there are a bunch of great tools* that i have been using on my computer and on my website for a while now. i wanted to talk about them a little bit.
i am laying out the tools i use so that i can get more organized. also, maybe if someone stumbles upon this blog the tools might save other folks time and effort in finding workable solutions.
*most are Mac friendly, as i use my MacBook Pro for most fun stuff (i.e., the web) — and my PC laptop for Office-based, less fun stuff (i.e., word processing, budgeting).
genealogy template software
i think i heard about my genealogy template during the Salt Lake City JewishGen convention in 2007, but it seems like i have been using the template longer.
yep, actually signed up for the template in June of 2006, a year beforehand. so i must have heard about the template when i first started to get interested in the family tree — and realized i wanted to make it digitally accessible. i have been using this template for 6 years now.
TNG is inexpensive ($32.99) — so truly reasonable for how great it is. and the man who created it, Darrin Lythgoe, is super patient and responds when there are problems. there is a TNG forum but when i have had major problems (i sometimes break things — the whole a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous thing) Darrin has been great via email.
i have looked at other online solutions for genealogy and nothing has come close. if you want your genealogy online this is the way to go.
TNG is graphically sophisticated, you can control access — which is very important — and the database is super quick because it is set up using PHP and MySQL. plus there are options to use Google Map APIs to show location information.
there is a very easy-to-use Admin area. again, highly recommend.
my setup is completely behind a password-protected wall. family members have a user name and password. i have multiple trees in there (my family, Franks, and other adopted trees). the website is accessible via my main website page or via http://schmattaluv.com/genealogy/.
when i decided to set up the TNG genealogy template online i went with one of the websites Darrin recommends, SimplyHosting.
SimplyHosting is also very reasonably priced (around $5/month). and they have always responded quickly when i have had questions or problems.
they also now offer to do an installation of the TNG software onto your website for you. gone are the white-knuckle days of doing it yourself.
i actually need to upgrade to the latest version of the template software. thankfully it’s a very organized process, the way Darrin sets up the upgrades, but it’s still advanced computing, as far as i am concerned.
the interface that is on the back end of the website is cPanel. which is pretty easy to use. this is where you set up some of the more technical things for your website.
i use CyberDuck for ftp because it’s free and awesome and easy to use. i have donated — which if you use the software a lot i think is a good idea. besides how great it is, i love the yellow rubber duckie icon. i find it a cheerful presence on my dock. thanks to my cousin Alyssa for telling me about this software!
Espresso is a Mac only program that makes it really easy to do HTML updates to your website.
the above colorful ribbons is a screenshot of their website, which i find cheery and inspiring. the software now costs $75 — which is a lot more than i paid for it originally, but for the ease of use i recommend it highly.
this video is a bit rough but it gives you an overview.
and here’s another one, but of an older version of the software. still worth skimming.
i originally got Espresso as part of a MacHeist bundle. just really stumbled upon it. and the price of the whole bundle (~$30, at least a few years ago) was very inexpensive so i think Espresso was a real find. but $75 to make your life easier is a still worth it.
MacRabbit, the company behind Espresso, also has a Photoshop plugin called Slicy ($29) which looks pretty cool. MacRabbit won me over with Espresso so i’m always checking to see what they have going. i may just be won over by their logo, website, and how intuitive the software is to use. YMMV.
this video shows what Slicy can do.
BBEdit is an HTML editor program.
TextWrangler is an HTML and text editor program.