* Please Add a Metafield Description Tooltip for Templates

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Please Add a Metafield Description Tooltip for Templates

Post by APerson » 09 May 2022 22:09

I've now used FH for about four months and for the first time ever, have found a software program that I am extremely happy with! I first started entering data into the DOS version of PAF sometime back in late 1980s and used several other programs since then - esp. Ancestral Quest (AQ) and then RootsMagic (RM). One of the major concerns has ALWAYS been citing genealogical sources - a poorly sourced family history is often meaningless. The primary reason I switched applications was not only due to the advent of MS Windows, but especially the need to cite my sources. PAF was nearly useless and I adopted the Silicon Valley PAF Users Guide, as that was probably the most well thought-out approach in those early days. However, that did not transfer well to later programs (don't get me started on my views of GEDCOM - they're not favorable).

Anyway, AQ made improvements but, over time, later editions eventually suffered from analysis-paralysis and become too burdensome to use. Indeed, I stopped entering data for a number of years simply because there were no programs that handled citing sources well.

I made the switch to RM when the use of templates for citing sources became possible and I attempted to use Shown-Mills' "Evidence Explained." I tried that for about a year and final gave up. EE is an absolute, poorly designed mess. Period. As RM allowed templates, I thought I'd try to create my own, with an emphasis on making things as simple as possible, with an absolute minimum of decision making. My goal was to KEEP IT SIMPLE and yet also be able to accurately cite the plethora of sources we must deal with - EE merely adds more templates to their overwhelming number or existing ones (I believe there are now well over ONE THOUSAND templates) - that's NUTS!

So . . . I created my own (December 2010) for my own use. Essentially, I created just ONE template for every conceivable source I could think off and then tested it. I found out that it worked very, very well and met my own needs; the only thing is that some fields apply to some sources and not others, so I created used that master templated to create three sub-templates in order to make data entry easier - I removed files that were not needed for the three categories of citations (census, "traditional" [as found in a traditional bibliography], and non-traditional [everything else]). I've since used these exclusively for my own since then and, surprisingly, I've never had to change the approach. I also created a web site to share them with others.

Well, RM has undergone several updates since then and, while the changes have been generally in the right direction, there were still things that couldn't be done using templates - one glaring example is that it still necessary to manually add places into location fields (what a waste of time, not to mention the problems associated with entering such repetitive information manually each time. However, the latest RM update (RM8) has suffered from extreme analysis paralysis - needless and endless mouse clicks, terrible UI - which is due, in part, to their attempt to make RM8 "look pretty" at the expense of data entry, evaluation, and manipulation, etc. Things like fixing the place fields were never addressed and so many other problems.

I continued to periodically look at other applications, but none allowed templates, esp. for citing sources. I believe I looked at FH sometime during the beginning of the pandemic (around the time that the beta versions of RM8 were available) and thinking that it had a lot of potential but without templates, I wasn't going to switch. Fast forward to January of this year, I had finally became so frustrated with RM8 (I never made the switch from RM7 as I was not happy with RM8) that I thought I'd look at the latest software applications - that's when I found FH-7, which now has templates!

I feel like I've died and gone to heaven - at LONG LAST (three decades) - there's now a program that makes data entry EASY and it does it WELL! It's literally the first program that has GOTTEN IT RIGHT! While my templates from RM did import into FH, FH does handle things a bit differently. Furthermore, FH templates DO handle things (like places) correctly and saves MASSIVE amounts of time! I had been slowly converting sources that were created a very long time ago (30 years) but that I hadn't been able to do so efficiently in RM - indeed, I had spent the last 12 or so years doing that and also conducting new research. Well, in the four months I've used FH, I was able to finish updating my entire database to use my templates and have finally reached Citation Nirvana! :)

Anyway, I've now made a few changes to my templates (although I still have never needed to update how I cite my sources) to reflect things that FH can do but RM has never done, such as dealing with places and also repositories. I currently have just one request - this is something that can be done in RM but not in FH (although, over the years, the implementation has gotten worse, not better as RM used to allow formatting of text by then that broke. Specifically, I wish FH would allow a Metafield Description Tooltip for Templates to show longer tips than are currently viewable using "prompts." Heck, even things like the ability to autogenerate the title in FH saves mindless keystrokes in RM7. Here's what I mean:

RootsMagic 7 displays a complete source template as follows:

RootsMagic 7 Completed Template
RootsMagic-7-Template.jpg (189.99 KiB) Viewed 496 times

Clicking on the "?" next to each field displays a "long description"; here's an example:

RootsMagic 7 Completed Template Long Description
RootsMagic-7-Template_Long_Description.jpg (24.62 KiB) Viewed 496 times

Here's the same completed template in FH-7. While the data for the long description is still present (when looking at the Source Template Definitions), the description is currently not viewable when working with the template.

FH-7 Completed Template
FH-Template.jpg (220.68 KiB) Viewed 494 times

Allowing templates to display this information in FH would be extremely helpful to help clarify a few things when entering data. I'm going to continue using my templates for FH a bit longer, as well as update my web site, because I strongly believe that FH is a superior program. I plan on sharing my templates in the near future but I want to use them on my own data first to ensure that I'm happy with them.
Jeff La Marca

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Re: Please Add a Metafield Description Tooltip for Templates

Post by LeslieP » 13 Jun 2022 17:50

Whole-heartedly support this wish list request! It was a very helpful feature in RM that should definitely make the leap over to FH!
Leslie P
Houston, TX
from TMG to RootsMagic to FH7
publish to web via TNG

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Re: Please Add a Metafield Description Tooltip for Templates

Post by AdrianBruce » 16 Aug 2022 21:04

I would concur that tooltips (pop-ups or whatever) should be provided when creating a source record from a template.

I've just spent a day or so experimenting with creating a template definition or two, and using them to create a source or two in an experimental project. Not because I ever expect to convert my main project to templated sources but (a) just in case I ever create a small project for another purpose and (b) for interest's sake.

My approach to "templates" for generic source records (i.e. "skeleton" source records that get cloned to provide "real" source records) is probably the antithesis of many people's approach. In order to get consistency I will include detailed instructions. For instance, my skeleton civil registration BMD record includes the Indexed Place - not the Place for the actual event, but the Place as it is indexed because that's what you'll see in FreeBMD etc. To remind myself which of the places I need to copy from the certificate, my current instructions are:

Place as indexed for this source =
  • placename Sub-District - if countyBMD birth or death OR
  • placename District - if countyBMD civil marriage OR
  • churchname (place, county) - if countyBMD church marriage OR
  • placename District - if any GRO event
NB - CountyBMD is my shorthand for "stuff ordered via the local Registrar" - usually using a site like CheshireBMD

To state the obvious - you can't get that on a template prompt right now. (What I actually do now is include those instructions in the Note for the Skeleton Source Record that gets cloned. Unless I'm missing something, that possibility doesn't exist in templated sources.)

Please note that the issue is not whether or not you think that's a sensible data item - I'm simply using this as an illustration of the sort of instruction that I can come up with now.

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