A big draw for me was getting a chance to hear Gordon Clarke and Rich Running from FamilySearch speak on its latest creations and status updates. I’m going to give you a run down on both presentations in a series of articles on my blog.
I first attended Gordon Clarke’s presentation on Third-Party Products and New FamilySearch. Clarke is the FamilySearch Developer Services Manager. He is coordinating the efforts to have developers’ existing and new software products work in conjunction with New FamilySearch Application Program Interface (API) and web services.
We received official word on what genealogy software applications are working with FamilySearch in getting their products to interface with New FamilySearch. It’s been a year and ½ in the works but now we know:
- Ancestral Quest
- Generation Maps
- PAF Companion (Progeny)
- Ohana Software (Family Insight)
A. PAF is not on the list. Yes, they confirmed that PAF is a dead animal. They understand that some will still use it, so they will still support it. BUT, if you want to have you genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so.
Why is the church no longer developing PAF? The answer is simple - money. They are in the middle of a huge financial undertaking with NFS and all the affiliate relations and it is not cost effective for them to develop a genealogy software program when other commercial vendors are already able to do so.
If they took the development dollars away from NFS then they wouldn’t have the product for us to interface with. If they made us pay for the development cost of a PAF upgrade then it’s no longer free. Hence, it becomes a commercial product. If the commercial vendors are already doing that job, and very well they added, why invest in a PAF upgrade. I think this is very sound logic.
B. What about The Master Genealogist and Family Tree Maker are they going to interface with NFS? The answer I received is that TMG has just come on board and is starting development with NFS. The Family Tree Maker – Gordon Clarke at the time of the conference has not received word that they are coming on board.
Here is MY quick review of the commercial competition of products that will be FamilySearch Certified to interface with NFS API.
- Ancestral Quest – if you are used to the feel of PAF and all the add on products for it then this might be the way you want to go. AQ is the natural upgrade for PAF 5 because in 1999 they gave the LDS Church their product so they could develop the windows version of PAF 4. AQ has continued development on their product since then. It will have the closest feel to PAF.
- Legacy – Much more grown up than PAF. Excellent tutorials to learn the ropes. This has been the product I moved to from PAF. Very pretty program and lots of user icons. Much different feel than PAF. Major bells and whistles. Legacy 7 is coming out the end of October and it is already committed that this version will interface with NFS.
- RootsMagic – After looking at the competition I have determined that RM’s set-up will be the easiest for me to adjust to the look and feel of NFS. I talked to developer Bruce Buzbee and he confirmed my suspicions that the development tweaks are very simple for him work with NFS. He is not having the hair pulling issues that the other commercial vendors are in the middle of. Bruce doesn’t use all the icons like Legacy but he does love lists. His lists are going to make it easy for me to see all the event dates and name variations you have to get used to viewing in NFS. If you haven’t guessed I am jumping ship from Legacy and moving over to RootsMagic. Bruce won't commit to a date when RootsMagic 4 will be released, it is under development. Whatever the current version RootsMagic will issue a free-download to interface with NFS.
- The Master Genealogist – Excellent program and someday I might be courageous enough to tackle using it. It is hands down the best but not very user friendly. You do not want to bite your teeth on this product if you are already struggling on learning PAF. Since the other commercial vendors have a year and ½ jump on working on their interface with NFS this is probably going to be a late bloomer. Probably just in time for me to get the hang of RootsMagic and how it works with NFS API.
When will New FamilySearch’s API be ready to interface with these third part products? Answer – March 12, 2008. Before BYU’s Computerized Genealogy Conference, FamilySearch will host BYU 1st Annual Developer Products at the Conference Center. This will be "THE" event to attend. We will be able to finally see how these third party products interface with NFS.
It was also mentioned that NFS will be available to the whole world and not just members of the LDS Church by the end of 2008. Things sure are scheduled to move very quickly. I will update you in my next article on more of what was discussed.
See ya tomorrow, of tomorrow is always another genealogy day!