Second Site News #012

16 November 2003

In this issue:

Second Site Version 1.5 (Build 0) Released

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

  • Second Site will import charts made with TMG's Visual Chartform (VCF) tool. In one easy step, Second Site will import a VCF chart, and build a page that includes hot-links from the VCF chart boxes to person page entries. In most ways, the VCF charts will work just like Second Site's native charts: links back and forth from the charts to the narratives, chart name in the list of charts, etc.

    VCF charts include more formats than native Second Site charts, and VCF charts can be edited and tweaked prior to being imported. Unlike Second Site charts, however, VCF charts are imported as JPG images and as a result they will use more disk space. Web site users will have to analyze the size of their VCF charts to determine if they are within reasonable limits. Large charts aren't a problem when you use Second Site to create a CD.

    I've uploaded an example chart for you. The associated JPG file is 260K, so please be patient while it downloads. Note that the example includes thumbnail photographs and other elements that it is not possible to include in native Second Site charts.

    See the Charts section.

  • You can now create custom indexes using three different methods to designate the people in the index. You can use a custom index to display all people who pass a flag filter, whose records have been edited recently, or you can designate a person whose events are used to construct the contents of the list.

    The custom index capability can be used to make lists of people that you want to highlight. Make a list of famous (or infamous) ancestors, brickwalls, immigrants, etc.

    See the Lists section.

  • You can add image maps for image exhibits. Image maps allow authors to specify multiple clickable areas within a single image. With a group photo, for example, clicking on a specific person will navigate to the appropriate person page entry.

    I added a companion feature to my TMG Utility program: the Edit Image Map feature makes it easy to create image maps for use with Second Site.

    See the Exhibits page.

  • The Dates section includes 6 new properties for controlling the display of dates and lifespans. In this context, a date refers to a single date field in TMG, and a lifespan refers to a combination of the birth date and the death date. There are a number of options for both lifespans and dates. For dates, you can also create custom date formats if you are so inclined.

See the Change Log for more changes and details.

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.

You may need your registration information when you install the new version.

Creating a Custom Index Using "Index People"

by Terry Reigel

I'm pleased to include the following article by Terry Reigel, a well-known TMG user who was one of the contributors to Lee Hoffman's Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist. Terry has also published articles related to TMG in user group publications and on his web site at

One of the primary uses I see for Second Site is to share my family history findings with family members by sending them CDs containing a set of personalized web pages. But many of them have only limited interest in our family history, so I encourage their browsing by creating a special index leading them to the "good parts" - family members who were notable, or for whom we just have good stories. Advanced users have manually created "Notable Ancestors" or similar indexes before, but with Version 1.5, the ability to do this is built into Second Site.

There are now three ways to create special indexes. One is based on TMG's Last Edited Date, which is good if you want to highlight recent changes in your data. The second is based on the setting of a Flag, which is an easy way to create simple indexes based on any criteria one might imagine. But my favorite is the method based on Tags attached to a special "index person." This method is a bit harder to set up, but allows one to add descriptive text to each entry so the reader can see what's interesting about each person listed. For an example of a website with such an index, see a Sample Website and click on the link to "Special People."

Creating an index with this method is a two step process. First you create an artificial "index person" in your TMG dataset, and add tags to link each real person you want to appear in the "index person." Then you use the custom index capability in Second Site to create the index. To create the "index person", just add an unrelated person, and give that "person" a recognizable name, like "Index Person."

I created two custom tags to enter the information that is to appear in the index. The first tag I called "IndexName," which is used to create an entry for each person who is to appear in the index. I created somewhat different Roles than suggested by the SS Help page because I didn't want to have the index entries also appear in the narratives of each person. So I just created two custom Roles - with only two Roles, when you assign one, the other is automatically assigned. My Roles, and their Sentence Structures are:

Role Sentence Structure
Principal [:CR:][:CR:][ITAL:]Assign Roles to the [PO] Index Tag!![:ITAL]<[M0]>
IndexEntry [:CR:][:CR:][PO] -- <[M]>
Person -- (the double exclusion marker)

The strange sentence in the Principal Role is to create a clear reminder (in the webpage) if I fail to apply the other Roles. In use, I make the "index person" one of the Principals in the Tag, and make the real person who is to appear in the index the other. Assign the IndexEntry Role to the "index person" and the Person Role to the real person. The descriptive text for that person is placed in the Memo field. Control the order of the entries in the index by assigning sort dates to each tag. I recommend assigning dates outside the range the people actually lived, so the index tags will appear in the Person Views of the real people at either the top or bottom of the list. (TMG will accept years from 100 to 3000 as valid sort dates.)

The second tag I called "IndexHeader," which I used to create the subheadings within the index list. Its Sentence Structure is:

Role Sentence Structure
Principal [:CR:][:CR:][:CR:][BOLD:]<[M]>[:BOLD]

This tag is entered only for the "index person." The text of the subheading goes in the Memo field, and again the text is positioned in the index using sort dates.

Once the "index person" is created, tags added for each person and subheading that is to appear in the index, and sort dates adjusted so each entry is in the desired order, setting up the index in Second Site is pretty simple. After you have set up your Site Definition File to define the site as you desire, use the options in the Custom Indexes box in the Pages > Lists section to define the index. First, click Add to open the Custom Index Definition screen. In that screen, give your index a helpful title, and add any text you want to appear at the top of the index in the Index Description field. In the drop down box for Index Type, select "List based on person's events." Be sure Enabled is checked. Enter the TMG ID# of your "index person" in the TMG ID field. Click OK to close the screen, and create your site. That's all there is to it!

Whose Site Is It Anyway?

I get a surprising number of e-mail messages from people asking me about sites generated by Second Site users. I respond politely and inform them that I wrote Second Site, but I didn't publish the site in question. Sometimes I help them to find the actual compiler. In a few cases, I've gone to the site and I've been unable to find an e-mail address for the compiler. So, check your sites. Is it easy for people to determine who they should contact? I hope so!


Second Site is available via download only. See the Downloads page.


For purchasing information, see the Purchases page.

This copyrighted material may not be redistributed.

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