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The Best Genealogy Software Reviews - Sun, 14 Dec 2008

There is a recently redone site by Tamura Jones called Modern Software Experience that has posted the most comprehensive and accurate reviews of Genealogy software that I have ever seen. He doesn’t pull any punches and tells it like he sees it which is something this field of programming really needs.

So far, he has reviewed Family Tree Maker 2008 , 2008 SP3 and 2009, Family Historian, Long Family History, It’s Our Tree, FamilyTreeFactory, MyBlood, Legacy, Heredis, … the list goes on. The reviews are detailed and technical.

He runs each program through two sample GEDCOMs: A 1 MB GEDCOM with close to 5,000 individuals, which is a typical large family tree, and a GEDCOM of 100,000 individuals that acts as a real torture test, but is something that all programs should handle. You have to read the comparisons, because they are a real eye-opener. It gives me some real goals to attain with Behold.

In addition, the detailed reviews point out many other things that many programs do badly that I know I have to avoid doing in Behold. So I just love the resource that Tamura has put up.

Tamura has personally conversed with me and critiqued Behold quite accurately. And I’m so glad he did because many of his comments and suggestions have led to major improvements, including my effort right now to optimize the speed of Behold and reduce its memory usage - the current two Achilles heels of the program.

He’s got a lot more than just genealogy reviews up there. He comments on Microsoft technology, Standards, and WebBrowsers. And he has really interesting analysis of current events with Genealogy software, such as “The Family Tree Maker Book Building Promise“.

So take a few hours, or a few days (there’s that much there) and peruse the material at Tamura’s site.

Note he’s using pure web standards for his pages, and they are in XHTML format. Internet Explorer won’t work there unless you follow his instructions, or use a standards-compliant browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

6 Comments           comments Leave a Comment

1. tamura (tamura)
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Joined: Sun, 14 Dec 2008
1 blog comment, 0 forum posts
Posted: Sun, 14 Dec 2008  Permalink

The title alone… “Best Genealogy Software Reviews” - how am I ever going to get down to Earth again?

- Tamura

2. rcrooks (rcrooks)
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Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008
2 blog comments, 0 forum posts
Posted: Mon, 15 Dec 2008  Permalink

Well, I guess that I won’t be seeing this site.

I’m using IE 7 and don’t want to go through the hassle of installing another add-on, web browser, etc. What percentage of the people use IE? What a huge portion of his possible audience is missing out on his site.

That’s like talking to someone and only listening to what they have to say if they use perfect English, no slang, etc. Louis, could you imagine writing your software so that it only runs under Vista?

At any rate, it’s his site and he can do what he wants with it.

3. ram09 (ram09)
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Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008
4 blog comments, 0 forum posts
Posted: Mon, 15 Dec 2008  Permalink

A quick look at Browser statistics
(http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp) and 47% (IE7, IE6) of the people browsing the internet will not get a chance to view the site unless they install add-ons. Like rcrooks said, most people won’t bother.

Trying to be standards-compliant reminds me of a few university classes… The idea is great, unfortunately its not very practical in the real world we live in! I mean really, what’s the point of being compliant if no one else can view your site?

The other thing that I didn’t like was that I switched to Firefox and still got the “Internet Explorer not valid” page before the page is redirected to the actual site. Welcome to the beautiful world of internet caching!

4. Louis Kessler (lkessler)
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Joined: Sun, 9 Mar 2003
146 blog comments, 200 forum posts
Posted: Mon, 15 Dec 2008  Permalink

I’ve suggested to Tamura that he simply change the suffix on his pages from .xhtml to .html and then everyone will be able to view his material. But the decision is up to him.

None-the-less, the reviews are superb, and are very worth viewing.

5. rcrooks (rcrooks)
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Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008
2 blog comments, 0 forum posts
Posted: Wed, 17 Dec 2008  Permalink

Well, I thought I’d see if I could see this site with IE7 yet.

Now IE tells me “To help protect your security, Internet Explorer blocked this site from downloading files to your computer.”

The saga continues. I agree with ram09 about what good does being compliant do if you no one can see your work. Sort of reminds me of the people who insist on driving 55 on the freeways when everyone else (including the police) are going 70 forcing people to brake and swerve around them and generally causing disruption and dangerous driving conditions.

6. ram09 (ram09)
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Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008
4 blog comments, 0 forum posts
Posted: Thu, 18 Dec 2008  Permalink

Well there is another argument that we havn’t considered, he may simply have developed the site for himself. He may not really care if other people can or cannot view it. I’m assuming at one point when he does want to share with the whole world, he will make his site “compliant” with the most popular browsers. Until then, he can focus on reading his own reviews (and the few who happened to find his site). Louis identified this as one of the best genealogy review sites, too bad he doesn’t want to share it with everyone.

As a web developer, I develop sites to look good in 3 browsers (firefox, IE6 and IE7). And if your site can be viewed in those 3, then I’m 99% sure it will work across all major browsers. Although I’m developing for other people to view the site, not to make a point about what is or isn’t a real browser.

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