Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Open Source Project, For Real This Time

So last time I suggested this I didn't really have anything to go on. I wanted to work on something open to the community, but only for the sake of the work and not for any particular purpose. Well, necessity being the mother of invention, I now have something to actually create.

A Parser and Visualizer for GEDCOM Data

I've been putting some time recently into compiling a fairly extensive family tree. (Currently it consists of over 1,700 names going as far back as approximately 1785.) But I've been having trouble finding any good way to visualize the data the way I want to.

I mainly use the application MacFamilyTree, which is fantastic for this purpose (and even has iPad and iPhone versions which sync with the Mac version). And it has some great reporting features. But there's one thing I haven't been able to do with it, or with any other genealogy program I've found online... export the entire database as one big visual tree.

Lots of programs have reports which focus on a specific node and its ancestors or a specific node and its descendants, but that's it. And that's just too unidirectional for me. I have a much more complex tree than that, covering a lot more than just my personal ancestors and a single patriarch's personal descendants.

So the purpose of this (still very young and not fully together) project is to simply create visualizations and exports/reports, etc. for GEDCOM data. (GEDCOM being the most prominent standard in storing and sharing genealogy data.)

I'm kind of psyched about this, actually. And hopefully, once we get over this current hump at work, I should have more time to devote to the project.