The current release that I am working hard to get out will include two new major features: 1. Life Events, and 2. Consistency Checking.
Consistency checking was one of the important things missing from Behold. I felt it was very necessary to have it prior to going further. Today’s article by Tamura Jones: Consistency Check Reminder, solidifies my belief, and states:
“If your so-called genealogy editor does not offer consistency and reasonability checks, you should upgrade to something better.”
But then this struck me:
“The approach most vendors take today is merely providing the checks through some menu item, and hoping the user has already taken advantage of this feature when they generate a report. That’s understandable, but many users never take advantage of that menu item, because it takes time and isn’t very enjoyable, and because no one reminds them that they should.”
That is true, and the suggestion is made that programs prompt you every so often to do the consistency check. But I don’t think that carries it far enough. Instead, I suggest that the consistency checking not be an option, but always be done and be shown alongside the data so the user can fix it right then and there.
Here’s an example of what Behold’s consistency checking will look like:
The consistency problems are highlighted in red. Why did the husband die before the wife was born? Why was she married between the ages of 1 and 2? Why was no death date given or estimated?
Of course, Behold will have the advantage that the “report” will also be (when editing is added in Version 2) the input mechanism for entering and updating the data. So you’ll be able to correct the inconsistencies right there in the report. Correct the marriage year from 1513 to 1533, and the consistency problem will vanish and so will the message in red.
I suspect the reason why Tamura does not suggest that the checking always be done is the time it might take:
“Although it would be nice to ensure that data is consistent before creating a report, consistency checks do take time, and may take considerable time for large databases. Trying the user’s patience by making them wait on a complete database check every time they want to generate a small report would not provide an enjoyable user experience.”
Well, my argument here is if it’s done right, it shouldn’t add more than a small fraction of time to the processing. If the overhead is small, then the consistency checking can be done while the reports are being displayed. The check need only be done completely once the first time the report is being generated and can thereafter be reused for other reports. When an edit is made, the closely related people are the only ones that need to be rechecked.
With Behold’s life events and integrated consistency checking, the next release should result in Behold becoming one of the very best data checking genealogy programs, for both GEDCOM validation and for consistency checking.
I’m happy to announce: Today marks 10 years exactly since the first Behold blog post. This is my 815th blog post over that time.
November 8 note: Tamura has added another article: Integrated Consistency Checking, which suggests remembering results and using background checking in order to always provide results. Those are good ideas.