I needed a web app to share pedigree charts with my sister on the other side of the country, so I wrote one. It’s called Pedigree, and all I have to do now is fill in the chart online, save it, and send the URL to my sister.

Here’s what the pedigree looks like:

You can put anything you want in the boxes, actually, which means you can do family pedigree charts that look like this:

Or you can make a chart listing each person’s occupation, or their age at death, or whatever else you want. It’s flexible.

Pedigree is still very much a work in progress — you can only do three-generation charts for now, and all pedigree charts are public to anyone who knows the URL, you need a Google Account to sign in, and the code isn’t very beautiful — but it’s a start.

Behind the scenes

I took those table-based pedigree charts I worked on a few years ago and wrote a Python program to automatically generate them, then expanded it into a Google App Engine app yesterday.

The Pedigree code is open source and is on Github. If anyone wants to help out, feel free to tackle any of the issues posted there. (I also feel compelled to add that the chart display algorithm isn’t particularly beautiful.)

I do plan to extend it eventually to take JSON or XML input so you can automatically generate a pedigree from another program, rather than having to type it in manually. And I want to come up with a better manual input method.