Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The end of the Family Tree Project

For the past few years, if you have been watching the FamilySearch Labs Web page, you are likely aware of the application called Family Tree. In an announcement made in the FamilySearch Labs Blog, Dan Lawyer notes that "The time has come to retire the very popular Family Tree project from FamilySearch Labs." Many users of the New FamilySearch program became acquainted with the Family Tree version of the program and used it to show a more developed pedigree view of the data and also to provide information not included in New FamilySearch. For example, Family Tree would show who reserved individual names for ordinance work.

As the Blog post indicates:
Now that most of the features from the Family Tree project have made their way into new FamilySearch and others are well under way, it is time to retire the project. At the beginning of February you will no longer be able to access the Family Tree project from FamilySearch Labs. We will move it down to the Retired Projects section of the FamilySearch Labs home page. While we won’t be able to keep the project functional like we have the Life Browser and the Pedigree Viewer, we will provide images of the application as a memorial to the great work of the team (and to help us remember what worked and what didn’t work in the project).
The expanded pedigree view from Family Tree did make its way into New FamilySearch in the December 2009 upgrade. But apparently, there are still additional features to come. At one point in time Family Tree was touted as the way that New FamilySearch would appear when it was implemented. Despite a number of public statements about the future of FamilyTree, there was a decided reversal and as 2009 progressed, eventually the "official" word was that Family Tree would remain a test program. Now, it appears that even that prediction has been replaced as the program is discontinued altogether.

The last announced upgrades to New FamilySearch came out in early December, 2009. Regular users of the program know that there continue to be unannounced changes since that time, but nothing that could be construed as releasing the remaining portions of Family Tree. My guess is that the reality of re-training all of the people already using New FamilySearch to use a new interface overcame the need to make the New FamilySearch program even more functional. Also given the fact that the core members in Utah and Salt Lake Valley just barely started learning New FamilySearch as it presently appears. It would probably be a major train wreck to try to get them to change to a new interface when they haven't even learned much about the existing one.

My guess is that, like the venerable Personal Ancestral File, the interface for New FamilySearch is pretty well cast in stone.

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