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

The Data Entry Chore - Sat, 3 Nov 2007

Do you like entering all your data into your Genealogy Program? Do you find it easy, or is it a chore? I believe it should be so easy a task that you are encouraged to do it every time you get new info. Don’t wait. Get it in now!

Unfortunately, I also believe the forms-based data entry that comes with all programs today is limiting and slows you down. You can’t see everything on one screen and have to bring up other screens to enter notes or sources. Not only is it slow for data entry, it causes errors and you never really can tell what is all there.

My original idea was to set up my Romanian web page manually, and just make it look like Behold’s output. I quickly realized that would be impossible. The linkages Behold sets are are too complex for manual maintenance. So, that led to the realization that it is best to just use Behold to create the page. To do so, I needed all this data in a GEDCOM file. The “easiest” way to get the data into a GEDCOM file is to export from a genealogy program.

Well, I stopped entering my data into a genealogy program about 10 years ago. I first used Reunion and when they sold their Windows version to Sierra to become Generations, I was a beta tester for them. It’s been so long since I’ve used it, and I din’t even install it on my current computer which I got about 2 years ago. And I’m not sure if I want to. Generations was bought out by the company that owned Family Tree Maker and they soon after dropped it. The final version had some bad problems in it that conflicted with the Windows Operating System and required patches.

But Generations was basically like all the other programs anyway. On my machine, I now have 3 free programs I sometimes test with: PAF, Legacy and Family Tree Legends. I also own the full version of Family Tree Maker 2008. So it shouldn’t be too hard to choose between them, should it?

After seriously trying to see which of them I could live with (FTM takes 25 seconds just to load!), I revisited my old feelings about how much I hate those forms-based entry systems. After all, that’s why I’m writing Behold, isn’t it - to solve my own pain.

So you know what I ended up doing? Actually it’s pretty slick.

I have two programs open at once. On the left is a text editor with the GEDCOM file open. On the right is Behold displaying the Everything Report for the GEDCOM file. I make some edits on the left, and then I refresh Behold (with the F5 key) on the right. I can add whatever complex notes, sourcing and linking I want that GEDCOM allows.

I’ve found this to be tremendously useful as, not only a simulation of how Behold will handle editing, but its already picked out a few things to fix or enhance in Behold. Although I’ve done a lot of testing of Behold with hundreds of GEDCOMs, this is the first time I’m actually using Behold for myself.

The data entry “chore” now is much easier. Everything is in front of me in GEDCOM form in the editor, and in interpreted form in Behold. Since I’m totally fluent in GEDCOM, the data entry is inconvenient but relatively easy. In a few days, I should have the resulting Behold Everything Report up on my website, and that will be a great example for people of what Behold can do.

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