London, United Kingdom : “Version 7 supports a wholly new way of entering data that is designed to match the way genealogists actually work” explained Simon Orde, CEO of Calico Pie. “Typically a genealogist will find a source of some kind – a document, a gravestone, a newspaper article…whatever – and the data comes from that. Our new tools reflect this reality. We call it ‘source-driven data entry.’ In version 7, any source type can have one or more tools called ‘data entry assistants’ that facilitate the process of entering data straight from that source type. The goal is to make the whole process significantly easier and quicker, while giving better, and more consistent results. We already supply a number of data entry assistants, but more are on the way. Any technically-sophisticated user can write them and share them with everyone else.
“At the same time we’ve added support for source templates. There is an Essentials collection, which we designed with the help of the Genealogy Programme of the University of Strathclyde, and an Advanced collection which is modelled on the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills.”
It is not just about sources though. “This a big upgrade and there’s a lot there. For example, we’ve added support for word processing features in notes and other long text fields. This is by some margin the thing we’ve had the most requests for. The word processing features are extensive – everything you probably expect and more. For example you can add web links, and even record links, to any note. Our users asked that we support tables. So we did that. And our users were right. Tables turn out to be a very useful feature for genealogy. We use them extensively now – in the new source transcription tools, and also in the new research notes … in anything where the data is naturally tabular, which a lot of data is. We had to completely rebuild the report engine to support all the new features, but that turned out to be a great opportunity. We’ve improved the design of the Report Window, added new reports, and even added new tools for creating reports. Users can now create custom reports that can show any information, and which are indistinguishable from built-in reports.”
The new version also supports language packs for multi-language output. Current language packs in the free plugin store include French, German, Swedish, Dutch/Flemish, Norwegian, Portuguese and English. Simon Orde expects that more will be added over time. “Every copy of Family Historian includes all the tools you need to create language packs, and we encourage creators to upload their packs to the plugin store so that everyone else can benefit,” he explained. “Once they’re in the plugin store, anyone can download and install them.”