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


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Last week, we gave you a first look at RootsMagic 8. While we’re itching to start showing you more details and features, last week’s article prompted many questions about RootsMagic and the upgrade process. We felt it would be helpful to answer some of the questions for you before showing you more features. So without any further ado, here they are:

I already own RootsMagic 7 (or 6, or 5, or 4, etc.). Will I need to buy RootsMagic 8 when it comes out?

Yes, but at a discounted price. Our policy has always been to make updates free. That is, going from 7.0 to 7.1, to 7.2, to 7.3, etc. We put those out regularly to fix bugs, update API’s, and to even add new features (Our TreeShare for Ancestry was a free new feature in 7.5).

Major upgrades, such as going from 7.0 to 8.0, do require a purchase. However, we always offer a significant discount to those upgrading from previous versions. For example, to upgrade from any prior version of RootsMagic to version 7 has been $19.95 where the full price of the software is $29.95.

Do I have to upgrade to RootsMagic 8?

Not at all. If the new features and functionality in RootsMagic 8 appeal to you, we’d love for you to upgrade. If you decide to stick with your current version of RootsMagic, your software will continue running just as it has. It will simply not have any more updates as our development work has moved on to the next version.

How much will RootsMagic 8 cost?

Version 8 will have a modest price increase from earlier versions. While we haven’t announced the actual pricing for RootsMagic 8, it will be more than version 7. RootsMagic 8 will have a discount for users of previous versions upgrading to it, but this will be modestly higher than the current $19.95 upgrade price for version 7.

So if I buy RootsMagic 7 now, I get RootsMagic 8 for free?

Yes. We have always had an “upgrade protection guarantee.” If you buy our software and a newer version comes out soon afterward, you get the newer version for free. I’ve personally spent a sizable sum of money on software only to have a new version come out the very next day. That company’s response was, “You’re out of luck.” We love our users too much to do that.

If you buy RootsMagic 7 now through our website (either the full version or upgrade), you will receive an email with your key for RootsMagic 7. You’ll also immediately receive a key for RootsMagic 8. Just hold onto that key until you get word that RootsMagic 8 has been officially released. This means that you are essentially getting a free RootsMagic 8 at today’s RootsMagic 7 prices.

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I already have RootsMagic 7. Can I still get a free RootsMagic 8?

Yes. Even if you already have RootsMagic 7, you are welcome to purchase another copy of RootsMagic 7 (even at the $19.95 upgrade price), and you will get your key for RootsMagic 8.

Wait- you want me to pay money now for a future RootsMagic that I may not even like? Is this some tricky money grab?

You would indeed be getting an upgrade to Version 8 that you don’t (yet) know much about. (But, really- we think you’ll love it) But this is definitely not a money grab. In fact, we are losing money by giving away RootsMagic 8 upgrades at the lower price. So why are we doing this?

We haven’t raised our software price in the nearly 20 years that RootsMagic has been available. All-around costs have risen in those years, and we need to follow suit. However, we also know that we have many users that live on fixed-incomes. We didn’t want to surprise everyone with the price increase without giving a heads-up and giving our users a chance to make appropriate plans.

Combine this with the upgrade protection guarantee, and the “Buy RootsMagic 7 now, get RootsMagic 8 free” policy is the natural result. It’s only us trying to do right by our users.

I’ve placed my order and received my RootsMagic 8 key. What do I do now?

Just hold on to that key and patiently wait for the official release. You could also sign up to become a tester at www.rootsmagic8.com.

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More Previews to Come

Hopefully, we’ve answered some of those burning questions that many of you have had about the upgrade process to version 8.  And watch this blog for regular articles describing the fantastic new features in RootsMagic 8!

 

 

 

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


RootsMagic users have been patiently (and sometimes impatiently) awaiting news of our latest version- RootsMagic 8. While we aren’t quite ready for an official release, we want to start pulling back the curtain and share some of version 8’s exciting new features.

First of all, we know that this release has been a long-time coming. But we haven’t been sitting around, resting on our laurels. We’ve been rethinking, redesigning, and rebuilding the interface to address the most common questions and problems our users have shared with us. Our focus has been on these main ideas:

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  • Make the software easier-to-use. Fewer screens, fewer clicks, and less hunting around to find what you’re looking for and to do what you want to do.
  • Take advantage of more modern computers, operating systems, and devices. Technology has changed a lot in the 30 years that we’ve been making software. RootsMagic 8 supports better graphics, touch-screens, faster processors, and high-resolution displays. This ensures that RootsMagic will be useful and relevant for years to come.

And of course, there is “one more thing” that should make our fans of “fruit” happy:

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And yes- your RootsMagic 8 license covers both the Windows and Mac versions!

How Do I Get RootsMagic 8?

While RootsMagic 8 is not yet available for purchase, every copy of RootsMagic 7 now comes with a free registration key for RootsMagic 8. Just a heads up- there will be a modest price increase for version 8. But you can buy RootsMagic 7 now (even if you already have it) and get your RootsMagic 8 at today’s lower prices!

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Can I Be a Tester for RootsMagic 8?

Currently, Version 8 is being tested by a dedicated group of testers. As it becomes more stable, we gradually expand this group until we feel it is ready for official release. If you love trying out new things and are patient enough to work with us through the process of finding and fixing quirks and problems, we’d love to have you as a tester. To sign up, just fill out the form at www.rootsmagic8.com. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from us right away as we add testers over time.

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More Previews to Come

Watch this blog for regular articles describing more amazing new features in RootsMagic 8. Thanks to you, our users, for your support and feedback. We are very excited for this release and can’t wait to show you more!

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


NOTE: This is Part 12 of our ongoing series documenting the history of our company. If you’re just joining us, be sure to read Part 12345678910, and 11.

Once RootsMagic 4 and RootsMagic Essentials were out the door, we tried to concentrate on upgrading the software and adding new functionality.  But we were hearing from our users that they wanted to be able to take their data on their new tablets they’d gotten for Christmas. The only problem was that we had no programming skills on tablets, either iOS or Android.

Rather than hire new programmers just to write apps, we decided to outsource them.  We got a bunch of bids from companies all over the world, but finally ended up selecting a local company here in Utah.  We knew that genealogy software is actually very complex, and this company was actually already familiar with RootsMagic and genealogy software in general.

If you’ve ever hired out programming, you know it can get very expensive.  And we were faced with the decision how to recover the costs of creating these new apps.  In the end, we decided to leave them as read-only to keep our costs down, and to make them available for free.  We released our iOS app in Dec 2012, and didn’t know it would take another year of development before we could get the Android version out.

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Back when we released RootsMagic 4 we assumed we’d never have to rewrite the program again.  But as we got more and more requests for a Mac version it became clear that we might get to do just that.

We knew there were a couple of options… write a separate Mac version (or have another company write a Mac version for us), or rewrite the program so that we could compile the same program to both Windows and Mac.  We’ve seen too many programs where their Windows and Mac versions are quite a bit different (both interface and functionality), so we really didn’t like the first option. The second option would ensure that both Windows and Mac users would always have the same functionality, yet redesigning the program again seemed daunting.

So in the summer of 2014 we began rebuilding RootsMagic so that we could compile natively to both Windows and Mac.  But having done this multiple times, I knew firsthand how long it could take, and the Mac users were getting more and more vocal.  So as a temporary fix, we contacted a company called Codeweavers that wrote software to let Windows programs run on a Mac. We had them build a custom wrapper for RootsMagic, and in September 2014 we released MacBridge.

Since we had to pay Codeweavers for every copy of MacBridge we distributed, we sold it as a separate program so we could keep track of the numbers.  The MacBridge program allowed you to install the Windows version on your Mac, but the process was somewhat unwieldy, and it was hard to explain to users how it was supposed to work.

We decided we needed to simplify this whole Mac “wrapper” thing, and worked out a license with Codeweavers where we could pay a flat amount every month and be able to distribute unlimited copies.  This not only allowed us to create a “RootsMagic for Mac” standalone installer, but also meant we could distribute free RootsMagic Essentials with the wrapper as well. And yes, we continue to eat the cost of that monthly license to this day 😉

While we continued to work on the new Mac/Windows version, we decided to release a new version of RootsMagic based on the older code with some exciting features we had been working on.  RootsMagic 7 included a new feature called WebHints, which would display hints from FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast, and let you click on a little lightbulb to jump to those sites to see the hints.  We also announced MyRootsMagic, where registered users could easily post free websites of their family tree.

Then in December 2015, Ancestry dropped a bombshell that they were discontinuing their Family Tree Maker program.  About this same time they contacted us and asked if we were interested in working with their API and integrating RootsMagic with Ancestry.  Of course we jumped at the opportunity. I had been asking Ancestry to work with their API for years without any luck, so this came as a very pleasant surprise.  After crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s, we jointly announced that we would be working together on February 2, 2016.

We optimistically guessed that the new Ancestry features would be done by the end of 2016, but we underestimated the complexity that lay before us.  And as we began work on the integration, we noticed that our RootsMagic 7 sales were dropping. We realized that users were holding off buying RootsMagic until the Ancestry features were released, so we announced that the Ancestry features would be a free update to version 7.  Sales immediately picked back up, but we realized this meant that RootsMagic 8 which we were working on separately would have to be put on the back burner until the Ancestry integration was done.

We tried to be as transparent as possible about progress on the Ancestry features.  Normally we wouldn’t pre-announce a new feature, but in this case Ancestry wanted it to be known that we were working on this functionality.  So it left us open to a lot of second-guessing by users as the development went past our estimated release.

During the latter part of development, I started growing a beard and started joking that I wasn’t going to shave until the Ancestry features were released.  Finally, on June 28, 2017, we announced to the world in a short live video from our “secret underground laboratories” that it was finally here.  It was kind of a ridiculous video, but was also kind of an emotional release from all the hard work we put into those features.

After releasing the Ancestry integration it was tempting to just take some time off, but we knew we needed to get back to work on RootsMagic 8 since it had been pushed to the back burner for a year and a half.  We also knew that we needed to release an update to our Personal Historian software which we had been working on prior to the Ancestry announcement.  The update was already close to ready, but we hit a little snag with the main new feature, importing from Facebook.  In order to import from Facebook, we were required to submit the program to Facebook.  Normally that would have been a simple procedure, but Facebook was in the news for allowing companies to take users data and use it in ways the user didn’t want.  Facebook cracked down on accepting new developers with products that could read data from Facebook.  We were finally able to get approved since we were able to show that we (RootsMagic) didn’t get the data ourselves; that the data was simply downloaded onto the users own computer.  At first we were concerned about releasing an update that read from Facebook, but then we realized we actually were providing a feature that Facebook users needed… the ability to get a copy of all of their data downloaded onto their own computer.  Personal Historian 3 was released in March 2018.

So where are we today?  And what does the future hold for RootsMagic?  When we started this blog years ago, the main purpose was to give a sneak preview of our soon to be released RootsMagic 4, and for the next little while we’re going back to those roots to give you a peek at RootsMagic 8.

Of course everyone wants to know what new features will be in version 8 (we all like new features).  And while we’ll have new features, let me just say that  RootsMagic 8 is being designed with our current users in mind, simplifying existing functionality, reducing “clickiness”, and other improvements requested by users.  Underlying code is being redesigned to provide us with a framework for additional functionality in the years to come.

So stayed tuned to this blog as we begin to unveil the most exciting version of RootsMagic ever.

Previous Articles

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


New! Personal Historian 3 is here!


RootsMagic at RootsTech 2018: Draw, Share, and Win with the RootsMagic MagicWall!


RootsMagic at RootsTech 2018: The GBA.Buzz Scavenger Hunt


See you at RootsTech 2018- the Largest Genealogy Event in the World


Happy 30th Birthday, RootsMagic! Part 11: Rewriting RootsMagic


It’s Here! RootsMagic releases Ancestry Features