Terry's Second Site Tips

Using Second Site to Share Your TMG Data

This page updated 1 Mar 2014

Version note: Applies to Second Site 4 & 5

John Cardinal, long time TMG user and creator of several companion programs for TMG, has written a wonderful program to produce high quality web pages from TMG Project files. It's called Second Site, and you can read all about it on John's website. In it's simple-to-use default mode it produces very nice websites, and it offers seemingly endless options to customize the results for users who prefer to personalize their sites.

The webpages created by Second Site can be placed on an Internet website, or they can copied to a CD or thumb drive to be shared with family members more privately. The program offers a choice of several different output formats for presenting the family history data. The one I prefer for sharing details with family members is called Narration, and produces output similar to the Journal style reports produced by TMG, but adapted to take advantage of the linking capabilities of webpages. There are also several variations using columnar formats and bullet-item formats, for those that prefer a more structured layout. I use a Bullet format for my "outline" family history webpages which I post in hopes of contacting other researchers working on the same lines.

Websites can be produced in a variety of styles, called Themes in Second Site. Each Theme produces different page appearance, color schemes, and graphical treatments. Users can modify those Themes to suit their tastes, or in essence create their own "themes" entirely, thereby creating highly personalized websites. My own family history sites are examples of that capability.

In addition to simply presenting the data recorded in TMG, Second Site can produce a variety of other forms of output, including ancestor and descendant charts, maps, photo galleries, DNA charts, and custom pages of the users own design. Examples of many of these can be found in my family history pages and in the illustrations in the articles listed below.

I use Second Site in three distinct ways. I use it to create 1) the Outline Family History pages on my own website which is designed to reach researchers working on those people I am actively researching, 2) the much more detailed Narrative Family History pages on my website for those lines whom I have substantially completed my research, and 3) to create webpages to share privately with family members or other serious researchers. There is an abbreviated example of this more personalized style my Sample webpages. To me, these three applications require very different styles of webpages, as can be seen in those examples, and discussed in my article on Sharing.

Second Site user Keith Winters has created a Gallery of Websites created with Second Site featuring over 300 sites. Viewing some of these examples will give an appreciation for the wide variety of styles that Second Site can produce.

In my articles here I describe some of the features of Second Site, and some techniques I have found useful. The articles range from general information suitable for beginning users to fairly obscure techniques of interest only to more advanced users. There are articles on the following topics:

General Information
Understanding and using Second Site
Second Site Basics - getting started, John's "Six steps to Second Site"
Overview - Understanding Themes, Layouts, and supplemental pages
Publishing - sharing your site on CD or thumb drive, or on the Internet
Refining Your Site
Adding content, and using available features to achieve the results you want
Page Content - adding images, links and more to your main page and custom pages
Controlling Who is Included - when you don't want everyone in your TMG Project on your site
Customizing Your Site - refining the broad settings of Themes and Formats
Customizing with Styles - examples of many methods to fine-tuning the details of your site
Customizing with User Styles - customizing beyond the standard options, with examples updated
Customizing Word and Phrases - customizing the word and phrases Second Site places in your site
Menus and Links - controlling whether readers use menus or links to locate supplemental pages
Adding Icons - marking people with Icons; creating a custom Site Icon; adding a Shortcut Icon
Adding Maps - maps can give a new dimension to your site
Tag Groups - placing and formatting some Tags differently from others
Flag Events - creating text output from Flags
Custom Indexes - special indexes to help readers find your people
Notable Ancestors Index - dress up your site with a special index to people of interest
Creating a Minimalist Site - using Second Site to create a "bare bones" style site
Advanced Techniques
Some advanced techniques I've found useful
Useful Tricks - links to people, links from people, and adding citations to text
Special Issues - using Split CDs, International issues, and more
Creating Virtual Sub-Sites - using Second Site to create a site with sections for each family line updated
Using Custom Languages - a custom language can produce exactly the output you prefer
Customizing Formats - when Second Site's myriad options still don't do just what you want

You can also use the Search function to locate topics of interest.

If you need help in finding the best way to apply the program to your application and preferences, I would suggest subscribing to John Cardinal's Second Site support list, where John and other users are always ready to provide help. And don't forget to consult John Cardinal's very helpful and comprehensive Second Site website.

Second Site 5 is the current version, which has a number new features and changes from the previous version. Take note of the "Version note" at the top of each article. In articles identified as applying to both Second Site 4 & 5 the features not applicable to the older version are noted.

Earlier versions are no longer supported on this site, and I make no attempt to identify the many differences between them and later versions in my articles.


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