MacFamilyTree 7

KEY INFO

Developer: Synium Software
Price: £42

SPECIFICATIONS
OS: OS X 10.7.5 or later
Requires: 500MB disk space

MacFamilyTree has always proved rewarding yet frustrating to use, and version 7 continues in that vein. This latest iteration introduces some new and interesting features, but not all of these hit the heights of excellence in their execution.

MacFamilyTree 7 opens with a slight design refresh, with the left-hand sidebar now divided into four vertical colour-coded tabs. It’s a subtle change, but welcome, as is the tweaked Interactive Tree view, with the tree split by generation and the name list arranged by surname.

The Edit Person section – introduced in version 6 – gets a more radical overhaul with a new notebook-like view that makes navigation between generations simpler, but which loses out in the amount of detail on show. Other improvements – such as better source management and a global search and replace tool – are less controversial and more welcome.

The program also overhauls its 3D Virtual Tree view, promising better performance and reliability to go with the added ability to display more complex trees, but it still feels gimmicky with questionable benefit. Of more interest is a new view: Virtual Globe. MacFamilyTree’s Places database uses a basic map that zooms to country level only; Virtual Globe goes in much closer to town and district level, making geocoding each place in your database a more worthwhile endeavour, even if it’s still some way short of the street-level maps found in other apps.

MacFamilyTree 7 also makes much of its FamilySearch.org support, but the feature is already present in version 6 and implementation remains a little awkward, with clunky navigation and the habit of forgetting that you’re logged in.

Version 7 also comes with the promise of iCloud support, allowing you to back up to iCloud, and sync it with your iPad or iPhone through the MobileFamilyTree app. Again the promise is better than the implementation, with large files taking an age to transfer and features unsupported in the mobile version, such as defined headshots in group photos, being lost when you transfer the file back.

Despite the additional features, MacFamilyTree 7 manages to avoid adding bloat. Performance is a little sluggish in places with larger databases, but on the whole it’s pretty responsive. Most of the new features are welcome additions – it’s certainly easier to navigate – but frustrations remain with how some have been implemented. The end result is a program that’s good in its own right, but is still playing catch-up with the competition.

Verdict

MacFamilyTree 7 adds some welcome new features, but still falls a little short of greatness.