Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Online Family Tree

Ancestry.com Dendrology 101: Online Family Tree

Ancestry.com's Online Family Tree (OFT), released in 1999, is also a collection of user-submitted trees. OFT allows multiple participants to make online changes to your family tree. Your tree is not visible to anyone unless invited. It is not included in any search results unless you optionally submit it to Ancestry World Tree (AWT). According to the OFT web page,

Ancestry's Online Family Tree is a free service that allows you to record, preserve, and share your family tree on the Internet without any additional software. In a matter of minutes, you can enter several generations of your family in your own password-protected Online Family Tree. And if you already have a family tree (GEDCOM) file, you can import it directly into your Online Family Tree.

The Online Family Tree is the first family tree application that allows you and other family members to add, edit, or delete information in your Online Family Tree at the same time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The main, pedigree view of OFT looks like the illustration, below.

Online Family Tree (OFT)
Online Family Tree (OFT)

On 19 December 2007 Ancestry.com announced it was retiring OFT. OFT is implemented using JavaScript and is slower than molasses. It is old code, and as I've said before, old code gets brittle and hard to maintain. Ancestry.com provided a migration path to Ancestry Member Trees and gave users several months to make the transition. The scheduled time to retire OFT, March 2008, came and went with no action by Ancestry.com. If you are still actively using OFT, I would get off as soon as possible. I assume that at this point catastrophic failure of the OFT servers would be the final curtain for this product.

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