Modified Default Format, Copy and Pasting Sources, Census Reports.

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Simon Robbins

Feb 9, 2024, 1:55:25 PMFeb 9
to GEDitCOM II Discussions
Over the years I have created a number of formats, scripts and reports which I believe may have been of use to others. From time to time I have been asked questions about editing or changing them or comments about the fact that they are no longer compatible, and that seems to have increased recently. Particularly from and

Can I put it on record that you can do whatever you want to do with them!! I don't care! That's why they are freely available and not in anyway locked. I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I did want to protect them, which I most definitely don't.

The most recent Modified Default Format which contains the Copy and Paste Sources script (and another for Events which I don't think has been mentioned) is available for download from the site. I am aware that it may no longer be 100% compatible but I have seen comments that this may be to do with AppleScript. I'm not sure that is true, but maybe. It could probably be improved with the new internal scripting features or by using Python or Ruby.  I know little about Applescript and virtually nothing of the other options, it was all done by trial and error.

More likely is that it was probably last updated when Catalina was the current OS. Also it uses Pashua in some of the scripts to enhance dialogs and that software is no longer being developed. And it was definitely created before GEDitCOM supported the lasest (5.5.5?) version of GEDCOM and was still on 5.1 or something. The latter is the most likely.

The most recent Census report script is also available on although John has edited that slightly to default to US censuses whereas my original defaulted to UK. I saw a comment somewhere where someone has already made a change to include the 1921 Census. Great! Can I have a copy of that please. Why isn't that on the GEDitCOM downloads? Maybe it is, I don't know. That script also relies on Pashua and som externally published javascript to handle the column sorting etc. That may one day stop working as well so it would be good if all that could be done internally as well but I wouldn't know where to start.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, stop worrying about what you can and can't do, no one is going to sue you, I'm not American, do whatever you want!

Simon 😂

Jay Fletcher

Feb 9, 2024, 11:34:58 PMFeb 9
to GEDitCOM II Discussions
Hi Simon,

Thanks for your note. I found the Modified Default Format browser style on the GEDitCOM website, and I've been using the copy and paste sources functions. I had to install Pashua to get it to work, but that was easy. It looks like there is a lot more functionality available, and I plan to explore what is there. I'm sorry if I was spreading rumors about whether it is compatible with GEDitCOM version 3. At this point I can't say how compatible it is or is not. Thank you for your efforts to provide something useful and for sharing it. If I can make significant improvements, I will do the same.


Simon Robbins

Feb 10, 2024, 7:33:08 AMFeb 10
to GEDitCOM II Discussions
Hi Jay,

Glad you find the Modified Format useful. No need to apologise, you're probably right there probably are incompatibilities between the format and the latest GEDitCOM. But I don't think it's anything to do with anything Apple has done to Applescript, or John has done to GEDitCOM and it's certainly nothing to do with me changing anything as I haven't touched it for several years. I think the issues will end up being traced to the actual change in the GEDCOM standard. There are a number of new TAGs available in the new standard which weren't available previously and any formatting in my Format won't have taken account of those. However, I believe the way John has created GEDitCOM should mean that none of that data would be lost in my format. They would merely be treated as any other unrecognised tags without any special formatting. Likewise any scripts looking at the data may not be recognising new tag types which might cause them to behave unpredictably.

There is also the issue of Pashua. A fantastic little app which enables people writing Applescript, Python, Ruby and a number of other scripting languages to easily create (must be if I can do it!) dialog boxes with several inputs where Applescript etc tend to have very limited options. The problem with it is that it has not been developed for many years and I'm sure Apple will break it one day with one of their OS updates.

There's also some Java Script in some of the reports, like the census and timeline ones I wrote, which enable the sorting/filtering of columns. But I think that should be fairly robust and longlasting, or at least I hope so.

I believe that the Modified format should continue to work fine as is just without the new GEDCOM 5.5.1 tags or whatever the current version is. If you wanted to add those tags to the Modifed Default format I guess the next question is, is it easier to add all the new tags to the current Modified format. Or modify the current Default Format from John to include all the changes I made in the Modified one. Best of luck!

By the way, and I'm not on commission honest😄, there  is a fantastic tool that I found invaluable when comparing changes John had mad to the Default format to my Modified one called Kaleidoscope It makes identifying the differences between two files/folders an absolute breeze and facilitates copying bits of code from one to the other or vice versa equally simple. I couldn't have worked without it.

If you ever want to get into Applescript as well there is a great App called Scriptdebugger  Again, I couldn't do without it. A little expensive but boy is it better than Apple Script Editor. You can step through a script line by line and when it fails you know exactly when and where and why it didn't work rather than just knowing it crashed. I wish I could find something as good for Python or indeed John's own internal scripting.


John Nairn

Feb 10, 2024, 10:11:32 AMFeb 10
I did make progress on updating Modified Default Format to 5.5.1 (which has numerous, but mostly minor changes. I got stuck with Pashua (I think I had just removed those options) and language setting. I have lost track of where I was, but recall the last test had some problems. I will take a look again.

Converting the census report to an internal script might be interesting. It could work with javascript. I will look to see how nard that would be.

John Nairn

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