The Generations Network (TGN) made beta copies of its upcoming Family Tree Maker 2008 (FTM) available to selected industry luminaries yesterday. The Ancestry Insider eagerly ripped open his copy and found the new version has been rewritten from the ground up.
"I had heard from former programmers that the code for the old version had grown so old that it was brittle to the touch," said the Insider. "Still, I hadn't expected the rewrite would look so..., well, modern."
The boss quickly dove in, leaving us, his staff, to watch the furious clicks, and wonder at the ambiguous grunts.
"Look at this new Family View," the Insider excitedly offered. Glowing on the Insider's 25" LCD monitor, we found a dazzling interface that made efficient use of every last pixel. The page contained a dizzying collage of pedigree pane, family group pane, person pane, index pane, and a plethora of icons, tabs, menus, and buttons.
As we salivated, the Insider next showed us a Person Timeline.
After a click or two we were soon looking in the Places section of FTM at a map from Microsoft's Virtual Earth, a push-pin, and a list of all the people associated with that place.
We would have liked to ask the Insider's opinion of the program, but he quickly submerged again, surfacing just long enough to tell us that select customers have been invited to pre-purchase at a special price and should expect delivery in mid-August.
Always the critic, the last mumble we heard was, "I'll believe it when I see it."
As we left his office, the Insider was humming, one moment downloading something from Ancestry.com using the built-in integration, the next moment clipping stuff from FamilySearch's new Record Search Pilot with FTM's new web clipper.
We might not hear from him again for a long, long time...