J-Bird 0.5.1 Alpha review

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J-Bird project is a database system used for recording observations of birds

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Dick Repasky
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J-Bird project is a database system used for recording observations of birds. Observations might be life ticks or ticks made on a day-to-day basis. The database is structured around the idea of a daily trip or excursion.

Trip data include date, locality, key words or phrases, notes and a region in which the trip occurred. Regions are defined by users. Once trip information has been entered, species can be ticked using either scientific names or common names. Notes may accompany each species observed. J-Bird supports multiple observers.

J-Bird is a work in progress, and it is still quite young. It's alpha software that is not ready for average users. J-Bird is difficult to install. It lacks features that you might expect. Users should consider themselves to be software testers and be prepared for bugs as well as for changes in database structure that could make it difficult to upgrade to newer versions. J-Bird Version 0.5.0

ticks species,
generates trip reports,
counts ticks,
generates lists of observed species such as life-lists
queries ticks to produce tables of sightings that can be exported, and
supports local checklists for ticking.

The master list of species in J-Bird includes family, genus, species and common name. At the moment, J-Bird can use:

a list of world birds that is maintained by Rolf A. de By,
a list of world birds that is maintained by the Commission Internationale des Noms Fran?ais des Oiseaux (CINFO) and provided by Alain Foss?,
the American Ornithologists' Union Checklist of North American Birds, or
a file of comma-separated-values (CSV), a dBASE DBF file, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, a table in a web page, or a relational database that contains fields for family, genus, species and common name.

J-Bird includes pop-up gratifiers. A gold check mark over the Earth comes up for life ticks, and a silver check mark over an island archipelago comes up for region ticks. Ticks are celebrated using sounds, too. These features can be turned off by serious people.

The database will eventually accommodate multiple sets of common names to facilitate use of common names in a variety of languages or coded names such as those used by bird-banding agencies. Common names will also be importable and exportable so that they can be shared with other users.

J-Bird was written in Java to make it easily internationalized and so that it runs on several computer platforms. It should run on any system on which Java version 1.4 or better is available. It has been run successfully on Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, Windows 98 and Windows XP. It will never run on Mac OS < 10 because Apple does provide newer versions of Java on its older operating systems.

The cost of having a program that runs on most computer platforms is speed. J-Bird will run more slowly than other software because it is written in the Java programming language. The extent to which the slowdown is acceptable or even noticeable depends on the type of computer that you have and your expectations. The slowdown will be more noticeable on slow machines and on machines with little memory than it will be on fast machines and on machines with large amounts of memory. J-Bird will probably be unacceptably slow on machines that are slower than 300 megahertz. Some data are appropriate.

The most taxing tasks that J-Bird has done is to start up with common names in the species chooser and switching from scientific names to common names because J-Bird must prepare 9,702 names for display. The following table gives startup times using common names on several machines. (Startup times for scientific names are considerably less.)

Java 1.4.2 or later

What's New in This Release:
This version installs as a native application on Mac OS X.
A few bugs have been fixed on all platforms.

J-Bird 0.5.1 Alpha keywords