For the eighth year in a row, TNG is a winner of the GenSoftReviews Users Choice Award! TNG 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.
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/.
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.
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.
TNG 11 is here! 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 can 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
If you’ve forgotten your TNG admin login, here are a few things you can try to regain access to your site:
1. Go to the TNG login page (either on the public side or the admin side) and use the form there to ask TNG to email you your username or (if you know that already) a new password (your password is encrypted in the database, so it can’t send you that). The message should arrive within a minute or two. If you don’t see it, that could mean that you never entered an email address, or your address has changed since you set up your account, or maybe that your host is not allowing TNG to send email. In any case, if the mail doesn’t arrive, you’ll need to try something else.
2. Log in to your site control panel (not part of TNG) and find a tool there called phpMyAdmin (ask your provider to point you to it if you don’t see it right away). Launch that tool, then find your database on the left side and click on it to select it. Once the tables appear, click on the tng_users table to display all of your user accounts. At this point you have two choices:
2a. Delete all of the records in the tng_users table. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to enter the TNG admin menu without a login (so do it quick and recreate your accounts).
2b. Alternately, you could edit your account record, take note of the username, then change the password_type field to “none” (no quotes). Next, edit the password field and change it to something you’ll remember, then log into TNG with that password. Now your password will *not* be encrypted in the database. If that doesn’t bother you, you can leave it as it is. If it does, then go in TNG to Admin/Users and create a new admin account for yourself and delete the old one.
3. If you can’t find phpMyAdmin or can’t figure out how to use it, you can ask me to do it for you. If you do that, know that I will need access to your site control panel, so you can save us a step by sending me that login to begin with.
With TNG 10 being released today (Feb. 12, 2014), I thought I’d take a minute to go over some of the things to watch out for while you’re upgrading your site. All of these apply no matter which version you’re installing.
Install the upgrade, not the full version. When you get to the v10 downloads page, the first link near the top will be for brand new TNG users. What you want is a little further down in the Updates section. Also take note that a new version of the full version readme.html file will be included with your upgrade, but the installation instructions for the upgrade will be in a different file. The name of that file will be listed next to the download link. For example, if you’re coming from version 9, the file will be called readme9x-1000.html or readme922-1000.html. If you accidentally open readme.html, it should warn you that you’re about to install the full version. If you see that, go back! Installing the full version on top of an existing install will cause you to lose your data and your customizations.
Make sure you choose the right upgrade. Before you begin, go to your TNG Admin menu and look at the top of the screen. It should say there what your current version is. Anything that starts with “9” (like 9.0.1 or 9.1.1) counts as “9.x”. You will see links for several different upgrades on the v10 downloads page. Be sure to get the one most appropriate for your currently installed version. If you have v8 but you install the upgrade for users with 9.x, you will likely notice errors when you’re done.
Don’t forget the backup. At the top of the instructions, you’re advised to back up your key files (mainly the configuration files, like config.php, pedconfig.php, etc., but also any others that you may have customized). If you do make a mistake at some point, having a backup can save you a lot of headaches. Once the upgrade is finished and everything is running smoothly, back up your tables again.
Remember to view the upgrade readme from your browser, not your home computer. One of the first steps is to upload the files to your site. After that, you need to load the instructions again from your site. In other words, if your site is www.mysite.com and you’re upgrading from 9.0.1, open your web browser and go to http://www.mysite.com/readme9x-1000.html from there. If you continue with the local copy you opened immediately after downloading, some of the later steps won’t work.
Don’t skip any steps. A lot of people think they just have to upload the files, but there’s a little more to it than that. The step most people still skip is the one relating to database structure changes (if you see a bunch of database query errors after installing the upgrade, this is probably what you did). There’s usually just a simple link you have to click. Doing that will open another page that runs through a list of database updates. Depending on the version you had previously, some of the items may say “Failed or done previously”. Don’t be alarmed if you see some of those.
Update your template. OK, this step can be a little confusing. Prior to TNG 8.1, templates were installed by uploading the template files directly into the main TNG folder, overwriting the existing files with the same names. Since 8.1, however, the template files have all been moved to a folder called “templates”. If you’ve been around since before 8.1 and want to keep your old template, there are a few extra hoops to jump through, and those are explained in the instructions.
Also, if any of you have tinkered with your template files (not the Template Settings or the mytngstyle.css style sheets) and you want to keep those customizations, then you’ll probably want to merge your changes in with the latest files. Some of the new features won’t work unless you’re using the latest template files.
For most people, however, this should be simple. Just upload the entire “templates” folder from the upgrade and that’s it.
- Clear your browser cache. Once you’re done, go into your browser settings or preferences and clear the cache (or “temporary Internet files”). Until you do that, your browser might decide to hang on to some of the old pages, and that could present a conflict. Some features might not work. The instructions for clearing the cache vary from one browser to another, so do a Google search on this if you’re not sure how to do it.
If you still have issues and you think you may have botched the instructions, feel free to ask for help from me or the user list (tngusers2). If you think you might have found a program bug, please contact me directly (email@example.com).
Despite the possible pitfalls described here, the upgrade process should be fairly easy. If you’re still sure you won’t be able to do the upgrade yourself, there are other options though. Simply Hosting no longer does upgrades, but I can do it for an extra $15, and others could be hired as well. I might be swamped at first if too many people request this, so please be patient.
Thinking of integrating TNG into your WordPress installation? The advantage of that is that users who need to log into both environments only have to do it once. Anyway, if you need some hints on how to do it, you might try one of these resources:
How I made my TNG-WP site
Cees Kloosterman discusses how he went about the integration. According to Cees, the great advantage of his method is that you are not restricted to the one sidebar theme layout. Any theme design (1, 2, no sidebars, menu anywhere) will work.
Using TNG and WordPress with the tng-wordpress-plugin
A very thorough approach by Roger Moffat, detailed on the TNG Wiki. In fact, scroll down a bit to see a full write-up on Roger’s site right here on this blog.
Anyone know of any others? Please post them in the comments here.
Two TNG users from Germany, Olaf Teige and Martin Pannier, have started putting together a map of TNG users. As you can imagine, it’s heavily weighted toward people from their neighborhood at the moment. It would be great to see who else is out there. If you’d like to add yourself to the map, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your location (city, state/province and country), along with your name and site URL. Let’s see how many pins we can get!
There’s a new TNG template-editing tool (just released today) that you might want to check out. It’s called the “TNG Colouring Book”, and the link is http://xerxx.se/tcb/.
It’s written by TNG user Erik Hoppe, and basically it allows you to more easily customize the color scheme of your TNG template. You select a template, then click on the area of the screen that you want to customize. A small legend area on the right shows you what area(s) you’ve selected (you can also select an area with the radio buttons under the legend).
Once you have an area selected, use the controls along the bottom to change the colors or just tinker with the RGB values. When you’ve got something, you can use the Test features to see how it looks on a real page, and when you’re happy with the result, click “Make CSS” and it will spit out the code for you to paste in your template’s mytngstyle.css file (specific instructions are included at the top of the code).
Very cool, if you ask me. It’s also free, although if you’re able to make good use of this tool, Erik would appreciate any donation you can throw his way.
Go take a look! Thanks Erik!