* Import RM to do lists?

Importing from or exporting to another genealogy program. This is the place to ask.
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Import RM to do lists?

Post by DJY » 26 Mar 2021 05:18

Hi,

I'm a former TMG user who converted to RM7 and is now converting to FH7. Maybe I've missed a posting somewhere but is there a way to import the RM to-do list into FH7? Based on the import guides, it looks like the answer is no but I'm really hoping that there is a way.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 26 Mar 2021 09:49

Welcome to the FHUG - there seems to be quite a community of RM converts developing at the moment!

My understanding from a quick check just now is that RootsMagic exports its to-do list in the GEDCOM file (as long as you select the corresponding option within RM prior to exporting), but it is not a standard GEDCOM feature so uses a custom format. FH does not understand this format, and actually discards the data while importing, rather than saving it. It is therefore not available within FH to tidy up and format.

However, all is not lost. It should be relatively straightforward to create a simple plugin that reads the RM GEDCOM file directly, imports the data, and converts it to FH7 Research Note records. It won't be exactly the same, as the RM To-Do list is highly structured with multiple fields for status, priority, completion date, etc, while FH Research Notes are just formatted text. Unfortunately, FH does not have an equivalent facility, but we can at least capture all the information in the RM lists. There is a Research Planner plugin for FH6 that creates something similar to the RM facility, but that will not be updated for FH7. Helen Wright, who created the Research Planner, will probably comment on what options are available now.

If it makes sense to have a simple plugin now to simply capture the information, I'm happy to have a play to see what I can come up with. On the other hand, it might be worth waiting for something a bit more sophisticated that integrates with other options. Let's see what Helen thinks.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 26 Mar 2021 10:59

Mark's suggestion of a Plugin to import the data from the GEDCOM is an excellent idea.
I have performed a similar exercise for other data from other products.

Review the Tools > Preferences > File Load/Save tab settings, especially the 'Other Applications' Gedcom Extensions'.
The Help says even unrecognised extensions will still be loaded as UDF.

However, currently, Calico Pie appear to be sympathetic to changes for RM migrants.
They are at long last fixing the import of LMO to duplicate Media Records problem.
A lot has been done to improved imports from TMG too.

So maybe request that RM To-Do Lists are imported as Research Notes either via their support ticket system or the Wish List Requests forum.

BTW: What is the GEDCOM format of an RM To-Do List? Would a simple edit to make its first line look like a Research Note record persuade FH to import it?
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 26 Mar 2021 11:45

This is the dummy item I created to investigate the format
Capture.PNG
Capture.PNG (46.29 KiB) Viewed 831 times
It exports in the GEDCOM as

Code: Select all

0 _TODO
1 DESC Investigate John Doe birth details
1 REFN 2587
1 DATE 1 MAR 2020
1 _LDATE 26 MAR 2021
1 _CDATE 26 MAR 2022
1 NOTE Check original data at Record Office
1 STAT OPEN
1 PRTY 3
As you can see, it is highly structured, but it should be simple to capture and even display the main fields in a table when the plugin completes. I'm just a bit uncertain about the optimum way of storing and managing the data in FH. The simplest option is a Research Note, using the RM Description as the Title, and formatting the rest as text. It loses the power of the RM planner, but at least captures the data. We could get more sophisticated and create custom fields, but that just converts one non-portable format to another, and may overlap with Helen's Research Planner.

Unfortunately, FH doesn't save the data even as a _UDF - it discards it completely during GEDCOM import.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 12:02

I haven't yet decided whether to update RP for V7 but change it to include Research Notes as an option (plus Autotext with tokens rather than its own templates) or generate a new simpler plugin for V7.) In many ways, the only bit of RP that isn't provided by FH7 is the ability to mass-assign research tasks to one or more individuals... I need to have a serious think once it gets to the top of my todo list.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 26 Mar 2021 12:21

OK, so the best option might be to invite feedback and steer from RM converts.

Given that FH doesn't have any native capability to manage a structured RM-style To-Do list, is a simple plugin that captures the key fields and converts them to text notes something that is worth having, or is it too simple to be useful? For RM users who have a long To-To list, it might also be an option to export the fields as a comma-separated text file, so you could import into something like Excel and manage it there, so at least you haven't lost the data.

Guidance please - what do you want, more specifically...?
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 12:28

RP uses text notes with labelled text, and a query to generate the to-do list. (Does labelled text work with rich text -- I haven't checked). It might be worth exploring the query route? I've attached an example of the RP one for reference. RP customises it when the user customises the field names and writes a new query.
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Research Tasks (Notes).fhq
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 26 Mar 2021 12:52

As far as I'm aware labelled text works in Rich Text.
If it didn't then =GetLabelledText(...) and the Plugin equivalent API would be virtually useless.
The new requirement in FH V7 is the label must be at the start of the paragraph.
The function description says paragraphs within tables (in rich text notes) are not searched or matched by this function.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 12:55

Thanks, Mike; the RP queries will work then (as long as the user defines the templates to have the labels at the start of a paragraph and not in a table.)

On reflection, my quickest option might be to modify RP to be V7 compliant and add in an option for Research Notes; and then in a later stage move to using Autotext.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by DJY » 26 Mar 2021 13:42

Thank you for all of the discussion! This is a very active, welcoming group!

I've literally spent only a few hours in FH7 so far and I've never investigated the details behind GEDCOM, so I'll have to spend some time digesting the feedback. In the meantime, here's what is important to me in task lists:
  • Highest priority: The ability to associate/link/flag a task with a repository so I print a repository-specific report when I travel somewhere to do research. Although I may include a specific source in the details of the task (Book XYZ), I do not want the task to be tied to a specific source. I don't want to add sources to my project until I do data entry with that source.
  • Medium/high priority: The ability to associate/ink/flag to an individual. I need it to be easy within the program to see what tasks I have pending for a person so I don't enter the same one over and over. It's not important that I print it out this way.
  • Medium priority: The ability to flag/rank/arrange by priority so that my printed task sorts in priority order. Alternatively, the ability to switch it up so I can sort alphabetically by first letter of the task title so I can group tasks based on area and work on the group of tasks (for example, I usually title my tasks by State_County_Person_what I'm looking for such as "VA_Middlesex: Find Peter Shelton's will." Or I might have a film # listed first and this allows me to see all the tasks associated with that film In RM, I could sort by priority or alphabet, etc. because of the structured fields. I can live without this feature and just scan a list like old physical research notebook days, but I definitely prefer it.
  • Low priority: The ability to mark the task complete. I figured my workaround is to delete the tasks I've completed, so this one isn't a big deal.
I *think* (but am not certain), that FH7 can do this for new notes going forward. [BTW: Does anyone have a link to a good overview of research notes? I'm a bit lost trying to tie all the different forum posts together and the help menu isn't detailed enough.] This is what I'd also like to accomplish - if possible - with my old task list.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 13:48

For an overview see Planning and Tracking Your Research in the KnowledgeBase. Let me know if anything isn't clear and I'll try to fix the article.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 26 Mar 2021 14:36

It sounds like the best first step is to spend some time deciding how you would set up new notes in FH to do what you want (and I agree that most of your list looks very doable with some careful structuring). Once you have a format that makes sense for you, we can look at the feasibility of extracting your old RM notes and converting them to that format.

Does that make sense?
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 26 Mar 2021 15:16

What may not be obvious to somebody new to FH is what can be done in the Records Window.
The Research Notes tab has sortable columns predefined for various 'standard' labelled text.
Those labels can be seen when any of the three Add > Research Note options are used.
However, the user is free to insert any labels they like and configure a sortable column.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 15:20

Mike,

Of course that depends on people using Research Notes, which they may choose not to do for Gedcom compatibility.

H

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 26 Mar 2021 15:59

Similar features are available for standard shared Notes, which I perhaps should have included.
Anyway, the Export Gedcom File plugin can convert Research Notes to shared Noted records for GEDCOM compatibility.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by jbtapscott » 26 Mar 2021 16:11

Agreed Helen. Personally, I still prefer the Research Planner plugin as that gave me facts that appeared on the Facts tab for an Individual, which is what I use most. I don't find the new FH7 Research functionality "works" for me, and, indeed I have reverted to the pre Research Planner processing by using my old & trusted Tasks fact for now.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 26 Mar 2021 16:15

Thanks, Brent -- that's useful. I'd expected that RP would be redundant with FH7.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 26 Mar 2021 16:44

My instinct is that if a standard FH feature like Research Notes can be configured to do what is required, that is probably the preferred option compared with going to an add-on facility via a user-written plugin. However, as someone who has never used either the Research Planner or the Research Notes in anger, I'm probably not best placed to comment on either in detail! The difficulty for new users is that they can't try out the Research Planner to compare, as it is not available in FH7 (yet).
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by DJY » 27 Mar 2021 01:20

I took Mark's advice and played around with the FH7 research notes to determine how I want to do things going forward. I played around with linking them to individuals and repositories and then trying to get them to pull up in queries.

Here are my key newbie learnings so far:
  • Queries don't find the text in the links. It didn't matter if I used automatic text or typed the text into the link box, the query doesn't find it. So linking to "Clayton Genealogy Library" repository was useless for the query, but just typing "Clayton Genealogy Library" manually without a link worked just fine.
  • Only words in the title can be found. The query doesn't find words in the table in the research task note, and it doesn't find any text entered in the body of a research plan. I thought I had read that somewhere about tables, but I was surprised to see that typing it under "objectives" or something in the Research Plan didn't work. I thought that template was just glorified text.
  • I think my best plan forward is just to type filter keywords in the title (PERSON - REPOSITORY - KEYWORD) and let the other notes to myself reside in the tables or body (i.e., the stuff I would read and lookup at the library but not use to generate the task list).
  • My big epiphany in all of this is that this means I can easily handle my RM7 task list transfer. All I have to do is create a title "Films to download at the Family History Center" or "Stuff to get at Newberry Library" in the title. I can then run a RM7 task list report based on the repository and export it to Word. I can then copy and paste the details into the text body of a note for the corresponding repository. This means I lose the links to the individuals but their names and ID #s print out in the RM task report, so I can always see where it goes and manually navigate there.

Guess that was much easier than I realized! Please let me know if I'm missing something with the searches on links. I would think that would be useful in the future to ensure consistency in my tasks but I can live without it.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 27 Mar 2021 11:05

Please post a sample of a Research Note and your Query column and row expressions.
Then we can advise how they might be improved or that it is not possible.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 27 Mar 2021 14:10

A draft plugin is ready for testing by any ex-RootsMagic user who wants to import their To Do list into Family Historian. As described above, FH discards this data during GEDCOM import, even if it is present in the RM export file.

Unfortunately, developing this plugin identified a bug in FH, whereby new Research Notes cannot be created automatically, only manually via the program interface. This has been reported to Calico Pie, and hopefully it will be fixed fairly soon, as it limits the application of one of the new FH7 features. For demonstration purposes, I have implemented the plugin to produce normal Note Records. This gives you most of the functionality of Research Notes, by being able to link to Individuals and Repositories. The contents of the note are the same as for a Research Note, but we do not get the more structured Record Window display that is their major feature. However, you can view the contents of your list, and have access to the information within FH.

All fields have have imported with the exception of the Repository link. This can be added later if needed, but we will need to be careful to ensure that it links to the correct Repository according to FH records.

This plugin does not alter any of your existing records in any way. However, it does add new Note records to your project, so is best tested on either a copy of your project or a new project created just for testing. It is a prototype, and has minimal error capturing. In particular, it does not check for duplicate records, so if you run it a second time on the same project, you will get a duplicate set of records.

To load the plugin, simply double click on the attached file. You will get the usual warning about being careful about loading plugins, but just accept and continue.

To run, select Tools > Plugins from the main FH menu, select the plugin as shown below, and click on Run. Select the GEDCOM file you exported from RM (with the ToDo List selected for inclusion), and all your list items should be imported as new Note Records.

To view the contents of your list, select Notes from the Records Window as shown.

Feedback welcome - is it of any use? Is it capturing your list correctly?
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 27 Mar 2021 14:32

Mark, two minor comments.

You mention "the more structured Record Window display". What is that?
Are you talking about the predefined Columns on the Research Notes tab?
I'm sure the Notes Record Window display can be configured exactly the same if necessary for testing.

It may be worth mentioning that this prototype plugin gives no progress indication such as a progress bar.
So with a very large GEDCOM, it may appear to be doing nothing until it completes.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 27 Mar 2021 14:47

Fair enough - not sure a new user fresh from RM could set up the display though, I’m 3 years in and would have to think about it!

TBH, I don’t think it needs a progress bar at this stage. Users are unlikely to have thousands of to-do items, and for more realistic numbers it’s more or less instantaneous when run directly from FH rather than in the plugin editor. Somebody might prove me wrong though if they’re importing a very large GEDCOM, so that’s the sort of refinement that can come later if necessary.
Last edited by Mark1834 on 27 Mar 2021 14:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 27 Mar 2021 14:48

Mark, a new user might be able to handle saving the config of the records list for Research Notes as a query, and using that query to configure the Notes records list?

I agree with you about the Progress Bar.

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 27 Mar 2021 15:03

Unfortunately, the Save/Load Query method does not work as the Query is the wrong type.
It would need some manual massaging to extract the expressions, change _RNOT to NOTE, and use them, but not technically very difficult via the Lists > Configure Record Window Columns... command
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