We use a combination of two software packages working in tandem to produce our genealogy based web site.
WordPress (WP) is described as “a popular, free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a web hosting service”.
This is the ‘outer wrapper’ of our site and has free access to all visitors though it does contain some relevant snippets of genealogical info to preview our family history research.
The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) written by Darrin Lythgoe is also based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a web hosting service. This software powers the family history/genealogy section of our site.
The TNG section is the ‘inner part’ of the site for accessing our family history information. This consists of our research into the ancestors of our parents and includes many photos, documents, sources and much more. Access is by registration only and is usually reserved for family members.
About our WP + TNG Integration
Our site is a type of integration of WP & TNG. We tried the regular method using the ‘TNG plugin’ and the WordPress theme ‘Suffusion’ and, after a certain amount of experimentation with styles, this worked reasonably well.
However, possibly due to the amount of file redirection required in the htaccess file, we noticed an annoying lag between clicking with the mouse and the actual display on the screen. As our TNG site is set to require users to log in to view the data it was necessary for them to be set up in WordPress too. Added to that a ‘ReWrite rule’ in htaccess was required to directly access TNG Admin in order to be sure that any changes were completed correctly.
For us the integration using the ‘TNG plugin’ system was good but not ideal for administration of both programs. Then we spotted a posting in the TNG Forum for a re-designed web site called Kloosterman Genealogy and Emigrants to America.
Cees Kloosterman had used a slightly different approach without the use of the ‘TNG plugin’ – go here to view his instruction page. Initially we were put off by the fact he used ‘Artisteer’ & ‘WP Tuxedo’ to make the theme and menu system for his site. However, his method can still be utilised without these two programs (Artisteer & WP Tuxedo) by simply replacing them with a native WordPress theme. Be aware that not all themes work well.
We followed Cees’ instructions and still utilised our existing ‘Suffusion’ WordPress theme. Obviously it took some experimentation and messing around with style sheets to make WP & TNG look seamless. Initially, as Cees pointed out, there was some conflict with jQuery functions but this was not a deal breaker. Cees listed a workaround for this conflict and Darrin Lythgoe incorporated it into the newly issued version 10.0.0.1 of TNG.
We swapped our WP theme from Suffusion to Mantra v.2.3 by Cryout Creations and created a child theme. Suffusion had way too many configurable options for us and we wanted something easier to manage. This was our personal preference as Suffusion is a popular theme with TNG/WP integrators.
On average the site pages load much more quickly. In part this is due to a reduction of file Redirects/ReWrites but also because both TNG & WordPress now use the same database.
It is important to state that the ‘TNG WordPress plugin’ method works well (certainly up to v.10) and several people have put in an enormous amount of work to ensure that it does so. There are many excellent sites that have utilised this method successfully. For more info about using TNG & WP with the tng-wordpress-plugin read this article in the TNG Wiki.
We chose to use the ‘Cees Kloosterman’ method because it suits our particular needs more readily. As we only require user registration/login for TNG there are no plugins required and it is less complicated to set up and administer.
WW – March 2014