Modern Software Experience

2010-09-12

relationships

StamboomNederland: partnerships

same-sex marriage

You'd expect a brand new genealogy application to support all legal partnerships, and StamboomNederland does not disappoint in this respect. It supports a nice list of possible partnerships.

During the StamboomNederland presentation by the third-party developers, I asked about the ability to document same-sex marriage in StamboomNederland, and they answered that this was supported. StamboomNederland does not have separate buttons for adding fathers and mothers, but has a single button to add a parent; just use that button twice.

I created an example and wanted to show the graphical display of the Genealogy view, but StamboomNederland failed to display it. The Genealogy view should display a four-person genealogy, it does not even show one person.

StamboomNederland: four person genealogy, no genealogy view

consistency checks

One of the most important features of a genealogy application is the availability of consistency checks. Consistency checks help you catch and correct data-entry errors, and alert you to impossible and unlikely situations.

During their presentation, the third-party developers that created StamboomNederland tried to sell the lack of consistency checks as a feature, calling it flexibility. I do not agree with that. The lack of consistency checks does not make StamboomNederland flexible, it makes StamboomNederland incomplete.

I am my own Grandpa

StamboomNederland does not object when you add your father as your son. Now, few genealogy applications actually bother to detect cycles in a genealogy, but practically all will objects to such a direct violation of expected relationships. StamboomNederland does not. StamboomNederland has no consistency checks at all, so it does not even complain about the fact that your son was born before you.

Again, the Genealogy view failed to draw a diagram.

Born after Death

StamboomNederland really doesn't perform any consistency checks at all. StamboomNederland rejects invalid dates, but that isn't a consistency check, it is a date validity check, and it is probably performed by one of the libraries used to create StamboomNederland.

Even the simplest, most fundamental consistency check in genealogy isn't performed; StamboomNederland is perfectly happy to accept that someone was born after death. That is beyond ridiculous. I really have no choice but to resort to much stronger words. That is deplorably bad. It is ungenealogical.

Five Fathers

Quite a few genealogy applications lack a consistency checks item on their menu, but do perform basic consistency checks during data entry. StamboomNederland performs no consistency checks at all.

StamboomNederland allow same-sex marriage. However, StamboomNederland doesn't allow same-sex relationships because it is flexible, but simply because it does not perform any consistency checks at all. That it allows you to record polygamy and polyandry is as it should be; these things happen, and the application must allow you to record the facts. However, a good genealogy application would not only accept the data, but also issue a warning. StamboomNederland accepts it all without so much as a beep.

There is not even any consistency check on the number of parents. StamboomNederland does not object when you enter three mothers or five fathers. StamboomNederland simply does not contain any consistency check at all.

StamboomNederland: Five Fathers in Persons View

I created a Five Fathers example, but once again, the Genealogy view failed to draw the diagram.

problems

Editing on the StamboomNederland site continues to be a test of patience. StamboomNederland often takes four or five seconds to show the Person Details page, and saving an individual regularly takes ten seconds or more. StamboomNederland regularly takes more time to save a single individual than PAF needs to save an entire database containing a quarter million individuals. StamboomNederland is pathetically slow.

StamboomNederland: gender icons

I encountered a few other issues. The icons in the person overview use blue for men and pink for women. It also uses blue when the gender is unknown. There is a difference in appearance between the icon for men and the icon for unknown gender, but the difference would be much clearer if the icon for unknown gender had another colour.

When trying to add a person, I was told that I entering a first name is mandatory. That is an unreasonable demand. It regularly happens that you know only a surname. Likewise, when I added a partner, StamboomNederland demanded that I pick a partnership type - but you do not always know the partnership type.

StamboomNederland: First Name required

Inflexible demands to enter data that you do not have make no sense. It doesn't have help the genealogical research process in any way, on the contrary. Researchers are likely to enter erroneous information instead, just so they can continue editing. Lack of data may be disappointing, but erroneous data is worse. StamboomNederland encourages entering erroneous data.

inflexible

StamboomNederland's inflexibility makes it unsuitable for real-world genealogy.

StamboomNederland isn't flexible, it is inflexible. Instead of accepting a lack of information, StamboomNederland forces users to enter erroneous information. That is not just bad, but anti-genealogical. StamboomNederland's inflexibility makes it unsuitable for real-world genealogy.

incomplete

The lack of consistency checks isn't flexibility, it is lack of a basic feature. Leaving all consistency checks out does not produce a flexible application, but an incomplete application.

The Central Bureau of Genealogy started the StamboomNederland project in the hope of creating the largest and most reliable genealogy site in the country. Alas, without any consistency checks, StamboomNederland is more likely to gain reputation as the least reliable online genealogy site in the world.
If this isn't fixed soon, StamboomNederland is likely to be rated below MyHeritage, below FamilyLink, even below the infamous FamilySearch genealogies.

genealogy application?

StamboomNederland does not deserve to be called a genealogy application.

StamboomNederland does not try to make sure that what you enter or is consistent or logical. It does not check consistency of the facts for an individual. It does not check the possibility of parent-child relationships. It does not check the number of parents. StamboomNederland does not check that the relationships you enter are genealogically possible. StamboomNederland does not check anything at all.

StamboomNederland isn't a smart genealogy editor. It is not even a dumb genealogy editor. It isn't a genealogy editor at all. StamboomNederland allows completely impossible wildly inconsistent nonsense. StamboomNederland does not seem to have any understanding of genealogy at all. StamboomNederland is just editor that allows each and every relationship between everyone. StamboomNederland does not deserve to be called a genealogy application.