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 of RAM.
I knew this would an excellent test for Behold. I was hoping it would be able to load his GEDCOM file successfully. His GEDCOM was 39.7 MB in size! Unfortunately, Behold couldn’t. He had to break his family in half before it could do so.
So I followed that up and did some tests on various size GEDCOMs just to learn what the maximum capability Behold now has. It depends on how much detail there is about each person in the file, but I came up with two measures: Behold needs between 14 and 33 MB of RAM and/or Swap File space for 1000 people. In terms of GEDCOM size, Behold needs RAM and/or Swap File space between 43 and 108 times the size of the GEDCOM file. (GEDCOM files take between 150 and 630 KB per 1000 people.)
The bottom line is that typically a computer with 512 MB of RAM will have about 1024 MB of free RAM and Swap File space, meaning it could handle between 30,000 and 70,000 people depending on the data. One with only 128 MB of RAM could handle 1/4 as much. I will update my Behold FAQ to reflect that.
I know I will have to address this limitation in the future. I’ll have to find a way to write much of the Everything Report to disk rather than store it in memory. That will be a big job, and it will have to wait for later.
But the good news is that I had such a good experience in hearing someone else’s views about Behold, that I have decided to make the alpha version of Behold available for, shall we call it, alpha testing. The difference between alpha and beta is that in alpha, the features are not all yet implemented. Keep checking back to my blog and I’ll let you know when it’s available.