HRE newsletter, July 2018

HRE Database

At the end of April we locked down the design of the HRE database – that is, the design of all the database tables and how they all link together. We say ‘locked down’ somewhat tongue in cheek, as we’ve already had to modify one small area and can see that some other small changes are required. However, the bulk of the structure remains firmly in place.

In addition, the developers have put together a Database Tool which allows us to ‘look inside’ the database, make changes, fix errors and also enable the preloading of some of the initial tables, as required to create an initial ‘seed’ database.


Based on the insights gained from the database definition process, we have embarked on a process of updating the documentation to match the database design and also to add draft screen designs, action flows, error/warning messages and module dependencies to make the developer’s lives a bit easier. This is now largely complete for the first two phases of HRE development.

Meet our lead contributors

Michael Erichsen

Michael Erichsen portrait

Much of the development to date has been led by Michael Erichsen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Michael has over 35 years of computing experience, working for customers on 6 continents in areas like development, operations, systems programming, tools and methods support, technology advice, and solutions architecture using everything from assembler and COBOL over C to Java. He has about 20 years of Java experience and many years of Eclipse experience. He has always been deeply interested in history, and over the last fifteen years has had genealogy as a time-consuming hobby, using TMG and Second Site.

Laney McGlohon

Laney McGlohon portrait

We also welcome Laney McGlohon from California to the team

Laney is currently the Technical Lead for ArchivesSpace, an open-source software platform used by archivists to manage their institution’s collections. She has been writing software for over 35 years, starting out with assembly, C, COBOL, and FORTRAN and now, primarily, Ruby, JRuby, and Rails.  After a decade of developing simulations for missiles and radars for the defence industry, Laney returned to her library roots in 2007 and has been wrangling metadata and developing discovery systems for academic and cultural heritage institutions since then. Laney is also the family genealogist and has been actively researching her family since 2008.

Real Coding

Yes, it’s started! The development team have put together the first real screens of ‘HRE v0.1’ and are starting to flesh out the code behind them.

Meeting with TMG Users

Robin Lamacraft and Don Ferguson travelled to Sydney, Australia in late May to present a session on “A TMG User’s view of HRE”. There were many positive responses from long term serious TMG users, just wishing that they could migrate soon. The obvious comments were about the need for new reports and chart output to assist in DNA studies.

The Flying Architect

Robin Lamacraft portrait

To try and more closely co-ordinate and accelerate this most critical phase of development, HRE’s architect and designer (Robin Lamacraft) is intending to undertake a tour at his own expense to Europe and USA to have face-to face discussions with the development team, far-flung as it is, during the July-August period. We see this as essential to help breakdown some of the time zone delays and to keep code aligned to the HRE design as we put the initial building blocks in place.