For about the past 10 years, there has been a new version each year. From what I have seen, in the past 5 or 6 years, these new versions of gone thru User Beta tests before. With 2008, this is the first Public Beta.
Version 3.4, when I started, thru Version 11, the interface was much the same with many features added along the way. A couple of these versions did have patches that were downloadable from the Help Menu.
The interface changed quite a bit with 2005, 2006, and Version 16. Version 2006 was released in August, as I recall, of 2005. Version 16 and 2006 were much the same and not much was added.
As you may have seen, 2008 is very different. From what I have seen, the structure within the program, the stuff we can't see, has been around since the DOS days. 2008 was a completely new program, from the ground up. Again, from what I can tell, the reason that some of the features aren't in 2008 that have been in previous versions, was they were more complicated and need more time. But, and this is only a guess, the adding of new features will be easier, going forward.
If you want to see the History of Family Tree Maker
Please go to this website:http://pastftm.custhelp.com/
In the "Search for Answers" box, enter
and you will see a Knowledge Base Article that should help you.
Please return to this website for more details about the Beta:http://beta.familytreemaker.com/