Tips for large databases

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Revision as of 10:18, 10 October 2011 by Romjerome (talk | contribs) (Avoid relationhip calculation)
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Large data files, what to do, and what not to do.

Loading the file

For small files, you can work on GEDCOM or GRAMPS XML format. This works great. However, these formats are completely loaded in your computer memory so, for larger files, this becomes slow and might bring your computer to a standstill.

Therefore, you should only handle large files by using the GRAMPS GRDB format. You do this by creating a new GRDB file and importing the large file into it. This can take a long time, so do it in the evenings! If you enable database transactions in the Edit->Preferences->General menu tab, the importing of data will then be much faster.

Also if you have a file that large it might be prudent to break up file into smaller pieces (i.e. Maternal & Paternal lines in different files, if they are not interrelated) so you only have to use a smaller file.

Default view: bookmarks and active person

As there are many people, loading the person view might take some time. See a comparison of performance on large datasets, between different GRAMPS versions.

You can circumvent this load time by going to the relationships view before opening the grdb file. This will open the active person and their family extremely fast, independent of the amount of data you gathered.

You can add bookmarks to common people, or in the branch you are researching. This allows to change person in the relationships view without the need to activate the person in the person view first.

Avoid general filters

Filters search all the data looking for the people who satisfy your query. Try to avoid this on large files.

Search letters

Fast search can be done by enabling column search (disable Sidebar on View menu), but this will search all letters on words into the column, not only the first letters.

For a surname search:

  • click on a person in the people view. Now start typing the family name of the person you need. The view will automatically go to the family name as you complete your typing.
  • for a more detailed search, click CTRL-F first. This will expand all the nodes and allows to search more specifically.

Flat views are faster than Tree views

Using a large database and person treeview needs to often rebuild the view. Flat person view (list) is faster.

Avoid relationship calculation

Under the preferences dialog, go the to tab item, and select the option to display the "name" on the status bar instead of the "relationship with the home person".

Please contribute

If you have more tips for working with large databases, please share them here.