Announcing Family.Show 2.0

Three months ago, we launched Family.Show, our first end-to-end reference sample for WPF. Family.Show is a genealogy program that demonstrates the usage of WPF for a complex, realistic scenario. If you're a fledgling WPF developer who wants to pore over some code that demonstrates best practices for application construction, there's nothing better out there today.

In the intervening months, we've had many thousands of downloads of both the binary and the source code. We've had several offers to localize the application into languages ranging from Spanish to Russian, many people have sent in feature requests, and we've had some great feedback about the application itself. Here's a few examples:

  • "This is incredible application. So nice and powerful. That is exactly what I am searching for in applications: Simplicity, Power and Beauty... You cannot imagine how many people was impressed by it, including myself."
  • "This is just a gorgeous program.  The graphics are extremely scalable, the visuals and animations are smooth an appealing, and the overall program design is just so well done."
  • "I really like the Family.Show program. I find it amazing what you've done in such a small program. I currently use Family Tree Maker, but I'm considering switching over. Is this something that going to continue as a growing program, or was this just a one-shot sample of what could be done? I'm hoping for the former, of course."


In answer to the last piece of feedback, we have indeed continued to build this out as a reference sample. There were a number of things we wanted to accomplish with the first release, but as with any software project, we ran out of time. So I'm delighted to announce the release of Family.Show 2.0 - an expanded and updated release that shows off some additional features of WPF. Here's a quick sampling of what's new:

  • We've added theme support; you can now switch the application's skin from the default piano black style to a new gray "moonlight" style. Thanks to the use of WPF resources, transitioning from one skin to another is relatively simple to accomplish;
  • If you're doing a lot of data entry, you can switch to a data grid view that enables editing of cells, sorting and column resizing. This view is based on the ListView control that ships with WPF, and demonstrates how this control can be used for data entry as well as read-only views. The control also offers a filtered view that's similar to the way you can search for emails in Outlook 2007.
  • Once you've entered your family tree, it's interesting to get some other visualizations of the data. On the right hand side of the data screen, you'll see a tag cloud-style view that shows the distribution of surnames across the family, along with age statistics and birthday information. You can use these visualizations as ways to pivot on the data - for example, I can click on one of the bar chart columns that shows age distribution to create a filter for the data grid.
  • When you're editing someone's story, there's now much richer data formatting support - the toolbar now allows you to modify fonts and paragraph formatting using the rich text support in WPF.
  • Lastly, many bugs have been fixed based on the excellent feedback we've received.

In addition to the feature changes, we've now put the code up on CodePlex. Here you'll find a discussion forum and issue tracker so that you can log bugs, enter feature requests or even vote on existing features. You can also download a lengthy whitepaper written by the development team which describes all the hard decisions they had to make and provides a valuable tourist's guide to the source code.

So, try out the new version, and give us your feedback. What do we need to add or change to help you understand WPF? Would you like to see a Silverlight version? Use the issue tracker on CodePlex to let us know.

Once again, my thanks go to the Vertigo team who led the development of this reference sample for us: check out their own Family.Show site, as well as the blogs of two of their developers: Alan and Ralph.

Comments (14)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice idea.

    From a reference sample to a open-source project. Hope to see this application grow…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Si vous suivez l’actualité de WPF ( Windows Presentation Foundation ), vous avez déjà sans doute aperçu

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tim Sneath : Announcing Family.Show 2.0 자신의 족보(가계도)를 만들 수 있는 응용프로그램을 Vertigo에서 WPF로 만들었던 참조 예제인 Family.Show가

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tim Sneath : Announcing Family.Show 2.0 자신의 족보(가계도)를 만들 수 있는 응용프로그램을 Vertigo에서 WPF로 만들었던 참조 예제인 Family

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tim Sneath released new version of Family Show demo application. All those, who were in my presentations,

  6. Tanveer Badar says:

    Super cool! I’ll enter as much of my family tree as I know over the couple of next few days. Be electronic!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I pasted the wrong link….

    You have been dugg:

    Please digg people!

  8. Anonymous says:

    My attetion was caught by you mentioning the intention for a silverlight (wpf/e) version. Hosting the application and genealogical data on the web and letting people view/edit the data. I guess there would be extra work if editing would be allowed: authentication and authorization.

    Luciano Evaristo Guerche (Gorše)

    Taboão da Serra, SP, Brazil

  9. FKruesch says:

    nice. Do I see a datagrid in there? Is this part of the code in CodePlex?



  10. Anonymous says:

    Three months ago, we launched Family.Show, our first end-to-end reference sample for WPF. Family.Show

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Tim,

    It is great the way silverlight development is progressing and I appreciate the efforts of the people involved in the development of silverlight; they are making life for us RIA developers easier.

    However, one main feature I see missing in silverlight, and other RIA technologies, is a platform independent flashWindow() function that would flash or highlight window in the taskbar (or tab) if window or tab is out of the view.

    I believe this feature will come very handy, as it is a common scenario that a user has to wait for the data to arrive from the server and in the mean time likes to work on another window and notified when data arrives.

    As far as I know, the only technology that supports this xul under Firefox. Another way would be to use native API and run the web app as trusted, but most users I surveyed doesn’t like this for web apps. I hope that silverlight resolves this issue.

    Thanks and kind regards,


  12. karl1406 says:

    Very nice job with the application and WPF, "how to."

    Super job!  I learned a good bit and can use some of the techniques for a very large application we have just started.

    Thank you and Microsoft for sharing with the rest of us mortals.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Family.Show Version 1 was released in April in preparation for the MIX 07 conference and version 2 was released in July.

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