* Import RM to do lists?

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

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 29 Mar 2021 07:26

Mark, I'm also not averse to asking for specific help -- I've done it many times, and Mike has been generous with his responses -- but like you I think parallel development is wasted effort on everyone's part -- and can result in confusion for both developers and authors.

Re Note vs Research Notes, as it looks more likely that I'm going to migrate RP, I will probably offer the existing options (Notes or Tasks) and add in Research Notes (when the bug is fixed) as a third alternative. It helps that Research Autotext is available for Shared and Local Notes as well as Research Notes (although Autotext isn't backwards compatible, so Ill need to support the existing template arrangement for V6 and V5).

Do look at the Research Planner query for Notes -- it's a very flexible way of slicing and dicing Notes...

I'll try to find a spare hour or so this week to make RP version 7 compatible (without exploiting Autotext or Research Notes).

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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 29 Mar 2021 13:41

Thanks for the feedback. General tasks (GEDCOM level 0) seem to be created in RM at the top level menu, whereas Individual and Family tasks (level 1) are created when editing an individual. That simple structure is quite easy to map into FH, so I have a draft all ready now that captures all parameters for all tasks at all levels and recreates the relevant repository, individual and family links.

I just need to finalise how we store the information in FH, add some final housekeeping routines, and give it a good test. Should be up tomorrow or Wed.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by cwhermann » 30 Mar 2021 15:30

I am also in the process of moving from RM7 to FH7 and used the RM Tasks and Research Logs extensively. How RM was changing the structure of Tasks and Research logs in the upgrade to RM8 is one of the reasons I am leaving RM. FH7 is one (if not the only) software that treats research logs similar to RM and is one of the reasons I chose FH7. A bonus is the flexibility with formatting and tagging/linking to various records.
In my use - tasks/to do lists are distinct and different than research logs and as I read through thread, sometimes I could not tell if the author was talking about logs or task lists.

I looked at this earlier in my trial/eval, discovered enough that I knew as last resort I could spend the time doing a lot of cutting and pasting to get the info over and went on to some other issues. I am now coming back to this and was happy to see this thread. It appears this is well underway, but thought I would share what I discovered when I looked at it:
  • Structure - RM treats the To Do list and Research Logs as separate items where FH structures Tasks and Logs as types of (or in my simple mind) sub categories of Research Notes. For the way I use them - I don't believe the structure FH uses makes a difference. I don't know a lot about Gedcom files, but I assume RM's export would treat these as separate records and FH would have to import the separate records and some how assign them as "types" in the single Research Note Record.
    Flexibility - RM's Logs and To Do items can be general or attached/linked/tag to a single: person, family, event or place where as FH allows linking to numerous other records. One of the previous posts mentioned they had RM tasks that were not assigned to a specific record - the pull down menu RM uses provides a choice of General, Person, Family, Event, Place. I don't think this can be edited once the task is generated.
    Tasks - I was able to capture all the info in the RM Tasks by expanding the table columns in FH Task to include any info in the RM task such as priority, last worked date, end date, reference number etc. There is a lot of discussion in this thread about how to get that info over which I will leave to others - but I was basically planning to copy paste those tasks that were still open in the same table format and did not "play around with" the other text editing features FH offers.
    Research Logs - The ability to expand the table in FH7 allowed me to capture all the info from RM and even separate the source/repository column utilized in RM. Again, I was planning to copy paste in table format.
I did not look at in-port/export from the Gedcom or what type of searching/reporting capabilities I would have once they got the info into FH7, but for tasks I agree with DJY's priority list. As long as I could print a Research Log by person or place until I get up the curve with other FH capabilities, I would be happy.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 30 Mar 2021 18:59

Curt,

I’ll post up the latest update to the plugin tomorrow. It should give you most of what you need. It pulls over all the information in Tasks (except ad-hoc addresses at this stage), and all the links.

Research Notes are really just plain text notes and not that different to other note records. It’s clever functionality in FH that enables slicing and dicing of the data. A disadvantage of plain text is that they have little understanding of what dates are and how they behave. I was planning to give the option of converting dates to ISO format as they are imported (e.g., 2021-03-30 for today), as these can be sorted much more easily than storing as 30 MAR 2021.

I’m not familiar with the details of RM Research Logs, but it might be worth me having a quick play to make sure I don’t miss anything obvious.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by cwhermann » 30 Mar 2021 20:10

Mark,
I tried the plug-in and got the same result, the only items that imported to FH were the couple of General Tasks. Not sure if this will help as you work on your plug-in, but I can confirm that any task added/created from the List>To-Do List>Add task is by default a general task. Selecting Add taskk from any "people" screens (Pedigree/Family/Descendants/People) or Edit Person screen creates a pop up to select either an individual person or family.

If I can get some guidance on how to past an image into a post, I would be happy to share a screen clip of a research log from RM and how I set it up via copy and paste into FH research log. (I'm striking out with FAQs and trial and error)
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 30 Mar 2021 20:30

I’m happy that I understand tasks now, thanks. I was initially confused by FH’s slightly odd behaviour when importing the RM GEDCOM, as it treats general tasks differently to individual and family ones.

Images are posted via the Attachments tab below the text input. Select Add files to load your image, and place it wherever you want in the post. Multiple images can be attached, but don’t preview the post before submitting - there’s a bug in the board software that strips out all images after the first one if you preview.

Screen grabs are best done using the Windows Snip utility, saving as a png file (full original quality).
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 30 Mar 2021 22:26

Curt,

I've had a quick play with RM's Research Log to round off the day. FH treats them the same way as it treats To-Do tasks. Top level (general) ones are discarded, and those attached to specific records (individuals, families etc) are imported, but classed as Undefined Fields. FH stores them, but doesn't know what they are. You can see these if you click on the All tab of the Property Box. The screen grabs below shows an example from a small test database that I exported from RM to FH. All the fields with the lines radiating from the dots are undefined.
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As it stands at the moment, the plugin should do a fairly thorough job of importing the To-Do list, but it won't touch the Research Log at all. The To-Do list is fairly simple in structure, but the Research Log is much more complex.

The philosophies of the two apps seem very different here. RM has very high granularity in how the data are stored. That probably works very well in RM, but is custom to that app, so difficult to export in the same form. FH's Research Notes are the total opposite. They are basically just plain text notes in a structured form. They would be challenged to record to the same level of detail that RM manages, but are far more portable between apps.

I suggest we take it a step at a time. Let's get To-Do tasks fully sorted first, and take the Research Log as a separate project later.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by cwhermann » 31 Mar 2021 00:09

Thanks Mark. I was trying to copy and paste the clip in and also tried using the image icon on the top of text input box. I was thinking paste into, not attach to!!

Here is a clip from a RM research log and a clip with the same items pasted into the FH research log, utilizing some of the word processing features. Biggest issue is the default font in FH is a 10 and when you paste from RM it is a 12 so one has to reformat. This took me about 5 minutes so I would prioritize the the import of Research Logs at a very low "nice to have". Thanks for all your effort.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 08:36

Thanks Curt, your screen grabs make it very clear. I agree with your analysis. If it were hundreds of users with dozens of logs each, it would be worth automating (I can see in principle how to do it, and it is not unduly difficult). However, if FH experience is anything to go by, there will be as many ways of using the logs as there are RM users, so it may be better to leave it to individuals to copy/paste across in whatever form fits their working method. Even if we automated the copying, you'd probably want to rework them to exploit the wider range of rich text available in FH.

If you haven't already discovered it, setting up an auto-text template for a blank log might be useful. Also, if you right click and paste as unformatted text into FH, it keeps the default font size so that should save some time.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 09:23

Version 2 of the To-Do list importer is attached. This brings in all To-Do items (General, Individual and Family) and recreates the appropriate links. All fields are included, with the exception of addresses. It's probably best to leave this one out unless anyone has a burning need, as FH and RM treat addresses in a different way. As mentioned above, there is the option to convert dates to ISO format for easier sorting of the records table.

As ever, you are recommended to try it out on a copy of your database, not the original. I have used a copy of the FH Sample Project, which I exported to RM, added 12 To-Do items of mixed type, and re-exported to GEDCOM. This file is attached as well, so you can use this to start a new test database if you wish.

The plugin will bring the list into FH, but it is not capable of formatting the Records Window to display all the fields. This can be done manually, but is relatively complex for new users. The easiest way is via a Query, which is also attached. Import this as a custom query (File > Import/Export > Import > Query...), then in the Records Window, select the Research Notes tab, right click on the headings, select Configure Columns... > Load from Query.

This screen grab shows the To-Do list from the test project, with dates reformatted and columns configured as described.
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Feel free to try it out. Does it do what is required? If you identify any issues with the performance or the coding, please let me know. This second version has adopted some of the suggestions from Mike's first update (thanks Mike - I'd seen the techniques you used before, but it was very useful to have real examples of using them in a FH context). It's written in my preferred style, which favours clarity over compactness in order to facilitate other users developing and reusing the code later, but there is no "right" or "best" way to do it.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 09:25

I couldn't attach all the files to the same post, so here is the test database.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 31 Mar 2021 09:55

Mark, thank you for the acknowledgement.
Are you interested in any feedback on a potential problem with the Plugin script?
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 10:27

Of course - it’s only parallel developments and wasted effort that I have a problem with. By all means point out potential problems and code snippets to correct if relevant.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 31 Mar 2021 11:57

I did say at the time it was intended as Lua coding tips I thought would be best understood in the context of the Plugin.
It was never intended as parallel development. But let's put that in the past.

The problem code snippet is the deleting of UDF and is common to any similar item deletion loop:

Code: Select all

	p:MoveToFirstRecord('INDI')
	while p:IsNotNull() do
		pU:MoveTo(p, '~._TODO')
		while pU:IsNotNull() do 
			fhDeleteItem(pU)
			pU:MoveNext('SAME_TAG')
		end
		p:MoveNext('SAME_TAG')
	end
Having deleted the _TODO item the value of pU is null and thus pU:MoveNext('SAME_TAG') does nothing and the while loop terminates immediately the first instance of _TODO is deleted and subsequent instances will not get deleted.
One solution is to make the loop build a table of item pointers to be deleted, and then a separate loop traverses the table deleting the list of items.
In this case it is easier to clone the pointer, use MoveNext, and then delete the cloned item:

Code: Select all

	p:MoveToFirstRecord('INDI')
	while p:IsNotNull() do
		pU:MoveTo(p, '~._TODO')
		while pU:IsNotNull() do
			local pD = pU:Clone()
			pU:MoveNext('SAME_TAG')
			fhDeleteItem(pD)
		end
		p:MoveNext('SAME_TAG')
	end
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by cwhermann » 31 Mar 2021 12:37

I ran the the plug-in and worked great. Thank you Mark for all your effort!!

Now that the records are in FH7 - I have a couple of questions regarding FH7 structure.
  • The record lists shows a "Record Id" for each record. How is this Id number determined/generated and is there any significance to it? I note when I add additional tasks, it is just assigned the next sequential number.
    When I create a task in FH7, tool bar is opened with it. After it is created and I open it or one of the imported tasks, the tool bar is not present. Is this a setting issue? One of the weakness of RM is that a task could be linked to only one person. I would like to take advantage of linking feature in FH7, but not sure how to do it if the tool bar is not present.
    I am not sure of the difference between the link you created on the import and a link I create when I add a link as I create a task. The images below show a snip from the task record and note imported Record Id 47, titled AherinClarence - School Records and FH7 created task Record ID 75, titled AherinClarence test 2 . The next image shows the test task I created with the link to the same Clarence Aherin. The last image is from the Clarence Aherin record. It shows the imported research not [47], but I don't see the Test research not I linked to his record. Am I missing something?
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 13:44

Thanks Mike - good catch. I'll await further feedback, and incorporate that into the final version. I didn't test that routine on the larger Sample Project database so didn't spot the omission.

Curtis - several issues here, so I'll try to give a quick overview on each one.

Record IDs are generated automatically (similar to RM). There are limited options for the user to change them, but that is not recommended.

There is a fundamental design difference between RM and FH. In some aspects, RM gives more sophisticated options than FH out of the box, but they are hard-coded into the program and cannot be changed. By contrast, FH has more of a blank canvas for users to customise as they wish. It takes more effort to set up, but is much more capable of being tailored to your own requirements.

For example, there are 3 types of Research Note by default, Log, Plan and Tasks. There is no fundamental difference between these, they just have different templates for the contents. None of these fit the RM To-Do list very well, so I used a new description of ToDo Item (you can see that in your final image). If you wanted new tasks to follow the RM style, it is possible to create a new template so it appears on the Add menu (I think - this is new to me as well, and I've not used Research Notes before :)). You can also define a completely different one, and have a separate query that customises the Records Window for that type.

All of the To-Do items imported can be fully shared between Individuals and/or Families. The way I would link an existing task to a new person is to display that Individual in the Property Box, click on the Notes tab, then Add Note > Shared Research Note.

Now we've got the plugin more or less working as intended, it's worth taking some time in your test database to think about how you want to structure it going forward. I'm sure other users will chip in with their suggestions and answers, but Research Notes are a new FH7 facility, so a bit new to all of us at the moment!

I suggest you start new threads for specific questions on how to set up and use Research Notes, and we keep this one for plugin development.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 31 Mar 2021 14:17

Just to expand on Marks answers...
Think of the Record Id as a database unique record key managed entirely by FH. Most products have a similar concept.

You asked about the links between Research Notes and Individual Clarence Aherin.
In FH V7 links can be created using two different mechanisms and both have pros and cons.
(1)
The one described by Mark where the link is created in the Notes tab of the Individual record is the traditional method.
It is similar to most other record-to-record forward links where a GEDCOM tag is followed by the target record id:
1 SOUR @S32@ is a link to a Source record with Record Id 32
1 OBJE @O26@ is a link to a Media record with Record Id 26
1 _RNOT @E19@ is a link to a Research Note record with Record Id 19 and is like the one you see for Clarence Aherin
(2)
FH V7 has introduced Rich Text for Notes and other long text fields that support record links.
That is the type of link you have created within the Research Note text and is a backwards link to the Individual Clarence Aherin.
Therefore it does not appear on his Individual record Notes tab of forward links.

The same options apply for Family record and Repository record links.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by cwhermann » 31 Mar 2021 15:10

Thanks Mark and Mike,
I was just curious about the Record IDs - they did not seem to be assigned alphabetically or chronologically so just curious - I'm sure they exist in RM, they are just not visible in any of the user interface screens so they were new to me.

I'm not bothered by the difference in the label between To-Do and Task. Even RM was inconsistent - the user created "a task", but viewed them via a "To-Do" list. In fact, as I think about it, the different labels will provide a nice indicator of which ones were imported.

The response around the structure/use of Research Notes brings additional questions. I will search to see if there is an existing thread or "learn how" to begin a new one.
Thanks again for all the insight and guidance.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by tatewise » 31 Mar 2021 15:38

The Record Id are assigned strictly chronologically as each record is created and always 1 greater than the last one created.
Deleted records take their Record Id with them and they don't get re-allocated so there are typically gaps.
Users sometimes ask why the largest Record id is greater than the number of records. The gaps are the reason why.
See FHUG KB Record Identifiers.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 31 Mar 2021 15:57

Re-establishing the people and repository links relies on the record IDs being identical in RM and FH. So having them immutable means the correct links are made, even if you have added or deleted records in FH between the original import and pulling over the To-Do list.

Displaying record IDs is optional in RM, and I leave them on as it can be useful for merging two different records that relate to the same person.

It’s worth adding that customising the Records Window as in my example affects the display of all Research Note records, even if they use different fields. You can also use a Query to display more selectively, and which route you take is dependent on how you structure your project. That’s a great strength of FH - it is far more customisable than most other similar apps, but you can still use it “out of the box” if you prefer.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by DJY » 01 Apr 2021 03:52

Hi Mark,

I got this error message when I ran the plugin. I answered "no" to the rollback and ran the query and found that 784 tasks transferred in. I think I should have 1785 tasks (= # of to-do list items in RM statistics and # of "TODO" words in the GEDCOM file).
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 01 Apr 2021 07:29

Sorry about that. I won’t be at my desk until later today but I’ll investigate. The error message gives me a good lead on what to check.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 01 Apr 2021 13:05

I can replicate this error if the first line of text is blank in the Task Details, so I think this is what is happening here. It's an easy fix, so the updated version attached corrects this, as well as the incomplete housekeeping that Mike identified.

Note that there is no checking for duplication on import, so if you run the plugin more than once on the same database, Research Notes will be duplicated.

I've also had a quick look at how the Community Preview of RM8 handles the To-Do List. It looks like most of the shortcomings in RM7 have been fixed. Tasks (as they are called in RM8) can now be attached to multiple individuals, families, or even specific events (just like Research Notes!), and some extra fields have been added. As it stands now, the plugin does not import these, as RM have changed the GEDCOM tag. It will be simple enough to update the plugin to capture these as well, but I don't think it is worth doing until RM8 is released in final form in case the detailed spec changes.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by DJY » 03 Apr 2021 04:17

Hi Mark,

Thanks for updating the plugin. I was able to get all of my tasks in this time, so it definitely works! I really appreciate the time you have spent on this. :D

I'm not sure how to see both the person and the repository in a published list. Since I'm a newbie to FH7, it's probably a problem with me not understanding the query and reporting functions. Here's what I know how to see:
  • I can see the whole list of tasks running the query you attached several days ago. That's how I was able to tell they all came over via the item count.
  • I can go to the repository tab in the record window and expand each repository to see that the notes are affiliated with their respective repositories. I can run a repository report and print out the research notes (task lists) for that repository. (Yipee!)
  • I can go to an individual and see that the task appears as a research note for the person, so I can see what tasks I have already created for that individual
In a perfect world, I wouldn't need to tie the info together any more completely than this but unfortunately, I was sloppy in some of my tasks and didn't mention the person's name in the task description. This leads to cryptic tasks like "find him in the 1782 tax list" but I have no idea who "he" is. I could see who it was in RM because they insert the person's name under "who" in the printout of the task. (See the comparison in the 2 images, one from RM and one from the plugin). Is there a way to see who the linked person is when I run the repository report? I don't know if this is a query thing or whether it's a simple addition to the plugin to add an extra line of text in the research note with the linked person's name for a printout. Any thoughts?

Regarding RM8, I agree with your decision to wait. People shouldn't be using it on a routine basis right now, and a lot of people seem to be actively searching for a new program given the new approach to the RM design. I think this plugin will serve the immediate needs of most RM users, especially those who were more diligent in putting the subject's name in the task description! Also - no worries that the plugin doesn't look for duplications. I just restored it from backup to get rid of the partial set.
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Re: Import RM to do lists?

Post by Mark1834 » 03 Apr 2021 09:11

Welcome to the world of FH Queries! These are a very powerful tool for selecting and displaying records, but it does take a while to get your head around how they work. Fortunately, there are plenty of help tools available. I think it is worth reading the overviews in the FH help and the KB summary, as they give a better overview than I could here.

For illustration, I have written a very short Query that links Individuals and Research Notes in the Sample Project test database that I posted earlier. The output from this is shown, along with the definitions of the various columns. These will make more sense as you go through the introductory material.
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Capture1.PNG
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By all means come back with more specific questions as necessary. There are plenty of folk on the forum with a lot more experience with Queries than I have who will be happy to guide you through in more detail. I suggest you start new threads with specific Query questions and we keep this one for the plugin.

It sounds like the plugin is now complete for the moment, so let's regard this version 3 as the release one, which is now out there in the wild for anyone to build on and adapt as they see fit.
Mark Draper

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