What are data files?

I read references to data files but I have not located an explanation of what they are.

Most often they are referring to the database files RM uses to store your data.

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They are files with the extension .rmgc in RM7 e.g. Smith.rmgc or with the extension .rmtree in RM8 e.g. Smith.rmtree
These are the files that contain all the data that you have entered into your tree. i.e. data files

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Various places in RM screens and in RM’s documentation there are references to “data files” or or to “files” or to “databases”. Depending on the context where these descriptions are used, these three items are usually synonymous. They refer to the place on disk where your RM data such as people, places, sources, citations, etc. is stored. If instead RM refers to things like photographs of people or images of records such as census record, it usually calls them “media” or “media files”.

Terry, thejerrybryan, BobC, Thank you for replying. I wanted to understand if there was a difference between media files and data files because the program preferences provide for choosing default storage locations for data files and media files. My understanding from your replies is data files populate the database and contain the information used in the family tree (names, dates, media, user preferences, etc.) and media files are a subset of the data files. .

Not quite! there aren’t data files that populate your database file. In regards to RM, the data file IS the database file. In both cases, that file is populated with data (or pieces of information which aren’t files, just data). Media files are files in their own right and really have nothing specific to do with RM, they aren’t subfiles to RM. One of the pieces of data stores in your RM datafile (or database file if you prefer that) is a link to the media file’s location on your hard drive. For example, if you have a picture called Ken.jpg and you keep it stored in a folder on your C drive called Pictures, when you attach that picture to something in Rootsmagic, RM will store a link to C:\Pictures\Ken.jpg, not the actual picture

You can still open Ken.jpg in other software, or even link it to something in another program because it is file full fledged file in its own right and it isn’t reliant on any of the program that may link to it.

Most users have only one RM “data” file even if there are hundreds of thousands of people in the file. The single file is usually but not always called the RM database. But sometimes a user might have one RM database for their family and a different RM database for their spouse’s family or something like that. The Settings => Folders Settings for that one or two or just a few RM8 databases is called Data Folder on the Settings screen.

The setting for Media Folder is conceptually where you store all your image files such as photographs and census images. Such files are usually JPG files but a few other image formats are supported. But in truth, RM doesn’t store your image files there, or anywhere else for that matter. Rather, you store your image files in the folder or folders where you want them and then you link them into RM. You don’t have to store your image files in any particular folder and they don’t have to be stored in the folder that is the Media Folder setting.

In previous versions of RM, the Media Folder setting existed but it didn’t really matter at all. In RM8 the Media Folder setting may or may not matter very much. It’s primarily useful if you are using RM on more than one computer and where your media files might be in a different folder or set of folders on the multiple computers. If you are only using RM8 on one computer, the Media Folder setting may not be very important. But if you are going to set it to the place where your media files actually are, you should set it before you add any files to your RM8 system. And if you are going to import data from RM7 into RM8 and if you are going to set the Media Files setting to where your media files really are, you should set it before you import your RM7 data into RM8.

Nomenclature can be confusing. I see people describing the data about a person in the database file of many people as a ‘file’. Likewise for families, ‘family files’, which is analogous to how they have organised their paper records. But a ‘record’ in a database might mean one record in a table to a developer while meaning the set of data for a person or family to a user, the same as ‘file’ to another user. And then there is the term ‘profile’…

Ok. I Let me try again, and I will also post a follow-on question about RM database
(1) There are no actual “data files” but pieces of information (data) that in aggregate make up a so-called “RM database”. (2) Media files are not part of the RM database but are actual media files that the RM program links to. (I get that. I have media files located in a separate folder and the links are enable when I enter and save a data path to the file) However, the data paths (links) to the media files are stored in the so-called RM database"

Your comments go right to the heart of a two related questions. IAW guidelines and etiquette I will post my follow-on questions a new topic “RM Database”
Thank you