* Is FH As Good As We Think

Questions regarding use of any Version of Family Historian. Please ensure you have set your Version of Family Historian in your Profile
User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 15 Nov 2020 16:04

Hi all,

Now don't take my subject heading as a criticism of FH, I will explain. I have been looking around FHUG and began to realise that to do a lot of things on FH you require to use things that are actually not in the FH program eg plugin's, companions or the goodwill of some very knowledgeable contributors (Who might not always be here) . My question for this part is does CP look at plugins etc and try to incorporate some of the more popular ones into their upgrades. I ask this because what if the plugin writer decides to not upgrade a fantastic plugin or move away from FH and then that plugin goes.

I have also read a few concerning posts for example this from Mike Tate "You are very lucky. Often, they say the problem will be logged and investigated and you hear nothing further." is this a way of saying that bugs are not dealt with until at best the next major upgrade and in some cases, just never dealt with, which I know to be the case from other posts I have read on here.

This is why my subject heading was worded as it was, I just look at FH and wonder whether we would be saying how good FH is without all of the extras that come via the people on here.

Oh and for anyone who is interested the release date for FH7 is (Drum roll please)- "V7 is getting closer, that is all we can say currently. Sorry" Calico Pies answer to a part of a question I asked which asked " just confirmation that FH7 will be coming in the near future, not in 6 months or worse another year" especially when we are over a year down the line from the initial announcement
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
NickWalker
Megastar
Posts: 1194
Joined: 02 Jan 2004 17:39
Family Historian: V6
Location: Lancashire, UK
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by NickWalker » 15 Nov 2020 20:35

I think Calico were very lucky that Jane had enough interest and enthusiasm for the new Family Historian when it came out that she set up the FHUG and this acted as hub for enthusiastic users to gather. But it would have been the design of Family Historian that attracted her in the first place and only Calico can take the credit for that.

Family Historian attracted me and probably others because of the very open nature of its file structure. This led me to write some software for my own use to help enter census data which I then mentioned on the FHUG and others said they'd like to try it. Then eventually this became Ancestral Sources. I'd used Family Tree Maker before FH and that had a proprietary file structure which would not have allowed me to do this. So I think Calico were lucky that I did that (because a lot of users cite Ancestral Sources as a major benefit of using Family Historian) but they made their own luck by the decisions they made to use GEDCOM as their file system in the first place.

The addition of the plugin system has almost certainly attracted lots of other enthusiasts and kept them interested. if the plugin system wasn't included in FH then some users might have got frustrated and gone elsewhere. So again Calico might be lucky that users like Mike and others create plugins but they made their own luck by adding the facility which was a very innovative thing for them to do. If Mike hadn't written his plugins then someone else would probably have stepped up. Likewise if any of those who regularly answer questions weren't here to answer so many questions then others would probably do so. I expect a lot of people don't answer many questions on here because someone else beats them to it.

So it is the work that has been done by Calico that has led to such an enthusiastic user base . They don't need to incorporate all the plugins into Family Historian because the users have submitted them to plugin store. I'm not sure if users can withdraw plugins from the store but the code is readily available to anyone who downloads the code so someone else will always be able to adapt the plugins if the plugin writer moves on.
I just look at FH and wonder whether we would be saying how good FH is without all of the extras that come via the people on here.
I think you're looking at it the wrong way round. The fact that these people take time to create all the extras proves that FH is very good!
Nick Walker
Ancestral Sources Developer

http://www.ancestralsources.com

User avatar
Coolgarra
Platinum
Posts: 35
Joined: 06 Oct 2015 06:50
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Rockhampton, Australia
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by Coolgarra » 15 Nov 2020 20:48

Well said Nick. I was trying to formulate a reply, and you have covered all the points I was planning and more!

I agree that the user created plugins are definitely a positive rather than a negative. One of the reasons is that I have complete control over which ones are installed or not, rather than having a thousand options in the application which I never get to understand fully.

I have evaluated other offerings, and being a TMG refugee I find that Family Historian offers the most flexibility, (and sustainability), of any of the other applications I have looked at.

I might add that I started with PAF (DOS then Windows), and also used Brother's Keeper, before moving to Family Tree Maker, then TMG. I have purchased RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree and also have My Heritage Family Tree Builder, but Family Historian will remain my primary application.

Chris

avatar
Mark1834
Famous
Posts: 233
Joined: 27 Oct 2017 19:33
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: South Cheshire

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by Mark1834 » 15 Nov 2020 21:04

Agree - FTM, RootsMagic and FH are all excellent programs, with their own strengths and weaknesses and enthusiastic user groups, but it is the combination of GEDCOM data transparency and plugin flexibility that makes FH my current favourite. But equally, arguing which is the “best” is about as useful as arguing the merits of Windows, Mac, and Linux. They’re all different, and we use the one that best fits our needs and personal style preferences.
Mark Draper

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 19158
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by tatewise » 15 Nov 2020 21:05

I second everything that Nick has said so eloquently.

Calico Pie have made Family Historian a very 'open' product by using GEDCOM format and mostly plain text files for its customisation features. That applies not just to Plugins but also to many of the Downloads users have contributed to the Knowledge Base such as Fact Types, Queries, Report Types, Text Schemes, etc. Thus, after some effort to acquire the skill any user could continue to develop any of those features.

However, straight out of the box, Family Historian is better than most products before adding any of those extras.
If you doubt that, then try a few. Most of the popular products have free versions: Gramps, Heredis, Legacy, My Family Tree, MyHeritage Family Tree Builder, RootsMagic, and Ancestry, FindMayPast & ZoomPast free online Family Trees.

Yes, Calico Pie do sometimes incorporate features stimulated by Plugins and from the Wish List.
But they are also governed by commercial constraints and cannot afford to fix every single bug that gets reported.
That can be frustrating but is no different than most other products (including MicroSoft products).
I know because I have reported bugs to several product developers with varying success.
BTW: In that past Calico have produced intermediate free upgrades with new features & bug fixes, but not for some time.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 16 Nov 2020 07:03

What Nick said -- I couldn't say it better.

User avatar
gwilym'smum
Superstar
Posts: 277
Joined: 01 Feb 2016 16:28
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: South Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by gwilym'smum » 16 Nov 2020 07:47

I have had FH since it first came out so not really had experience of other programs but I am sure that they must have groups like ours to help users. If they don't then the users are left high and dry because there will always be people of a wide range of technical ability from those who have trouble entering an ancestor to those who can write the plugins and formulate queries and this will apply to whatever program you use they will all have technical features which need to be understood and perhaps improved upon depending on what individual users require.
I know that I really appreciate all the help I have received over the years and we also have the discussion sections too.
Ann
Researching Mayer, Parr/Parr, Simcock, Beech and all related families

avatar
Gowermick
Megastar
Posts: 868
Joined: 13 Oct 2015 07:22
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Swansea

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by Gowermick » 16 Nov 2020 08:00

The only thing I can add to this discussion, which hasn’t been mentioned yet, is that FH achieves all this at speed! Despite having a tree with 18,000 + individuals in it, everything I do is done near instantaneously.

I can’t fault Calico Pie for their foresight in allowing us the ability create our own queries and plugins, which only enhance what is already an exceedingly good product.

Judging by the posts in FHUG, everyone wants something different from FH, yet it still manages to deliver. An outstanding achievement by Calico Pie!

EDIT in reply to gwylym’s mum. None of the programs I have ever used, has had the ability for users to create plugins and queries, which I think is pretty unique among genealogy programs. It was one of the reasons I gave up on FTM, the other being that it hid my data inside the program, and I wasn’t allowed access to my own data! Run a query? Forget it, it didn’t cater for that!
Mike Loney

Using FH 6.2.7, with CC 6.7.37 Windows 10 Home, LibreOffice (x64), Firefox(x64) & Thunderbird
Website http://www.loney.tribalpages.com
http://www.mickloney.tribalpages.com

avatar
waveydavey2016
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: 03 Jul 2018 09:07
Family Historian: V6.2

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by waveydavey2016 » 16 Nov 2020 15:41

I think the short answer is yes, but in my mind the purpose of a family tree program/database is to provide effortless data entry, reliable data storage and easy report/chart generation. FH fulfills all these criteria.

Although I am aware there are plug ins available, which I have used when I imported my data from FTM 2005 to make the conversion more straightforward - I appear to be the only person here who is profoundly "scared" of using plug ins on the basis that I have my data how I want it and that's how I would like it to stay. I even approach disconnecting a person in the wrong place and re-attaching them to another family as something to be wary of!

avatar
Martin Tolley
Gold
Posts: 20
Joined: 02 Aug 2015 10:48
Family Historian: V6

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by Martin Tolley » 16 Nov 2020 16:24

waveydavey2016, be assured you are not alone.

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 16 Nov 2020 16:35

I'm told that the vast majority of FH users never customise it, never install plugins or download queries, never frequent these forums or the FH mailing list or the FH Facebook page -- they use it out of the box without any help. That in itself attests to the quality of the product.

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 19158
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by tatewise » 16 Nov 2020 16:57

Helen, I recognise it may be possible to quantify how many users frequent the FHUG Forum, FH Email List or FH Facebook page.

But how is it possible to know the vast majority of FH users never customise it, never install plugins or download queries?

I assume downloading Queries, Icons, etc, from the KB leaves no trace, and probably the Plugin Store is the same.
There is no requirement to sign-in, so are web page visitor statistics maintained?

It is also possible to customise FH privately without anybody knowing.
So do Calico Pie carry out surveys of FH users to determine such things?
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

User avatar
mjashby
Megastar
Posts: 508
Joined: 23 Oct 2004 10:45
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by mjashby » 16 Nov 2020 16:57

Having used/tested many different Family Tree software options on Windows, MacOS and Linux, I would support all of positive comments made so far, but would add that every piece of software (including Desktop Operating Systems and individual software packages) I've used since the early 1980's have been something of a compromise. Nothing is, or can ever be, perfect, but you have to consider and decide:

- which option(s) provide what you want now and what you may need in the future; and also what support options are available when problems arise, which they will.
- whether you are locking yourself in to a specific way of working, or are able to adapt the software to do (most of) what you are likely to want.
- whether the software gives you flexible control over your own data, or locks it away in some encrypted database file system you cannot access, because the developer has decided software users can't be trusted not to mess things up.
- whether you can control the software or have to simply accept/adapt to its way of working.
- whether the software is capable of 'growing' with the user, or is likely to become restrictive in the future when needs expand.
- whether information can be exchanged reliably (and relatively easily) with someone who makes a different software choice, or possibly uses a different operating system.

For me, as a Family Historian user since the initial release of Version 2 (the first public version); and also having shifted substantially away from Windows when Microsoft released Windows 8.0, this software still provides the best flexibility possible in today's market; and at a reasonable price point. I am also comfortable that I will not be left high and dry with data in a redundant database format, even if the software disappears in the future - Sorry (former) TMG Users :) - I've been there!. And, yes, I do still use other some other software fairly regularly, but largely for managing easy online research with certain data providers, or because regular contacts that I exchange data with use one of the alternatives.

Mervyn

User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 16 Nov 2020 19:30

I agree with pretty much all that's been said.I was more wondering what would happen if Nick, Mike, Jane and a few others walked away. I know you would say you are happy with FH , but most of you have walked away from other software to end up here. You are only as good as your next upgrade.

As for bugs, repairing them should be part of your daily work, unless of course you are such great programmers you make no mistakes :lol: . Especially when your income comes from that one thing. A bug found is a problem for someone trying to do something and if it's important enough to that person they'll look for software that does what they want. So not fixing one bug could lose you that customers cash for many upgrades.

Now before anyone thinks I am anti CP/FH, I'm not. I love how it works and am in no hurry to find another program not even FH7, luckily :lol: :lol: . One FTM move was enough for me :roll:
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 16 Nov 2020 20:21

I think it unlikely that Nick, Mike, Jane and others etc. will walk away all at once -- most of them/us have been with FH since the beginning. And if some walked away, others (more quiet now) would step into the gap -- it's hard and unnecessary but not impossible to replace Mike, for example.

Re bugs, repairing them is not the job of anyone here -- Calico Pie and their employees have to do that, not us users. Yes, bugs are a fact of software, but this is an independent user site -- we can't rewrite the software. I will say that not all bugs matter (shock horror) -- whether a commercial organization like CP fixes a bug depends on their assessment of how many users care and how difficult it is to fix.

avatar
victor
Famous
Posts: 153
Joined: 08 Jan 2004 16:53
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire, England

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by victor » 16 Nov 2020 20:27

Those you mention, including yourself, deserve some kind of honour for all you have done to help all who have FH in solving their problems. I am no expert in these things but it puzzles me as to how you manage to find time to repond to the numerous queries.

Well done all of you

Victor

User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 16 Nov 2020 21:19

Helen

This was the statement I made in my first post about bugs, nothing to do with FHUG repairing bugs.
I have also read a few concerning posts for example this from Mike Tate "You are very lucky. Often, they say the problem will be logged and investigated and you hear nothing further." is this a way of saying that bugs are not dealt with until at best the next major upgrade and in some cases, just never dealt with, which I know to be the case from other posts I have read on here.
All bugs matter to someone especially if there is no work around until it is fixed, otherwise they wouldn't be a bug.
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
tatewise
Megastar
Posts: 19158
Joined: 25 May 2010 11:00
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Torbay, Devon, UK
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by tatewise » 16 Nov 2020 22:19

CP have a problem reporting ticket system that offers a dialogue with CP, but in many cases, the problem or suggestion is logged for investigation by the development team with no further feedback even if it is fixed. I asked if CP could provide feedback to tickets when the issue was fixed and was told it is not practical for them to do that. So the originator must keep experimenting with each new release of FH to see if there has been any update regarding any ticket.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 17 Nov 2020 07:27

GeneSniper wrote:
16 Nov 2020 19:30
As for bugs, repairing them should be part of your daily work, unless of course you are such great programmers you make no mistakes
And this was what I was responding to, not your initial statement.

User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 17 Nov 2020 14:32

ColeValleyGirl wrote:
17 Nov 2020 07:27
GeneSniper wrote:
16 Nov 2020 19:30
As for bugs, repairing them should be part of your daily work, unless of course you are such great programmers you make no mistakes
And this was what I was responding to, not your initial statement.
I thought that the sentence and smiley face following after what you highlighted above "Especially when your income comes from that one thing" would have made it obvious I was talking about CP not the peeps on this site. Sorry if you took offence at what I wrote, but it definitely wasn't aimed at you or anyone else on here. I can't remember having an update/bug fix in the last 2 years for FH6, meaning that FH6 is pretty perfect with no known bugs or someone has been sitting on their laurels.
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 17 Nov 2020 14:49

GeneSniper wrote:
17 Nov 2020 14:32

I can't remember having an update/bug fix in the last 2 years for FH6, meaning that FH6 is pretty perfect with no known bugs or someone has been sitting on their laurels.
Or working on version 7 perhaps?

User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 17 Nov 2020 15:17

Since May 2018, you jest me. I suppose if it takes 2 1/2 years and counting to update a program, how did they ever manage to write version 6 in the 2 years from the release of version 5 :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 17 Nov 2020 15:42

Depends a bit on how major the changes are.

From Simon's update in June:
"Version 7 of Family Historian will include a very powerful word processor that provides familiar word-processing features such as bullets and tables, but also includes embedded record links (that is, links to records in your project), web links (links to websites), private notes-within-notes incorporating hash tags (similar to hash tags used on Twitter and elsewhere), and embedded source citations (that is, numbered source citations which can be inserted into the text itself, rather than just attached to the note as a whole). The new version also includes improved support for sources and source templates, new relationship diagrams, new DNA tools, quite a few new reports, and quite a few enhancements to existing features."

As well as this, there's good news for TMG users: version 7 will include a powerful TMG import routine incorporating code version for TMG codes. And yes version 7 will also support sort dates. There's also good news for people who want to produce output in languages other than English. And there's more good news for everyone, in other features we haven't mentioned. But hopefully that's enough to whet your appetite for now.
So not something you could knock up overnight (well, maybe you could).

User avatar
GeneSniper
Famous
Posts: 232
Joined: 06 Dec 2016 20:40
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, UK

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by GeneSniper » 17 Nov 2020 16:47

Helen

Please don't take this the wrong way, but in MY opinion you should not totally ignore the software that is earning you money and keeping your customers happy even if you are developing a new version. This software will be used by many people for years to come even after Version 8 arrives never mind version 7 and if you ignore the bugs in your software for at least 2 1/2 years then I am guessing that those people who are using version 6 are stuck with those bugs for the next 5 years or longer.

I really am not looking for an argument over this I was just pointing out a few things that again in my opinion are failings in CP.
William

* Illegitimi non carborundum *

User avatar
ColeValleyGirl
Megastar
Posts: 1787
Joined: 28 Dec 2005 22:02
Family Historian: V6.2
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Contact:

Re: Is FH As Good As We Think

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 17 Nov 2020 16:54

GeneSniper wrote:
17 Nov 2020 16:47
I really am not looking for an argument over this I was just pointing out a few things that again in my opinion are failings in CP.
Let's not have an argument then by curtailing the discussion.

Post Reply