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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog

Redefining Plans - Tue, 30 Jun 2015

It was really nice to get version 1.1 out. In doing so, I’ve taken into deep consideration the last line from my Living Up To Expectations post a few days ago, where I said:

Maybe after 1.1 is out, I should directly track towards Version 2.0 and just do what’s necessary to make that happen.

It’s true. I have been caught up in a lot of things with Behold over the past few years. Making a powerful GEDCOM reader, Ancestral Loops, Windows Certification, and other knowledge-based things, and of course many restarts of the Life Events that took a couple of years before I had the right model that I could implement.

Now, I’m not saying that any of these are bad things. All worked to make Behold better.

But when I sit down to think what it is I really need Behold to do, the number one reason why I want it is so that I can personally enter my own genealogy data in an efficient and organized source-based manner that I have long wanted to do.

Unfortunately, none of the above things I’ve been doing have got me closer to that goal. So I have to admit, the criticisms on GenSoftReviews were correct. I’m not getting any closer.

What this demands is a change of direction. Just aim me at my real goal. Let’s get to Version 2 and editing. I can add all the other stuff later as I need it.

Well, let’s even change that last statement to:
     I can add all the other stuff later if I need it.

Once editing is added. I’ll be able to start using Behold myself to enter my own data. That will allow me to see what’s needed and I’ll be able to add needed stuff and make it available to everyone as I do that.

Take a look at my new Future Plans page. I give the things I’m hoping to get into Version 2.0, and then have organized everything else into groups of ideas of things that I might want to do afterwards. But that will depend on what I find is needed rather than just going down the list one by one (which as you and I have both found out, takes forever).

I will try to get the Beta out sooner rather than later. As soon as I have something working enough to show the concepts, I’ll try to make it available. In the meantime, keep checking my blog posts. I intend to be writing blog entries more often as my new means of giving status reports and keeping me on track.

I’ve also decided not to go to RootsTech this February. Earlier, I was hoping to submit 3 presentations and head down there. But now I would sooner spend as much of the time as possible up to then trying to get Behold to Version 2.

I’m still committed to the 11th Unlock the Past Cruise in February where I’ll be giving at least seven talks. That will serve as my conference fun and vacation from our frigid Winnipeg winters this year. If you can afford the Clock and $$, do come and join me.

And if I can get Behold 2.0 all polished up by 2017, that’ll be the time to go to RootsTech!image

I started a new counter on my phone. It says I’ve been programming towards Version 2 now every day for 2 days. Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Behold Version 1.1 - Sat, 27 Jun 2015

I have released Version 1.1 of Behold.  It is now available on the Download page.

The easiest way to upgrade your existing version is from the Help menu in Behold: select “Check Online for New Version”.

For changes in this version, see the History page.

I’ve changed my Future Plans page. I will no longer be giving projected dates of the next versions. They were taken the wrong way. However, you will see that my next objective is to work towards releasing a beta of Version 2 with editing.

There are three language translation files on the Download page:  Dutch, French and German. However the new version of Behold has a lot more terms, so these language files are now quite incomplete and need to be updated. If you would like to update one of these files, or create a new one in a different language and send it to me, I will make it available for free for all users.

Please try out the new version of Behold and let me know what you like and what you don’t and if anything isn’t working quite right.

To anyone who downloaded Version 1.1 on June 28 or June 29. The old Version 1.0 help file was included by mistake. Just go to the download page and install Behold again right over the one you’ve got without uninstalling and that should give you the new Version 1.1 help file. To check that you’ve got the new help file, open it and search for “life”. The old version only has 1 entry. The new version has 11.

Living Up To Expectations - Sun, 21 Jun 2015

Today is Father’s Day. I spent a wonderful day with my family. What do I come home to, but three reviews on GenSoftReviews giving Behold terrible ratings.

The first two reviews point to the very long time it is taking me to develop Behold. Both say Behold is an excellent GEDCOM reader. But the expectation from the first two reviewers is that I’ll never get Behold to the Version 2 and the full-featured onscreen editor that I’ve been promising for 10 years.

The third review took this even further and lists 6 points. 1, 2 and 3 are about the amount of time my updates have taken me. 4 is concluding I’ll never get editing into Behold. 5. and the Biggest Con: is calling Behold extremely expensive, and 6 is saying I shouldn’t try to help influence the future of genealogy and should only concentrate on Behold. It was scathing.

Now I don’t want to make any excuses. Just because I have an important full-time job that requires additional hours from time to time, I have a wife and daughters and we do things together, I’ve got my household chores like everyone that makes me hate the fact that we have to eat and that grass grows in the summer, I had a mother who came down with cancer and gave us six rough months, a father who came down with dementia and gave me three intensive years in the nursing home, I have other relatives and friends we spend time with, after finishing my stint on the Board and as President I still do volunteer work for our regional Heritage Centre, I maintain my personal website, GenSoftReviews, and contribute to Genealogy and Family History Stack Exchange, which I helped start, I blog and maintain close contacts with other geneabloggers. I give talks on genealogy that require preparation and thought (and I’ve got three proposals I’m submitting to RootsTech 2016).

Just because I’m doing a few other things, I’m not going to give any excuses. I should be able to spend 4 or 5 hours every night and stay up to 2 a.m. to work solidly on Behold and nothing else … and then go to work the next morning, shouldn’t I?

Should I be single-minded? Should I work on Behold and nothing else? Every little change I propose in Behold’s Future Plans sounds easy doesn’t it? If life and programming were only that simple and problem free.

Contributing to BetterGEDCOM and FHISO and going to Gaenovium all add to my global perspective of the program that I think is needed. I don’t feel I can ignore the surroundings. I must absorb, adapt, and continue on towards seeing Behold to fruition.

In really contemplating what the posters are complaining about, there do appear to be a few things they think I’m doing wrong.

First, obviously according to the reviewers, I shouldn’t be so open with everybody. I shouldn’t talk to other developers, or people who are trying to change genealogy for the better. I shouldn’t think about their good ideas. I definitely shouldn’t try to help the genealogical community in any way.

Second, I shouldn’t give any of my customers any ideas at all about my future plans. I should be totally mum to mentioning where I am going, and definitely not state any dates I’m striving for. In fact, I should completely take my ToDo list down and keep it private just like every other vendor does.

And my pricing is obviously totally wrong. I should not charge a single lifetime price for my product, but should instead do what all the other vendors do and charge an initial price, and then a significant upgrade price for every insignificant upgrade and bug fix each year after that. $40 is way more than any genealogist is willing to spend on any product. After all, shouldn’t all genealogy software be free?

Sorry. I’ll just sit and take my lumps from those reviews. They certainly don’t do anything to motivate me. They only depress me and give me less incentive.

But I’ll continue on. I have been developing Behold a long time. I agree it is taking much longer than I ever expected it to, and I’m sorry if people feel deceived about the goals I have been setting for myself that I haven’t achieved. I’ve written many blog posts on my Behold Blog documenting my progress, lack of progress, and ongoing battles in programming and I’ve been open about everything. Do you know other genealogy developers who do this?

Now I’ll apologise again that Version 1.1 will unfortunately be another day later. I couldn’t work on it tonight because I didn’t expect to see those reviews and then need to spend the evening writing this blog post.


Second thought, and I realize this is really what the reviewers were asking for: Maybe after 1.1 is out, I should directly track towards Version 2.0 and just do what’s necessary to make that happen.