Sunday, April 13, 2008

NFS Rollout Resumes

FamilySearch quietly resumed the rollout of New FamilySearch (NFS) this past week. On LDS Tech Bryce Fifield reported,

Bismarck Temple Live.

Just got back from the Bismarck ND temple. They are using nFS. Ordinances performed were online before I got home from the Temple.

Sources at FamilySearch confirmed that Bismarck and Monterrey, México were activated on 8-April-2008. These are the first temples activated since the delay was announced in February. (See New FamilySearch Delayed.) The cause of the delay remains unspecified and speculation is rampant.

TempleReady Replacement

In a comment posted to my article PAF, NFS and the Princess Bride  new blogger Shoebox Genealogy said,

I've heard several reasons for the suspension of the rollout from different researchers and other professionals, but the IOUS situation was new to me. Are there other factors that are slowing the rollout? The theories I've heard:

1) Poor reception of the new system by professional genealogists
2) Confused masses
2) Realization that more features need to be added before the general public gets it
3) Reworking the combine algorithm
4) Not enough server capacity
5) General authorities not approving of the current version
6) Waiting for third party software to assist in the synchronization of files
7) Aliens have held FamilySearch developers hostage and are demanding the recipe for fry sauce before releasing them.

Okay, so I haven't heard the aliens one, but a different researcher walks into our office nearly every day with a "Hey, I just talked to a family search guy at the FHL and he told me they're having XYZ problem and THAT'S the reason it's not rolling out"

As for Shoebox' first 3 items, we all need to remember that version 0.9 is primarily a replacement for TempleReady. FamilySearch knows NFS needs to be reworked before it is released to professional genealogists and the general public. Remarkably, the 1.0 version is being developed publicly and everyone's feedback is welcome. See Family Tree at FamilySearch Labs.

Since the resumption of the rollout is not coincident with a new release of NFS, I discount items 3 and 5. There are still no third party software, so item 6 is not the case, although third party synchronization will alleviative IOUS problems.

The Church has been accused of liberal views regarding illegal aliens, so I doubt item 7. (That was an attempt at humor. ;-)

IOUS and IOUF

That leaves IOUS and item 4, server capacity. One prevalent online rumor combines these two possible causes, claiming that the rollout to the Mesa Arizona Temple in early February resulted in IOUS that overwhelmed server capacity. If that is the case, then the resumption of the rollout may be possible because of increased server capacity. If that is the case, NFS users should see an improvement in NFS performance.

NFS Product Manager, Jim Greene, defined IOUS and IOUF at the recent BYU genealogy conference. An IOUS, or Individual Of Unusual Size, is a person in NFS composed by combining hundreds or thousands of separate records. An IOUF, or Individual Of Unusual Fan-out, is a person related to hundreds or thousands of individuals that presumably need to be combined.

NFS help Document ID: 101056 addresses IOUS.

new FamilySearch: Large record warning

Problem

When you select individual details, a yellow warning icon (triangle with an exclamation point enclosed) shows up in the heading bar of the information screen indicating an inidividual [sic] record of unusual size. (IOUS)

Resolution

This is a known issue. This individual has more relationships than FamilySearch can display. This individual has other relationships to parents, spouses, and children that are saved in FamilySearch but cannot be displayed. This includes relationships that you may have contributed. We are working on a way to make these records more manageable. This information has not been lost, but FamilySearch will not be able to display it correctly until a future release.

For an example, search for person KWJY-BPD, Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church.

Joseph Smith, Jr. entry shows Large Record Warning icon
Joseph Smith, Jr. entry shows Large Record Warning icon

Prognosis

Greene admitted that the Church underestimated the size to which IOUS and IOUF would grow and the software needs to be adjusted accordingly. The regular schedule of NFS releases seems to be the mid-point of each calendar quarter, so upcoming releases can be expected on the 15th of May, August and November. I think it is safe to assume that until the problem of IOUS is fixed, the rollout will continue on hold for temple districts with large numbers of members descended from early Mormon ancestors. Sorry, Las Vegas.

If something else was holding the rollout, it apparently has been fixed and the rollout has resumed in other districts. Bookmark Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch to track the ongoing rollout.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you! This clarifies many questions. I had somewhat come to that conclusion also, before the rollout was resumed, but now it seems that logic has ruled out several rumors. Thanks for sharing what you know.

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  2. You're going to hate me for asking, but any idea when it'll be available for members in the Chicago Illinois Temple district?

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  3. Dear muslihoon,

    Hey, there's no harm in asking. If you'll answer some questions for me, then I'll answer your question.

    When did you get your e-mail announcement that Chicago was about 3 months away from activation? Did you receive an activation date before the rollout freeze?

    -- The Ancestry Insider

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  4. Dear shoebox,

    Glad I could help. Have you heard the rumor stating the server company didn't understand the usage would be 24x7? Silly. What do people think? That server-hosting companies turn their servers off at night? Haven't they read about the Church's Ashbury Server Farm?

    -- The A.I.

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  5. I'm afraid I never got an e-mail about the rollout. I'm new to the whole NFS.

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  6. My ggg grandmother is a borderline IOUS! 76 combined records, and when I tried to merge one leftover duplicate (which has no combined records), the system said it couldn't because the record would be too large. On my ex's side I've seen individuals with around 400 combined records. I haven't seen the yellow warning icon in the window header, though. How many combined records do you need to earn one of those? :)

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