Gigatrees Blog

Gigatrees: A Introduction

Gigatrees: A Introduction

What is Gigatrees?

is a free genealogy application that can be used to build a complete family tree from your GEDCOM file. You can fine tune the contents and look of your tree using the well over 100 configurable parameters. It includes charts, timelines, maps, ancestor lists, census tables, photos, source images, integrated blogging, data alerts and much, much more. It can create either dynamic or static web pages for both offline and online viewing. Gigatrees can also be used to generate standalone reports, including a GEDCOM Validation report and a Genealogy Data Validation report, which, among other things, compares event dates between related individuals looking for inconsistencies. Gigatrees is unique in that it allows adding new GEDCOM extensions to extend the capability of the often maligned GEDCOM standard. Extensions include, among others, adding source categories and evidence models, attaching source references to parental associations, defining impossible claims, adding privacy flags and extending photo and image handling. Many of these extensions can be added permenantly via configuration so that your GEDCOM file does not need to be altered in any way.

Gigatrees runs under Microsoft Windows only. It will not run under MacOS, Linux, Android, IOS, or any other operating system. Gigatrees includes two executables, an application interface (AI) built using FormType and a command line interface (CLI). The application interface is used to load, modify and save configuration files and to launch the CLI. For advanced uses, the CLI can run independantly of the application interface, such as in a batch file. The application interface includes detailed descriptions for each option, which can be viewed when clicking on the option name. These built-in descriptions replace much of the online documentation. The Gigatrees Blog is used to provide additional descriptions, tutorials and help. The blog includes some application usage statistics collected over the last several years. The Gigatrees Blog is written using the same blogging features built-in to the Gigatrees application and is available separately as Innuendo.

Where do I download the application?

Gigatrees is available as a downloadable, standalone, cost and ad free, Windows 32-bit or 64-bit application. There is no need to create user accounts or upload GEDCOM files to a server for processing. The application does not install itself into your registry.



The following sample screenshots are taken from the Gigatrees application interface. (It should be apparent from these images that I am not a front end developer by choice. I prefer to expend my efforts on the backend and on the middleware. The code for the UI is available in the zip file. Any good front end developer with a desire could easily improve upon the interface.)
"Main Page"
Main Page
"Options Menu"
Options Menu
"Data Validation Options Page"
Data Validation Options Page
"Blog Posts Index Page"
Blog Posts Index Page
"Blog Posts Edit Page (top)"
Blog Posts Edit Page (top)
"Blog Posts Edit Page (bottom)"
Blog Posts Edit Page (bottom)
The following sample screenshots are taken directly from the author's family tree. The screenshots highlight many of the features of Gigatrees.
"Names Index"
Names Index
"Names 'C' Index"
Names 'C' Index
"Individual Profile Page (part 1)"
Individual Profile Page (part 1)
"Individual Profile Page (part 2)"
Individual Profile Page (part 2)
"Individual Profile Page (part 3)"
Individual Profile Page (part 3)
"Individual Profile Page (part 4)"
Individual Profile Page (part 4)
"Sources Index"
Sources Index
"Source Profile Page"
Source Profile Page
"Source Profile Page (image selected)"
Source Profile Page (image selected)
"Source Profile Page (image expanded)"
Source Profile Page (image expanded)
"Locations Index"
Locations Index
"Location Profile Page"
Location Profile Page
"Timeline Page (with menu)"
Timeline Page (with menu)
"Timeline Page (highlighted source)"
Timeline Page (highlighted source)
"Blog Page (highlighted menu)"
Blog Page (highlighted menu)
"Map Page"
Map Page
"Map Page (partially zoomed)"
Map Page (partially zoomed)
"Photo Page"
Photo Page
"Photo Page (selected)"
Photo Page (selected)
"Census Table"
Census Table
"Census Table (location selected)"
Census Table (location selected)
"Census Table (location clicked sent to source, part 1)"
Census Table (location clicked sent to source, part 1)
"Census Table (location clicked sent to source, part 2)"
Census Table (location clicked sent to source, part 2)
"Ancestor List"
Ancestor List
"Descendant List (part 1)"
Descendant List (part 1)
"Descendant List (part 2)"
Descendant List (part 2)
"Immigrants Page"
Immigrants Page
"Nobility Page"
Nobility Page
"Nobility Page (source highlighted)"
Nobility Page (source highlighted)
"Data Alerts Page"
Data Alerts Page
"Data Alerts Page (alert clicked sent to individual)"
Data Alerts Page (alert clicked sent to individual)
"Statistics Page (part 1)"
Statistics Page (part 1)
"Statistics Page (part 2)"
Statistics Page (part 2)
"Statistics Page (part 3)"
Statistics Page (part 3)
"Statistics Page (part 4)"
Statistics Page (part 4)
"Recent Updates Page"
Recent Updates Page
"Profile Page (with kinship)"
Profile Page (with kinship)
"Profile Page (MRCA clicked sent to kinship list)"
Profile Page (MRCA clicked sent to kinship list)

What are some of its features?

Gigatrees has many unique features. The web pages it creates are mobile friendly, built upon the responsive features of jQuery and Bootstrap 3, so that they look good on any size screen. Gigatrees will read virtually any GEDCOM 5.5, 5.5.1 or 5.6 file including many vendor specific extensions. It also has built-in support for ANSI, UTF-8 and UTF-16 encoding, as well as ASCII, extended ASCII and UNICODE character sets. Gigatrees is fully configurable. It includes options for translating your web pages and for replacing data text strings that together allow family trees to be presented in many written languages. Gigatrees can be configured to generate pages in either HTML or PHP. PHP pages can be created statically or saved in an SQLite3 database for dynamic page serving reducing your website footprint to just a few files.

Complete website header and footer substitution is also supported. Additionally, stylesheet overrides, menu bars and plugins allow for creating unique websites, or if you would rather, provide for seamless integration into existing websites and content management systems like WordPress. Gigatrees also has integrated blog support for replacing WordPress when your ready. If you need a standalone blog, checkout my blogging platform, Innuendo [1]. Gigatrees supports extending your Source records by providing a convienient method for adding full source citations, either directly or using templates. The blog (and other note and text fields) supports embedding references to sources records, individuals records, media records, blog posts and text-only footnotes. Together they make your integrated blog fully coupled to your genealogy database.

Gigatrees supports webpage metadata, autodetects and automatically links embedded URLs and allows for embedding HTML into almost any data field. Gigatrees has built in support for many popular vendor specific and Gigatrees-only extensions as well. Gigatrees allows for inserting new GEDCOM records and appending existing records via the configuration file, eliminating in many cases the need to modify a GEDCOM file to add new extensions. Gigatrees supports privacy and living flags, automatic living detection and accurate birth year estimation, allowing for both public and private website generation. Gigatrees has built in support for source categorization, source reference quality, defining evidence models, indicating impossible claims and both automatic and manual reliability assessments ensuring that both you and your visitors understand the accuracy of your claims. Gigatrees also supports several methods for assigning sources to parental associations, providing you to ability to finally provide evidence to back up your biological connections.

Gigatrees has a number of other general features, such as the handling of both individual profile photos and source record images. It also calculates consanguinity between spouses, calculates ethnicity estimates, has advanced date handling allowing it to recognize most unambiguous date formats, including built in support for British monarch dates. It also has advanced location processing, including the ability to automatically determine the coordinates for every location in your database.

Among its many unique report pages are location maps, origin and population heatmaps, data alerts, family tree charts, census tables, ancestor, descendant, kinship, immigrant and nobility lists, event timelines, an autogenerated photo album and a fully integrated blog.

Upgrading Gigatrees

Gigatrees does not require the previous version to be uninstalled. You may copy over the previous installation, however doing so may overwrite previously modified configuration and user files. Instead, users should install Gigatrees into a new folder and then copy over any configuration or user files as necessary. Your previous installation can be uninstalled once you've verified the new installation is functioning properly.

Installing Gigatrees

To install Gigatrees, download the latest version and extract the downloaded file into a folder of your choice. The extracted files will be installed into a gigatrees subfolder. Gigatrees is a standalone program and does not require separate installation files nor does it modify the system registry. It should be installed only onto a Windows operating system with the same architecture (x32, x64).

Uninstalling Gigatrees

To uninstall Gigatrees, simply delete the installation folder.

Running Gigatrees

Start the program by double clicking on (gigatrees.exe). On the main screen you can select the report type you would like to build, and enter or browse to the names to your input file and output path. There are additional items that can be configured using the Options menu, but modifying those are not required to build any of the reports. Once the input file and output path have been set, you can launch the application from the Run menu. When the application is launched it will create a batch file in the same folder as your executable, and then run that batch file in a separate command window. The batch file will be given the same base name as your configuration file. If you did not create or save a configuration file yet, it will save your configuration as undefined.xml and put it into the same folder as your executable. Once the application finishes, the build report and the web pages can be accessed using the View menu.

First time users may want to load the sample configuration file (sample.xml) before launching the application to see how Gigatrees works. The sample configuration file uses a torture test GEDCOM file that has been floating around the Internet for ages. The sample configuration will save your web pages to the installation's "web" folder by default. The sample configuration differs from the default configuration in several ways. First, it has enabled the Coordinates lookup services so that it can create the population distribution heatmap and origin maps. The test file only has a few individuals and locations, so the lookup proceeds quickly. The Maintenance Verbose option has been enabled so that the lookup progress can be observed. Census years have been added and a separate census table has been setup for the individual with the record id of PERSON1. An ancestor list, descendant list, and separate origin map has also be setup for this person. Two blog entries have been added to show how easy it is to add an integrated blog to your website. The first blog entry uses the Insert Records option to insert the record id "B1", and the Append Records option to give it a title, author, publication and last modified dates and times, a category, keywords, an external hastag, and a flag. The second blog entries uses a note record with an id of "N2" that already exists within the GEDCOM file and uses just the Append Records option to give it a title and abstract. Giving it a title is what makes it a blog post. Lastly, the Featured Images option was used to provide a single image for the blog entiries. Featured images are randomly selected, but since only one image is defined, both blog posts use the same image.

Once you've run the application on the sample configuration, you can use the View menu to view the website that was created and scroll thorugh the various pages to see how they look. Afterwards you can create your own configuration starting with either the default configuration or the sample configuration and change the input file to your personal GEDCOM. Before launching the application with the new GEDCOM file, you might want to go through the various option pages to see what other features can be enabled, disabled or modified to better suit your needs.

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