* GRO Source Reference plugin

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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by tatewise »

I would say the small group of plugin authors here are friendly and helpful.

Several of my plugins make extensive use of iuplua, but whether that makes me an expert I'm not sure.
Some of the iuplua documentation is difficult to follow and sometimes needs trial and error experiments.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by Mark1834 »

Welcome to the club - getting the UI right can be a challenge, as iuplua is often very unforgiving, and bring FH down if the syntax isn't quite right :(.

Once I twigged that "all" it does is call standard Windows API controls, using Lua tables to store their properties, things became a little easier. It's really just a text-based equivalent of the visual tools in VBA and typical programming apps (things like the excellent Borland products when I was cutting my teeth, but they are long gone now). The tutorial in the online manual isn't a bad starting point for trying out simple menus. There is some guidance in the KB, but my experience is that can get very complex very quickly, so keep it simple to start with.

A lot will depend on what you want your UI to look like. Helen keeps hers as simple as possible, as she would rather concentrate on the real work that the plugin does. Mike prefers more complex menus with lots of customisation options and his own personal look-and-feel style. I strive to make menus look as much like core FH windows as possible to ease the learning curve for inexperienced users. None of those are "right" or "wrong" in any absolute sense, but you will probably find it easier to keep it simple until you conquer the basics.

PS - iuplua has its origins in the world of C and Linux, so it helps to have at least conversational skills there, so your pro background will certainly help (or hinder if you are used to much more polished tools :))...
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by Mark1834 »

I’d not looked at the Store author list before. Around half the names were unfamiliar to me, and don’t have any plugins listed.

Presumably, they were contractors employed by CP at various times that have not been deleted from the system?
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Mark1834 wrote: 21 Mar 2024 12:01 I’d not looked at the Store author list before. Around half the names were unfamiliar to me, and don’t have any plugins listed.

Presumably, they were contractors employed by CP at various times that have not been deleted from the system?
Check the Language Packs, Mark.

On the subject of iuplua, I suspect all authors have a subset of features that they use -- I have a bunch of boilerplate functions that lets me avoid reading the iuplua documentation. Sometimes I think I should go for broke and go straight to the windows equivalent, but then I decide life is too short.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

I think that my issue was wanting to replace the often (I assume) used iup.GetParam, which while really convenient and useful, did not (as far as i could work out) provide the ability to change the controls (enable/disable/replace list items etc. dynamically) which was what I wanted to do. The documentation while extensive is not initially very clear on some aspects, particularly parameters on ACTION for different controls, or implementing the action as part of the control definition action= verses as a control:action(). The examples in the documentation do not cover this sort of more advanced usage of controls etc. or I didn't find the right one(s). However, for what I have used, I figured out what worked and went with that. I also had some odd issues where I had to move functions to before their use (May have been for those called from action declaration in the object definition) where in other cases it didn't matter.

I am familiar with the box model (hbox, vbox etc.) from some work I did years back where we had implemented a cut-down XUL as part of an XML based scripting language. So, that aspect wasn't an issue except for digging out memories of things like styles cascading downward unless explicitly reverted in and inner object/container.

Replacing the convenient iup.GetParam is the vast majority of the code I wrote to re-implement main dialog from Mike's, in order to do the 'smart' UI. I've not looked at more than a couple of plugins myself, so don't know if generally people write their plugin UI in the way I've done, or go the simpler iup.GetParam, which is a lot less code.

All I'd say now is that my plugin suffers from evolution while learning, and could seriously do with some re-factoring to tidy up the code.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by tatewise »

You are correct that iup.GetParam is very limited in what it supports. Dynamic changes are next to impossible.

There is no fundamental difference between adding action= to the definition and control:action() functions.
What might dictate one over the other is the scoping rules on variable visibility.
That is why you had to move local functions before their use as they wouldn't be in scope before their declaration.

Regarding evolution, yes, for example, there is a section near the start that is conditional on FH version > 5 but you have restricted the plugin to FH V7 or later so that condition is redundant.

Some users may wonder why the plugin does not support the Essentials > Civil Registration Index templated Citation-specific fields for Name, Date, RD and Ref.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by Mark1834 »

Mk I versions with iup.GetParam and iup.Alarm, as these are well-documented in the plugin help. Later upgraded to “proper” UI’s once I became more comfortable with iuplua.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

I thought I'd have a look at this.

Clicking Apply without entering any data crashes FH.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

Why have you removed the individuals name from the citation?

I have a number of individuals where the spelling of the surname varied, at least one example where the name shown when searching on GRO is wrong, individuals who were adopted (they have alternative names)...

In all cases I want to record exactly how they appeared in the GRO index.

Overall I like the approach you've taken to construct the citation from the parts, adapting to the format for the year. However without the names it's no use to me. If you had a field for the name (names for marriages) the user could decide whether to include {NAME} in the format.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

Clicking Apply without entering any data crashes FH.
This appears to be an issue with the inherited code I used rather than an introduced problem as the original basically barfs under the same circumstances. I'll have a look and adding more sanity checking than was there, to avoid undignified exits and indicate what inputs are missing.

Oh!, and I'm a dumbass for being too interested in the 'normal' operations that I forgot to stress test for unexpected and missing inputs, and assuming the plagiarised code was already 'correct'.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

Why have you removed the individuals name from the citation?
I haven't as far as I'm aware, as all the input fields present in the Mikes 'Add GRO Index Source Citation' I used as the starter are still present. Also, I checked the original code and it does not include a name in the citation.

Be aware this plug-in does not support FH Templated sources as I have never used them, and the base plug-in does not support them either. This may be a future capability, but not currently planned as I have zero experience of FH Templated sources.

As for adding a {NAME} auto-text, I can see that could be of use under some circumstances, such as you describe. There are a couple of requirements to clarify first though.
a) I am assuming that you wish for an additional Name input field, in which to be able to enter an alternate individuals name to that of the selected individual record (all or part of their name?)
b) Would you also require the {NAME} to default to the original if no alternate is entered, or would you require both to be available as different keys.
c) Would you require the ability to select the name parts similar to Ancestral Sources such as {NAME.GN}, {NAME.SN} etc.
So, I'm amenable to the enhancement, but need to be clear as to the actual requirements before dashing off with a bunch of half-cocked ideas. :D

Given that information I shouldn't take too long, but I'm having a computer break for Easter, so It'll be sometime this week.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

GRO names.png
GRO names.png (22.7 KiB) Viewed 387 times
I've always entered the names for everybody to be consistent. Also the option at the bottom (Add Citation to Name) doesn't make much sense to me if the citation does not include the name!

I'll have a think about the points you've raised before I make any suggestions. I don't want to push you down meeting just my requirements if it isn't customisable for everyone else.

Also, you are only expecting mother's maiden name from 1911. Within the last year or so they've been appearing for most births. Sample:
General_Register_Office_-_Online_Indexes_-_Search_the_GRO_Online_Indexes_-_2024-04-01_17.03.02.png
General_Register_Office_-_Online_Indexes_-_Search_the_GRO_Online_Indexes_-_2024-04-01_17.03.02.png (6.35 KiB) Viewed 387 times
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

Something I don't like about the current plugins is that if you start the plugin without an individual selected, or if it's a marriage where the selected individual has multiple spouses, it only prompts you to select the individual or family after you've entered all the data. To me that should come first, and if it was done that way you'd be able to pre-populate the name field(s) if that option was enabled.

Suggestions and thoughts:

I've had it in mind to tackle the plugin myself along similar lines to you - but not got round to it. However I would have had an initial screen with buttons for Birth, Marriage and Death which each opened another form specific to the event. I'd also have had another button on the initial screen which popped up an options screen with all the settings (making it less likely that settings would be changed by accident when using the plugin).

Regarding the format of the names, the options in AS are good:
{KEYPERSON.SN_GN}: Displays the surname first, followed by the given name(s), e.g. Smith, Alice Jane
{KEYPERSON.SN_GN.CAPS}: Displays the surname first in capitals, followed by the given name(s), e.g. SMITH, Alice Jane
{KEYPERSON.FULL}: Displays the full name of the individual (identical behaviour to the KEYPERSON tag without sub-tags), e.g. Alice Jane Smith
{KEYPERSON.FULL.CAPS}: Displays the full name of the individual with surname in capitals, e.g. Alice Jane SMITH
Maybe a checkbox Include name(s) in Citations and a drop down to select one of the four formats?

You'd need two boxes for the individual(s), Given and Surname (four boxes in all for marriage) which would be pre-populated but editable. If the option Include name(s) in Citation wasn't set, the boxes wouldn't be editable (there would be no point).

If the check box and name format were in the options which set the default, and there was also a check box on the data entry form if the default was not included, the user could select to include the name only if needed which covers one of the points you raised.

If you went with the initial screen idea, if that stayed open and the appropriate entry screen popped up over it, you could stay in the plugin and enter all three events for an individual in one session.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

I've always entered the names for everybody to be consistent. Also the option at the bottom (Add Citation to Name) doesn't make much sense to me if the citation does not include the name!
The Add Citation to Name didn't make sense to me until I looked at the code. It means add a citation to the selected individual or couple (not to an event). So it's a bit unclear, which is why I explained it more in the Help page included for the plug-in (follow the Help link given on the Plug-in page in the store). I felt a bit more explanation for the various options would be helpful, as I had to study the code to understand some of them. Also your screenshot (of the older plugin) shows no selected individual (i.e. Name), but that would be prompted for when OK was clicked, same as my version does.

I see what you mean now about the names. I've essentially missed the original labelling of the input field when re-doing the UI. It was basically arbitrary text tacked on to the date/volume etc. my bad. I think a solution will be around adding the proposed alternate/transcribed/recorded name, plus a spouse field for marriages, which would solve the issue. Personally I had pondered the spouse as it wasn't explicitly present (but of course it would be part of the missing arbitrary text). The simple solution in either case is simply a text input and a corresponding key to use in a format definition with no attempt to try and be clever about it being a name (but that feels like a lazy cheat, but may be sufficient).

On the maiden name, I implemented the 'official' GRO timeline of changes, but I am aware that due to some work by certain websites/organisations, they have been determining the mother's maiden name and adding to their dataset. I would assume this suffers the same possibility of error as any other 'transcribed'/'analysed' evidence. I was pondering simply enabling it for the full time range (pretty simple to do), so it could be included if available. You may want to have alternate formats to include your particular name prefix text or not as appropriate, or may simply use a dash for the name and have the same format for full time span. That's individual taste.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

Suggestions and thoughts:
Thanks, for those. I think some of the UI paradigm things are really for a different incarnation of the plug-in rather than its current way of working.
Maybe a checkbox Include name(s) in Citations and a drop down to select one of the four formats?
This would be done by defining the formats you want (to use the keys you want) and picking the one you want to use. Remember you can define multiple time-bound formats for a register type, not just a single one. I say in the help, if you only use a single format (for register type & date range), it's effectively auto-selected, but if you have multiple for various reasons, you just pick the one you want on 'this' occasion from the drop-down.

As for the other things, I'd need to consider the ramifications and how they fit in or are already covered by other features. Fundamentally it seems an alternate name for the individual is wanted (for transcription error alternative name) and a spouse name for marriages. Pretty sure with those everything else would be covered by the way the plug-in operates already. Once those are in place then anything else needed will become clearer.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

ChrisRead wrote: 01 Apr 2024 18:39 On the maiden name, I implemented the 'official' GRO timeline of changes, but I am aware that due to some work by certain websites/organisations, they have been determining the mother's maiden name and adding to their dataset.
Did you realise that the screen shot I posted showing a maiden name from 1839 was from the GRO's own website (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/cert ... search.asp)? Their documentation is out of date!

Even if I find a birth from say FindMyPast I always look it up on the GRO's own site as it may have middle names or the maiden name when they are not on FMP.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

Did you realise that the screen shot I posted showing a maiden name from 1839 was from the GRO's own website (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/cert ... search.asp)? Their documentation is out of date!
I hadn't, and typical of government organisation to be out of date.

Looks like the simplest option is to allow maiden name for any time period and let the user decide what to do with it. Personally I put a dash where no maiden name is available, to show I have explicitly entered something rather than simply forgetting to. I wasn't aware of the apparent dates of certain data being included until I was doing the plug-in. Looks like the information needs a pinch of salt adding for flavour. :D

Update:
I looked at what I'd done, which was in fact to allow maiden name input always, but I'd defined a pre-canned format without it that only covered the official range and another format with it for the period after. I'll be removing the unnecessary format from the canned ones, and in the mean time, you can change the date range on the other format, or simply define your own one with the full date range. I'd say remove the unwanted format yourself using the customise, but that causes a crash I've just discovered and fixed.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by Normie »

ChrisRead wrote: 20 Mar 2024 11:54
I now need to go and find out how to get this into the plug-in store, as I think it is worthwhile, and adds features well beyond the original version, even if it basically does the same thing.
Chris, I posted a complimentary plugin (Add GRO Index Entries) over a year ago. That is my sole contribution to the plugin store. I didn't put my Probate plugin into the store then and feel that you will be better qualified to progress that than me. What that has done though, is to make me consider if I should put any other of my plugins into the store.

I found that developing my own plugins make it easier to enter data in a consistent and intuitive manner. It seems that most of the plugins in the store are contributed by a few users. Yes this Forum does make a valuable contribution to developing ideas and techniques, but how does one assess whether a plugin is worth a place in the store. There appears to be a step to developing a plugin for personal use to general release (as the comments you have recently been made in this thread have highlighted).

You have made me reconsider whether to develop some of my plugins further and publish them. As someone who has just done that, what would you say are the benefits of publishing a plugin rather just using them yourself.

Norman
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

As someone who has just done that, what would you say are the benefits of publishing a plugin rather just using them yourself.
Well, interesting question.
As you'd see in the thread, it started as a thing out of personal interest, as I was in software dev for 40+ years and hadn't touched any coding since retiring in 2020. Then a couple of months ago converted my 'smart' Excel spreadsheet of parish registers & standardised references to an Access DB based app in C# (I like C#, don't judge).
Then the GRO plugin was mentioned in a thread and tried it out. I thought useful, but not quite how I'd like it, and could see areas for UI improvement. I looked at the code, and figured, well that's not too complex. So after a week or so I'd beaten IUP around to do the things I wanted (most of the LUA that changed FH was unchanged). I figured it does what I wanted and could stop there. However, as I'd spent some time, and its got new features, it might be nice to let other people see if it is something they could use, and tell me what I have missed or could improve (that's the dangerous part). So, I applied for an account, fought with the Authors crappy Wordpress based web interface and submitted it. That elicited some feedback from a user who pointed out some things I'd missed (because they were things I didn't do in my way of working) from the original. So, I'm about to release an update that I hope addresses them.

So, I can't deny there's always a tiny bit of vanity in releasing something to a wider audience, but that also comes with the sobering user feedback :lol: to keep you grounded.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

jelv
v1.5 is in the process of being published. This includes a solution for the missing as-recorded names you pointed out. I went with a simple approach rather than unnecessary complications that were discussed previously, so in effect it should allow entry of all the information you previously entered (of course there'll be something else I missed because I don't happen to work that way ;). You'll need to create some formats of your own to incorporate and format the citations as you want them and include the new fields.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by Normie »

ChrisRead wrote: 04 Apr 2024 13:29 So, I applied for an account, fought with the Authors crappy Wordpress based web interface and submitted it. That elicited some feedback from a user who pointed out some things I'd missed (because they were things I didn't do in my way of working) from the original. So, I'm about to release an update that I hope addresses them.

So, I can't deny there's always a tiny bit of vanity in releasing something to a wider audience, but that also comes with the sobering user feedback :lol: to keep you grounded.
I was encouraged to release my version of GRO Indexes last year, as they wanted to get as many people to contribute to the store as possible to get variation of plugins. I had received positive feedback in the Forum feedback, but no feedback from the plugin store. A quick analysis of the current standard plugins for version 7, shows that around 90% of these are from 3 authors; so not a large variation of authors :? .

I have no idea whether anyone uses my plugin in the store because there is no feedback. At least the Forum does invokes feedback, even if it is from a limited number of interested people.

My inclination at present is to put another one of my plugins into the Forum, to see if it generates interest but to avoid subsequent publication and leave that to someone else if they feel the plugin merits it. Based on the Probate plugin I offered, whilst it attracted positive interest, no-one has taken it further.

I will be interested to see how your contribution pans out.
Last edited by tatewise on 04 Apr 2024 17:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by jelv »

Chris, If you want to send me an early copy to test I'm happy to do so.

There's another aspect I had been pondering if I did my own version. When you look up records on the GRO's site it gives the Registration District name only (equivalent to FH's short place name) so as my citation field is text from source I'm thinking that it should be the district name only in the citation. However if you only enter the short name in the existing plugin that's all that goes in to the Place (if it creates the event) which is not acceptable. Looking at the code, it would be pretty easy to put the short place name in the citation whilst using the full place name in the events. It would probably need an option for Full/Short registration district names in the citation to do the job properly.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

Chris, If you want to send me an early copy to test I'm happy to do so.
1.5 was published yesterday (for better or worse).
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by ChrisRead »

tatewise
How do you get the quotes to say who wrote the original, and the post link it came from. The quotes button doesn't do that, unless I've missed something. It's always annoyed me I can't indicate who I'm quoting when it's several posts later.
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Re: GRO Source Reference plugin

Post by tatewise »

ChrisRead wrote: 05 Apr 2024 13:05 tatewise
How do you get the quotes to say who wrote the original, and the post link it came from. The quotes button doesn't do that, unless I've missed something. It's always annoyed me I can't indicate who I'm quoting when it's several posts later.
You click the Reply with quotes button on the right of the icons in the post you are quoting.
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