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Louis Kessler’s Behold Blog » Archive for 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - Wed, 28 Dec 2005

Changed the Tag text to mostly match the GEDCOM standards. I earlier thought using "Birth:" and "Death:" instead of "born" and "died" would look bad, but looking at it, I would say you would hardly notice the difference unless it was pointed out. That's good. I also realized that Behold wasn't handling ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 - Tue, 27 Dec 2005

I've finally got back into the guts of the Everything Report and have been working towards getting it to work correctly and look as good as it should. I'll be trying to make positive progress every night, and I'll update Behold's Future Plans page as I go. My initial foray has led me to extend the TYPE tag, ...

Saturday, December 24, 2005 - Sat, 24 Dec 2005

I registered the Domain Name: www.beholdgenealogy.com for possible future use. Like www.behold.ca, it currently points to my current site. I was not happy with how long Behold's Forum's main page seemed to take to load - about 5 seconds. That sort of response is enought to turn people off from using it. ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - Tue, 20 Dec 2005

If you want to link to Behold from your website, I've added an info page about doing that. See the "Link to.." link at the Top and Bottom of each Behold webpage. I've been getting quite a few excellent e-mails from people using Behold in the last week, with suggestions and bug reports. Thanks to everyone for ...

Monday, December 19, 2005 - Mon, 19 Dec 2005

Yet another side study this weekend. My website's log file grows too quickly due to my site's traffic so I need to download it every few days. I wanted to see what bandwidth my site is using to determine whether 30 GB a month would be a severe limitation. My own custom log analysis programs I developed do a ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - Wed, 14 Dec 2005

What a last few days I spent! Lots of computer things, but nothing for Behold. My daughter's new computer (see Nov 6) has been crashing in Word in a strange way. It only happens when my computer is turned off, to which her default printer is attached. I've been trying to find the reason for that for a few ...

Sunday, December 11, 2005 - Sun, 11 Dec 2005

I reorganized most of my papers and set up my Behold tasks to do this month. I'll start with correcting the cause of a couple of Abends that I had only put in workarounds for. I also set up an Affiliates page, which isn't linked directly to the other pages yet, but you can check it out if you want. I'll be ...

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 - Version 0.98 alpha - Wed, 7 Dec 2005

Well, version 0.98 is now available. There are always some last minute things to do and little glitches to catch, which I've done as best as possible. I'll send a mailing to all users (hopefully tonight) with details about the update. A complete list of changes is in on Behold's Version History page. During ...

Monday, December 5, 2005 - Mon, 5 Dec 2005

Did I say I'd get this version out today? Well I tried. I really tried hard. I only had two things left to do. But the first took me just about all day. I finished the character set stuff yesterday, and today it should have been simple to convert an ANSEL formatted input into Unicode. Previously, I was ...

Sunday, December 4, 2005 - Sun, 4 Dec 2005

I should be able to get this version out tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a few things I found while finishing off the text size and character sets: Foreign character sets sort reasonably well, but not perfectly. Some surnames and places that use accents may appear out of order in the Index sections. I'll have to ...

Saturday, December 3, 2005 - Sat, 3 Dec 2005

I decided to add the selection of text size and character set to the View menu similar to how Internet Explorer has its Text Size and Encoding items. If you look at those items, they have an arrow that leads to the choices that you can select from. The current selection is indicated with a black dot. I came ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 - Tue, 29 Nov 2005

As it turns out, that "E" with a breve is not in the Czech language after all. Therefore the East European Code Page actually does render all Czech characters correctly and I am greatly relieved and am much more confident that the Code Pages will now do the trick, at least until I implement Unicode correctly. ...

Sunday, November 27, 2005 - Sun, 27 Nov 2005

I thought all the character set stuff was working, and then I noticed one particular Czech character, an "E" with a breve (a half-circle over it) was only rendering as a plain "E". I'm not one to leave well-enough alone, so I spent the last 3 days trying to find out what was going on. I won't try to explain ...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 - Wed, 23 Nov 2005

Just about done with the Charsets. There are about a dozen different languages that I'll add. The final problem of exporting to RTF seems to have been a setting on my machine, so the export actually works okay. In the issue of Genealogical Computing that I received today, there was a review of the GenP ...

Sunday, November 20, 2005 - Sun, 20 Nov 2005

My adventures with UTF-8 has taken a very winding path. First I thought I'd be able to simply write out a little translator like I did for ANSEL, and I was using Czech characters as the basis. What I found was that there were just too many non-translatable characters for it in Czech for it to be of much use ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - Wed, 16 Nov 2005

My current task is to implement the reading of the UTF-8 character set. This is a way of representing the Unicode standard for the alphabets and accented characters of the various languages of the world. A few genealogy programs are capable of handling Unicode characters (most notably PAF), and they usually ...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - Tue, 15 Nov 2005

The majority of the multiple-GEDCOM/selection bugs are all solved and fixed. In the process, I made a few minor improvements as well, and I've added those on my Future Plans page. So now my list of things for this release has grown. I'm aiming to finish those remaining before the end of November. That means it ...

Saturday, November 12, 2005 - Sat, 12 Nov 2005

I'm still working hard on just getting back to where I was a few weeks ago. I've stumbled across a whole number of little things needing improvement, followed by a few bugs and glitches in the RM and EE reports when multiple GEDCOMs are loaded and a few more when only some of the GEDCOMs are selected in the ...

Friday, November 11, 2005 - Fri, 11 Nov 2005

I know I will one day need to upgrade my website service. With my Behold maillist growing and the Behold user forum's potential to grow, I will need more than the 100 MB I now have allocated. My options are to either upgrade with myhosting.com who is my current provider, or to move to a new service that has ...

Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - Wed, 9 Nov 2005

Further to Sunday's computer troubles: The 2nd drive actually wouldn't attach to my machine as a slave because my machine would need a Bios upgrade. I seem to recall that Bios upgrades always used to be free, but www.esupport.com wants $59 for the upgrade. Forget that! I would also have had to reformat the ...

Sunday, November 6, 2005 - Sun, 6 Nov 2005

I spent most of the week plugging away on Behold. Then yesterday morning, a computer problem/disaster. At 1:30 a.m., my older daughter wakes me up in a panic, that her computer is dying. I run over and we try to boot it again and we can smell something burning. I try to copy her data files over to my ...

Monday, October 31, 2005 - Mon, 31 Oct 2005

I rigorously went through and fixed that Mailing List error. I even tested it with a small broadcast to several people. It works correctly now. So now I can go back to working on Behold.

Sunday, October 30, 2005 - Sun, 30 Oct 2005

I wanted to get Behold News out to everyone to ensure they knew about the new version, and about the fix for the Access Violations. But now that my mailing list has been growing, I had a few customizations to do to my mailing list program first. Last mailing, I got a few bounce backs of bad addresses. I ...

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - Sat, 29 Oct 2005

The 2nd Access Violation was because of a file that had a few links between INDI and FAM records that were only specified in one direction rather than both ways as the GEDCOM standard states. Behold handled these when it loaded them in, but it gave an Access Violation when it tried to release the memory for ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - Wed, 26 Oct 2005

I received reports of a couple of Access Violation errors in the new version. One is in the Others Related through Marriage section. It appears that depending on your data some of the descendant groups in the RM section may be listed without any descendants. This also happened in version 0.97.1, but did not ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 - Version 0.97.9 alpha - Tue, 25 Oct 2005

I decided to release a new version with the changes made up to about a week ago (17 Oct 2005). The Everything Report is not quite where I wanted it for Version 0.98, but there are enough major changes for it to be worthy of a release, and I'm naming it Version 0.97.9 (almost 0.98, but not quite). You will ...

Monday, October 24, 2005 - Mon, 24 Oct 2005

I reached a stumbling point while working to generalize the INDI and FAM references. The way I had set them up initially would not work in all cases. It took me a while to get my head around this problem. I looked at dozens of different GEDCOM test files and I had to spend time working through the GEDCOM 5.5.1 ...

Monday, October 17, 2005 - Mon, 17 Oct 2005

I decided to implement the suggestion by rwcrooks to have an option to show the Structure/Source and Substructure/Citation name next to the reference links. I had always thought of the references as the equivalent of those superscript numbers put on the lines on which they apply. In Behold I show them ...

Saturday, October 15, 2005 - Sat, 15 Oct 2005

Yesterday, I finally finished solving all the complexities that were involved in sorting all the structures by name that I began on Sept 28. I didn't expect a big delay due to that, but programmers are optimistic sorts who always expect everything to go smoothly. At any rate, that is all working and if I must ...

Friday, October 14, 2005 - Fri, 14 Oct 2005

I was reading the Sept 19th issue of eWeek magazine (yes, I'm several weeks behind in my reading) and there was an interesting article on the new user interface to accompany Microsoft's Office Version 12. Specifically, it was the new "ribbon" that intrigued me. It is designed to replace the set of task panes, ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - Tue, 11 Oct 2005

Aha! I figured out what was bugging me. My preprocessing has to be done in the correct order. First I have to search the INDI and FAM records for references. These are usually references to structures. Then I have to search the structures for references. These may be links back to other structures or links back ...

Monday, October 10, 2005 - Mon, 10 Oct 2005

I put a lot of work into Behold this weekend. But there are still a few too many loose ends to release it. What is slowing me down is that various programs output the source/citation/note data very differently, so I have to be careful about how I handle everything. My current head scratcher is that some ...

Saturday, October 8, 2005 - Sat, 8 Oct 2005

Those changes this week were supposed to be relatively easy. As it turns out, there was a fair bit of major surgery involved. I had been moving a lot of code around and trying to keep Behold working the whole while, doing one small step at a time. But when I loaded a fourth test file, it showed off some major ...

Sunday, October 2, 2005 - Sun, 2 Oct 2005

I have been making good progress towards 0.98. I've squeezed in a few code changes that are invisible on the outside, but will make Behold easier to maintain and update in the future with regards to the referencing structures. Obviously, I did not get these changes out in September like I hoped, but I'm now ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - Wed, 28 Sep 2005

I've been working my way through the list of to do things (Future Plans) left to get 0.98 out. Each item doesn't take too long as most of the coding is already there. It usually just takes a bit of copying and tweaking (and sometimes debugging) of the code to make the feature work the way it should. What is ...

Sunday, September 25, 2005 - Sun, 25 Sep 2005

Sorry about the long time between posts, but life got in the way of Behold again last week. Our 2nd car, a 1986 Nissan (the one I drive) is literally falling apart and I have had severe doubts that it would make it through the winter. I had procrastinated long enough and had to go out and replace it, and now ...

Sunday, September 18, 2005 - Sun, 18 Sep 2005

If you take a look at my Future Plans page, you'll see I've done quite a bit in the last few days. There are enough fixes and improvements there that I think I'll release Version 0.98 alpha in the next few days. I've been using the my new set of user-supplied sample GEDCOMs and I've fixed the major bugs that ...

Friday, September 16, 2005 - Fri, 16 Sep 2005

Thanks to those of you who are allowing me to work with your GEDCOMs for testing purposes. I now have 8 really rich datasets that utilize many different features of GEDCOM in different ways. They range from 15 kB to 2762 kB and were produced by Family Origins, Legacy (3), Ancestry Online Family Tree, GenoPro, ...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - Version 0.97.1 alpha - Wed, 14 Sep 2005

It didn't take long for you sharp folks to find two errors in Version 0.97 that demanded immediate fixing. If there is one thing I hate, it is a bug that produces a system error and prevents Behold from continuing. Well, here were two of them. You can now update to a version with the fixes. If you ever find ...

Monday, September 12, 2005 - Version 0.97 alpha - Mon, 12 Sep 2005

Working through my sample data seems to be a never-ending process. I've done quite a bit, but there are still quite a few loose ends left. Some GEDCOMs use very strange syntax and it will take a little time before I get Behold to handle them all easily. I really didn't expect to get into this sort of ...

Friday, September 9, 2005 - Fri, 9 Sep 2005

Just about finished the 3 things I wanted to do on Tuesday. My new goal is to get this version out on Monday. I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, I had two very interesting questions come my way by e-mail. I just can't help myself from printing these and my responses in this blog. Q1: My family ...

Tuesday, September 6, 2005 - Tue, 6 Sep 2005

I've changed my mind about implementing the ordering of events that I talked about on Friday. As I went through more sample GEDCOMs, the problem really wasn't that bad. It might be a nice option to add maybe in Version 1.3, but for now I'll just concentrate on finishing off the loose ends. One of these loose ...

Saturday, September 3, 2005 - Sat, 3 Sep 2005

I've been looking for the right deal for a computer for my younger daughter. Her homework last Spring was starting to include a lot of projects and reports and I was being squeezed out of a lot of my own computer time for Behold development. So for Behold's sake, she needs a new computer. Over the last few ...

Friday, September 2, 2005 - Fri, 2 Sep 2005

Sorry for the bit of delay in reporting my progress. As I started testing other GEDCOM files, I found two things that I needed to address that weren't apparent from the one I started with. First, I found that most GEDCOMs list the events about a person in a somewhat logical order, usually starting with the ...

Monday, August 29, 2005 - Mon, 29 Aug 2005

I've adopted an interesting approach for going through my 60 or so test GEDCOM files. I'm starting with the smallest (in bytes) and working through towards the largest. That way any things that don't quite work right will have the smallest possible GEDCOM to work with and it should be easier to find and fix the ...

Saturday, August 27, 2005 - Sat, 27 Aug 2005

As I worked on the default tag names, it led to a number of fixups regarding the tags. To make sure all tags were included, I now display the total number of GEDCOM lines on the Tags page and the total number of tags processed. They should match. Then, with all the extra tags there now are, I added on the Tags ...

Thursday, August 25, 2005 - Thu, 25 Aug 2005

A good days work today! I converted the Place Index over as I wanted. It was quite tricky because Places are sorted differently than other items and needed some custom handling. That part went okay, though. Making sure the hyperlinking then worked was even tougher, since places do not have a short code like ...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - Wed, 24 Aug 2005

Just when I thought I was ready to do the next thing on my list, something important that I forgot about needed to be addressed first. My sections for Notes, Objects, Repositories and Sources were set up nicely, but I neglected to add the entries to the Treeview. Once I did that, I then had to link the Treeview ...

Saturday, August 20, 2005 - Sat, 20 Aug 2005

I got an e-mail saying that Behold's Instant Organize function was causing an access violation and crashing. That's a bad error that I like to fix right away. He sent me his GEDCOM and I was pleased that I was quickly able to find and fix the problem. In his GEDCOM, two of the Family structures had neither a ...

Thursday, August 18, 2005 - Thu, 18 Aug 2005

I had a good couple of days and got quite a way through the new features I needed to add for the next alpha release: I added the hyperlinking to a person's parents. This is for spouses and other people whose parents may be elsewhere in the report. This will help to navigate easily, especially when used in ...

Monday, August 15, 2005 - Mon, 15 Aug 2005

While trying to verify that everything is working, the tag counts were starting to bug me. I have them near the end of my things to do for getting this version out, but I thought I'd do them now. I currently show 3 counts for each tag: Input, Selected and Hidden. Input is the number that are in the GEDCOM ...

Friday, August 12, 2005 - Fri, 12 Aug 2005

I'm working hard to fix up any little things with the cross referencing. The optional values on the GEDCOM line had to be included in the reference. Any leading blanks in the optional values had to be removed. I had find a way to define a name to textually identify a Note, Object, Repository or Source ...

Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - Tue, 9 Aug 2005

I stumbled across the Beta development page of GenoPro Version 2.0 at: www.genopro.com/beta/. I'm very impressed with the detail that the author, Daniel Morin, has put into the Beta. He's been working on the Beta for over 2 years now and still has a bit to go. Some of his ideas are very innovative, e.g.: Report ...

Monday, August 8, 2005 - Mon, 8 Aug 2005

I've almost finished links back to individuals and families. This is a very strange construct that is allowed by GEDCOM, and is used in particular by Family Tree Maker but not in a very important way. FTM gives extra description on Child tags using its own custom _MREL and _FREL tags to state what the ...

Saturday, July 30, 2005 - Sat, 30 Jul 2005

After only a couple of days, I've just about finished the back/forward functions. In doing something like this, many steps are involved - a few being quite tricky: (1) Get the jump from and jump to locations and add them to the back list, but don't add the same location twice in a row. (2) Implement the ...

Thursday, July 28, 2005 - Thu, 28 Jul 2005

Finished Harry Potter Tuesday night, 5 days after I started. Loved it. Couldn't put it down on Tuesday and read the last 230 pages until 2:00 a.m. Switching modes with Behold a bit, I decided it would be best at this point to finish the back/forward functions. That will help in testing all the links that I ...

Sunday, July 24, 2005 - Sun, 24 Jul 2005

Before testing with the other GEDCOMs, I guess I should get the other few things completed so that they all can be tested together. That would be more efficient. First, I added the cross reference linking to the Notes, Objects, Repositories and Sources from and to their references. That works nicely, and the ...

Thursday, July 21, 2005 - Thu, 21 Jul 2005

I've now got the Notes, Objects, Repositories and Sources coming out in their own sections of the Everything Report. Each can be subgrouped: Sources are subgrouped by citation. Notes, Objects and Repositories may have their own subdivisions. The items are listed in the order they are first referenced. And they ...

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - Sun, 17 Jul 2005

The reference data structures now seem to be working the way I want them. What is missing is the proper ordering of the entries in the structures. The structures are internally indexed by their GEDCOM ids. These are unique and the binary trees are ordered by these ids to make retrieval quick. However, the ...

Thursday, July 14, 2005 - Thu, 14 Jul 2005

Attacked by an endless loop! While adding in the code to preprocess the references, when I used my test GEDCOM, Behold would continue processing forever until I interrupted it. This is one of those bugs dreaded by programmers. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's causing it and you have to step through the ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - Tue, 12 Jul 2005

Well, that new data structure I needed worked out all right, but then I was stuck with trying to process all the references while I was displaying them. This led to some logical problems (such as references referring to something already displayed). I realized then that I had to preprocess the references before ...

Monday, July 4, 2005 - Mon, 4 Jul 2005

I was out of town for a few days for a family event and just got back tonight. I'll respond to everybody's e-mails tomorrow. I don't think I've spent 4 days away from my computer in 5 years. It was a nice break, but its time to get back. This phase of Behold's development (finishing off the Everything ...

Monday, June 27, 2005 - Version 0.92.1 alpha - Mon, 27 Jun 2005

I got an e-mail reporting a major problem with the "About Behold" box for trial users. If you have your Windows Display setting set to Large Fonts (usually done by people with high resolution screens), then the box gets cut off at the bottom and the OK button is hidden. You can only exit from Behold and not ...

Sunday, June 26, 2005 - Sun, 26 Jun 2005

I'm continuing to work hard on the data structures. It's taking much more time than I hoped. Every little change needs to be verified before I can go on to the next. My biggest fear, though, is that the 90 day expiry of the current 0.92 version runs out in 19 days! I've got to get some new version up to ...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - Wed, 22 Jun 2005

Sorry about the long time between posts. I'm working hard to rebuild my data structures to allow collection and display of the other information not already in the Everything Report. This includes top level info (e.g. sources), subordinate level info (e.g. the locations within the sources), and the links back ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - Tue, 14 Jun 2005

Next was handling the SCHEMA tag. This tag is a different sort of tag. It is really a Meta-tag that gives information about extra tags added by a program. In the test files that I have, only five of them use the SCHEMA tag, but they are all from Family Tree Maker, so it is important for Behold to handle them. ...

Friday, June 10, 2005 - Fri, 10 Jun 2005

The HEAD structure in the GEDCOM file contains the File Information. Some of the tags in the HEAD structure are the same as those used elsewhere (like the SOUR tag) but their meanings in the two contexts are different. To handle this, I extended the Tag definitions to allow separate definitions for the same tag ...

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - Thu, 9 Jun 2005

First goal: finish the File Information. I've already collected the info (as STRUCTURE0 records). I have to hook it into my PrintInfo routine, so that the lines are printed in a standard way. The File Information is obtained from the HEAD (Header) tag in the GEDCOM. It includes information about the what ...

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - Tue, 7 Jun 2005

I decided to take the "carve an elephant" approach to finishing off the Everything Report. Basically that is taking a large block of wood and you whittle away all parts of it that don't look like an elephant. Final result: a perfect carving of an elephant. Basically this means since I didn't find a ...

Sunday, June 5, 2005 - Sun, 5 Jun 2005

Time to fill you in on what's been happening. I've spent the week trying to create a generalized set of routines to handle the final indexes of unhandled information, including the Place List, Sources, Multiple notes and other Level 0 structures that are referenced, along with their referbacks. But I've ...

Monday, May 30, 2005 - Mon, 30 May 2005

A friend gave me their very large GEDCOM to try with Behold. It is 24 MB in size and has 94,086 individuals in it. I tried in on a Pentium 1.8 GHz with 640 MB RAM running Windows XP. Behold was barely able to load it. It used up the 640 MB of RAM and 1400 MB of Swap file after about 2 minutes and then the ...

Saturday, May 28, 2005 - Sat, 28 May 2005

Thoughout all this, I was learning how the AnsiCompareStr sorted its character values. I figured maybe its best for me to write my own routine instead. It wouldn't be that hard. After a few hours I had a routine that would do it correctly. So I replaced the AnsiCompareStr with my own routine. Feeling quite ...

Friday, May 27, 2005 - Fri, 27 May 2005

I searched the web looking for possible problems with AnsiCompareStr, or problems in Delphi 4 in working with it. I couldn't find anything that indicated there was anything wrong with it. So it led to the conclusion that I had done something wrong. For two days, I checked and debugged and rechecked my code and ...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - Tue, 24 May 2005

I got tired early last night and went to bed at 10 p.m. But then I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep so went to the computer and worked on Behold for an hour and a half. That got me tired enough to get back to sleep again. While at it, I discovered a few small problems that were not nice. ...

Monday, May 23, 2005 - Mon, 23 May 2005

When checking the Place List, there were a few entries that were not sorted correctly. Tracing this to its source, it was because I put the place name and the event tag name together for sorting. I separate it by a special character. What happened was "Ukraine*Died:" would be sorted after "Ukraine,

Sunday, May 22, 2005 - Sun, 22 May 2005

Finished the Place List. I changed its internal structure so that the entries under each place would list first by event and then in the order the places occur in the everything report. The hyperlinks work. And the Tags now display as the Tag Text that the user can define in the Tags Page of the Organize ...

Thursday, May 19, 2005 - Thu, 19 May 2005

The Place List now is almost done. I've got the link back to the person working correctly with the proper linking text. There is a small amount left to do to finish it off. Little bits of careful formatting are required to make it look as good as possible, including some tricks like non-breaking spaces and ...

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - Sun, 15 May 2005

I've been spending this past week working out a how I'd get Behold to reference back to the original link. This is needed so that the Multiple References (including MR Notes) and Sources can list where they are referenced from and have hyperlinks back to the references. I thought I'd need a new data structure ...

Monday, May 9, 2005 - Mon, 9 May 2005

Didn't get much time to work on Behold. We had a big happy family event that took the whole weekend and zapped me and my family's energy. But I did buy my older daughter the digital camera she's been wanting. After studying what's highly rated but still economical, I decided on the Canon A400. She loves it, ...

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - Thu, 5 May 2005

I finished up the code for the linked NOTE tag. Now the notes which look like: NOTE @nnnn@ and refer to a "0 @nnnn@ NOTE" definition are handled. So far I've handled it for the most common case, when the linked note only refers to one note. When they do, I can place the note where the link is. But when one ...

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - Wed, 4 May 2005

I got a very interesting question in the e-mail today. They wanted a genealogy program that can run multiple instances from a server. They were looking for an easier way of sharing their GEDCOM files with my family. Did I have any idea what programs might do this? In section 5 of my Genealogy Program ...

Sunday, May 1, 2005 - Sun, 1 May 2005

My original thinking was to make a general routine that would handle all extended GEDCOM structures of any form. To ensure I could do this, I had to take an inventory of what structures were being used that I currently wasn't handling. I looked through the 54 test GEDCOM files that I have as produced from 23 ...

Thursday, April 28, 2005 - Thu, 28 Apr 2005

Next, I needed to find places where I can detect the optional link entries in the GEDCOM file so that Behold could process them. I looked in the routine that parses (i.e. takes the parts out of) each GEDCOM line. I see I hadn't included code to check for an optional link entry at the end of the line so I had to ...

Monday, April 25, 2005 - Mon, 25 Apr 2005

All that the Everything Report currently shows is only two of the top level structures from the GEDCOM. Those are the: INDI (individual) and FAM (family) structures. What I needed to code were the others: HEAD (header), NOTE, OBJE (multimedia), REPO (repository), SOUR (source), SUBN (submission) and SUBM ...

Friday, April 22, 2005 - Fri, 22 Apr 2005

Now the fun begins! I finally will get to finish off the contents of the Everything Report. The concept began almost 10 years ago and now in just another month or so, it should become a reality. I'll just look through my Future Plans one more time and fine tune what will be coming and reorganize my "Current ...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - Wed, 20 Apr 2005

Still haven't heard back from Pensaworks (the Spd E-Letter authors). This is strange since they've always replied in a few hours when I have previously contacted them. In the meantime, I came across yet another problem (a somewhat different one) that their program causes me. Their program runs on my web ...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - Tue, 19 Apr 2005

The new version is out and I've already been informed that it doesn't handle cross-referenced notes that are output into GEDCOM by some programs. These are notes of the form NOTE @nn@ where the "nn" points to a note in a special note section of the GEDCOM. I'll add this into the current set of changes. Also, ...

Monday, April 18, 2005 - Mon, 18 Apr 2005

Well, this was a bit of a disaster. I tried to use Spd E-Letter to send out e-mails to those of you who have already downloaded Behold to let you know there's a new version. I wanted to do it yesterday after I uploaded the new version, but Spd E-Letter had a tiny little problem. It couldn't create a message to ...

Sunday, April 17, 2005 - Version 0.92 alpha - Sun, 17 Apr 2005

Version 0.92 is released. Some major things implemented, so it is well worth upgrading. There is a new Web update built into it, but the 0.91 version that everyone has cannot work with it yet, so you'll have to wait until the next version to use it. I've decided to switch priorities a bit. Over the next ...

Saturday, April 16, 2005 - Sat, 16 Apr 2005

There! I've added many of the default GEDCOM tags into Behold. Now with the CONC and CONT change done and with most Tags defined, the Everything Report is significantly improved. There are minor adjustments that will need to be made for certain tags, but those can come later. So that finishes the ...

Friday, April 15, 2005 - Fri, 15 Apr 2005

I had done the preprocessing in the wrong place. I preprocessed the GEDCOM before I read it into the GEDCOM listings of Behold. That resulted in the listings not being the exact GEDCOMs that are on the computer, which is bad. So I changed the code to now read from the loaded GEDCOM listings. That went fairly ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - Wed, 13 Apr 2005

To implement the CONC tag, I have to preprocess the whole GEDCOM file and append CONC lines on the end of the previous line. This makes the reading a little tricky because I need a buffer of at least two lines and cannot process the first until it is known that the second one is not a CONC tag. Following the ...

Monday, April 11, 2005 - Mon, 11 Apr 2005

Today I implemented conversion of the ANSEL set to ASCII. Finally some real programming work! What a pleasure! After figuring out how the ANSEL characters are defined, I had to do a bit of mapping, to map those characters to Extended ASCII. Many of the most common characters can be represented properly, but ...

Sunday, April 10, 2005 - Sun, 10 Apr 2005

The difficult things are easy but the simple things are hard. I was expecting that undoing the file associations at uninstall time would be difficult. I have often run into unexpected difficulties when trying to interact with the Windows Operating System. But this went very smoothly and did not take long. ...

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - Thu, 7 Apr 2005

A very interesting puzzle was solved in the last few days. It was reported to me that Behold was unable to properly display accented characters in foreign languages, in this case: Finnish:

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - Tue, 5 Apr 2005

One of the best things I ever did with Behold was deciding to release it in alpha version, rather than waiting until features are all complete and waiting for the beta. I have been getting many great observations and comments by many people on very important things I would have missed. Today I found out ...

Monday, April 4, 2005 - Mon, 4 Apr 2005

During the last two days, I was helping a person who purchased Behold. She bought Behold without it working on her computer. In fact, it wouldn't even start up and gave a message: "kernel32 could not be found in the specified path". Her big difference was that she has Windows 2000 and I had only tested Behold ...

Sunday, April 3, 2005 - Sun, 3 Apr 2005

Testing the web update only gives me very minor things to correct. It looks good and works well. Since everyone gets free updates with Behold, this will make upgrading a snap. How does a couple of mouse clicks and 20 seconds (if you have a high-speed connection) to upgrade sound? Too bad when this version ...

Saturday, April 2, 2005 - Sat, 2 Apr 2005

Wow - What an effort! I had to take bits and pieces from all sorts of sources to put together a web update that I like. The majority came from a free component called Live Update that no longer exists, but I had downloaded it several years ago. But there was so much I was doing that was different, it was ...

Thursday, March 31, 2005 - Thu, 31 Mar 2005

Since I've decided on checking for a new version from Behold itself, rather than on the server, it makes sense to take that all the way now and implement the full web update. This will delay the point release to the beginning of April, but it won't slow overall progress down, since I planned to do this in the ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - Tue, 29 Mar 2005

Third time's a charm! My third alternative was from within Behold, to go out to my website, check a file that says what the current version is, and report back if that version is the same as that of the program running. My hesitancy with that I thought this would be a lot of work. But it wasn't as bad as I ...

Monday, March 28, 2005 - Mon, 28 Mar 2005

I tried two different things today to get the "Check for Updates" command to work. I was stymied twice! First I tried to get my Versionhistory webpage to pass the parameter (which would be the version of Behold you have) to a small ASP script that would simply report if the version number is the current one ...

Sunday, March 27, 2005 - Sun, 27 Mar 2005

After many hours on the white background menu glitch, I finally found out what I do that causes it. It is the "BuyNow" that I put on the Menu line for those who haven't purchased Behold. Because I'm changing the main menu line in the program depending on whether the program was purchased or not, a bug in ...

Saturday, March 26, 2005 - Sat, 26 Mar 2005

Had to make changes to the Info Box that comes on startup if you haven't registered. Once you enter a trial UserID and Key, the next time you start Behold, it is not obvious that your trial registration is still valid and you may expect to have to reenter your UserID and Key each time. The new changes should ...

Thursday, March 24, 2005 - Thu, 24 Mar 2005

I'm getting some great comments and suggestions on the Behold Discussion Forum. This is exactly what I was looking for when I decided to release the alpha version. But my RSS feed for the forum stopped working. After a bit of debugging, I discovered that a message title had an apostrophe in it as in the ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - Tue, 22 Mar 2005

Well, I just feel great finally getting that initial alpha release of Behold out. In the first few days, I've already had several dozen registered downloads and a few purchases. Some of the comments I've received have been very uplifting. Thank you everyone. I'm archiving the pre-release blog. It is still ...

Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Version 0.91 alpha - Sun, 20 Mar 2005

For those of you following my Behold Blog, you'll be the first to know: My first public alpha release of Behold is now available! You can download it now.

Friday, March 18, 2005 - Fri, 18 Mar 2005

Not much time during the week, but I did get further towards finishing the Quick Start help file. Documenting the Numbering Page is very tough to make simple and clear because there is so much to it, but I'm almost there. Last night I ran out of steam fell asleep at 9:30. Tonight, I had a bit of fun. I ...

Monday, March 14, 2005 - Mon, 14 Mar 2005

No go. Another dud. I'm putting in so much time, but I keep getting yet another obstacle in my way. Of course I am using 4 sample files in my Quick Start help that I have never tried before. And of course as I run through them to make the help, I see a few problems that I've never seen before. And of course I ...

Sunday, March 13, 2005 - Sun, 13 Mar 2005

As I work through finishing the help, it is taking a bit longer than expected. But then, I'm putting together a much nicer Quick Start section than I ever thought I would. The extra wait will be worth it. Doing this has really solidified some of my concepts and why I am doing things in a certain way in Behold. ...

Sunday, March 6, 2005 - Sun, 6 Mar 2005

Again, an attempt to try to get Behold released by tonight. The bad news: I didn't make it. The good news: I'm half way through the Quick Start section of my help file, and that's all that's left. I'm enjoying putting the help together. I'm adding lots of images from the program and am trying to make it an ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - Wed, 2 Mar 2005

There! I got the scripts to send out the License Key information. I got around having to mark the file "in use" by using two files - one to be read in, and the other to be output. Much cleaner, very fast, and little chance of problems. I also handled several error conditions: no name, no e-mail address, bad ...

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - Tue, 1 Mar 2005

My love/hate relationship with Microsoft products continues. I had to make up about 40 mailing labels for my wife with names and addresses she had in Microsoft Excel. So I used the mailmerge in Microsoft Word to do it. Microsoft Office: Lovely user interface! Huge number of features that can do almost anything ...

Monday, February 28, 2005 - Mon, 28 Feb 2005

Yesterday, Manitoba's Curling Team won the Canadian Women's Curling Championship with a spectacular shot on the final rock of the final end. I wanted to follow that up with the initial delivery of Behold ... but in my case, I came up a little bit short. After working hard all Sunday and Monday, I just ran ...

Saturday, February 26, 2005 - Sat, 26 Feb 2005

I had a basic Help file set up for Behold from several years back. I updated the formatting of the pages, and reviewed and improved the topics in the contents. Then I was quite happy with with what I wrote up for my first section: Introduction to Behold and Genealogy which includes four topics: (1) Welcome to ...

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - Thu, 24 Feb 2005

Spent too many hours doing what I really didn't want to do. Still more tweaks to the Forum to make the signup better. The rest will have to wait until later. Next to finish up is the documentation needed and the release of this alpha version by no later than Monday. In any case, I am pushing the limits of what ...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - Wed, 23 Feb 2005

Next was to set up the program to gather the user information from Plimus. Plimus has the ability to call any http address on the web and pass the parameters of the purchase to it. I created a mailing list for purchasers and set up an Asp program to accept the input and load the list automatically when new ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - Tue, 22 Feb 2005

I had set up most of the ideas for my Newsletter, and still have a bit of work before I can get the first issue out. Thinking about this while commuting today, I realized there's no rush for the Newsletter. Originally, it was to inform people as to what's happening with Behold. But later I thought I'd expand ...

Monday, February 21, 2005 - Mon, 21 Feb 2005

When testing my e-mailing software, the mailer wouldn't work. It had a test routine that said that I should receive a test e-mail, but I never got it. I contacted the developers of Spd E-Letter, and they did not know why it was not working. I spent a couple of hours debugging the ASP code, and I found that they ...

Sunday, February 20, 2005 - Sun, 20 Feb 2005

Converted all my Behold pages over to my new colors and font. This wasn't really that tough. There were about four places on each page where a few lines needed to be modified. Then I removed all the rainbow dividers I had. Finally, I had to make sure that they worked in the major web browsers: Internet ...

Saturday, February 19, 2005 - Sat, 19 Feb 2005

Worked on the template for my Behold Newsletter in the pale blue and pale yellow colors with the Verdana font. It looks really nice! Also took a look at the Behold help file template and changed the colors and fonts to match. I'll have to do the same with the Behold website soon. When that's done, it have be a ...

Friday, February 18, 2005 - Fri, 18 Feb 2005

It's amazing sometimes how one thing leads you to another - and sometimes in a direction you don't expect. I was working on my next thing to do, that is to install my e-mailer software. This will allow me to send out newsletters to those who are interested. The e-mailer software allows the user to choose ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - Wed, 16 Feb 2005

Today I set up the Buy Now page. I'll make it live when I release the alpha. I decided to now work specifically on just what's necessary to get the alpha out as soon as possible. I moved a few todo things out of this release and into the next one. I'll get to them soon enough. So if you look at my Future ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - Tue, 15 Feb 2005

Finished customizing the e-mail that is sent out following a purchase. It now includes the user id and license key plus a short excerpt of the particular license and a few words from me.

Monday, February 14, 2005 - Mon, 14 Feb 2005

My goal is to automate the purchasing as much as possible. I next needed to build a license key generator that Plimus could access so that the license key could automatically be supplied in an e-mail after the purchase. I already had the generator, so that part was easy. But making it available through a custom ...

Sunday, February 13, 2005 - Sun, 13 Feb 2005

The company I ultimately selected to handle my registration services was Plimus. I've been looking at different services for the last three or four years, and for my purposes, they seem to be best. In particular, they'll easily handle refunds for me, which was something not all other services would do. I ...

Saturday, February 12, 2005 - Sat, 12 Feb 2005

After a goodley number of decisions, I finally decided on the structure and contents of the Readme file. I ended up with the following sections: Welcome Product Description License Information System Requirements Installation Notes Known Issues Getting Started New and Future Features Technical ...

Thursday, February 10, 2005 - Thu, 10 Feb 2005

Making up a Readme file is a bit trickier than making up a license file. Search your computer for files with "read" in its name, and you'll find a huge assortment. There are text files, rich text files, html files, Windows Help files, Adobe Acrobat files, Microsoft Word files and even executable programs. They ...

Monday, February 7, 2005 - Mon, 7 Feb 2005

I made up what I think is a very generous and very much non-legalize license agreement - one that is possible to understand. Most software has horrible license agreements. Search your own computer for any files containing the text "licen" and depending on how much software you have on your computer, they ...

Sunday, February 6, 2005 - Sun, 6 Feb 2005

Spent the weekend completely reworking the Behold pages on the website. Please check them out again now! They are now all reflective of a site with a product to release. I've eliminated the Progress section on Behold's Home Page in favor of listing the benefits Behold will give. As such, I also won't report ...

Friday, February 4, 2005 - Version 0.99 is 86.4% complete - Fri, 4 Feb 2005

Spent time building and customizing the Install and Uninstall procedures to be just the way I want them. Small little tweaks were needed here and there, but overall it wasn't a difficult job. Behold will have a standard and very quick and simple installation.

Thursday, February 3, 2005 - Thu, 3 Feb 2005

The next thing to finish off is the Setup and Uninstall programs. This was something I had initially set up, pretty well to my satisfaction some time back. I go to look at that directory and - Wow! - it was back in November 2000 that I had done it. At that time I picked a program called Inno Setup to do ...

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - Version 0.99 is 86.0% complete - Wed, 2 Feb 2005

Finished the registration part of my coding for the Installation of Behold. Now within Behold, I can accept the user registration when buying Behold, or when registering for a temporary license for testing or trying out Behold. In addition, the program now handles unregistered, trial and purchased ...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - Tue, 25 Jan 2005

I've decided on my selling policy for Behold. Behold will be a "Buy Now" program, with a 30-day moneyback guarantee. Once you buy it, all updates will be free forever. I may put something in the program to make checking for and installing new updates very easy - but possibly not right away. There will be a ...

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - Sun, 23 Jan 2005

I know its been a week since I last blogged, but over the last week I have worked harder on Behold than anytime in the last couple of years. My new goal of getting an Alpha Release out and available has caused a reordering of what I must do next. I am now working to finish setting up my Installation program ...

Sunday, January 16, 2005 - Sun, 16 Jan 2005

I just had a bit of a disappointment regarding Behold's capability. One person who has been monitoring the progress of Behold for many years, refilled his survey and said he was interested in Beta testing. In the survey he said his family tree had 92,000 people in it and his computer was Windows XP with 1 Gig ...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - Version 0.99 is 85.6% complete - Wed, 12 Jan 2005

The last thing left to finish off "Find" functionality is to make it work, not only from the Everything Report, but also from the GEDCOM listings and the log file. Those are on a separate form and I had previously built its menu items but not hooked it up. I could repeat all the Find-related code from the ...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - Tue, 11 Jan 2005

Yet another bit of software research. This time I'm looking at Voice Recognition software. Since I will soon be having to put my help files / user manual together for Behold, it will be quicker to dictate at 150 words per minute than to type at 40 words per minute, and fewer thoughts will get lost as I won't ...

Sunday, January 9, 2005 - Sun, 9 Jan 2005

Adding the Find History into the registry and reading it back again was relatively trivial. Then I had to take care of the case where the selected text for the search contained an end of line character. Since RichView's search cannot span lines, I simply cut the selection back to the last character before ...

Friday, January 7, 2005 - Version 0.99 is 85.2% complete - Fri, 7 Jan 2005

Now that all the Organizing functionality is finally done, I have a few user interface functions that are worthwhile completing now, as they will give me more tools to make it easier for me to finish off the Everything Report. Since the last thing I was working on was the history list for Instant Organize, I ...

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