Last week, I mentioned that after a long drought, Ancestry.com would be bringing Family Tree Maker for Mac back to the Mac world, and that they would try to match the Windows version of Family Tree Maker 2010.
Since then, they’ve posted some more information along with screenshots (link). Here then, in no particular order, are my notes/thoughts on what they’ve posted since the initial press release. Keep in mind I’m not familiar with the Windows version and am looking at it from the perspective of a Mac user.
* Mention is made that it will be available later in 2010 at “major retailers.” If this means (in the USA) Best Buy, Office Max, Target, Wal-Mart, etc., then it’s great for Mac users no matter what genealogy software you use. Right now if somebody is looking at buying a Mac and they check for genealogy software in a retail store, unless they are in an Apple Store, they are not going to find any. The Apple Stores near me carry MacFamilyTree and Reunion, but good luck at finding either of those two at a retail store that isn’t run by Apple. It may not seem like a big deal to a lot of us who are used to finding our genealogy software online, but there are plenty of people who buy their software at retail stores.
* Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Intel-based Macs are listed under system requirements. What this means for PowerPC users, I don’t know. Chances are it might not run on a PowerPC system, but this might be Ancestry.com’s way of limiting what they have to support or a limitation of the development libraries they are using. If you are running on an Intel Mac, you should be running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard anyways (if you are able to). It could be that it also supports or relies on certain features not present in previous Mac OS X versions. Since they claim to be building this “from the ground up”, I’m hoping it’s built on Cocoa.
* Integration with Ancestry.com. This is no surprise – Family Tree Maker Mac will allow for easy importing of records, images, family trees, etc., available on Ancestry.com. When all is said and done, this will be a major selling point – that and the availability of it in retail stores.
* Out of the box, it’s going to have some standard FTM features Windows users will be used to, that take advantage of Ancestry.com services. The publishing of family books, charts, and reports as well as family migration paths and a good mapping system. There are other things that are Mac OS X-specific that I wasn’t able to determine, that I’m hoping will be addressed in the future.
* It looks like Windows users of FTM should have an easy time migrating to the look and feel of it, based on the screenshots. Comparing the Mac and Windows versions through the relevant screenshots, the family view, maps/places, and web search/Ancestry.com integration all look nearly identical. I don’t want to say they took the Windows version and just slapped a Mac OS X GUI on it, because that’s not a fair assessment since they are building it “from the ground up” and it’s not just a port of the Windows software. They really needed to keep it nearly identical looks and functionality-wise to help users of the Windows version in their migration. If you go out on the web, you’ll find plenty of people who are using VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop and the Windows version of Family Tree Maker on top of Mac OS X. It would not surprise me if genealogy was one area that may have held up some people from fully migrating (or attempting to migrate) to Mac OS X.
I have quite a few questions left about it, and am working on getting the full answers and details.
I’ve posted the Family Tree Maker Mac screenshots as well, but they are subject to change before the official release of FTM for Mac later this year. These are the only screenshots we can post for now.