Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Family Tree Maker software Board

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GENEALOGE: Family Tree Maker software Board

a new coment by on my old blog :-

This is a follow-up to my Nov. 3, 2007 posting concerning the potential for data loss while transferring information to Family Tree Maker 2008 (FTM2008).

Although efforts to make contact with the management team of FTM2008 were unsuccessful prior to my posting, two days after the posting, David Humphreys initiated contact which resulted in ongoing communication.

For those who are only “scanning” this posting, I will sum up the info below by stating that I now tend to believe there is NO LOSS OF DATA when info is transferred into FTM2008 from external sources.

After establishing contact with the FTM development team, I shared a copy of my database with the team and they repeated the same processes I described that I believed contributed to data loss. They report they could not identify any data loss in the transfer to FTM2008, and explained that the apparent loss of data is due to the fact that FTM16 (the old version) stores data differently in its internal database dependent on whether the data was "entered directly" into FTM16 - or - was “imported” into FTM16 (e.g. from an imported GEDCOM or other file).

I've been advised that the new FTM2008 uses a totally differently schema (data base storage structure/content/semantics) from the older software -- BUT -- does not result in any loss of data.

I have begun checking their explanation with a smaller sub-set of my data, and have so far found their explanation to be true.

The main difference I’ve found (and which led me to believe there was data loss) between FTM2008 and FTM16, is a difference in how some source information appears to the end-user in FTM2008. ALL source information in FTM2008 is a more hidden, and harder to view than it was in FTM16, but in certain situations the source information within FTM2008 for events (i.e., Name, Birth Date, Death Date, Marriage Date, etc.) is more “secreted” than FTM2008’s “norm”.

It appears that when source comments stored in FTM2008 DO NOT reference (or are not linked to) specific records within the Master Source file, these comments appear differently than source comments that ARE directly linked to an entry in the Master Source file - - BUT - - they are stored in the database and appear to the user (and in reports) somewhat differently in FTM2008 than these same comments did in FTM16 (they appeared with the comments but showed “No Master Source”)

Coupled with the fact that FTM16 stores data in different ways (discussed above – ‘direct-entry’ versus ‘import’) the other factor that led me to the conclusion that data had been lost results from how FTM2008 produces a GEDCOM file, as opposed to how FTM16 produces a GEDCOM file. It appears both versions DO produce standardized GEDCOM-compliant files; however, each version uses different rules to produced those compliant GEDCOM files (i.e., FTM2008 appears to take long comments and/or notes, and generates multiple short “CONC” lines within a GEDCOM file (instructions that cause those lines to be later concatenated/linked) - whereas FTM16 takes those same long comments and/or notes, and generates longer lines within a GEDCOM file.

To recap - - - I now tend to believe that the importation of data to FTM2008 will not result in a data loss within the new version’s database. Some of the info may be a bit hard to find, but everything appears to be there.

As far as needed improvements to FTM2008, the management team responsible for FTM2008 development advised me that the ‘just-released’ Service Pack 2 strives to improve the reliability of the application and should improve some performance issues. The new SP2 also added the Ahnentafel & Register reports to the application. They assured me they were “looking hard” at ways to improve the way FTM2008 deals with ‘Sources’ along with other on-going performance-enhancing improvements.

For me personally, I will continue to use FTM16, but will regularly re-evaluate FTM2008 for performance and functionality issues, and will probably upgrade in the future when I can be as comfortable with the new version as I am with the old.

Dan Hunter


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