The Wisdom of Yogi Berra, observing a lot just by watching

I was just reviewing a project where I was trying to find death certificates for everyone on my database who died in 1908. As a part of this review, I made a group of everyone who died in 1908 and I displayed that group in People List View. I’m continuing to use both RM7 and RM8 everyday so I was looking at the group in both RM7 and in RM8.

In accordance with the wisdom of Yogi Berra who said “You can observe a lot just by watching.”, I was just “watching” my group in both RM7 and RM8 with the following observations.

  • The Date Edited, Birth Date, and Death Date columns are right justified in RM7 and are left justified in RM8. I find the right justification of dates in a column to be much easier to look at than is left justification. And for example, RM8 does the right justification of dates correctly in the Edit Person screen. It would be very helpful if it would do the same thing in People List View. That should be very easy thing to fix.
  • You can see that the Death Date column is the sort column in RM7 because of the little arrowhead over the column. You can’t see which column is the sort column in RM8. Of course, RM7’s arrowheads at the top of sorted columns were backwards from every other piece of software in the world, but at least the arrowheads existed. I don’t know if adding the arrowheads would be easy to do in RM8 or not, but the arrowheads are very much needed. And if they are added, they should point in the correct direction this time. They need to be added to all sortable columns, not just to People List view.
  • The record number column is left justified in RM7 and right justified in RM8. This is a case where RM7 got it wrong and RM8 gets it right. Yea for RM8 in this case!
  • The font for the data in the People List view columns is strong and easy to read in RM7. The font for the same data in RM8 is weak and hard to read. I confess I have changed the font to make it different from the default in RM7 to make it easier to read, but even the default font in RM7 is much stronger and easier to read than the font on RM8. And in RM7, you can change the font where in RM8 you cannot. You are stuck with the default. Well, you can change the point size in RM8, but not the font.
  • The highlighting style used for the the highlighted line is much stronger and easier to see in RM7 than in RM8. Well, RM8 has an option to turn on a stronger highlighting, but the stronger highlighting is unusable in practice because the stronger highlighting totally obscures such things as the icons on the line for each fact in the Edit Person screen. The one good thing about the highlighting in RM8 is that it does not obscure the color code of the highlighted person as did the highlighting in RM7. So that’s a really good thing for RM8!
  • There are differences of opinion about whether the colored text in RM7 or the color blocks in RM8 is a more effective way to display color coding. I actually prefer the color blocks in RM8, at least in part because you can still see them when a person is highlighted. But I think there are two problems with the color blocks that should be addressed. One problem is that the colors are not very true. For example, the red blocks are not even remotely red. A red block doesn’t necessarily have to be pure (255,0,0) red, but it should be closer to something that looks red. The color text in RM7 is certainly very true. The other problem is that the color blocks need to be surrounded by a one or two pixel wide border in pure white. Otherwise, the color of the block and the color of surrounding screen can bleed together, especially for the highlighted person.
  • RM7’s Family tab in the left side panel is vastly superior to the upper half of RM8’s left side panel. RM7 let’s me see all the person’s spouses, parents, and siblings at the same time. RM8 doesn’t even come close to this functionality. I suspect that most former RM7 users would not even notice this issue because they probably used RM7’s Index tab in the left side panel most or all of the time. But the RM7’s Family tab in the left side panel was great, and I want it back.


All your opinion of course. Personally, I prefer left justified, like reading a book, easier to read. It is how I set up my Excel spreadsheets too. I prefer colored blocks to colored text. I find colored text jarring, making the name harder to read. Is left aligned text in a book more readable than center aligned?

I agree with Terry. Comparing the two screen shots, Right justified dates are easier to read than Left justified dates. The years always line up.


From the time that we were wee’uns, we learned numbers right justified. When we did our sums, we had to line up the 1’s column, and the 10’s column and so forth. Personally, I expect numeric data to be right aligned. Dates are essentially numeric data and as such, I would expect them to be right aligned. We grew up learning to read text from the left, so I am fine with left aligned text. Reading a book is somewhat different than reading numbers.

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I didn’t realize until some time after I posted the message that the stronger highlighting in RM7 isn’t visible in my screen capture. For some reason, the screen capture process loses the strength of the highlighting. But the difference I’m talking about is real. I’m sure that anybody who has used both RM7 and RM8 can see the difference. I really hope the strong highlighting feature in RM8 can be tweaked so that it’s practical actually to use it.

Thanks for the detailed observations.