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OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 05 Apr 2021 21:39
by Mark1834
A recent question prompted me to look at media files in FH. Some of the KB material needs refreshing, but one menu option in particular stood out for me - Add > OLE Object...

I know what an OLE object is, but why would I want to add one in this way rather than just adding the file to a normal media record? OK, it can display a limited view of the file contents (PDF file, Word document etc) within FH itself, but so what? I still need to open the parent app to view the contents properly.

I suspect the majority of FH users wouldn't know what OLE is. The FH help is virtually silent on this, other than saying you can add an OLE Object, without saying why I might want to. Simon's FH6 book doesn't mention OLE at all as far as I can see, and the only reference in the KB says that "it will open the associated application in order to view the file, rather than showing it within Family Historian itself", which doesn't look right. If I add a Word document as a media file, it opens in Word, not in FH.

CP must have put it there for a reason, so what's the advantage to the general user of adding media this way? Or is it just a legacy from an early version of FH that is no longer needed but they've left on the menus (and virtually undocumented)?

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 05 Apr 2021 21:45
by tatewise
I'm as mystified as you Mark.
They rarely seem to work properly and I've never understood their purpose in the context of FH.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 05 Apr 2021 21:52
by Mark1834
Indeed - I ended up going round in circles with numerous error messages when I tried it out, and a stuck "Open File" file selection window that stayed on my desktop even after I forcibly closed FH. I'll find a form of words for the KB that just says "don't worry about these", or words to that effect.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 05 Apr 2021 21:55
by tatewise
Maybe a New Wish List Request to remove or at least hide that feature is worth raising.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 05 Apr 2021 22:10
by Mark1834
I've pinged off a support request to CP, asking how they intend this feature to be used and what's the advantage to the average user over just attaching a file to a media record, which is both simpler and more reliable.

I'll report back any response I receive - they were very quick on my last submission, with a detailed reply the following working day, so I'm hopeful that they'll give us some insight into their thinking...

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 06 Apr 2021 12:29
by AdrianBruce
OLE is a value of MULTIMEDIA_FORMAT in GEDCOM 5.5.1 so is presumably in because it's in the standard. (Feel free to disagree with that logic but...)
MULTIMEDIA_FORMAT:= {Size=3:4}
[ bmp | gif | jpg | ole | pcx | tif | wav ]
...
Tamura Jones in his GEDCOM 5.5.5 proposal removed it saying:
<MULTIMEDIA_FORMAT> Fixes
Removed OLE from the list of multimedia formats: OLE is not a multimedia format at all, it is a technology. ...

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 06 Apr 2021 12:54
by tatewise
Agreed that ole is defined as an option in the FORM tag for both GEDCOM 5.5 and 5.5.1 but FH sometimes hides features on the All tab and gives them limited support. Whereas, the main menu Add > OLE Object... is not hidden in any way.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 06 Apr 2021 13:40
by Mark1834
I've just received a very informative update directly from CP. They confirmed Adrian's assumption, that inserting an OLE Object is included in FH purely for GEDCOM compliance, and no, they can't think of any circumstances where somebody would actually want or need to use it, as Media Records are simpler to use and provide at least equivalent functionality!

They defend the relatively prominent menu option as "following Microsoft User Interface guidelines", which IMO sounds a bit weak. I'm not an expert in these matters, but my understanding from a quick search is that Windows apps have to support OLE, but the interface guidelines are just that - guidelines, not a mandatory standard.

I've updated the KB description of OLE in Multimedia File Formats accordingly.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 06 Apr 2021 18:56
by mjashby
Mark,

Please see the image below. This comes from "Getting the Most Out of Family Historian" Version 2.
Screenshot 2021-04-06 at 19.34.02.jpg
Family Historian Version 2 Guide
Screenshot 2021-04-06 at 19.34.02.jpg (152.37 KiB) Viewed 352 times
the text continues on next page:

"format for storing a large number of embedded images. Loading and saving files containing embedded pictures will be slower than loading and saving files containing linked images. There are other advantages to keeping your multimedia files external – for one thing you can then use the file system to organise them into a sensible directory hierarchy."

No advised "Project Structure" back then of course, all those years ago :D

Mervyn

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 06 Apr 2021 19:26
by tatewise
Mervyn, sorry, but that is nothing to do with linked OLE objects.
It is a completely different concept of media embedded within GEDCOM file BLOBs that is no longer support, whereas linked OLE objects are still 'supported' but poorly.

I can explain more if that is not clear but I'd prefer to remove that reference as it is very misleading.

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 07 Apr 2021 13:58
by mjashby
Mike,

My misunderstanding. I never have used the 'embedding' feature in FH as there seems to be no purpose to it, other than maintaining GEDCOM compatibility. As originally described it seems somewhat similar in concept to the embedding part of Windows OLE which inserts in a fixed snapshot of data from some other media source which can't be directly edited, but can be only be deleted and then re-embedded if the original source is altered. That seems more in tune with FH's built-in Media Linking feature where the "Link to detail" option is used to select a 'fixed' portion of the whole media object for insertion in reports, which can only be changed by revisiting the Media Editor, changing the selection and then rebuilding the report.

Mervyn

Re: OLE objects in Family Historian

Posted: 07 Apr 2021 14:48
by tatewise
Mervyn, the embedded Media feature has been removed from GEDCOM 5.5.1 and FH V7 so may I delete this discussion as it is going off at a tangent with nothing directly to do with OLE Media?