much. After a while, one of your programmers will be devoted full-time to maintenance work on the software already completed. Some time after that a second programmer will be devoted full-time to maintenance work on the software already completed. The process will continue until all five programmers are devoted full-time to maintenance work on the software already completed, and no new software can ever be written.

 

I wonder how close RM is to this situation with as many features as have been added to RM and as small as the company seems to be. Being small is not necessarily bad. Indeed, there are a number of huge advantages to being small. But a small company will have to decide at some point between a lot of features on the one hand and quality on the other hand, qualify of the sort that is exemplified by producing RTF files that don't have these annoying little formatting problems.

 

Jerry



#4 TomH

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 07:48 PM

The current RTF is written by WPTools 6.25. The current version of WPTools is 7.23. I guess that the "report engine" writes stuff to a format that WPTools understands and converts into the various formats: RTF, PDF, HTML, and maybe text. WPTools 7 now also can output DOCX. I speculate that RM will continue with WPTools in RM8 so we will probably see it supporting DOCX.

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 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 08:36 PM

The current RTF is written by WPTools 6.25. 

 

I have long suspected that it was something like that. And I've also suspected that sometimes a reporting bug doesn't get fixed by RM because the bug is actually in some sort of tool that RM might be using rather than in RM itself. For example, I have suspected that the bug in XE entries in RM's RTF files might be in an embedded tool rather than RM itself.

 

Your comments about WPTools also bear on a concern I have about RM8. Namely, RM static HTML files have been deprecated. My concern therefore is that RM8 may not have an equivalent function. I realize that many users don't like RM's static HTML pages and that they prefer RM's newer Web pages. But as for me, I like the way the static pages look, I like that they can be hosted anywhere, I like that they are indexed by Google, and I like that all navigation is single click without any silly pop-up windows. Neither of RM's newer style Web pages meets all these requirements. So maybe if WPTools continues to be RM's tool of choice and since WPTools can create HTML pages, something that's at least roughly equivalent to the existing static HTML pages could be maintained in RM8.

 

Jerry







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: RTF, FGS, Family Group Sheet