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Darrin Lythgoe

Like TNG, the underlying PHP is constantly changing, and new updates are released every few months. Hosting providers don’t always install the latest version right away, but they almost always get to it eventually.

When that happens, there are usually a handful of PHP functions that for whatever reason are no longer supported in the newer version. For example, the “session_register” and “session_unregister” functions were removed a while back, and all the “mysql” functions (like mysql_query) were removed with the jump to PHP 7.0.

I have always tried to keep pace with these changes, removing functions like that from the TNG code before PHP removes them, so if you keep your TNG up to date you shouldn’t experience any problems. If you’re still running an older version of TNG, however, you may suddenly run into trouble if your hosting provider upgrades PHP without notice. It won’t affect every page on your site, but if you happen to execute some of the problem code, you’ll be stopped short. Sometimes you might get a blank page, but most of the time you’ll see an error message like this:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function session_register() in /public_html/genealogy/globallib.php on line 5

It’s possible that a message like this would refer to a TNG problem, like if a key file was missing. If you want to know for sure, do a Google search on the the middle part of the error message (“Call to undefined function session_register()”, in this instance). If it’s just a problem with your TNG files, you probably won’t get many results. If the function named is one that PHP has removed though, you should see several hits referring to that fact, and you can know that it’s time to upgrade TNG.

To get the upgrade at a discount, you can always go back to your previous TNG downloads page. The payment options will be visible in the “TNG Updates” section. If you’ve lost the access info for that page, please feel free to drop me a note.


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Darrin Lythgoe

Translating TNG into other languages

Parts of TNG have already been translated into 21 languages (besides English), but there are quite a few languages that are not supported as of yet. If you have thought about translating TNG into a new language, here’s what you’ll need to do.

First, use an FTP program or the file manager on your site control panel to navigate into the “languages” folder and create a new folder for your new language. You should see folders for all the other languages there, like this:

  • Afrikaans
  • Afrikaans-UTF8
  • Arabic-UTF8
  • Croatian
  • Croatian-UTF8

The “-UTF8″ at the end of some folders means that the files in that folder are UTF-8 encoded. If your data or your new language uses letters or characters outside of the standard 26-character alphabet used in English, you should name your new folder in similar fashion (e.g., “Hebrew-UTF8″).

Next, copy the files from the folder of your native language (use the “-UTF8″ version if your new language will also be using UTF-8) and paste them into your new folder. The files should be named admintext.php, alltext.php and text.php.

Now go in TNG to Admin/Languages and create a new language record for your new language. Select your new language folder in the “Language folder” dropdown box. Put “UTF-8″ in the character set field if your new language will be UTF-8 encoded. Otherwise use “ISO-8859-1″ as the character set. Click the “Help for this area” link for hints on any of the fields or options. Don’t forget to save. Also, if this is the first language record you’ve created under Admin/Languages, you must also create a record for your primary language. If you forget to do that, you won’t be able switch back when you try out your new language later!

Finally (and this is the biggest step), edit the files you pasted into your new folder and translate the messages. You can do this by editing the files right on your site, or you can download them to your computer and edit them there. Be sure to use a pure text editor (not MS Word or anything that will add formatting). Notepad (Windows) and TextEdit (Mac) are good options.

When you’re doing the translations, be sure to translate only the messages and not the “keys”. For example, the messages you see will look something like this:

  • $text[‘family’] = “Family”;
  • $text[‘birth’] = “Birth”;

In these examples, the keys are what you see inside the square brackets. The messages are what you see between the double quotes. In the end, your new translations will look something like this:

  • $text[‘family’] = “сям’я”;
  • $text[‘birth’] = “нараджэння”;

One other thing to remember is that double quotes within the message need to be “escaped” with a backslash. An escaped message looks something like this:

  • $text[‘message’] = “This is an \”escaped\” message”;

If you forget to escape the nested quotes, your site may show only blank pages until you fix it.

When you’re done, save the files and copy them back to your website if necessary. To see your work in action, choose the new language from the language dropdown box on any page of your site. If you weren’t sure of the context while doing the translation, you might want to check to see if any guesses you made were correct, then go back and correct them if necessary.

And one more thing: If you feel inclined to share, I would love to include your new translations in future versions of TNG so others can benefit. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!

 


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Darrin Lythgoe

TNG 11 Feature Highlight: Fan Charts

fanchart2Today I’m putting the spotlight on a feature that’s new in TNG 11, the fan chart. First of all, many thanks go to Ben Wagner, a TNG user who contributed most of the code. Great job, Ben!

To find a fan chart on any TNG 11 site, just search for any individual, then click the Ancestors tab near the top of the page. Finally, click the Fan Chart option on the menu bar just below the tabs.

I love the fan chart because it gives you a great visual sense of a person’s ancestry while making more efficient use of the space than a standard pedigree chart. In other words, there are no empty holes like you get with a large pedigree chart, even when you’re viewing a large number of generations. It’s great for showing off your tree at family reunions.

The primary individual (in the sample image here it’s my grandfather Leo Lythgoe) is at the center in the bottom, with each ring around that person representing a new generation (parents, grandparents, etc.). It’s even color coded for the eight largest families. To see more for a particular individual (like birth, marriage and death dates and places), just hold your mouse pointer over any name shown. Doing that will display a small pop-up window containing the information. Of course you can also jump right to the page of any individual listed there by clicking on their name.

I should also mention that the chart makes good use of the new HTML5 “canvas” element, which lets you draw arcs and show text on an angle. Because of that, you’ll notice that the chart is not an image, it’s just HTML, and that helps keep the bandwidth down.

As with the other TNG ancestry charts, you can choose a different number of generations by adjusting the number just above the chart on the left. And if you love the fan chart an extra large amount, you can go to Admin/Setup/Chart Settings/Pedigree Chart and set the Initial Display so that the fan chart is the first chart you see whenever you click the Ancestors tab for any person on your site.

And now that you’re done reading this, click the image above to jump to the actual page and see the fan chart in action.

So what else would you like to see on this blog? Please comment!


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Darrin Lythgoe

gensoftreviews2016For the eighth year in a row, TNG is a winner of the GenSoftReviews Users Choice AwardTNG is one of only six programs to do that. Thanks to all of you for all the wonderful reviews!

Awards are presented to all programs achieving a 4.00 or more star rating
based on 10 or more total user reviews with at least one review in the qualifying year. TNG had 136 total reviews in 2016 and received an average rating of 4.87 stars. That was ninth best among more than 250 different programs that received at least one review. Most of the programs ranked above TNG had fewer than 20 reviews.

More information on the awards can be found at GenSoftReviews (full rankings at http://www.gensoftreviews.com/rankings.php). A press release on the subject can be found at GeneaPress.

All GenSoftReviews for TNG are posted at http://www.gensoftreviews.com/?p=825.


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Darrin Lythgoe

More TNG Tutorials

A few months back I highlighted a few of Jim Benedict’s TNG “how to” articles (specifically the ones relating to GEDCOM imports & exports). Now I’m going to mention a few more that spotlight the new features in TNG 11. Even if you’ve had version 11 for a while now, these posts may help you get to know these features a little better. Thanks Jim!

TNG v.11: TNG and DNA Tests
Managing DNA results, and linking your test results to the people in your trees.

TNG v.11: Admin menu now shows category totals
A better way to keep track of all your totals (people, families, media, etc.).

TNG v.11: Heat Maps
A thematic method of visualizing the global locations of your surnames and places.

TNG v.11: Fan Charts
A colorful new way to display your ancestral tree, with your family roots laid out in ever widening arches.

TNG v.11: Data validation
Using TNG to spot possible problems in your data.

Once again, you can see all of Jim’s posts at http://tng.one-name.net/.


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Darrin Lythgoe

Moving your TNG site to a new host

A lot of people have asked me lately how they’d go about moving their TNG site to a new site without losing any data. In a nutshell, here’s what you’d have to do:

1. Back up your TNG data, either with TNG (under Admin/Utilities) or with phpMyAdmin (on your site control panel or “cPanel”; recommended for larger sites). The TNG backup creates a series of .bak files in the “backups” folder on your site. If you use phpMyAdmin, you should end up with a large .sql file on your computer.

2. Download all the TNG files and folders from your old site. If you used TNG to do the backup, the backup files will be included here.

3. Upload all the same files to your new site.

4. Use the “Express” option on the readme.html page on your new site to install TNG again. You might need to create a new MySQL database, and the installation will ask you for the connection info. After creating the TNG tables, you can skip the rest of the installation.

5. Now restore your data on the new site. If you backed up with TNG, restore the data from Admin/Utilities. If from phpMyAdmin, go there on your new site and import the .sql file you created earlier.

That’s it. Now you should be up and running on the new site with all the same data, including user accounts.


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Darrin Lythgoe

A Few TNG Tutorials

If you’ve seen the TNG Facebook page , you may have also seen Jim Benedict posting a lot of helpful “how to” articles on various TNG-related topics. You can see them all on his site at http://tng.one-name.net/, but I’d like to spotlight some of them here as well. Today I’m going to highlight all of the ones relating to “Trees” (as defined in TNG) and the importing and exporting of GEDCOM files:

How to import a GEDCOM
Getting all your family data into TNG, including an explanation of the Import screen options.

Exporting a GEDCOM to TNG
A few words on the process of preparing your data for import, along with some useful tools.

Adding and deleting Trees
A “Tree” in TNG is a container for your GEDCOM data. Here Jim talks about creating and editing these containers.

Trees and GEDCOM downloads
How to allow or prevent users from downloading GEDCOM files from the trees on your site.

How importing a GEDCOM is different from uploading
Examining the different parts of the import process.

 


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Darrin Lythgoe

TNG 11: Feature Preview

tng-title11TNG 11 is almost here! The currently estimated release date is about March 16 or 17, 2016. This major upgrade includes nearly a hundred fixes, enhancements and new features. Here’s a summary of the most significant changes:

  • DNA: Aid your research by keeping track of DNA tests taken by the people in your tree. Enter the specifics once and link them to those affected.
  • Fan Charts: A fan-oriented chart of ancestors can now be displayed for each person in your tree.
  • Data Validation: Several preconfigured validation reports will help you spot potential errors in your data.
  • New Design: Another new template has been added.
  • Family Chart: This view shows a person’s spouse, children and parents all together on one page in graphical fashion.
  • Mobile-Friendly: More improvements here will make your site even more usable on mobile devices.
  • Administration: Enhancements to the Admin menu show quick totals for all data categories, plus an “Important Tasks” area to remind administrators of items that need attention.
  • Heat Maps: Color codes on the Places, Surnames and Search Results pages now show the global distribution of surnames and places.
  • Search: A Google search page now allows you to search across your entire site using Google’s indexes.
  • Timeline: The Simile Timeline layout has been redesigned to be more readable, with separate bands for family and general events.
  • Compatibility: Pro-active changes will make sure TNG remains compatible with the latest versions of PHP.

You’ll be able to get the upgrade at a discount ($14.99) by going back to your previous downloads page. If you’ve lost the URL or access info, send me a message at darrin@lythgoes.net and I’ll send it to you again. If you only purchased TNG or the v10 upgrade recently (in the past 6 months), you’ll be eligible to get the upgrade for free.

Also take note that Simply Hosting does not install upgrades. A helpful 15-minute video will be available to walk you through the process, but there will also be an option to pay an extra $15 to have the upgrade installed for you. If you’re doing the upgrade yourself, take a minute to review the post here from the v10 release on helpful tips for a successful upgrade.


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