Hi Don & Crew,
Here are some notes from Using gramps2 from the 8/28/2003 CVS branch.
My setup is to have the Family View (FV) in the new top down
orientation, which is refected in some of my comments below. I've
been playing around with the latest CVS snapshot and really enjoying
I hope you don't take these comments too critically, they're just my
opinions after all and can be ignored, esp since I don't bother to
offer any patches to fix these issues. Time for me to think about
learning Python I guess, but I'm such an old Perl hand that it's going
to be tough to retrain my brain. Heck, PHP is hard enough to get used
I'm approaching this from the point of view of someone who has used
other programs, but not Gramps in any great depth, so I think it will
be good to have a fresh pair of eyes look at things.
This is also the first time I've really found the time to play with
the new version in any depth, so I've been taking copious notes on
what I've been doing and trying to break the program in interesting
ways. I hope this is usefull! Please let me know if you like or
dislike what I've done here, and if I should continue to file reports
like this. Or should I break them down into smaller chunks?
Let me know if you can't reproduce my issues because I'm not clear
enough in my descriptions of how to create the issue.
Thanks again for all your great work here!
[ wow ... I didn't realize I was getting so wordy here, I'll cut it
short now and see how people like what I've written here so far.
11:15pm Friday night... ]
- When first starting up gramps, you are prompted to open a new or
existing DB. If I select new, it opens up the "Save database -
Gramps" dialogue, which seems wrong.
- When I save the Database, I get the following hand copied traceback
in the terminal window.
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/local/share/gramps/DbPrompter.py", line 105, in
self.db.save.file(filename,_("No Comment Provided"))
File "/usr/local/share/gramps/gramps_main.py", line 1470, in
File "/usr/local/share/gramps/VersionControl.py", line 261, in
IOError: [Errno 32] Broken pipe
- Now I re-start gramps without specifying a DB, and I get the Open a
Database dialogue. I select "Open an Existing database" and I get a
new dialogue called "Open a Database - GRAMPS <2>" with a default
Database: of the current directory (/home/john/src/gramps/gramps2/).
I then click on the down arrow to the right of the curent directory,
left of the "Browse" button and I get two possible options:
which is wierd, because the last DB I edited was "Foo-Family" and I
wonder why that wasn't saved in this list. There's a couple of
a. The dialogue title bar has <2> in it, which indicates that we've
got two dialogues with the same name, which seems wrong.
b. My expectation of the "v" button is to allow me to browse up
through all the parent directories, not to select previously
used directories/databases. I'm not sure what's really
happening here, I hope this is clear enough.
So if I accept the current directory thats shown in the "Open a
database - GRAMPS <2>" dialogue, which defaults to
"/home/john/src/gramps/gramps2/", I get an error message:
"/home/john/src/gramps/gramps2/data.gramps" could not be opened
In large type, and another slightly differently worded error in
smaller type. This is fine, I didn't expect this to work, though it
would be nice if it detected this earlier so the directory wasn't
the default, or prompted you automatically to "Create a new Database
named?" instead of throwing an erorr.
Anyway, I click on "Ok" to dismiss the error dialogue and instead of
going back to the "Open a database - GRAMPS <2>" dialogue like I
expected, I'm dumped into the person view. Shouldn't we go back and
re-prompt them for a database to open, since that's what I choose
originally when I started gramps.
Whew. That was a long chain of comments there. *grin*
- Ok, yet another comment on Opening a database. Why do I have to
choose a file? I'm just going to open "data.gramps" so I shouldn't
even be allowed to choose files, just folders which hold that file.
- Another Opening a Database comment, though with three comments about
different stages, so please read carefully!
Steps I took:
- Open a database, doesn't matter the name, don't make any changes.
- Immediately Open a new database, with some data in it.
You're now prompted on whether to "Save Changes Made to the
Database" though this dialog doesn't have a title defined. But I
wonder why I'm prompted to save changes if I haven't made any
So I close without saving and the "Open a database - GRAMPS"
dialogue opens. But the default is reset (or never updated) to the
original directory is prompted me for. Would it make sense to
update it to point at the directory of the previously opened
Then I click on Open to open that directory, which I *know* is bad,
since there is no data.gramps file. I get an error dialogue, which
I hit Ok to, then it wipes out the database I was just in, leaving
me in an empty Database! This is wrong, we should gracefully go
back to the DB we were just in.
- When starting gramps and opening a completely empty DB, you are put
into the person view by default. It should either prompt you for a
new person directly, or allow you to enter a person by double
clicking on the empty person people view, or by right clicking on
the empty people view.
- When you then switch to the family view, the floating hint thingy (I
know, so technical) pops up and says "double click to edit the
active person" but when I do that, nothing happens.
What probably needs to happen here, is that when a new database is
opened, there should be a dialogue that pops up and asks:
Do you want to Import data
Start adding people
And then just prompt the user for that initial person. Once that
person is added or imported (record number 1 in Gramps), then you
can allow them into the general Family or People views.
- When adding a relation ship to the active person on the family
screen, it takes three different dialogues before you're allowed to
actually enter usefull information about the relationship. I think
that you should be dropped immediately into the "Event Editor"
dialog. Once you've added the relationship (type, date, place,
etc), then you should go back to the Family view. I'm not happy
with the layout of the "Marriage/Relationship Editor" dialogue,
a. it just displays the events.
b. doesn't let you edit them in any meaningful way.
- In the Family View, I think the label "Relationship" label is wrong.
It should be "Spouse" to match the label above it called "Spouse's
- Again in the family view, It would be nice to have the people stats
displayed in the same manner for both the Active Person and the
Spouse. Including Birth/Death, etc. The the Relationship between
those two people should be displayed between them.
Is there any way to sneak in a relationship box between (possibly
above the Active Person & Spouse, but below their Parents) which
would show the actual relationship between two people? The Spouse
should be treated equally (display wise) to the AP (Active Person).
- When adding Children to the AP in the Family View, they children
should be automatically sorted by birthday as they are added.
Hmmm... I see now that they are automatically sorted, but I feel
that the default should be descending, with the oldest child up top.
This re-inforces the Family view with the Parents up top, then the
AP and Spouse in the middle, and children below.
- When you add a set of parents to an active person, I think it's
doing the wrong paradigm here. It's popping up yet another new
dialogue, this one which prompts for a Father and a Mother. But
some people won't have that, they'll have a mother and a mother,
etc. And of course, there are only two parents allowed at this
I think it would be better to treat this like adding a child,
i.e. you do a singular add of one parent at atime, which means you
can re-use the add-a-child dialogue with some judicious changing of
the dialogue defaults. This would give several advantages:
a. less code and glade design needed.
b. less surprise to the end user, they get prompted with a single
familiar dialogue when adding parents or children to the active
- The "Choose Parents - GRAMPS" dialogue is a bit confusing. I've got
a bunch of comments on this one, so please bear with me.
- Using the add button, I can add many fathers or mothers. When I
add someone without a known sex, they get listed as a mother. Why
not as a father?
So I added in two males as potential fathers, one female, and two
sexless people to the dialogue.
- When I've added in a mother who has an unkown sex, an then
check the "Show All" box, I get a list of potential mothers
from all the women already in the DB, but I can't choose
someone who's sex is unknown!
Then when I un-check the box, it goes back and only shows
people with a female sex, what about the sexless ones I
entered? Where did they go? Principal of least surprise is
- I think the seperation between the groups of fathers and mothers,
and the "Relationships" at the bottom of the dialogue is also
strange. I should be able to pick as many people as I like, all
who have some sort of parental relationship to the Active
Person. So I think the dialogue should have just one selection
where you choose who to add, either male, female or unkown, and
then you define the one relationship between that person and the
There's no need to choose both father and mother at the same
time, or the relationship between them! That's a seperate issue
- I can click on Ok after choosing three random relationships, but
without selecting a Father or Mother. You shouldn't be able to
select a relationship without selecting a person to relate to.
Luckily, this doesn't seem to create a set (!) of parents who are
- If I select just a father, but not a mother, I get a set of
parents where I have a known father with a relationship, but an
unknown mother. Now when I double click on this set of parents, I
get the "Modify Parents" dialogue. All I can change is the
relationship of the two parents to the AP, I can't change either
of the parents to someone different, or update an unkown parent to
a known one. This is a really annoying thing, since sometimes I
just want to add in all the male side of a family tree, ignoring
the spouses for now, then go back and add them in later, but I
This really brings up a core issue. All relationship editing
should be purely handled between the Active Person and other
people. The active person is the center of the universe. The AP
can have multiple parents, spouses, parents, children etc. All
defined in terms of their relationship to the AP. So when adding
a parent, you should only add a single parent at a time, and worry
only about their relationship to the AP. This is the same idea
with Children. We don't make it a requirement to add in the
spouse of the child right away! Nor should we care about the
parent's (singular) spouse. That relationship gets defined when
we make the parent the AP and THEN we add their spouse, who may or
may not have a relationship with the child (the previous active
person in this case).
For example, Bob and Cindy marry and have a kid Andy. Andy dies
as a child. Cindy then dies further on. Bob marries Debbie.
Debbie has zero relationship to Andy, not even as a Step Mother,
but Gramps seems to force that idea to be there.
Hmm... let me put my foot where my mouth is and try to add such a
setup.... Ok, so Gramps doesn't force the idea, since if I do it
all properly by just working with an active person and adding
relationships, such as Bob, then Cindy and their Marriage, then
their Child Andy, then Debbie and her marriage to Bob, it all
works and displays properly.
This, to me at least, just re-enforces my point that the ability
to edit a set of parents is wrong and leads to all kinds of
confusion on the part of the end user, since I feel that it
strongly breaks the concept that *all* changes are made to the
active person only, and that relationships are a one to one
issue and should be added/edited/deleted in that manner.
Sure, I can have multiple siblings, but my relationship to each of
them is dependent on my relationship to my parent or parents, who
also has a relationship to that sibling of mine. It's like the
definition of an Aunt, who strictly is:
The Daughter of the Mother/Father of my Mother/Father.
But we say Aunt as a shortcut, like Sister or Brother is a
shortcut of the relationship:
The Daughter/Son of my (Mother and Father)
Which of course ignores step- or half- bothers/sisters.
- In the family view, if I have multiple sets (!) of parents for the
AP, I can only delete the extras, I can't delete the last set of
parents. Oh wait, I see what's going on here. When there are
multiple sets of parents, you have to highlight the one you want to
delete. When there's just one set of parents, you can't highlight
them at all, but you can delete them. This is confusing!
- The only way I can create a set of parents of the same sex is to
give one of them a bogus sex, create the set of parents, then go in
an edit the person to have the the proper sex again.
Oh wait, I see it now. I'm in the "Choose Parents" dialogue, and
once I change the "Parent's Relationship to each other" to be
"Partners", I can select arbitrary people, though I'm STILL not
allowed to add someone as a parent if they have an unkown sex. This
is a bug in my mind. A simple bug to fix compared to the entire
parental set issue I've been harping on here.