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HtmlPedigree: How files linked from the GEDCOM are processed

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The GEDCOM file may contain links to other files, either on your hard disc, or on the Internet. These could include photographs, sound recordings, video clips or information in other formats. You can specify that you would like values following particular GEDCOM tags to be treated as links (see GEDCOM tags: 2, option 8). This is the default behaviour for values following the "FILE" tag.

This behaviour can be selected for all occurrences of the tag, or it can be limited by requiring that the value must start with one of a specified list of possibilities. For example, you could specify that only values starting "http" or "HTTP" are to be treated as links, limiting the behaviour to ordinary web pages.

How links in the GEDCOM file are processed

For the chosen tags (and starting values, if specified) the program will automatically convert Internet addresses (starting "http:", "ftp:" and so on) into hyperlinks. These will be displayed both as text links within the body of the web pages, and as a sequence of blue icons immediately underneath the heading for the record. Each icon indicates the type of file that the link leads to, and the chosen caption will be displayed when the visitor hovers the cursor over the icon. When a visitor to your web pages clicks on one of these links, it will open a new browser window to display the web page (or other resource).

You can also use relative links to other pages on your website (for example, links like ../mypage.html), which should be enclosed in double quotation marks so that the program knows they indicate web pages, rather than files on your hard disc.

However, values indicating files on your hard disc will not be processed by default, for reasons of privacy. Before the web pages are created, you will be asked whether you would like to include files linked from the GEDCOM file. If you would like all linked files on your hard disc to be processed, select "Copy all linked files".

Because the header section usually includes a link to the GEDCOM file itself, this would normally result in a copy of the GEDCOM file being included with the web pages. So there is also an option to "Copy all but GEDCOM files". If you choose to copy all files, a link to the GEDCOM file will automatically be displayed on the home page.

If these options are selected, the program will make copies of these files in a subfolder of the main folder to which the web pages are saved, called mm (short for "multimedia"). When you upload the web pages to your website, this folder and its contents must be uploaded together with the web pages.

As far as possible, these links will be automatically maintained by the program when the pages are updated. When new links are added, the files will be copied into the mm subfolder and will have their "Modified" time updated. So when uploading the new web pages to your website, the only linked files in the mm folder that need to be uploaded are those marked as freshly modified (the same as for the web pages in the main folder).

How to include a link in the GEDCOM file

To include a link to a file on your hard disc, the value following the "FILE" tag in the GEDCOM file must be either a complete path specifying the location of the image file on your hard disc (for example, C:\genealogy\images\grandad.jpg), or one specifying its location relative to the folder the GEDCOM file is in (grandma.gif).

Most genealogical programs allow links to external files to be included. The details of how to do this depend on the particular program. For example, in Personal Ancestral File, a link can be included in the record for an individual by selecting "Edit individual", then "Options", then "Multimedia", then "Add", then "Browse" to find the file on your hard disc. After adding a caption and/or description if you wish, opt to save the changes.

Alternatively, in Personal Ancestral File, a link to a web page can be included by typing the URL (including the initial "http:") into the "File name" field.

Note that:

  1. If you select an image in a format it doesn't recognise (for example, GIF), or type in the URL of a web page, Personal Ancestral File will display a warning that it cannot read or find the file, but if you ignore the warnings the image will be selected, and the necessary line will be included in the GEDCOM file.
  2. It is important that the GEDCOM file is exported to the same folder that contains the PAF file, and that it is not moved before being read by HtmlPedigree. Also, of course, the images referred to must not be moved or deleted before running HtmlPedigree.