The Road to RootsMagic 8: An Important Update


My mom often accused me of not being able to learn from my mistakes. Years ago, I got burned by giving a date for a feature we were adding, and I promised myself I would never do that again. Then a couple of years later, we pre-announced a deadline for finishing work on our Ancestry integration, with mostly the same result. So, of course, I still haven’t learned my lesson, and once again tried to guess a release date in advance, this time for RootsMagic 8.

RootsMagic 8 is the biggest upgrade in our software’s history. I usually just say something like “it will be done when it is ready” and leave it at that, but we began telling folks that we hoped to have it out by the end of this year (2019). It seemed like a safe estimate, but like those other times this has bitten me, I underestimated the effects of outside influences on our development.

I underestimated the number of times we would have to stop work to fix breaking changes made to APIs that version 7 uses. I underestimated the number of times we would have to rewrite libraries we are using in RootsMagic 8. To be honest, I never thought we would have to actually rewrite commercial libraries from scratch because of their deficiencies, but we have actually had to do that multiple times. I also underestimated the amount of time tracking down bugs in other company’s libraries to help them fix issues that negatively affected performance in version 8.

So, where are we now? RootsMagic 8 won’t be released by the end of the year. And if you ask me for a new release date, I’m not going to say. But here’s what I am going to do…

Several months ago, we started doing blog articles with screenshots. But writing them pulled us off of actual software development, and were less than satisfying to you as a user. We want to do a better job of keeping you up to date on where we are, so I have recorded a 30-minute video below to show you precisely what RootsMagic 8 looks and feels like. As development continues, we’ll try to release more videos (although probably not this long) to keep you in the loop.

We know many of you can’t wait to get your hands on RootsMagic 8, and we are excited to be working on it. We just want to make sure that when we release it, you can depend on it working right.

And if you’re adventurous, we are still looking for more beta testers of all backgrounds to help us make version 8 the best it can be.

I want to thank you personally for your patience and understanding. Hopefully, you can see from the video the extent of the improvements and work that we’re putting into this release. We’re really excited by the feedback that we’ve received so far and we hope that you’ll find it worth the wait.

The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 6): Multiple Files and Screens


The next features that we want to preview in RootsMagic 8 are improvements in working with multiple files, screens, and even computer monitors.

One feature in previous versions of RootsMagic that our users have loved is the ability to have more than one file open at a time. You can simply open each file and work on either or both at the same time.  You can even drag-and-drop people and whole branches from one tree to another with the click of a mouse.RM8-Multiples-01

Before RootsMagic 8, this feature used a system called “Multiple Document Interface” or “MDI” for short.  In MDI, you have smaller “child windows,” which are contained within the main application window. This worked great in the days when people only had a single computer monitor. But today, if you have more than one monitor, it is challenging to get RootsMagic 7 to place each file in its own screen.

In RootsMagic 8, each RootsMagic file lives in its own separate window. This allows you to “stretch out” and separate them, even with multiple monitors.

RM8-Multiples-02

And yes, you can still “drag-and-drop” people, families, and branches from one file to another, even across different computer monitors!

Note: Eagle-eyed readers may notice that a person’s edit screen can be used at the same time as the RootsMagic main screen. The edit screen no longer blocks access to the main screen. There is also more than one person edit screen open at the same time. But we’ll discuss these new features in a future article.

And to help keep things straight while working with multiple files, you can assign a color to each one. This color lets you more easily keep track of while file you are looking at and working with.

RM8-Multiples-03

And here are the colors in action:
RM8-Multiples-04

That’s it for today’s preview. There’s much more to come!

Important Information about macOS 10.15 (Catalina)


MacOs-Catalina

Apple has been busy working on the next version of the desktop operating system, macOS 10.15, also known as “Catalina.” While there have been several delays, Apple has said they expect it to be released this month (October 2019). While there are several new features and changes, one change, in particular, affects RootsMagic users: Catalina requires all applications to be 64-bit applications.

RootsMagic 7

RootsMagic 7 runs on macOS, although it is not a “native” application. It runs using a “wrapper” that is provided by CodeWeavers, makers of the popular CrossOver software that allows Windows applications to run on a Mac. This wrapper made by CodeWeavers is a 32-bit application and does not run on Catalina.  CodeWeavers has been working for quite some time updating their software to be a 64-bit application so that it can run on Catalina and future versions of macOS. While they’ve made great progress, some last-minute problems in Catalina itself have caused delays. Unfortunately, their wrapper will not likely be available in time for Catalina’s release. This means that RootsMagic 7 for Mac will not be able to run on macOS Catalina until CodeWeavers finishes their update to a 64-bit application.

RootsMagic 8

First, the good news- RootsMagic 8 is a fully-native, 64-bit macOS application and runs great on macOS Catalina. The bad news? It’s still in testing, and likely won’t be officially released before MacOS Catalina is released.

Other Applications

RootsMagic is not the only application that will stop running under Catalina. If you want to see what other apps you have that will be affected:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen.
  2. Click About this Mac.
  3. Click System Report…
  4. From the list on the left, select Software then Applications.
  5. Click 64-Bit (Intel) on the right side of the list’s header. This sorts the applications by 32/64 bits.
  6. Any applications that have “No” are 32-bit and will not run under Catalina.

Our Recommendation

As much as we hate to say this- we recommend that if you need to be able to run RootsMagic 7 on your Mac, do not update to macOS Catalina. Wait until CodeWeavers finishes their 64-bit wrapper for RootsMagic 7 or for the official release of RootsMagic 8. For most users, there is no urgent need to install Catalina as previous versions of the operating system will continue to work and be supported for quite some time.

In the meantime, CodeWeavers is doing all that they can to update their wrapper as quickly as possible, while we continue to work night-and-day to finish RootsMagic 8 for you. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Previous Articles

The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 5): Files


The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 4): Home


The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 3): Getting Around


The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 2): FAQ about the Upgrade


The Road to RootsMagic 8 (Part 1): Easier than Ever


Happy 30th Birthday, RootsMagic!  Part 12: Growth and New Products


Join us at RootsTech 2019 and get a sneak peek at version 8!