- That assembling their associated conclusions directly from raw digitalised information is not always easy, and gets very hard as you go further back in time (e.g. before census returns and civil registration).
- That it's hard to tell naive trees from properly researched ones, and that, no, a bunch of citations are not a useful indicator.
- That naive trees usually persist long after a creator may have abandoned them, and could steer new researchers down the wrong path.
- That proof arguments (i.e. reasoned explanation), as opposed to simple proof statements (i.e. citations), are almost never provided.
Thursday, 6 December 2018
Saturday, 1 December 2018
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Saturday, 8 September 2018
This is the official name of the free software design tool described in my previous posts Interactive Trees in Blogs Using SVG and More on SVG Family Trees. This post announces some important changes for the v5.0 release.
There has been a Facebook group for this tool for some time now, called "SVG Family-Tree Generator". The membership is significant but comparatively low for a free tool with substantial functionality. One of the reasons is probably that the tool included too many configuration options for the casual user, and not enough stuff "out of the box". This has changed for this version, and some of the new features are described below.
Another reason is probably that the tool (installation kit, documentation, and samples) were available from Dropbox by invitation only — some of the previous enquiries about it were obviously from software developers looking to make a fast buck rather than from genuine genealogists, who I am happy to support. Now that the functionality in this version has become much more rounded, that Dropbox folder has been opened up with a public link so that anyone can download it:
Just download all the files into a local directory, say on your desktop or in your documents area, and read the 'SVG Installation.pdf' document.
Scaling and Presentation
It was always difficult to find the right magic spell to get the family trees to display with the correct size, position, and features, in all page situations. This version has made huge leaps there and it is recommended that previous subscribers rerun their tree definition files (*.txt) through the latest version to take advantage of the improvements.
The documentation was always a bit lax about which modifier keys (e.g. Shift) could be used with mouse clicks in the final browser output, and what function they each achieved. In order to help users of different browsers (especially Internet Explorer), and Mac users, a practical default usage is now documented, although new options will support reconfiguration if anyone has a need to match the conventions of some existing Web page.
Since this tool was originally designed for my own use, and for representing lineage situations in narrative research articles as opposed to conclusions in someone's database, then I had no need of GEDCOM support.
After much thinking, I finally decided to implement a GEDCOM Loader native to the SVG Family-Tree Generator. You can now select GEDCOM files from disk, browse their contents, and copy-and-paste persons or families directly into the Tree Designer window. You can also convert whole GEDCOM files if you wish.
This copying or conversion of the data to SVG Family-Tree Generator includes the automatic generation of captions, tooltips (i.e. "hover text"), biographical notes, life events of many types, and the special HTML mark-up required for its Timeline support.
So what does this mean in practice? Well, if you converted a GEDCOM file directly to a *.txt tree definition file, and then generated the usual HTML output using this tool, it would immediately include all the major features such as pop-up biographical information panels, hover text, controls to pan or zoom one tree at a time (rather than a whole Web page), and timeline reports.
This is all "out of the box", with no programming involved.
As a demonstration of these features — all of which could be used to display your own trees in subscription-free Web pages, or blog posts, for your family to access — a version of the existing Timeline Demo is embedded in this article.
Shift+Click (or Alt+Click in most browsers) will select a specific person-box, or a family-circle (which then selects the two spouses and all their direct children). The 'Plus' icons in the person-boxes will also do the same as the Shift+Click operations. The 'Eye' icons will expand any thumbnail image in the person-box. The 'Select All' button selects all person-boxes and all family-circles.
The 'Show' button collects the timeline events for the selected items, sorts them, and displays them in a timeline report. The 'Dismiss' button closes the report. The 'Clear' button clears all the selected items.
Pop-up information panels, giving the full biographical details, appear by clicking on the respective person-box or family-circle, and these can be dismissed by Ctrl+Click (or CMD+Click on a Mac) on any person-box or family-circle, as appropriate. Note that clicking on a green event description in the timeline report will also show the corresponding information panel containing that event.
As can be seen, the timeline reports can either take events from a specific tree or from multiple trees, and this can be useful when trying to correlate different histories.
The documentation was getting a bit weighty so it has now been split into a proper User Guide ('SVG User Guide.pdf') and a more in-depth set of program notes for people who want to get under the hood ('SVG Utility.pdf').