Genealogy Web Application

Background

More and more computer applications are becoming Web based. As an example of developing a Web-based application (or of moving one from being PC-based to Web-based) we will explore the family tree genealogy application.

Family tree software has been available for over a decade and most are Microsoft Windows applications, see for example:

These software packages assist the user in finding genealogical information by providing CDs containing such data as Social Security records, passenger and immigration lists, marriage records, land and naturalizaton records, and military records. The Windows program then helps the user to input, format, and publish the family tree information.

However, there are weaknesses in the current programs, primarily concerning how the information is presented and in how it can be updated and maintained. What frequently happens is that one family member researches, inputs, and publishes their family tree and thereby undertakes the tedious and neverending task of updating and maintaining it. This task is particularly burdensome for large family trees.

Project

To overcome the weaknesses of the current stand-alone programs, our web-based solution will distribute the burden of adding information so that several (possibly many) family members can update and maintain their branch of the family tree. However, write and change permission will be limited to specified family members and to specified portions of the tree. These family members will make their changes remotely through Web pages and the current family tree information will be available on the internet, possibly limiting access to family members by password.

This is a continuation of a project from 2003, see the first project on the Projects page at CS616-Spring2003. See also the associated paper entitled A Web-Based Genealogy System at Research Day 2003. We will first revive this system, and some knowledge of PHP by at least one team member will be necessary to do this. We will obtain new requirements and then design and create a web-based genealogy application with new and improved functionality.

Finally, it might be interesting to develop a business plan for marketing such a Web application. It is not as simple as selling Windows software because users will need space on a server as well as an easy way to upload the changes.