[APG Public List] Genealogy Program Specifications

John john at jytangledweb.org
Tue Nov 9 12:24:58 MST 2010


I have so far only dipped my toes into the professional genealogy world. But I am a retired Ph.D. scientist and then IT professional. So forgive me if this has been hashed out before.

Is there a professional genealogy body that convenes and develops specifications that genealogy programs need to offer?

Not knowing the answer, let me float some ideas about such a body.

It should have vendor representatives, but the body itself must be independent of them.

It should be composed of individuals with credentials, either genealogical and/or technological.

They should develop a draft of required features and make it public for comment and review. Similar to the RFC reports developed for specifying computer technologies. Vendors then program to those specifications.

Good ideas from vendors and their existing programs can be adopted. But the bar can be set high. I'm sure professional genealogists have a wish list for every program they use. How about making one universal wish list, and maybe existing vendors will program to it. Or a new start up will.

And someone could do a consumer reports like evaluation of how well various vendors meet the critera. And where they fail.

To me, it currently seems like hit or miss anarchy in the genealogy programming field right now, and sadly, for the foreseeable future.

Maybe the professionals can lend a helping hand to solve it in this manner.

In my opinion, having tried many programs,  they all are written by excellent programmers who are amateur genealogists, or excellent genealogists who are amateur programmers. (I leave out the amateur-amateur category. We don't use those! ;-) )

I'd like to see excellent-excellent, but can' say that about any program I've tried.

Is it worth advancing this idea?

Such a team could recommend GEDCOM replacement specifications, or at least attempt to get an intellectual consensus. Recommend multiplatform ability via modern computer technologies (maybe too ambitious, but worthy of a discussion). And much more. I'll stop here for now.

John


Sent from my Droid X.
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