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Jerry Bryan

Member Since 06 Aug 2006
Offline Last Active Today, 09:21 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: RootsMagic 7 User Interface [UI]

Yesterday, 06:57 AM

So, What's The Beef?


As one of the chief complainers, I probably need to come to RM's defense at least a little bit with respect to its user interface. In many respects, the RM user interface is pretty good, and there is a lot of software that I have used that has a worse user interface. Also, the complainers do not always agree on how they would like the user interface to be improved.. For example, many new RM users these days seem to complain about the lack of an "all in one view" similar to view of a family you can get when browsing trees on ancestry.com. In this view, you can see parents, spouses, siblings, and children all in one view, and the view is very graphic so that you can navigate just by grabbing the box for an individual and dragging it around and the rest of the view follows. But I'm an outlier who hates that view in ancestry.com and who would not wish RM to expend valuable programming resources supporting the same view in RM.


Having said that, most of the complaints about the RM user interface revolve around it being so modal. That means that any time you need to do anything in RM it seems to open a sub-window and you can't do anything else until you dismiss that sub-window. And the first sub-window can require a second sub-window which can require a third sub-window etc. creating long sub-window chains  that all have to be dismissed before you can do anything else. It is often the case that what you really need to do in RM would greatly benefit by having multiple sub-windows open at the same time. This would require that at least some of the sub-windows in RM be non-modal.


Another way to describe the same problem with the RM user interface is that many pieces of software have what are called wizards or sometimes that have a full blown wizard mode for the whole program. These wizards or this wizard mode leads you through the steps of doing a process one little step at a time. Such wizards can require an enormous number of clicks, each of which accomplishes only one little thing, making it very time consuming to accomplish a simple task. It's as if RM is always in wizard mode and there is no "expert mode" or "classic mode" that avoids all the clickiness.


And yet another way to describe the same problem with the RM user interface is that the user interface makes it extremely slow to do bulk data entry. For example, suppose you were entering a family of ten children. To enter this data into a spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel, you could create a spreadsheet with a column for last name, a column for first name, a column for birth date,and a column for birth place. You could very quickly and easily enter all the required data for all ten children all on one screen. There are many places in RM that could benefit from such bulk data entry. But instead, you have to enter each child separately and each piece of data separately. The problem is much magnified if (as you should) you include source citations and media files as evidence at the same time you are entering the rest of the data for the family. Indeed it is the entry of source citations and their supporting evidence that results in the longest sub-window chains of modal windows, and the RM user interface makes it extremely difficult even to see that the media files that are the evidence for the source citations.



In Topic: RM6 under Wine for Mac: Database errors

18 July 2018 - 05:55 AM

However, now I'm afraid to re-merge the database from the flash drive back onto my main PC for fear that something might have been lost.  



I can't help with your main question because I've never encountered data loss from repairing an RM database, neither RM6 nor any other version. But I did want to comment that you need to think in terms of replacing the RM database on your main PC from your flash drive rather than of merging the database on your main PC with the database on your flash drive.


RM_to_Go does not merge. It replaces. When you sync from your main PC to your flash drive, it replaces what was on your flash drive. When you sync from your flash drive back to your main PC, it replaces what was on your main PC. So you will have to decide if you are willing to do a complete replacement of the database on your main PC or not.



In Topic: Ability to open media and note simultaneously.

17 July 2018 - 07:50 PM

Should the transcription or photo reverse notes not also be contained in the image metadata where they belong?


You know, that's a good question and I don't know the answer.


I usually put document transcriptions in two places and sometimes three. The two basic places are into a fact note in RM and into a source/citation note for that fact in RM. As a source/citation note, the transcriptions follow all the citations around, not just the fact basic fact note for the data. For example, I have a birth certificate fact and a death certificate fact, etc. The initial citation goes with that fact, and then is memorized and pasted to related facts such as birth and death themselves. The third place is that sometimes I create a TXT file with the transcription and the TXT file is in the same folder and with the same name except for the file extension as the image file itself.


In the case of photos, I tend to make a second copy of the image in a lossless file format (usually PNG), expand it with white space at the bottom, and annotate the photo in the white space. Unless the image file is some sort of layered format, this annotation just becomes pixels and is not really text anymore. This technique is sort of like writing on the back of a photo that's printed on paper except it prints on the "front" of the photo - in the added white space at the bottom.


For whatever reason, I have not done the same sort of annotation with image files of documents as I do with photos, so my document transcriptions are somewhat separated from the document itself. Another place to store the the transcriptions would be in formally defined metadata fields that are defined for many types of image files. My concern here is that such metadata fields tend to be poorly supported by software that displays and edits image files, and therefore the metadata can be totally invisible to the user and can easily be lost. I'm not familiar with any of the annotation tools mentioned in this thread, and they may address some of my concerns about the image metadata being invisible and/or lost.



In Topic: Problem with images

16 July 2018 - 03:23 PM

C:\Users\famil\Desktop\THE TREE\AFAMILY2015



When you get the red X's denoting broken links, is this still the file path that RM has for the files?



In Topic: Ability to open media and note simultaneously.

16 July 2018 - 03:20 PM

RM does need to be able to have more than one window open at at time. But even if it had this capability, I think I would continue to transcribe in a different way. Namely, I transcribe into a Notepad window, then copy and paste from there into a note in RM. It seems like a better environment to work in for transcription than does an RM note Window. And it already means that I have two windows open at the same time.


Also, you can link things like marriage records into RM as files instead of images. If you do it that way, the image will open in a separate window in the program of your choice instead of opening in RM. That's another way to get multiple windows. The only downside is that images entered into RM as files cannot be printed by RM in scrapbooks. But for documents, I have never needed to print them from RM. It's only photos that I need to print from RM.