Running the Unix Version of GED2HTML

Downloading and Unpacking the Distribution

The current Unix version of GED2HTML is distributed in two parts: a generic distribution, which consists of everything except the binary executables, and a platform-specific distribution, which contains only the GED2HTML binary for a particular architecture and operating system. You must first download both of these parts.

If what you really wanted was source, please note that the only source version that I am currently distributing is GED2HTML version 2.4a. If you want to play with source code to this old version, go ahead and download it, but as I am no longer developing or supporting this version, you are pretty much on your own. You will need an ANSI C compiler (such as GCC) and a "make" utility to compile the program. Old non-ANSI C compilers will not work, sorry. Also, you may have to do various kinds of tweaking to the C preprocessor #define's or the Makefile to get the source to compile on your particular system. Many times this is due to lack of ANSI compliance of the compiler being used.

The generic distribution of GED2HTML comes in the form of a gzipped tar file, so you will need "gunzip" and "tar" (standard tools on most Unices) to unpack the distribution. After downloading, you should have a file "g2hdocs.tar.gz". First, uncompress it using the command:

gunzip g2hdocs.tar.gz Make a subdirectory "ged2html" (call it whatever you want) into which to unpack the distribution. Go to that directory and execute: tar xvf ../g2hdocs.tar At this point, you should have a number of files, which constitute the complete GED2HTML distribution, except for the executable program itself.

The GED2HTML executables for the various platforms are distributed as gzipped binary files. For example, after downloading the executable for a SparcStation running Solaris 2.4, you might have a file "ged2html_v2.5b_solaris5.4.gz". Put it in the same directory where you unpacked the current distribution and uncompress it using the commands:

gunzip ged2html_v2.5b_solaris5.4.gz Install the resulting GED2HTML binary anywhere you want, as long as the directory where you install it is in your default shell search path.

Running GED2HTML with the Default Options

GED2HTML is invoked, as are all Unix commands, by typing its name, possibly followed by command-line arguments. Command line arguments that begin with '-' signify processing options. Following the processing options are zero or more filename arguments. If no filename arguments are supplied, then GED2HTML assumes it is to read GEDCOM from the standard input. Otherwise, it reads the specified GEDCOM files, one after the other, merging all the data and outputting a single set of HTML files. To run GED2HTML with the default options on a single GEDCOM file "myged.ged", you would type: ged2html myged.ged

In keeping with the Unix tradition of terse programs, the Unix version of GED2HTML does not print many comforting messages as it reads your data and writes the output files. The only message printed is a single line output after GED2HTML has finished reading your GEDCOM, but before it begins creating the HTML files. This message reports the number of lines of GEDCOM that were processed, and how many of each different kind of record (individual, family, note, etc.) were encountered.

By default, the HTML files produced by the Unix version of GED2HTML are placed in the current directory. You may peruse the files with your Web browser to verify that they are OK. Good starting points are the files "persons.html" and "surnames.html".

Exactly how long it will take to process your GEDCOM is primarily dependent on whether you have enough RAM on your system for the size GEDCOM you are attempting to process. Roughly speaking, this generally amounts to about one megabyte of RAM per thousand individuals in your GEDCOM. Thus, a 10,000-individual GEDCOM could be processed comfortably in 10MB of RAM. In this case, the program will spend most of its time generating the output files, rather than reading the input data. As the ratio of individuals to RAM approaches one megabyte of RAM per two thousand individuals, the program will become slower and slower at reading in the GEDCOM file, and will make extensive use of the disk. It is probably not feasible to process a GEDCOM if there are more than three thousand individuals per megabyte of RAM.

Customizing GED2HTML Output

If you don't like some aspect of the HTML output produced by GED2HTML, it can probably be changed. The output of GED2HTML can be customized through the use of a large number of options settings, which are described here. Another form of output customization you can do without supplying any options whatsoever is to include additional HTML text at two fixed points in the individual files. How to do this is described here. Finally, the output format can be completely changed by modifying the GED2HTML output program. How to do this is described here.

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Copyright © 1995-2004 Eugene W. Stark. All rights reserved.