Second Site News #002

29 August 2002

In this issue:
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Second Site Version 1.1 Build 6 Released

The latest release of Second Site has the following new features:

  • Includes new Carla's Graphics Theme
  • Includes new Generic Graphics Theme
  • Supports static page URLs
  • Creates GENDEX files
  • Supports multiple sort sequences for the Name Index
  • Recognizes out-of-date Theme files and prompts you to refresh them
  • and other minor enhancements and bug fixes

All existing customers can download this free upgrade here. If you are a registered Second Site user and the About Second Site window (Help > About command) does not show the same version number and build number as above, I recommend that you download this new version and install it. You will not lose any SDF files or sites you have already made.

If you uninstall and reinstall, which is recommended, you may have to enter your registration information again. Make sure you have that information on hand before you uninstall.

More about the new features

  • Second Site now includes a Theme named Carla's Graphics. The Theme was inspired by a site published by Second Site user Carol Macke. I was impressed by the site and asked Carla of Carla's Graphic Designs, the owner of the graphic assets, if I could add a Theme based on her graphics to Second Site. She agreed, and the Carla's Graphics Theme was born. See the story below for more details.
  • I've also added another Theme named Generic Graphics. The Generic Graphics Theme is designed for you to add your own graphic sets. See the Generic Graphics Theme page for more details.
  • In some of the earliest discussions of Second Site, people requested that Second Site provide an option to create static page URLs. They wanted a way to keep the URL for a particular person the same despite updates to their dataset and to their site. The Pages.Page Sizes.Static Page Assignments property is the answer to those requests.

    When Static Page Assignments is checked, people are assigned to a person page according to their TMG ID. If People per Page is 50, TMG IDs 1 to 50 are on page 1, 51 to 100 on page 2, etc. When unchecked, which is the default, people are added to a page until the People per Page limit is exceeded.

    To keep the page assignment and the URL constant, the People per Page value must stay the same.

    Note: When Static Page Assignments is checked, some person pages may have only a few people on them, while others may be full. Also, some page numbers may be skipped entirely if there are no included people in the proper range of TMG IDs. This is normal.

    I recommend checking Static Page Assignments if you also check the new Media.Web.Create GENDEX File checkbox. Read on.

  • When Media.Create GENDEX File is checked, Second Site creates a GENDEX file. [Update, December 2004: That format was used by the now-defunct GENDEX site. The feature remains because other users process the GENDEX-format file.]
  • Second Site now includes a Data.Language.Sort Sequence property that controls the sort sequence of the name index. Users who produce sites that include non-US English characters should review the sort sequence choices and decide which sort sequence matches their needs. There are only a few choices in the list right now, but I'll add more sequences over time.
  • Changes to Second Site Themes often mean that the template folder (-t) for an SDF file is out of date with respect to the associated Theme. This can happen when Themes are updated as a result of either a new release of Second Site or changes you make to a custom Theme. When you open an SDF file, Second Site now checks for out-of-date Theme files and asks if you want to refresh them.

Other enhancements and fixes

  • Added the Data.Sources.Citation Sentence property to control which source sentence (Full Footnote, Short Footnote, or Bibliography) Second Site uses for the citation sentences which are beneath the person page entries.
  • Added the Data.Names.Pronoun Substitution property to control how Second Site substitutes pronouns for the [P] and [W] variables.
  • Added the Data.Memo.Add Memo to Sentence property which can be set to "Append" or "Do Not Append". If set to Append, which is the default, the contents of the memo are appended to the end of the sentence if the sentence does not include the [M] variable. (Use [M0] (em-zero) to hide the memo for specific sentences.) If set to Do Not Append, the contents of the memo are only printed when the [M] variable is included in the sentence. This option is similar to a TMG report option.
  • Added support for TMG IDs used in place of names in source elements.
  • Added the Pages.Site.HTML for Counter property; Second Site includes this text on the bottom of the main page. It is designed to allow people to add HTML for page visit counters.
  • Added the Pages.Page Sizes.Name Index Reserve property; Second Site will not start a new surname on the current index page unless there are at least as many slots available as set by the Name Index Reserve property. The intent is to keep surnames with only a few names on the same index page. (Second Site has always had a name index reserve; it was set to 20 and was not exposed in the Second Site user interface. Now it is.)
  • Added support for "Ctrl-A" to select all the characters in a text property or in the text editing window (F7).
  • Added the "FirstPersonPageHREF()" method to the Site object to implement links to the first person page which may not be "p1.htm" if Static Page Assignments is checked.
  • Added a Topics List to help.
  • Changed the display of names in short footnote sentences to always display the full name.
  • Changed the "Add Parent Sentence" processing such that the sentence is added one day after the primary birth group sortdate rather than the actual date.
  • Fixed a bug where citations embedded within event memos would not always refer to the proper source when used with TMG v5 datasets.
  • Fixed a bug where unprintable characters were included in the HTML for embedded citations in Grid Format output.
  • Fixed a bug where name memos were not appearing as footnotes even when the property was checked.
  • Fixed a bug where setting Pages.Page Sizes.People per Page to 1 caused the first person page to be p2.htm rather than p1.htm.
  • Fixed a bug where citation references were misplaced in certain cases if italic or bold text was in the sentence.
  • Fixed a bug where source sentences were not always correct when read from TMG v5 projects that contain multiple datasets.

The last word on changes and additions is the Second Site Change Log. Please be aware that you might receive this newsletter before the online version of the Change Log is updated.

New Theme: Carla's Graphics

The new Carla's Graphics Theme is noteworthy for a few reasons.

  • It is the most graphically rich Theme supplied with the program.
  • It provides a good example of how to implement buttons for navigation links as well as other template techniques.
  • It demonstrates a new property type, FolderChoice, which allows the user to select one of Carla's graphic "sets".

Second Site user Carol Macke used Carla's graphics to produce a site before the Carla's Graphics Theme was added to the program. Take a look Carol Macke's site.

The graphic assets in the Carla's Graphics Theme remain the property of Carla's Graphic Designs, and are subject to a Terms of Use agreement. The Theme has been designed to comply with those terms. In my opinion, genealogists posting non-commercial sites should have no problem meeting the terms.

Second Site as a Data Archive Tool

In the last newsletter I described Second Site as a great tool for performing a broad review of a TMG dataset. I also promised that I'd write more about other uses for Second Site, so here goes...

Most TMG users have invested a lot of time and effort into their datasets, gathering information, recording and analyzing evidence, writing and formatting narratives, etc.

How should the results of all that effort be archived?

There are many ways to answer that question. You can print reports on archival paper and store them in an appropriate location. You can publish a book based on the output of one or more TMG reports, and distribute it to family, friends, genealogical libraries and societies, etc. You can backup your data to one medium or another. You can transfer paper reports to microfilm.

There is no single right answer. The best approach is to archive your data as many ways as possible and distribute it as widely as possible. Without being able to predict the future—we have a hard enough time uncovering the past!—there is no way to know who will be interested in our research after we are no longer able to continue it. With each additional location we improve the chances that someone who is interested will find it, and each additional format improves the chances that it will be usable.

This is where Second Site comes in. It does a great job of getting your data out of TMG and into a different format: HTML. There are millions of HTML pages out there and it is likely that the HTML format will survive as long or longer than the TMG format.

I urge you to create a full-dataset web site using Second Site, and write the results to multiple CD-ROMs. It's not the only way you should archive your dataset, and it isn't even the best way. But it's simple and easy and there is no excuse not to give your research one more chance to survive.

Coming Up

Here's what I am working on for the next release. (Please don't ask for a specific date when these features will be available. Rest assured it won't be a long time.)

  • Additional Sort Sequences
  • Support for TMG's language-specific sentences
  • and more!

New Examples Page; Example Sites Still Wanted

I've added an Examples page to the Second Site Help files. It provides more details about the sites than was previously available.

If you are proud of the web site you have created with Second Site, and you have published it on the web, please send me the URL. I'll include it on the Example Sites page on the Second Site home page.

If your site is destined to remain on CD only, and if you have an extra copy or two, send one my way. I'm interested in all Second Sites, public and private!


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