How a Family Tree file can use XML

At last the XML version is working sweetly. To differentiate the new version of XY Family Tree using XML files as data I’ve branded this as plain XYFT.

This change from using .xyt files, which are simple .csv files hiding from the ravages of Excel, has been quite a challenge. XML has been around for a good number of years and is a very good way of seeing data in a textual way. There are loads of tools nowadays to display and query XML but XYFT doesn’t need any of those – the data is all read into arrays in memory and navigation is not hindered by reading from a database.

In using the XML data I have kept all the original fields essential to all logical family tree structures and deployed a previously unused field to accommodate any other fields that a user might desire. This makes it truly flexible for use with any religious or ethnic requirements where events such as Baptism, Bar Mitzvah (בַּר מִצְוָה‬), upanayana (उपनयन) and other dates are recorded formally. You can ignore esoteric GEDCOM tags and just invent your own as needed, and when you exchange your data with anyone else using XYFT those tags will work perfectly. And because the data is stored as XML it is easy edit using a text editor such as Notepad++ (which I recommend highly) so you could easily manage a small family tree without any specialist programs.

Here’s a screen snip of a person showing home-made XML tags. You can use any tags you like just as long as you follow the simple rules of XML tag pairing. Apologies to Prince Harry – I’m sure he doesn’t have a Zil (it’s a Russian car) (<автомобиль>ЗИЛ or Ford Capri) or a Ford Capri, but you get the idea, that language doesn’t matter and you can have whatever categorisation you like.

Prince Harry with his own XML
Prince Harry with his own XML

A very useful feature of XYFT is that searches for a word can be aimed at the current family, any source (linked image etc.) in the current family or across all families. For instance, searching for ЗИЛ across 1.25 GB of family data took only a few seconds to show all the files that contain that text somewhere. It doesn’t matter where the text is XYFT will search every family in the families folder.

to offer just one family in this instance

and double-click that to find that there are two people in this family with that word Zil somewhere.

Now, please don’t think that either of these people have ever seen a Zil or been in one (that Russian car), this is just to demonstrate that XYFT can search in any language as well as English and find needles in haystacks very quickly. It took this 4-year-old low-spec PC less than 20 seconds to search 1.25 GB to find that file.


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