Towards an on-line version of Gramps
Deadlines are great, even if arbitrary: my family is getting together for a family reunion this summer, and I decided that the event would make a great goal to try to finish-up Gramps-Connect, the on-line version of Gramps. My goal is to try to have the bulk of a complete version of Gramps available by July 1, 2012.
Gramps-Connect has been under development for a few years now, and it has taken that long to iron out some issues. One problem was that Gramps wasn’t designed to run on a server. Gramps likes to pop-up a window to ask a question, or give you a status update. But a server program can’t do that. Now, almost all of Gramps can be run from a server, or from the command-line. That includes importing, exporting, and reports.
Another problem was database access speed. Once we had the Gramps tables designed in Django, we found that trying to use the reports (for example) was incredibly slow. The reason is that Gramps was written with a particular access method in mind, and trying to switch to a relational database schema was expensive. But that problem was solved by replicating Gramps’ hierarchical database structure in the relational database. Now it is nearly as fast as Gramps on the desktop.
Another hurdle was learning all of the complexity of Django (a Python-based web development tool) and modern web development. The last time I did any serious web development CSS hadn’t been invented yet.
The goal of Gramps on the web is two-fold: first, it is designed for people to work in collaboration. Second, it is designed to work with large family trees. Gramps on the desktop can handle fairly large trees (at least a few thousand). But Gramps on the web can literally handle millions. But because Gramps-Connect is on the web, it also fills another niche: those people who want a mobile version of Gramps. With the right CSS, Gramps on the web should work quite nicely on your tablet or smart phone.
If you would like to see what Gramps-Connect looks like right now, check out http://gramps-connect.org/ If you would like to edit data (only the Person data can currently be edited) use ID: admin, and Password: gramps.
What would you like to see in Gramps-Connect?