Just as I had lost hope that Reunion 9 would ever be updated, version 10 was released. Given that I just recently did a comparison of Reunion 9 to RootsMagic 5, I figured I ought to do a short note on how Reunion 10 compares.
It’s certainly prettier than Reunion 9. Instead of a main family card window with a lot of auxiliary windows flowing around it, there is one window with two sidebars. This makes it a little easier to find things. Navigating around the tree is easier and this feels generally improved to the way things were before.
One of my biggest hopes was the program would be less modal when editing. This is a bit true but you can still only edit one individual at a time. This continues to be a major weakness in most of the desktop genealogy programs I have used. Unfortunately, to make matters worse, Reunion 10 forgoes version 9′s “save” and “cancel” buttons with a single “done” button. This wouldn’t be a problem on its own except that it doesn’t implement the multilevel undo that needs to exist when it is otherwise impossible to cancel an edit. Editing has now become significantly more dangerous in Reunion 10 and this is a major step backwards in data safety.
One of the major features missing in Reunion 9 was mapping and version 10 adds this in. You can geotag using a name look up or by entering coordinates directly. Unfortunately, you can’t geocode by selecting a location on the map directly making the feature much less useful than it would have been. It’s a step in the right direction but it’s not complete enough to be particularly useful. On the plus side, place management has become much easier with the ability to drag and drop to merge places.
Source management hasn’t changed. The application still lacks any concept of master source or repository (the latter is a major oversight). It has the same, very flexible, template system that version 9 has and while it is quite flexible, there isn’t much help with standard template formats.
Stability has taken a large step backwards. Reunion 9 was very stable and I can’t recall it ever crashing on me. Reunion 10 crashed three times in the first hour of usage.
Reunion continues to be the most capable of the Mac genealogy applications but it’s glacial update rate and its rigid conformance to one-at-a-time editing make it a tough recommendation. There really isn’t anything on the Mac that is as user-friendly or as capable but it continues to force the user into an editing model that feels like a straight jacket. While Reunion 10 is a major upgrade over Reunion 9, it doesn’t feel big enough given the time between updates. It feels rushed out the door and given how long they’ve had to work on it that doesn’t inspire confidence.
If it sounds like I have a love/hate relationship with it, that’s certainly true. It’s pretty good and it could be utterly fantastic but the few things it gets wrong continue to drive me crazy.