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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog » Blog Entry           prev Prev   Next next

Sunday, May 27, 2007 - Sun, 27 May 2007

It didn’t take that long. About an hour to make the changes. Then two more to run it through a number of GEDCOMs and fix the parts that didn’t work for some of them.

I discovered an interesting program called Family.Show. It is actually a demo of new technology that Microsoft created for Windows Vista. It works on Windows XP as well if you are willing to go through the headache of installing .NET 3.0. But if you don’t, you can at least watch the Video at the site.

What is interesting is how nice and simple the user interface is, and how graphical it is. There are several specific things that I like. Their graphic interface connects the people with lines that are automatically drawn for you. The people drawn have different colors that mean different things. You can zoom in and out with a slider control. I have seen a few other programs that do this, but to me this is slick because its implementation uses new graphical functions that Microsoft has developed. I’m not sure if I’ll ever add charting to Behold, because its really only good for display purposes and is very inefficient for data entry. But if I did, I’d probably want to use this technology to do it.

Second is that it inputs GEDCOM and outputs GEDCOM, but stores everything internally as XML, which is the new web standard for storing data that Microsoft has embraced. Several attempts have been made to come up with a GEDCOM XML, but this one is straightforward and uses new XML handling functions from Microsoft. Their source code shows how they import GEDCOM, transfer it to their XML structure, and then how they convert the XML back to GEDCOM for export.

Then a few little things I like: They have a time slider that lets you select the year and greys out anyone or any event that hasn’t happened by that year. When showing the birth/death years, they also show the age or age at death, e.g. for a living person: “1943 | 64″, or for someone deceased: “1943 - 1966 | 22″. Dragging and dropping images works well. Finally, I like the buttons they use to edit people or add family members.

It does not have all the features a genealogist would need, but as a demo of new technology, and to give me new ideas, it’s very nice!

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