With the impending release of TNG 14, 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.
- 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 “13” (like 13.0.1 or 13.1.2) counts as “13.x”. You will see links for several different upgrades on the v14 downloads page. Be sure to get the one most appropriate for your currently installed version. If you install the wrong upgrade, you will likely notice errors when you’re done.
- Install the upgrade, not the full version. When you get to the v14 downloads page, the first links near the top will be for brand new TNG users. What you want is a little further down in the Updates section. Look for the upgrade most appropriate for your currently installed version, then look next to the download link for the name of the file that will include the upgrade instructions. Note: A new version of the full version “readme.html” file will also be included with your upgrade, but you can ignore that since you’re upgrading. If you accidentally open that file, 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.
- 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) and your database tables. 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 13.0.1, open your web browser and go to http://www.mysite.com/readme13x-14x.html from there. If you continue with the local copy you opened immediately after downloading, some of the later steps won’t work.
- Update your template. For most people, this should be simple. If you’ve never tinkered with the HTML or PHP in your template files, just upload the entire “templates” folder from the upgrade and that’s it. If you have made any customizations (not the Template Settings or the mytngstyle.css style sheets) and you want to keep those, then you’ll probably want to merge your changes into the latest files instead of just uploading those new files. Some of the new features may not work unless you’re using the latest template files.
- Watch for the twist. Large upgrades usually include a step to update your database table structures, but a lot of people miss it and then wonder why things are broken. This time the database update step directs you to visit the TNG Admin menu on your site, where you’ll be given the next steps. If you skip those, you’ll be reminded again each time you visit the admin area. Don’t forget to click the final link to delete the upgrade files when you’re done (the upgrade page will still show until that happens).
- 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.
TNG 14 is almost here! This major upgrade includes more than 100 enhancements, fixes and new features. Here’s a quick summary of the most significant changes:
- Import: The inner workings of the GEDCOM import have been improved to make the process much more robust. Unresponsiveness issues have been addressed, and “resume” operations should be seamless. Also, support has been added for some GEDCOM 7.0 features. Media included with a zipped GEDCOM file can now be extracted at the time of import.
- Admin Home Redesign: The look and feel of the Admin home page has been modernized. Menu items are larger, and excess text has been removed. The redundant left-side menu has been removed, and rotating banner images display at the top. The number of mods installed is also now visible on the Admin home page.
- Connections: The Relationship tab has been supplemented by an advanced relationship/connection search, powered by the Connections mod (by Michal Jarocinski). This will allow you to quickly find more connections between two individuals, including those that include one or more marriages/pairings along the way.
- Style Upgrades: The size and font of most form fields has been increased to 14px. Rounded corners and extra padding have been added to most tables, and a drop shadow has been added on some tables. These and other elements combine for a softer, more modern look and feel for all pages, both public and admin.
- Media: Several here too, including: 1) Image tags may now point to places, families, sources, repos and citations (in addition to people). The tree selection defaults to either the tree assigned to the image or the one used for already existing media links. 2) Image tags can also be just a label (any text or name), which can optionally point to any URL. 3) DOC and DOCX files can now be viewed inline instead of being automatically downloaded (based on Michel Kirsch’s “Office Viewer” mod).
- Search: The submit button on the Advanced Search page is now fixed so you never have to scroll to find it. Most search fields have also been widened, and the “Other events” list starts off as collapsed, but the form remembers ones you have used before and sorts those at the top.
- Descendant Tables: Jim Graham’s Table of Descendants mod has been incorporated. Visitors will see a “Tables” option on the Descendants tab. Click through to see a tabular list of all descendants for a particular individual. Choose any row to instantly list all individuals from that generation.
- Charts: Zoom and drag functions have been added to several more charts. Also, birth and death years are now displayed on the fan chart.
- Report Generator: The report builder interface has been redesigned to be more modern, easier to use, and more functional on mobile. The Custom SQL box has also been enlarged.
- Backups: Backups can now be created as SQL files (the old method will still be supported). They can also be downloaded with a download icon. Backups may also include DROP and CREATE table directives. A restore operation may be made to drop all existing records or not.
- Additional Genders: Other gender choices can now be entered on the Admin/People pages.
- Alternate Birth Events: A list of acceptable “alternate birth event types” can now be maintained in the settings, and users may choose the alternate birth event for each individual from the Edit Person page.
- Mod Manager: Many improvements, including 1) The source code has been restructured to improve the Mod Manager internal structure. New diagnostic error prefix is included on messages in Mod List. 2) Michel Kirsch’s “Analyze only install mods” mod has been incorporated. 3) A fixed-position header now applies to all screens and includes the table column header line.
- PHP Compatibility: Pro-active changes will make sure TNG remains compatible with the latest versions of PHP and MySQL.
You will be able to get the upgrade at a discount by going back to your previous downloads page after the release is officially announced. 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 purchased TNG 13 or the v13 upgrade at any time in the six months prior to the upgrade release date, you’ll be eligible to get the upgrade for free. Information on that will be sent out in the next few days to those who are eligible.