I’m a newcomer to genealogy software, so when I saw that there was a discount on Mac Family Tree for the launch of their new version, I asked a friend of mine who has been documenting the genealogy of her family for decades about her advice. She pointed me in the direction of RootsMagic as she has been a happy user of the software for years (on Windows - I’m a Mac user).
Following her links, I saw that RM8 had been launched, and that there was a free version I could try out before deciding whether to buy the full application. I downloaded and installed it.
I have to say, I’m very disappointed in the quality of the RM8 release for the Mac. It is essentially unusable. Worse, from the perspective of RootsMagic, it’s not only not a good advertisement for your product, it’s actively harmful for your company’s reputation, at least amongst Mac users. It looks and feels like it hasn’t been beta-tested with many people who aren’t already familiar with previous versions of RM - all of which, I understand, were the Windows app in some kind of wrapper to enable it to run on a Mac.
To help with efforts to resolve the problems, here’s my setup: Mac Studio with M1 Max, 32Gb of RAM. Running the latest public release of macOS (Monterey 12.3.1).
Problems: A completely un-Mac like user interface, that doesn’t look like the developers have even looked at Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines: Human Interface Guidelines - Design - Apple Developer All the functional menus are in the app, instead of the menu bar, and they’re really not easy to figure out. The fact there isn’t a ‘Help’ menu bar item, and isn’t a help file that I could find, isn’t a great experience for a new user to this ‘taster’ product.
This would be sustainable if the rest of the app worked well, but it does not. I started entering some very basic family tree information. Then I tried to open up the entry for myself, to enter a date of birth. Nothing seemed to happen. So I tried opening it up again by double clicking and got an error message telling me that the free version doesn’t support opening more than one edit screen at a time. That would be fine, but the app was still only showing me the main window. It turns out that it had opened the edit window, but when it did so, it placed it behind the main window instead of on top of it, so it was completely invisible to me and I couldn’t know that I’d already successfully opened the edit window.
Having found the edit screen, it still is completely unclear how to enter basic information like a date of birth. It’s also completely unclear why, when both parents are listed in one line for ‘parents’ there should be a second line with the same data. Choosing the item to ‘delete a fact’ - i.e. the second entry for parents results in an error message saying ‘You can only delete a fact’. Well, yes, that’s what I was trying to do. (Screenshot attached).
When I create a record for my sister, there’s no field for entering the previously entered data for her parents. After creating the record, I open it up to edit it, and I still can’t see how to add her relationship to our parents. Things are made even more frustrating because there are no tool-tips to display what different icons mean when you move your cursor over them.
In short, a very disappointing experience, and one that actively puts me off paying for the full version, which clearly can’t be your aim.