TMG-L Archives

Archiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1299897291

From: "John Cardinal" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] design question
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 21:34:51 -0500
In-Reply-To: <>

Rick Van Dusen wrote, in part:
> I was thinking of GenBridge as a collection of intermediaries
> (although they all have the same part on one end--they convert
> to TMG, period).


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am not a GenBridge expert, but that's
not my understanding. GenBridge is a software component that reads multiple
proprietary formats and returns the data in a standard way via various
methods that the calling application can use. The software using those
methods can store the data whatever way it chooses. If memory serves, FTM
has been licensed to use GenBridge and it is (or was) used by FTM to read
proprietary formats.

> And these [less capable] apps apparently outsell TMG, so it would
> seem that some users out there really don't care if these apps get
> better. Will this change if an interchange format allows more? We can
> only guess.

I don't understand why so many people accept the restrictions of other
software programs. On the other hand, that's not a one-way street. Other
applications have characteristics, if not actual features, that are better
than TMG.

As you say, we can only guess about how or even whether a more comprehensive
exchange format would affect demand for more features in genealogy

The Microsoft / IE example gives me hope; Microsoft had a dominant position
and a fairly capable browser when it released IE6 in 2001. When they stopped
innovating, small competitors didn't, and those competitors used standards
compliance as a key marketing/positioning message. Opinion leaders started
to echo the argument, and not long after, enough customers switched browsers
to diminish IEs dominance and force Microsoft to change. Microsoft is now
working hard to make IE compliant and with IE9, IE appears competive in
terms of features and speed.

> Meanwhile, I haven't seen any evidence to indicate that other
> vendors want conversion to happen. That puts us back to the fact that
> GEDCOM, even as it is, is a whole lot better than nothing. So what's
> the point of complaining about it? If we had GEDCOM and something
> else that could convert between apps, we could then compare the two,
> but we don't have "something else".

I don't see much point in complaining, but surely there are other
alternatives besides complain and do nothing, especially if you widen the
audience beyond you and me. If a small group of two or three genealogy
software developers could see past their biases and agree to an exchange
format that was better than GEDCOM, that would start the ball rolling. They
don't have to suffer through long meetings with dozens of long-winded people
like me; one of the members proposes a standard, the other one or two ask
for changes, and they implement it. It's hard, but bluntly, it's not _that_
hard. While user demand might come along to force a more comprehensive
interchange format, I think a business-savvy application developer might
find some parallels between their small market position compared to FTM and
the position of the browser suppliers who were competing with Microsoft
circa 2002. A little enlightened self-interest could help them decide to
pull the standards lever.

I think it's time to let this part of the thread expire and so I am done,
but please feel free to add any final comments.


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