WordPress TNG integration

Integration of WordPress and The Next Generation (TNG) genealogy software keeps many people busy. When my dad past away in 2002 he left me few Gedcom files with the genealogical data of our family and a Microsoft Frontpage website to present this data on the web.
As I like Wordpress for blogging, few months ago I thought to revive this old website by using WordPress instead of Frontpage, but I had to solve the issue how to present the family tree too.

While searching the web I found quite a few WP-plugins to present a family tree, but none of them could import a Gedcom file. Then I ran into the TNG software. It has almost all I needed BUT I found many complains about WordPress-TNG integration too. A WP-TNG plugin is available but this plugin is still in Beta and was not updated since WP version 2.8.
Fortunately I found that Darrin Lythgoe had created a update of this WP-TNG plugin for usage together with WP 3.1.3. so I decided to give it a try.

I had a few requirements. IMHO not that spectacular:

  • Language translation should be possible:
    As our family origins from the Netherlands, the website language being used should at least be Dutch, and as few family branches emigrated to USA and Australia, English would be needed too. The WordPress translation plugins I tried performed translation by using Google translate. Although readable and understandable these Google translations did not met my own quality requirements. I had an issue to solve here.
    The TNG translations are not performed by Google but are presented by customizable phrases and coding is available in quite a few languages, so this could perfectly be used.
  • Functionality:
    WordPress has a number features not available in TNG and vice-versa of course. In fact I wanted best of both, ability to change website theme easily, ability to present the family tree not just in plain text, but if possible in graphical format or PDF as well, ability to upload/download Gedom files, multiple columns layout for advertisements, ability to install plugins for e.g. SEO and Google Analytics and the ability to blog.
  • Security:
    The WordPress site should be open and available to every reader. However, the TNG site should have both: open and not showing details of living persons to every visitor and a closed user group for family members to be able to see details of all persons.
  • Social Media:
    Connecting Email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, RSS feeds, etc. should be possible.

I’m not that smart on WordPress capabilities nor on TNG, but I figured I would need two WordPress installations loaded on my web server: one for the English language and one for the Dutch language. Furthermore, as TNG has its own language translation capabilities both WP sites should point to the same TNG installation.

This all resulted in three software installations on the same webportal which caused another requirement:

  • GUI Look-and-Feel:
    The User interface of all three websites should have similar look-and-feel: the unaware or average user should notice as little as possible change when being moved from WordPress(English) to WordPress(Dutch) or to TNG. This seemed the daring part of all. Reading on the internet about WP-TNG integration I found more sad stories then love stories. So I had to focus on this part for sure to make this happen.

This updated document describes the odds I encountered when integrating WP 3.1.3 and TNG 8.1 and how I solved few of the issues. This is not a guide how to integrate your WordPress site with TNG, it just describes how it worked for my site. I am aware that not all requirements have been met yet. Also not all issues have been fixed so far, therfore I will be pleased if you let me know your suggestions or remarks.

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