April 15, 2009

Roots Magic 4.0

Many of you know that I use Roots Magic software to create webpages, genealogy reports, and of course, to record research findings.  I've been a user of that software since it was known as Family Origins, and used several releases and "bug fixes" through Version 3.

Version 4 was released for beta testing a few weeks ago and, before it had been properly debugged it was released for sale!  Well, I've been using it now for about a month and find it so bad that I've tossed it.  My feeling is that they released a beta version to generate income, and customers are paying them to de-bug their software!

There are some really neat features in RM4 and it's obvious that some features received more attention during developement than others.  It's the others that I can't tolerate.

Just a few of the problems that I've experienced:

Extremely slow response from the program as I progress through the various screens inputting data; e.g., 25 to 30 seconds for a search window to appear.

Strange little pop-up windows with odd names in them, the name having nothing to do with the person that I'm editing.

Output reports, especially RTF reports, that instead of paginating, sometimes writes the text portion of a report into the source area.

Blank pages in the middle of a 200 page report.  Remove that blank page and screw up the index.

Reports that mix fonts in the same paragraph.  If I select one font for the entire report, then the report - font wise at least - is properly reproduced.  If you accept the default fonts, a mixture of at least three to be used for various parts of the report (headers, etc), any text associated with any given person in the report will be oddly mixed.

I do not plan on using the software again and, I do not recommend purchase of the software until until at least version 4.1.  Current version is


  1. We are now up to version and I find the software great. Some features are a little slower if all the options are used, but the overall program is good.
    The major bugs encountered were overcome in this new release.
    The prelease to the public was just that. A prerelease to find the smallest of problems so they could be put to rest.
    Only a few problems is special use of features were found and are being worked on.
    I find some great things in RootsMagic 4 that I have not found in older versions of it or in other programs.
    I suggest you try it to find out for yourself if it is right for your needs. If it is not, then go somewhere else, but if you like it, just buy it.
    No prograsm is best for everyone, but I find this one is right for me.

  2. Interesting that Jon would call the paid version a "prerelease." The beta version was out perhaps three weeks before it was suddenly declared ready for prime time and RM began charging for it.

    Perhaps a few bugs had been corrected before the beta went commercial, but there were major bugs that did not get the attention needed. As a result, RM took a big PR hit as evidenced by complaints on their website.

    There were so many complaints - some really pointed remarks - that RM decided to update their website and accidentally "lost" a lot of those comments.

    And finally, Jon apparently did not read the later blog (May 27 I believe) in which I reported the upgrade and improvements. The software still has a ways to go before you can use it without finding an annoying bug or two, but it's getting there.

    I'm using it now for all of my work but keep RM3 on the side just in case.


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