dbnut wrote: ↑
23 Jan 2022 12:14
ColeValleyGirl wrote: ↑
23 Jan 2022 09:50
I don't have any particular requirements for diagrams that aren't already met...
That highlights the (apparent) dichotomy between:
- (apparently normal) FH users, who use diagrams/charts for their originally intended purpose, and
- (weirdo) Diagram Man types like me, who abuse them.
Perhaps we need to spell out more clearly how we get our thrills. ...
I agree - as one who seems to suffer from the delta variant of Genealogy (the variant that is concerned with diagrams
and family trees) as opposed to those who suffer from the beta variant (an obsessive concern with getting the software to write books
How do I get my thrills (within the limitations of a 15.6 inch diagonal laptop screen)? (Currently V6)
I visualise - therefore Diagrams and Family Trees are my preferred mode of operation.
I use diagrams almost exclusively together with a floating individual property box (showing the fact tab with sources to the right). I tend to use the mouse to push that box out of the way (sometimes just leaving the margin visible at the edge of the screen. FH tends to be near full screen and I Alt-tab through FH, my browser, and my note-taker (Zim
) and if I am writing (now almost exclusively in a blog) I will have a second browser window open.
Screen space is important but so is detail (and for many purposes the property box fact tab is just too clunky - but it is all I have). I therefore tend to have a "Research" Diagram text scheme which has a lot of detail in it, and I work on a level of zoom that is a serious strain on the eyes.
I tend to work in a number of distinct manners:
- Chasing up and down a tree (using BMD, parish records and census records) to trace relatives
- Working over existing trees resolving contradictions, adding new information (e.g. 1921 Census)
- Biography where I may be focusing on one person.
- "Family Reconstruction" where I might have multiple fragments of trees as I try to resolve which families people belong to. (The above screen shot is where I am attempting to differentiate between two Clark(e) families, where (very antisocially - for future genealogists) at least one male Clark(e) married a female Blunt)
I might have multiple Diagram windows open (the example above I originally spawned from my Williamson Diagram to try and chase down Clark(e) ancestors). But switching between diagram windows (clicking in the left margin) does not come naturally. Sometimes being able to hover over a spouse and to get a preview (at low level of detail) of their immediate family would help prevent unnecessary spawning (which creates a messy workplace).
Each family (or sometimes each task) may have a saved Diagram/Chart. That creates a profusion of saved Diagrams some of which are temporary and some of which are sort of permanent (as used when printing a pdf to send to a relative)
Some of my text schemes are quite complex to get the level of detail I want:
With this set up the major pain is maintaining an overview and navigating my diagrams. Tools like Ctrl-H to find an individual I find clunky
. I need some way to switch between overview and relevent detail - and the Fact tab of the property box does not totally fit the bill (it shows everything for one thing). Zooming out on a scheme that is already small text just makes everything unreadable.
Of course, I don't need this level of detail all of the time for all of the sort of tasks that I do, but setting up multiple Text Schemes and switching between them is again clunky
. Yes you can clone a text scheme and then edit it - but you then rapidly end up with a large number of schemes and despite long and tortuous text scheme names you lose track of what they all do.
Then if you find a neat bit of "code" (such as Mike published recently for detecting twins and using it to set an icon) which you then want to incorporate in your schemes
to show "(Twin+)" in the birth line, editing your text schemes involves a lot backtracking through various schemes to find the relevant lines and edit them
(taking care to paste the code the correct side of the relevant bracket!).
In terms of solutions (which possibly re-empts discussions about requirements) I am toying with a number of ideas. Really we need to trash out requirements first but perhaps what follows can help make clearer my above frustrations?
- Content Management
A desire to see user created alternative "chunks of text scheme" (I have alternatives called Minimal, Verbose and Complex in the example below) which I can easily switch "in" and "out":
These "chunks of schemes" can then be chosen and combined (by reference rather than cloning) into "schemes" that will have the same impact as existing schemes. But if I find a neat way to display household details in a census, I only have to find the single "census chunk" and edit it once. The change then cascades (by default) into every diagram which uses a scheme with that particular "chunk".
- Minimal, 1 line sufficient for identification
- Verbose, possibly full name, "used name" and nicknames
- Complex including facts like "Notable for ...", "of ..." etc.
- Minimal, year/place
- Verbose, Date place & address (and for marriages bride)
- Complex, - as in the above figure
- Minimal, year/place
- Verbose, Year, place & address
- Complex, Year, place & address & Household details
The above is only two level. Provided the interface does not confuse (the beta!) users there is no reason why such schemes should not be multi-level (Chunks within Chunks? There's a genealogical dog's dinner joke in there).
When doing Census tasks I might have the Verbose Name, Verbose BMD and Complex Census chunks switched "in" and everything else switched "out". If doing a migration task I might have the Complex Voyages chunk switched "in". If publishing I might have another configuration of chunks depending on my audience.
That would then enhance my method of working by helping me work with only the information I need.
- Style Management
Doing something similar with the styling of diagrams. If I find something neat I want to be able to edit something once and then see its effect (by default) cascade through all diagrams.
I want to be able to adjust the style separate from adjusting the content.
For publication (and possibly for research working) I want to be able to adjust the style of an individual (even of a specific fact) separately from other individuals in a diagram.
I think the above two (content management and style management) are conceptually linked.
- Scheme Editor
The above two issues have implications on both the Scheme edit functions (and possibly the New Fact function - where you might accept or determine default styles)
The scheme editor also shows signs of age and could do with a re-think so that new lines can be added more easily (in a particular place - without in a big scheme chasing a new line from the bottom up through the scheme to where you want it - with an enhanced wizard for getting the syntax of not just GEDCOM elements but also functions correct - see most spreadsheets?)
(And isn't it time such a list (as with all "lists") had a mouseable repositioning option?)
Moving around a diagram is difficult but could be made easier. Possibilities include:
- In the Individual property window make it so that when you ctrl-click on the Blue "Go to Parent" or "Go to Child" arrows, the diagram moves to bring the relevant person on screen (if they are in the current diagram)
- The ability to work with a less detailed scheme but when you hover over an individual for more than a configurable amount of time their diagram "box" will use a different text scheme (ideally in a " "pop-up" so as to not disturb the geometry of the underlying tree) to show a user-configurable different (usually greater) level of detail. A click then will bring that person into the property box - the advantage of a "hover" is that you can compare the details of one person with the person currently in the Property box.
- A quick navigation "window" that uses a different text scheme to present more individuals at a lesser level of detail - accessed by a right click on a blank bit of diagram?