Exporting - HTML

You can create a web site of a GEDCOM file that looks almost identical to the GedScape display1. You simply set the display preferences so that the GEDCOM file is displayed exactly as you want it, then you do the export. Everything that you can access directly or indirectly from the GedScape main menu is exported to the website, including special pages such as custom reports and charts. Note that the GedScape menu (containing File, Record etc.) is not exported, because it is not part of the main window display.

You can limit the exported data e.g. to exclude specific individuals from the web site. Any individuals that are tagged can also appear tagged in the generated site. There are no special requirements for the web server or browser client and the generated web pages are CSS/XHTML compliant.

To create a web site:

  1. Choose File|Export Web Site.
  2. You will be asked to select an output folder for the site. This must be an existing folder on your computer. Note that GedScape will automatically delete all existing files in that folder e.g. from a previous web export. We recommend that you first create a new, empty, folder and use that for the export.
  3. The Export Web window appears. This offers various options to adjust the site content thats about to be created (more on this below).
  4. Once you close the Export Web window the web site files are created. This can potentially take a long time depending on the number of files to be written.
  5. Once all files have been written you then have the option to view the created site locally using your normal web browser.

If you intend to publish the generated site online you should now upload the files just created to your web server. You do this outside of and separate from GedScape.

Sample Web Site

Click here to see an example of a site created by GedScape; this link will open in a new window.

Export Web Options

The Export Web window, displayed during the web export process, lets you customize various aspects of the site you are creating. It has three tabs: Individuals, Data and Options.

The Individuals tab is used to limit the individuals that are included in the export. You can opt to limit it to only those individuals that you have tagged. In addition you can choose to have individuals automatically excluded or 'privatized' depending on their date of birth. This makes it easy e.g. to remove all individuals born after say 1900 without your having to resort to manually tagging them. See Export Privacy.

1. Whilst the export privacy mechanism is provided with the intent of being helpful when removing sensitive data, don't rely on it. The only true way to check whether an export includes no sensitive or private data is for you to manually check the exported files in their entirety, prior to your distributing or publishing the exported file(s). We accept no responsibility for any erroneous inclusion of sensitive data from your GEDCOM file in an export, whether this be as a result of your not using the program correctly, or as a result of program error.
2. Be aware that a record that is not exported because it has been privatized or excluded may have had other associated records such as notes, sources and multimedia records, and, with a web/HTML export, the data in those records may still be exported. Whether or not it is depends on whether those records can be 'navigated' to in any other way. The GEDCOM format allows note/source/multimedia records to be referenced in more than one place and so, for example, you can have the same note record referenced from 2 individuals which means that even if one has been excluded/privatized, the note may still be accessed from the other. Another thing to watch out for is if you include the GEDCOM file structure pages in the generated site; if they are included and you have the GEDCOM text tab enabled by default in the system-wide preferences, the underlying GEDCOM text behind all note records, source records and multimedia records will be visible even if all individuals that referred to them have been excluded. The safer option is to simply not include the GEDCOM file structure in the exported site in this situation.

The Data tab is used to limit the information that is included for each exported individual. You can limit the export of notes, citations & multimedia, and you can control whether to export all, or selected, or no events.

The Options tab is used to customize the generated HTML. There are options to control the line endings, set the file name extension (e.g. .htm or .html), site title, choose whether tagged records will retain their highlight tags in the exported site, whether to include the quick links bar, and options to customize the <head>, <body> and <h1> tags of every HTML file generated, including options to insert user supplied files (thereby providing a 'hook' for you to add custom HTML to the generated pages). For further details use the Help button within the Export Web window.

Limiting the Size of Exported Web Sites

When you first use the web export feature for a GEDCOM file of any significant size you will probably find that it creates a site with what appears to be an inordinately large number of files, often running to many thousands. You can usually cut this down dramatically whilst not limiting the usefulness of the site.

GedScape generates a separate HTML file for every tab shown in the details page for every record. E.g. if your GEDCOM file contains 1,000 individuals, and you export a site with all tabs enabled - and there are 15 possible tabs (as of writing this) - that would be 15,000 HTML files for starters. Added to this would be HTML files for the record pages tabs for the family records, plus any other records. You can also have large numbers of HTML files generated by the index pages if you use 2 or 3 level indexes with a sizeable GEDCOM file.

To limit the number of files created, try one or more of the following:

  • Export Fewer Record Tabs: i.e. limit the number of tabs in the record pages details. E.g. you might want to limit it so that by default only the Overview and Chronology tabs are shown, but then specifically enable some of the other tabs such as the chart tabs for particular individuals such as key ancestors. See Removing Unwanted Tabs.
  • Export Fewer Individuals: i.e. limit the export to those individuals that matter. You can do this by tagging and/or by use of export privacy settings available in the Export Web window (see above).
  • Use Simpler Indexes: avoid using dual and especially triple level indexes unless you really need them.
  • Remove Unwanted Main Menu Items: review the items you have on the main menu and remove those you don't need. E.g. by removing the File Structure option you will remove several other files including a potentially huge file containing the marked up text of the whole GEDCOM file.

Of the above, the first two methods are likely to have the biggest effect. In many cases this will greatly reduce the total size of the generated site, often to less than 20% of the initial size.

Exporting Reports

Any reports you have created will also normally be automatically included in the web site. However for this to happen you must ensure that you set them up so they can be accessed directly from the main menu, and not just from the Report menu. This is because the Report menu, along with the other menus in the menu bar (File etc.) are not exported as part of a web site export (they are part of the GedScape user interface).

Exporting Images

If your GEDCOM includes multimedia images there are options to control how they are handled in the export.

If you are exporting a site that is just for local use (i.e., on your computer only) then you probably don't want to copy the image files to the export web folder as there is normally no need. Instead what you want is for the generated HTML to include links to the existing, locally stored, image files. To achieve this you should uncheck the Copy local image files to web export directory option on the Options tab of the Export Web window.

But if you're generating a web export for uploading to a web server e.g. to put online then you will almost certainly want to have the image files copied too. To do this you check the Copy local image files to web export directory option. This has three effects: (1) it copies the image files to the export folder; (2) it renames them so as to ensure they are unique and do not contain characters that can be problematic (spaces etc.); (3) the generated HTML files are written so as to have links to the copied image files relative to the export folder root. The effect of all this is that you end up with a web export folder that is standalone and can be exported to a web server and all the images will automatically work irrespective of the URL that end users use to access the site.

Individual Report Export

It is also possible to export a report on its own.

To do this, first display the report in the main window, then choose Report|Export Report as Web Page. When exporting a report as a web page you can choose whether or not to make it 'self contained'. This option is found on the Options tab of the Export Web window. With this option turned on, the generated page will be a single, standalone page, comprising just the one HTML file and any images used by that file. Links to individuals within the file will be intra-page jumps within the report, where possible. If you turn this option off, links to individuals from the report will be exported as separate HTML files containing the usual details page tabs.

1. Subject to inevitable web browser rendering differences.

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