Forgot your TNG login? Here’s what you can do:

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 three 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.

2c. A third option is to insert a brand new record in the tng_users table. Create a record with full admin rights (all “allow” fields set to “1” and the “gedcom” field left blank), also with the password_type field set to “none” (the word “none”, no quotes), then log in with that account. Once you’re in, reset the password on your old account and then delete this 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.

Tips for a Successful Upgrade

TipsForUpgradeWith 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 (darrin@lythgoes.net).

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.

WordPress Hints

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:

Kloosterman-websiteHow 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.

Map of TNG Users

tngmapTwo 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 tngmap@teige.de 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!

New “TNG Colouring Book”

a25ReklamThere’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!

New version: TNG 9.2.2

A small update (9.2.2) is now available on the TNG 9 downloads page. If you already have 9.0.0 or higher, this is a free upgrade. A complete list of changes can be found at the bottom of the downloads page.

Most of the changes are small bug fixes, but there are a few minor enhancements as well. The most significant of those is the ability to reuse deleted IDs. This will be especially beneficial to those who have imported small GEDCOM files from other sources, only to find that the ID numbers used in that file were very large, thus causing all new ID numbers to be in the same range.

As for how it’s done, TNG will now search from 1 to find the first available ID number (before it always took the higher number and added 1). When it finds an unused ID, it will store that number in a cookie, so that it doesn’t have to check as many numbers much next time. That does mean of course that if your cookie is at 100 and you delete person 50, TNG will not find that slot until you clear your cookies again.

As usual, please remember to follow the upgrade instructions, and take care not to install the full version if you’re trying just to upgrade. :)

The “Share” feature

Did you know you could share your TNG pages in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Google+, right from your site? The feature is turned off by default, so I’m sure that more than a few of you are unaware of it. To turn it on, go to Admin/Setup/General Settings/Site Design & Definition, then set “Show Share Link” to Yes. Now you should see a “Share” link near the top of every page in the public area. Click that link and a row of popular social media buttons will fly out, allowing you to share the current page on one or more of them. The “Share” link also changes to “Hide”, so click it again to conceal the buttons.

sharebuttons

Backing up your work in TNG

Every now and then, someone tells me that they made a mistake during a GEDCOM import, or that they installed the full version instead of the upgrade, or that something else happened to cause them to lose their data. When that happens, the first thing I ask is always, “Did you have a backup?”

More often than not, however, there is no backup. In fact, I’m surprised at the number of people who have never backed up their data. Even if you never make any mistakes with your data, there’s always the chance that something out of your control could happen, and without a backup, you could lose months or years of work.

The easiest way to do a backup is to log into your TNG Admin area and go into the Utilities section. From there you can back up all the tables at once, or you can do them one at a time. Either way, you should see a date there indicating the last time you did a backup (if you don’t see a date, you’ve never done one!).

backups

While you’re there, it’s also a good idea to back up the table structure (the second tab). If for some reason an upgrade adds a new field in the wrong order or fails to delete an obsolete field, or if a mod you installed is responsible for something like that, then the layout of your backup files might not match the default table structure. If this has happened to you, and if you ever move your site to a new host and try to restore your backups there, you could have a problem. Having a backup of the table structure could save you there.

Once you’ve backed up a table, a file with the extension “.bak” is created in the backups folder on your site. For a little extra insurance, use an FTP program or an online file manager to download those .bak files to your computer for safe keeping.

There are other ways to back up your data, and some might be better than the one I just described, depending on your situation. For example, if your database becomes extremely large (we’re talking more than 100,000 names), then TNG’s built-in backup utility might time out on you. You can read more on these other methods on the TNG Wiki.

Whichever methods you use, make it a point to do backups regularly. If you install an upgrade, do another backup immediately afterward, as a backup done before the upgrade may no longer work completely if the upgrade altered the table structure.

Restoring a backup

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to restore a backup you made within TNG, just go back to the Admin/Utilities page. As with backups, you can restore all the tables, or any subset you require.