RMC: Creating a Database and Installing TNG

Alright folks, today is the big day! Are you ready to install TNG? I do have to warn you, you will have to have some kind of webhosting. If you haven’t found one yet, you just have to be sure that they support PHP and MySQL, and if you’re paying for a webhost that doesn’t support them, you should probably switch. There are great options. I use Dreamhost, but have used others in the past. I believe Darrin has some recommedations at the TNG website, so check those out if you haven’t already!

Before we start, other then webhosting you will need at least one other program for installing. If you want to delve into customization, then I recommend a second program also for editing. We aren’t going to get into that today though. Today is just the nuts and bolts of getting TNG installed for the first time.

The program you’ll definitely need is an FTP program. I currently use FileZilla, but there are many free FTP programs out there that work just the same. If you’ve set up a webhost, they should have sent you a login for an FTP program.

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Okay, what you see above is my FileZilla window. All I did to bring up the Site Manager was go to the File menu at the top of the program. Site Manger is the very first option. My host is my domain, but this could also be an FTP server name. Your webhost will tell you this in your introductory e-mail.  Then all I do is plug in my username and password for Dreamhost and hit connect!

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Once you’re connected, you should have your personal computer on one side (left in this example) and your webserver on the other side (right in this example). As you can see, there is a folder in my FTP with the name of my domain. This is the folder where my TNG and WordPress are currently installed. All I did to make a test section of my website was to create a new folder entitled “test” in my moore-mays.org folder. It’s just like working with Windows Explorer.

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Okay, now we find on our computer where we unzipped the TNG files. In this case I just put them on the Desktop for easy finding. I like to keep only my ‘To Do’ items on the desktop to keep it clear. If you have a cluttered desktop, then this might not be the place to put it. Shortcuts don’t count, only files and folders!

Once I have navigated to the TNG folder, I hit Ctrl + A to select everything. Now here comes the complicated part. I clicked the files and dragged them over to the webserver side of the FTP program and let go! WAM! You should see the files start to transfer. It will take a few minutes to go through, so while it’s doing that you can take a break and pat yourself on the back for getting this far! You’re almost there!

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Now that we have all the files uploaded onto our domain, it’s time to install. To get to the install page you just browse to ‘http://www.yourdomain.com/readme.html’. The only trick here is if you’ve installed TNG into a subfolder, you add that subfolder into the address. I currently have TNG installed on my main domain and then WordPress in a subfolder, however this varies from person to person. I’d love to hear from someone who has integrated before on whether the installation place matters!

I always do the Express Installation, so I’ll walk you through that one. If you would like Darrin to explain things as you go, then go ahead and choose Regular! However, since I’m going to explain things too, I didn’t think you needed both of us doing it at the same time. ;)

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Okay, as you can see, we’ve done step one and two. Step three is to set permissions. You do that with just a quick click of the button. Basically in order for the program to modify and change files it needs the right permission to do so. It’s only changing it on a few files, so it shouldn’t take more then a few seconds.

The next step is setting up the backup and gedcom folders. These folders are used to store gedcoms you import and your database backups. For security reasons, it’s smart to change the name of these folders to something that is not easily guessed so that not just anyone can download your files or browse to them on the web. I’ve named mine tweedledee and tweedledum in this case, just because I wanted to be silly. In the past I’ve named them things that weren’t obvious but related to what the functions are so I would know them when I saw them.

Step 5 is important. The program defaults to English (ISO-8859-1), which is perfectly fine. However, if you want multi-language support, you might be better off using UTF-8. As was explained in Tamura Jones “Installing TNG on Windows” tutorial, UTF-8 allows more support for some additional characters.

2/12/2012: I’ve received a little guidance from Tamura, I understand I made a mistake when I said using the default setting on TNG’s install was “perfectly fine.” As I’ve been teaching myself most of what I learn about this web design and programming stuff, sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. The difference between the default and UTF-8 is very big. UTF-8 will insure there are no limitations to the coding and additions you make to your website. You can read more specifics at this article by Tamura. I didn’t understand at first, but when it was explained to me the way it was, it became much clearer to me.

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If you use UTF-8, you will have to download the UTF-8 fonts from the TNG download page and FTP them into the Font folder. In my screen capture I show the utf8fonts folder, but it’s the contents that you click and drag into the font folder! They should have folders named the exact same as the ones already there, you’re just adding files to these folders.

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Okay, now here’s where we have to learn how tocreate a database. It’s not as hard as you might think though! *You’ll want to open a new tab or browser window for this step.* Your webhost has a panel where you can do all sorts of crazy things with your new webspace. Some use their own panels (like my host, Dreamhost), and most use something called cPanel. The important thing to do is look for something in your panel that says “MySQL Databases”. For Dreamhost customers it’s under the Goodies section. For cPanel users it should be under “Databases”.

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Here is the Dreamhost version of creating a new database. I named my database something that is relevant to what it will be. If you delve into more databases like with WordPress, then it’s always good to be able to identify what each database actually is.

For Dreamhost, the hostname is unique to the user. Most webhosts use the “localhost” as the MySQL hostname. However, it will say that when you go to create your database, so pay attention to this step and write down all the information about your database if you’re worried about not knowing what you will need later.

If you’ve never had a database before, then most likely you will need to create a new username and password for this database. You can reuse the username and password for more databases, just be sure to remember your password! In the Dreamhost screen, this is all done at one time and in one click. When you’ve got everything filled out, go ahead and click “Add new database”.

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Success! Now I go back to my TNG installation tab and I fill in the necessary fields from my spanking new database.

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If your database is setup correctly, when you click save and verify, it’ll feel really good when you get the confirmation! I’ve made dozens of databases and I still get happy when I see that it’s connecting and working right!

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Now we’re in the home stretch! Step 7 is to create tables. These are actually the structure to your online family tree. In the regular installation you can customize the table names, but I’m not worried so much about that. I like being able to identify what each section is. The tables are going to be the main sections of the software. Basically, the Folders that hold your information. So I just let the software create the tables how they wanted to be created.

Step 8 is creating your first user. The first user is going to be the first administrator on your account. So this should always be you. Not Cousin Bob, but you.

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Steps 9 and 10 are to create a tree and select a template. In the Express Installation, it won’t let you do these steps until you log into your site at the admin.php page. It doesn’t say this, but the Regular Installation has an extra step where it has you go through the Admin menu, so we’ll go there now.

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Logging in…

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And now we’re onto the fun part! Now is where you can really start playing, but I’ll just show really quick how easy it is to get this up and going.

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Under the Import/Export section, I selected a GEDCOM of my current website (exported directly from TNG 8.1.3). Then I click Add New Tree and set up a new tree. Since this is just a test section of the website, I’m not going to add my address, but I can if I wanted to. If I select “Keep Owner Information Private”, then Administrators of the website are the only ones who will be able to see that address.

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Below the Import features, there are parameters you can set for replacing information. I don’t usually use these. I like to change things manually in my website, but there are options to “Replace Only if Newer” and “Import Media”. Again, I haven’t used these so I’m unsure of the results.

Once you’ve gone through those, you can go ahead and click “Import Data”.

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Now that I have a tree setup, I’m going to try out the new template settings page! There was a template selection drop down menu added in the last version of version 8, but it was a simple selection and no option to modify the template.

Boy has that changed! I selected one of the new templates, Template 11. I changed the options on the Title (not in screenshot, I caught it later, OOPS!), the labels and the IDs.

You’ll notice it has a person ID and tree ID option for each “side”. For the sake of this test, I just uploaded my Moore tree, so I chose Grandpa Moore’s ID number of I0010 (My numbers are manually synced with my RootsMagic and FTM2012 files) and Grandma’s number of I0011. The tree ID is the ID I just gave my new Tree in the last step. So I fill all that in and hit save!

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I now have a full functional genealogy website! Even though this is a beautiful template, I’ll be going through the process of my own design in the new few weeks/months!

I hope I’ve helped anyone who would like to install TNG and get going! If you’d like to click around you can visit the test site from this tutorial at : http://www.moore-mays.org/test

Okay, that’s all for today! I have to get on the treadmill so I won’t be fixing any typos until after that. I’ve read through once but that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss any! Hopefully I made sense. :)

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Darrin Lythgoe or TNG. I just LOVE the software. I also wanted to show people how easy it is to install. I’ve been a satisfied user for over 4 years… I think, I don’t remember exactly, but it’s been awhile. The link to Dreamhost Webhosting is an affiliate link. If you click that link, sign up and stay past 97 days, Dreamhost gives me $97. However, I’ve only gotten that twice in 6 years, so it’s not exactly a means of employment. I’m just being up front. If you don’t want to sign up with them, don’t. If you do but don’t want me getting $97 then just go to their page without clicking the link. I’m also not associated with FileZilla. I just needed a free FTP program and they fulfilled my need. No compensation given or expected from them.

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3 thoughts on “RMC: Creating a Database and Installing TNG”

  1. It would be nice if you could address database connection error. There is nothing on the web for troubleshooting this problem. I’m frustrated as heck.

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