* [Wish List Item 625] 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

For Wish List Requests that have either (a) been progressed to the Wish List; or (b) been classified as duplicates, or as redundant because the requirement is already satisfied within FH and/or plugins; or (c) closed because it wasn't possible to arrive at a clear specification of the request within 15 months of it being raised.
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Gary_G
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

ColeValleyGirl wrote: 15 Nov 2023 19:58 PS I strongly disagree with including Style codes in all metafields. It mixes meaning and presentation and makes life unnecessarily hard for plugin authors. It also will potentially lead new users into cul de sacs with inconsistent styling and where undoing a stylistic decision is a lot of work.

Style codes should be reserved for specific metafields - the existing Footnote etc Format metafields and any additional metafields required to support Freeform citations, for example.

If we do suggest that importing and pasting should take place into the existing Footnote etc. Format metafields, there ought to be a machanism to rest them to 'default' values.
Then; I really like Mikes suggestion of a special data-type being specified for the related metafields of an instantiated template. The metafields defined during import could have that automatically set and the user could set other user-defined metafields to that type as well. That approach also permits resetting the metafield data-type as required. This approach presupposes that FH7 is capable of recognizing the special type when processing field text in the instantiated template.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Gary_G wrote: 15 Nov 2023 20:16 Thanks for bearing with me, Helen.

I "think" I now see what's causing the confusion. Your point appears to be that once the template is instantiated, FH7 treats input field content as literal text and does not currently evaluate any formatting codes in the field data. So; even if FH7 just placed validated imported data in the instantiated template's input fields, the text would still need to be run through the evaluation routine to correctly display a formatted citation. Of course, the same would be true for any manually entered or cut-and-pasted text. [And... FH7 still needs to make sure it doesn't strip out valid imported codes as well. :D ] Must admit, though, I still don't really see the need for any user "switch", but that is something CP can address.

The key for me was that your wording was intended to apply to the behaviour of an instantiated template, not a template definition.

Perhaps this distinction could be explicitly made in the wishlist request?
By 'instantiated template' do you mean Source? In which case yes.

If you have been talking about Source Template Records all along, we have a substantial disconnect that we need to clear up before making progress.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

I think we are aligned. When I say "instantiated template", I mean what the user actually uses to enter source data.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Gary_G wrote: 16 Nov 2023 18:01 Helen;

I think we are aligned. When I say "instantiated template", I mean what the user actually uses to enter source data.
Phew. So 'creates a source' and 'instantiates a template' are the same thing. I shall use 'creates a source' because that will be meaningful to most users.

=======================

Give me some time, and I'll come back with a proposal with some illustrative workflows to make it clear that we're talking about the behaviour at the point of creating or importing a source.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

My past, as you can imagine, causes me to look at the situation in a slightly different way.
I think we understand each other and your wording is just fine.

Would suggest we capture Mike's idea about the data-type for free-format information.
It is a more "elegant" solution than what might be offered if one just said a "switch".
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Gary, I'm still trying to steer away from implementation.

Is Mike's suggestion an actual uset requirement that can be couched in non technical terms? Or is it one of a number of potential solutions to our requirement? Or is it a different if complementary requirement?

My revised wording doesnt refer to a switch at all.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

It is not specifying how to actually code the functionality. Requiring a metafield data-type to be used as the "switch" is actually a valid user requirement on the FH7 user-interface. If one doesn't indicate that a data-type is the preferred way of signalling that the content of a meta-field should be treated as containing FH7 format tags, then we may end up with something that doesn't work well for the end-user.

When talking about a "switch", I was referring to the following post by Mike;
Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability
Post by tatewise » 14 Nov 2023 10:44

As well as the other Metafield Types (Text, Name, Place, URL, etc) could there also be a Format type?
Those Format Metafields would support the Template Format style codes.
The style codes would be preserved when that type of Metafield is referenced in a Template Format.
i.e. Footnote, Bibliography, Short Footnote Metafields would be defined with the Format type.
That idea works well, because FH7 currently imports free-form citation elements as 3 metafields.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Another draft reworded proposal:

I realised we’d lost sight of the requirement for ability to have Freeform Generic Citations as well as Templated ones, so I’ve reinstated that.
=============================================================================================

Proposal: The ability to create and cite a Templated or Generic Source that has manually entered or pasted, formatted, Bibliography Footnote and Short Footnotes, including Source Template Field substitution at source or citation level if field references are included.

These Footnotes etc. should consist of plain text, FH Template Format style codes, and optional Source Template Field references for consistency with the current Footnotes etc. It would be desirable to allow a larger edit field for these Footnotes etc. as they can get quite complex.

It should also be possible to import such Footnotes etc. from RootsMagic and other import sources that support them, and to paste content from web-based sources or

Background and Benefits: One or more genealogy programs already permit the user to manually enter, or cut-and-paste, formatted text to define the Bibliography, Footnote and Short Footnote; this is often referred to as a Freeform Citation.

Having this capability in FH7 would be particularly useful for users of Evidence Explained style, due to the unpredictable structure of the citations and the importance of formatting in that methodology. It would also improve the direct import capability programs such as RootsMagic.

Allowing source template field substitution (especially at citation level) would provide extra flexibility to make the feature useful for both splitters and lumpers.

=============================================================================================

I’m still confused about why it’s necessary to ask for a way to mark a source template field as a ‘Format’ type metafield, when there are there are other ways for CP to deliver our requirements — such as the normally-hidden dedicated metafields that I suggested many posts up-topic, which could equally easily be used by CP as the target for importing from RM and elsewhere.

I’m struggling to imagine a scenario in which somebody using either the Essentials templates or the Advanced ones to create new sources would find it a sensible workflow to modify a template to include ‘Format’ type fields and then use that template to create a one-off Freeform citation when they could start from an unmodified template and then make changes to the resultant Bibliography etc for a specific source directly. Especially as the structure and formatting of any ‘Format’ type metafield for this purpose would be wholly unpredictable (hence the need for Freeform citation capability in the first place) so they’d always be empty in the Template. So their only potential relevance seems to be in an import scenario. Is it the case that a RM user might have multiple different Freeform templates?

And what would ‘Format’ type metafields bring to the party for anyone not interested in freeform citations?
We already have two ways of formatting templated sources (:BOOK: and :TITLE: styles, and formatting codes in the Bibliography etc. Definitions in templates) — what can’t be achieved using these?
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

I am really only worried about being able to faithfully import and subsequently maintain those free-form citations from other programs. So I have a suggestion regarding the wording.

I would suggest the wishlist wording be amended to incorporate the following, as I believe it accurately and concisely defines user-expectations.
It should be possible to import Freeform sources from other FH-supported genealogical applications (eg. RM9) into Family Historian Free-form source fields, while maintaining the contained formatting tags supported by Family Historian. In addition; it should be possible to cut, paste and edit Family Historian Free-form source fields providing that the final content contains only; plain text, recognized formatting tags and punctuation, and previously defined metafields.
Can you work with that?
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Gary_G wrote: 17 Nov 2023 15:35 Helen;

I am really only worried about being able to faithfully import and subsequently maintain those free-form citations from other programs.
Understandably so.
So I have a suggestion regarding the wording.

I would suggest the wishlist wording be amended to incorporate the following, as I believe it accurately and concisely defines user-expectations.
It should be possible to import Freeform sources from other FH-supported genealogical applications (eg. RM9) into Family Historian Free-form source fields, while maintaining the contained formatting tags supported by Family Historian. In addition; it should be possible to cut, paste and edit Family Historian Free-form source fields providing that the final content contains only; plain text, recognized formatting tags and punctuation, and previously defined metafields.
Can you work with that?
The problem I have is that 'Free-form source fields' is an 'undefined term' that could in some interpretations include the Place field in a Church register source to which a user has added a free-form Footnote. Could we say 'Freeform Bibliographies, Footnotes and Short Footnotes.'?
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

How about;
It should be possible to import Freeform sources from other FH-supported genealogical applications (eg. RM9) into Family Historian Free-form source fields (Bibliography, Footnote and Short Footnote), while maintaining the contained formatting tags supported by Family Historian. In addition; it should be possible to cut, paste and edit Family Historian Free-form source fields providing that the final content contains only; plain text, recognized formatting tags and punctuation, and previously defined metafields.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Our sentences were getting quite convoluted :)

What about:

Proposal: The ability to create and cite a Templated or Generic Source that has manually entered or pasted Bibliography Footnote and/or Short Footnotes.

These Footnotes etc. should consist of plain text, FH Template Format style codes, and/or Source Template Field references for consistency with the corresponding format definitions in Source Templates or for Generic sources.

It should be possible to paste formatted content from the web or other sources, in the same way as formatted content can be posted into Text from Source etc.

It should be possible to import such sources (retaining all formatting compatible with FH) from RootsMagic and other genealogical applications from which direct import is supported.

All normal edit operations should be possible. It would be desirable to allow a larger edit field for these Footnotes etc. as they can get quite complex.

It should also be possible to reset a source to the automatically produced equivalents.

Background and Benefits: One or more genealogy programs already permit the user to manually enter, or cut-and-paste, formatted text to define the Bibliography, Footnote and Short Footnote; this is often referred to as a Freeform Citation.

Having this capability in FH7 would be particularly useful for users of Evidence Explained style, due to the unpredictable structure of the citations and the importance of formatting in that methodology. It would also improve the direct import capability programs such as RootsMagic. It would also enable users to paste citation information from e.g. Ancestry or Zotero, or specialist companion genealogical applications.

Allowing source template field substitution (especially at citation level) would provide extra flexibility to make the feature useful for both splitters and lumpers.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

With respect; I think that your proposal is far more "complicated" than is required. I also note that you've now added generic sources into the mix, for which data entry follows quite a different workflow from templated sources. That may make it exceedingly difficult for CP to address the wish.

To have a Free-form capability that allows input from both Templated and Generic sources, CP would need to establish a common data-entry form which would initially be populated by either source-citation input method and then would allow cutting, pasting, editing and finally input validation within that common form.

Currently; CP has already implemented an untagged version of free-form citation import by automatically defining a source template with the three standard fields and populating them by inserting a metafield for each of; Bibliography Footnote and/or Short Footnotes, The content of those fields is derived from a direct import, but it is important to note that it could likely do the same for importing via GEDCOM. I expect that they have taken this approach, because the templated source paradigm is more compatible than the generic source paradigm.

In summary; I really don't think that this wish should require that the solution support two such dissimilar input methods and I feel that the templated route is more compatible with how CP currently works with imported free-form data.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Gary, Generic Sources have been in the mix since my initial draft proposal 9 days ago:
ColeValleyGirl wrote: 08 Nov 2023 14:47
Proposal: The ability to optionally override the automatically-generated Bibliography, Footnote and Short Footnote for any Source (Generic or Templated) or Citation (ditto) with formatted text manually entered or copied from other sources.

Background and Benefits: One or more genealogy programs already permit the user to manually enter, or cut-and-paste, rich-format text to define the Bibliography, Footnote and Short Footnote; this is often referred to as a Freeform Citation.

Having this capability in FH7 would be particularly useful for users of Evidence Explained style, due to the unpredictable structure of the citations and the importance of formatting in that methodology. It also could facilitate the direct import of free-form citations from other programs such as RootsMagic.
I'm not sure where you think the data entry work flow differs significantly? I suggest we leave both types of sources in and leave it to CP to decide what fits with their product direction. They are very capable of omitting Generic Sources if it falls in the too hard and difficult bucket.

For full disclosure, my primary hope is to get freeform Generic Sources so that I don't have to replace my 800+ existing Generic Sources with templated equivalents, but can just cut and paste formatted references from a side document which I already have to introduce the formatting I couldn't have in FH version 6. Otherwise, I'm looking at manually editing 800+ generic sources to (unnecessarily IMO) add a template (which turns them into a templated source) and move the information from various of the generic fields before doing the cut and paste.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by Gary_G »

Helen;

Guess that I'm on the other side of the fence, since I use templated sources and have hundreds of free-form citations to port from RM9. Actually; the lack of a full-up Free-Form import is the only reason I can't work fully in FH7. However; my hesitation to ask for both is not based on that. After all; it actually doesn't really matter whether the imported Free-Form data ends up as a generic citation or a templated one. Theoretically; they should result in the same printed output. I suppose it only really matters, if one expects to do a lot of entry or editing from within FH7. My hesitation is more that it appears that CP had already chosen a template-related way of handling Free-Form citations and I didn't want to ask them to "change horses in midstream". If they can give the users a choice of approaches, that would be obviously be a plus.
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Re: 'Free Form' Citation Entry capability

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Wish List item 625 has been created. Please vote for it to let Calico Pie know if you wish to see this feature introduced.
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