WeRelate talk:Family Tree Explorer

This page is for discussing the Family Tree Explorer. If you've found a bug in the software, please let us know in the Bugs section. If you'd like to see a new feature added, please add it to the Feature Requests section. If you have anything else to say, good or bad, please add it to the Opinions section.


Bugs and Feature Requests

Combined with other feature requests on User:Dallan/WeRelate ToDo List


  • Is it just my defective intuition, or do the icons for "descendants" and "ancestors" seem inverted? In my mind's eye, ancestors go up and descendants, well, they descend. :-) --TomChatt 01:03, 21 January 2007 (MST)
I originally had it that way but then thought how the term "roots" referred to your ancestors so I swapped them. But now that there's another person who thinks that ancestors should be above and descendents below, I'll swap them back.--Dallan 10:45, 22 January 2007 (MST)

Questions [14 February 2011]

  • I'm confused by an item on the feature request list above "viewing changes to pages in the tree and accepting them into the tree". That makes it sound like when I add a page to my tree, I'm really adding a specific version of the page to my tree, and my tree will be frozen on that version and not include any updates unless I explicitly review and "accept" them. Is that really how it works? --TomChatt 01:21, 21 January 2007 (MST)
That's what I was planning. Any changes that you make are automatically accepted into your tree, even if you make them when the family tree explorer is not open. Changes made by others would need to be "accepted". When you accepted the changes to a page, the version of the page that your tree referenced would be updated to the latest version. If you disagreed with the changes, you could edit the page and state why you disagreed, at which point the page in your family tree would be updated to the version of the page that you just edited. Over the next few days I was going to add menu items for "accept changes", "view changes" (which would show you the differences between your version and the latest version), and a new view: "view all changed pages". What do you think? Is this how you would want to deal with changes made by others?--Dallan 10:45, 22 January 2007 (MST)
I can see how that could be a nice feature, especially if it's smart about automatically incorporating my own changes but requesting acceptance of changes made by others. I can think of two things you'll want to be careful about. First, depending on how the interface works, it seems there could be a danger of someone inadvertently editing an older version of a page, and unintentionally losing someone else's changes. Say I've got a person page that someone else has made changes to, and which I haven't yet accepted into my tree. What happens when I open up that page for editing? Should it go ahead and open the newest version, so that I explicitly have to undo any changes that I don't agree with? Or does it open up my latest accepted version (which is not the latest version), which doesn't contain the new updates, such that my edit will wipe out any updates that I don't explicitly add back in? If the latter, will I be warned that I'm editing an older revision? Will I be prompted to explain any reversions on the discussion page? I'm thinking it would be more reliable to always edit the latest version, but it all seems a bit tricky, and I'm not sure what would be the best way to make sure people are making changes or reversions intentionally.
Good question. I agree with you that having people edit the latest version is more reliable. Currently, if you edit an earlier version you're warned that you're editing an earlier version, but the warning is not very obvious. Perhaps when you're looking at an earlier version I should change the "Edit" button to a "View Source" button, just as it is for protected pages. How does that sound?--Dallan 11:31, 23 January 2007 (MST)
The second concern is about propagated changes. As I've updated pages in the current system, I've seen that sometimes changes on one page cause changes on other pages automatically propagated (e.g., a change in a person's birthdate will cause a change on the family page that the person was born in). Will those sorts of changes be hidden, and automatically accepted (or not) based on acceptance of the primary change? Or will I see it as two independent changes to be accepted (one on the person page and the other on the related family page)? And if it's two changes, what happens if I accept one but not the other? That all needs thought through.
Any changes you make (including propagated changes) are automatically accepted, so if you edit a page or propagate changes to a page where your tree currently points to the latest version, it will point to the latest version after your edit. Editing a page that contains unaccepted changes will cause the unaccepted changes to be accepted under the assumption that if you disagree with them you'll start a discussion about it when you edit the page. So after you edit the page your tree will point to the latest version. (I still have to implement this.) But if your edit causes changes to be propagated to a page that contains unaccepted changes, those changes remain unaccepted (i.e., your tree still points to the earlier version). So unless you accept the unaccepted changes on that page, you won't see your propagated changes to that page either. This is not ideal, but I haven't come up with a better alternative.
Regarding changes made by others, I could auto-accept propagated changes when you accept someone's primary change, so long as no other changes have been made to the page with the propagated changes. If multiple changes (including multiple propagated changes) have been made to a page, I'll need to require that you accept the changes on that page manually. Accepting changes will just require pressing a button, so hopefully it won't be too much bother. If your tree contains changed pages, the list of changed pages will be the default view when you open it so you'll be able to see what's changed. Clicking on a page in the view will show the changes that have been made to that page.
What do you (and others) think of this approach to handling changes?--Dallan 11:31, 23 January 2007 (MST)

After thinking some more, I decided to change the way edits are handled somewhat. The problem of viewing old page versions and possibly editing and old version and wiping out later changes didn't seem to have a good solution. The solution of not allowing people to edit old versions removes a useful capability for eliminating spam when you specifically want to edit an old version to revert a spammer's changes. Also, I thought it would be disconcerting to view different versions of a page depending upon whether you visited the page inside or outside of the family tree explorer.

Bottom line, whether you're in the Family Tree Explorer or not, you always view the latest page version. The family tree explorer tracks the last version you've reviewed, and it will have a button that lets you see all of the changes to the page that haven't been reviewed yet. Another button will allow you to mark those changes as reviewed so that you can track which changes you've seen and which you have not. Any changes you make to a page, whether in the family tree explorer or not, are automatically marked as reviewed. If you make a change to a page that contains unreviewed changes, the previous changes are marked as reviewed as well. If a change you make is propagated to another page, the other page is marked as reviewed if (and only if) the version of the page before propagating your changes was marked as reviewed.

Another thing - changes to discussion pages are tracked separately from changes to the main pages. So you could have reviewed the changes to the main page, but have unreviewed changes on the discussion page.

I hope to finish implementing this tomorrow. Please let me know if anything could be improved upon.--Dallan 21:20, 30 January 2007 (MST)

I'm new to this and think I did something wrong. I opened FTE and it opened to a very distant ancestor. I wanted to reset it to opening at my grandfather. (Is that the same thing as having him be the root person for the file?) What I did then was Rename the file to my grandfather, and not only did it not reset to my grandfather but the distant ancestor no longer appears in FTE when I launch FTE, even though her file page appears on the right half of the screen. Help! Can you either direct me to a page with instructions about this aspect of FTE, or tell me how to get back to having FTE work?--Norajames 17:35, 14 February 2011 (EST)

Here's what I would try:
(1) open the FTE
(2) Navigate to your distant ancestor by doing a search on the right-half of the screen.
(3) Look at the left-half of the screen. If the box for your ancestor says "(not in tree)", then right-click on the box and select "Add this page to my tree". Give it a few seconds to be added.
(4) Once the page has been added back into your tree, right-click on the box for your ancestor on the left-half of the screen again and select "Make this page primary". This will make your ancestor the ancestor that is displayed when you open your tree.
That should do it.--Dallan 20:32, 14 February 2011 (EST)

Thank you!


Is this working correctly yet (for beta, I mean - I saw the note on the front page)? I tried to import a 63k GEDCOM and got stuck with a progess bar of 0%. This lasted much longer than one would expect (hours - I left it running). --Joeljkp 20:10, 3 February 2007 (MST)

Hmm... I've been able to upload larger files than that in just a couple of minutes. I'd really like to get to the bottom of this. I've added some debugging statements to the server so that I can watch what's happening. Could you please try it again?--Dallan 01:15, 4 February 2007 (MST)
This appears to be a problem with the new Flash player on Linux. I have logged a support request; not sure how long it will take to get this resolved.--Dallan 15:07, 5 February 2007 (MST)
I made a couple of changes to the program and installed the latest version of the flash player, and import now works on my linux machine. Please let me know if you're having problems.--Dallan 21:25, 5 February 2007 (MST)
I just tried to import, and had the same problem not getting past 0%. I'm on a Mac running 10.4.8. I tried it on Safari and Firefox. I tried it with a 65k gedcom, and one that was just two people and no extra fields, neither worked. --Amelia.Gerlicher 20:54, 13 February 2007 (MST)

I don't see the "import" option in the "file" menu. It is grayed out. How can I get that option to appear? --Lbeaumont 07:00, 4 February 2007 (MST)

First you have to create a tree. So click on File, then New, then enter the name of your tree (e.g., "My Tree"), then click on Create. Now you should be able to import a gedcom into your tree. Please let me know if that doesn't work. Thanks.--Dallan 10:44, 4 February 2007 (MST)
That worked fine - thanks! --Lbeaumont 10:50, 4 February 2007 (MST)
GEDCOM import is processed by a bot running on WeRelate which handles a queue. Your GEDCOM will be waiting in this queue to be processed. Also, GEDCOM is still being tested, so upload isn't always availible.--Bjwebb 03:56, 14 February 2007 (MST)

You've got yourself a Mac compatibility problem. I uploaded my same two test gedcoms just now extremely quickly on a PC -- well, I assume they uploaded and I will see them tomorrow. This after I let the "loading" at 0% hang for half an hour on my Mac. Bah humbug. --Amelia.Gerlicher 18:25, 25 February 2007 (MST)

Argh. One of the reasons I wrote the app in Flash was that it was supposed to take care of cross-platform issues. It looks like I'll have to implement gedcom upload in a separate screen, like image upload. I'll try to do it later this week.--Dallan 20:06, 26 February 2007 (MST)

Adding "this page"

I'm having trouble with FTE and Source pages. I started a new tree and navigated to the Source page I'm interested in (in the right frame), but I can't figure out how to add it to my tree. Add > This page is grayed out, and the page isn't showing up in the top pane of the FTE frame (it's blank). I'm using Flash 9 with Firefox 2.0 on Ubuntu 6.10. --Joeljkp 14:22, 20 March 2007 (MDT)

That's strange. I just tried adding a source page and it worked. Can you tell me the title of the page? I'll look into it.--Dallan 19:16, 21 March 2007 (MDT)
Here's my steps: (I just repeated them)
  1. Start fresh Firefox in Safe Mode (no extensions, etc.)
  2. Go to FTE
  3. Open my tree in FTE (Plymouth)
  4. In right frame, navigate to Source:Genealogical register of Plymouth families
  5. In FTE, try going to Add > This Page
  6. See that the option is grayed out, and the top FTE pane is blank with grayed-out buttons
  7. Go to Tools > Error Console in Firefox and see:
    Error: [Exception... "'Permission denied to get property HTMLDocument.FTE' when calling method: [nsIDOMEventListener::handleEvent]" nsresult: "0x8057001e (NS_ERROR_XPC_JS_THREW_STRING)" location: "<unknown>" data: no]
--Joeljkp 20:06, 21 March 2007 (MDT)
Whenever a page is loaded into the right-hand frame, a javascript function on the page notifies the family tree explorer flash app that the page is finished loading. Based on the error you're getting it sounds like the javascript is having trouble communicating with the flash app. You're running Ubuntu linux if I remember, right? I just downloaded and installed the latest versions of firefox and flash on my SuSE linux machine and ran firefox in safe mode but didn't have any trouble. I'm not sure what's going on. Can I ask you for more information?
  • Are you able to add other pages (e.g., person or family pages)? It looks like your Plymouth tree is empty.
  • Do you get the permission denied error only when you load a source page, or does it happen after navigating to other pages as well?
  • Is the family tree explorer flash app finished loading before you navigate to the Source page?
--Dallan 16:05, 22 March 2007 (MDT)
  • No, I am not able to add any pages (tried Source, Person, Person_talk, this one...)
  • I get a new JS error every time a new page is loaded in the right frame. This can be by clicking links in the right frame, or by clicking names in the FTE frame (viewing MyTree)
  • You may be on to something here... I open a new browser (safe mode) and go directly to http://werelate.org/fte by typing in the address bar. The FTE frame pops up and loads, and the right frame goes to the 'About FTE' page. I immediately get the JS error, and the status bar at the bottom of the FTE frame remains on 'Loading page...' for a long time (several minutes and still going), though I see no activity taking place, probably because the JS threw an error already.
  • The above is on: Firefox (safe), Flash 9.0r31, Ubuntu 6.10.
--Joeljkp 17:00, 22 March 2007 (MDT)
  • I'm seeing the same thing on the following, all on Windows XP Home, fully updated:
  • Firefox (safe), Flash 9.0r28
  • IE 7.0.5730.11, Flash 9.0r16
--Joeljkp 17:17, 22 March 2007 (MDT)
I've been thinking about this for the past few days but I haven't been able to figure out what's going wrong. I'm trying to think what would be in common among your machines that is different from my machines. I figure it has to be something about the tree you are opening or your user account. But your tree appears completely empty. Would you please create a new tree and tell me if the new tree has the same problem? Can you even create a new tree once the software is in this state? If that doesn't work, could you create a new user, say joeljkptest, and launch the family tree explorer while you're logged in as the new user and tell me if you're able to create a new tree and add pages to it? I'm sorry to keep asking you to do things. I appreciate your help in this.--Dallan 12:24, 26 March 2007 (MDT)
I believe I've found the problem. This time in my testing I tried opening FTE by clicking on the links instead of going straight to http://werelate.org/fte. I noticed that the link directed me to http://www.werelate.org/fte (note the www). This time, everything worked fine. So my conclusion is that it's some domain issue between www.werelate.org and werelate.org. I'm not sure if anything can be done about it, it might just be something to post a note about, or that I just needed to realize myself. --Joeljkp 13:43, 26 March 2007 (MDT)
Thank you! That was indeed the problem. I was using a relative URL to load the family tree explorer frame, but absolute URLs to load the content frame. So when the javascript function on the www.werelate.org content page tried to communicate with the flash script on the werelate.org family tree explorer page, the browser throws a permission denied error because they are from different domains. All I had to do was load the family tree explorer frame using an absolute URL instead of a relative one. The problem should be fixed now: you can launch the family tree explorer using either www.werelate.org/fte or werelate.org/fte. (You'll probably have to do a shift-refresh to make sure you get the latest version of the page.) Thanks again!--Dallan 22:08, 27 March 2007 (MDT)
Works great, thank you! --Joeljkp 20:04, 28 March 2007 (MDT)

"Locking in" FTE? [9 April 2009]

I'm getting used to using FTE, but I prefer the list to the "tree" view. I like to use it as a picklist; it makes it easy (for me) to jump quickly to someone else in the tree. (Okay, I'm more text-oriented than graphically-oriented.) I also scoot the vertical divider over to the left somewhat because I don't need all that space on the FTE with the list view. But everytime I come to WR I have to do all this over again. Is there a way to arrange FTE on the page the way I like to use it and have it appear that way the next time as well? Could locking in one's preferred layout be added as an item to the preferences page, maybe? Or is that even technically do-able? --mksmith 20:37, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

Note: It finally occurred to me that this kind of thing could be cookie-ized. Like I said: Not a techie. --mksmith 14:55, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

I agree, I'd like to see this too. I like to adjust the font sizes on the tree view, and it'd be great if FTE remembered my settings. --Joeljkp 08:57, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

I'll add saving font-size settings to my todo list. But I've been thinking seriously about turning the FTE into a full-window application (without frames) where if you clicked on someone it would open a page for them in a new window or tab. The main reasons for doing this are (1) some people say that their screens are too narrow to comfortably fit both the FTE and person pages, and (2) people don't like that the URL shown in the URL bar isn't specific to the person they're looking at. But doing this would also allow you to make the browser window running the FTE really narrow if you want, and you could have pages for multiple people open simultaneously. If I go this route I might be able to have the FTE adjust the browser window size automatically; I'm not sure.--Dallan 09:33, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

That sounds great to me. I have been wishing that I could have FTE open a new window when I click on something. I also need the whole window for editing. And I also need to have more than one window open. My biggest problem is that when I open WeRelate I'm drawing a blank on where to go. It the settings were saved from session to session, that would be a big help. I have figured out that opening FTE will at least take me back to the last area I was working. --Jlanoux 14:50, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Dallan -- An additional comment/request: Would you consider adding a choice/button/whatever for "Launch FTE" right there on the "action line" next to Add, Edit, History, Watch, etc? In fact, I'd like a keyboard shortcut for launching, as well. I do most of this stuff on my laptop and I personally prefer to use keyboard shortcuts rather than mousing around. (Plus, I had a computer at home long before Windows and mice, so I got used to it.) --mksmith 15:00, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Yes, it will be a link on the Person and Family pages. I'll see what I can do about the keyboard shortcut.--Dallan 21:54, 10 April 2009 (EDT)

Refreshing FTE? [10 April 2009]

Is FTE supposed to refresh itself automatically? Sometimes it does, but more often it doesn't. I'll be adding a series of Person and Family pages (by hand), using the list-view of FTE to move around, and I find it's not refreshing. The last several pages I've added aren't listed. I have to actually close FTE and reopen it to see everyone I ought to see, which is a nuisance. If there's not a way for it to auto-refresh, how about a "Refresh" button up at the top? --mksmith 13:59, 10 April 2009 (EDT)

This is a known issue. I'll put a "refresh" button on the full-window FTE.--Dallan 21:54, 10 April 2009 (EDT)

What's included in FTE stats [6 May 2009]

Out of curiosity, . . . why do the FTE stats on the "Manage Trees" page, and in the "Open Tree" dialog under the file menu in FTE itself, show only the number of People pages? I've included, for instance, a number of Source pages in a couple of my growing number of trees because they're heavily used on the pages in that family group. Likewise, a few Place pages are included because a family was concentrated in a certain county for a long period of time. And I want to be able to go easily to those pages to add details and usage notes as I think of them. But I'm also curious how many total pages I have marked to include in each tree. Kind of a "progress" meter. I'm not saying these displays need to be changed, however. --Mike (mksmith) 12:05, 19 April 2009 (EDT)

One other thing: When you have a bookmark saved, and you click on it, you (of course) go to that page in the right-hand pane. And if you're in the ancestor or descendant pictorial mode in the left-hand pane, that changes, too. But, if you're in list mode -- and I usually am -- when you click on the bookmark, the displayed list on the left doesn't change. You have to scroll up or down to find the highlighted item that is currently displayed in the right-hand pane. It seems like, logically, whatever page you're currently viewing, that title ought to be centered in the list view. --Mike (mksmith) 19:29, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

Both good points. I haven't touched the FTE in awhile. It's due for an upgrade later this year.--Dallan 11:21, 6 May 2009 (EDT)