GeneWeb - Getting Started

The present chapter holds an introduction to GeneWeb with a succinct description of commands and files, in order to be able to start.

Warning: this approach supposes that you feel comfortable with the notions of "files" and "directories" and you are not afraid to type commands; otherwise, use rather the program gwsetup.


To configure and start GeneWeb, you must use interactive commands. Under Unix, launch an xterm. Under Window 95/NT, click on "Start", "Programs" and "Commands MSDOS".

In this window, type the command to go to the directory where you installed GeneWeb:

Then go to the subdirectory "gw", by typing:
     cd gw
All GeneWeb commands can be launched with the option -help which displays the different possible options, with a short explanation.

For example, if you type:

     gwd -help
you must see something like this:
     Usage: gwd [options] where options are:
       -hd <dir>
	    Directory where the directory lang is installed.
       -bd dir>
	    Directory where the databases are installed.
	    Force cgi mode.
       -p <number>
	    Select a port number (default = 2317); > 1024 for normal users.
       -wizard <passwd>
	    Set a wizard passord: access to all dates and updating.
       -friend <passwd>
	    Set a friend password: access to all dates.
       -lang <lang>
	    Set a default language (default: fr).
       -only <address>
	    Only inet address accepted.
       -auth <file>
	    Authorization file to restrict access. The file must hold lines
	    of the form "user:password".
       -log <file>
	    Redirect log trace to this file.
	    Do not lock files before writing.

Some commands are somewhat talkative. You can redirect their display in a file by ending the command by "> file". Example:

     gwd -help > foo.txt

GeneWeb databases are directories with the extension ".gwb".

Command gwc

To use GeneWeb, you must create a database. You can do it either with this command "gwc", or with "ged2gwb", following section.

The command "gwc", in its simplest usage, creates an empty database: under GeneWeb, you will be able to fill it.

You must give a name to this base. Any name is available. Preferably, do not use more than 8 characters.

For example, if you want to call it "smith", type:

     gwc -o smith

Command ged2gwb

Another way to create a GeneWeb database is to start from a GEDCOM file.

The command "ged2gwb" allows you to convert a GEDCOM file into a GeneWeb database.

The simplest way is to first copy your GEDCOM file in the directory where you installed GeneWeb. Do it with you usual method of copying files, either with an interactive command, or by moving icons.

If your GEDCOM file is named, for example, "foo.ged" and you want to create a base named "smith", type:

     ged2gwb foo.ged -o smith

The command is somewhat verbose, especially if it discovers errors in the GEDCOM file. Ignore these errors in a first stage: your database will be build even so. If everything is allright, the command must end by:

     *** Ok

Command gwb2ged

Before continuing, let us note the reverse command, "gwb2ged", allowing to rebuild a GEDCOM file from a GeneWeb base.

Command gwd

Once you created a base, with one of the commands "gwc" or "ged2gwb", you can consult and extend it.

Always in the interactive window, type:


This command launches the GeneWeb "daemon". The command must display:

     GeneWeb 1.0 - Copyright (c) 2001 INRIA
     Possible addresses:
     where "base" is the name of the database
     Type control C to stop the service
     Ready (day) (hour) port 2317...

Note that you do not see the prompt in the interactive window. This program is waiting for requests you will send it through your Web navigator. When it receives one, it treats it and waits again. When you finish using GeneWeb, you can stop it by typing control-C in the interactive Window.

Now, you can really start. Since you consult this documentation, you are using a Web navigator. Take a new window in this navigator and open the following location. Replace "smith" with the name of your base. Warning: do not put the complete name (like "c:\geneweb\gw\smith" or "/home/geneweb/gw/smith"), just "smith".


You must see GeneWeb's welcome page in French.

[If this does not work, click here]

Select another language (English, e.g.) in the row of flags at the top of the page. (There is a way to select a default language different than French. See further).

Meanwhile, you can notice that each time you click on a button or a link, a trace appears on the interactive window. When you make your GeneWeb server work on the network, you see the requests sent to your base by this way.

Note that if you type control-C in the interactive window, the service does not answer any more in your navigator. To restart it, just type "gwd" again.

Under Windows, you can simply double-click on the icon of "gwd" to launch it. It opens an interactive Window where "gwd" displays its traces. Typing Control-C stops "gwd" and closes the window. Creating a shortcut of "gwd" on the desk, you can use it very easily.

Command consang

This command must be launched in the interactive window, like the others. If the "gwd" daemon is running, type control-C to stop it. Another way, if you do not want to stop the daemon, consists on launching another interactive window, following the instructions of the introduction above.

The command "consang" computes the consanguinities in a database. The displaying of consanguinities is done when consulting the database, in the personal records and while computing relationships.

But to have access to it, you must pre-compute the individual consanguinities of the persons of the database. This is what "consang" does. If your base's name is "smith", type:

     consang smith

The program will compute some seconds or minutes, depending on the size of your base, and displaying without stopping the number of remaining persons to treat. At the end, you have the prompt again in the interactive window and the individual consanguinities are recorded.

During this computing, if you did not stop the daemon, you can absolutely return to your navigator and consult your base.

Launch "consang" from time to time, if you made modifications in your base, especially if they are adding, modification, deletions of families: the consanguinity depends on the structure of families. If it changes, the individual consanguinities are not yet available and you have to recompute them.

Moreover "consang" makes an internal "cleanup" of the base, necessary after a certain number of updates.

Command gwu

This command displays the contents of the base under a text form. Redirecting this display to a file, it can constitute a saving of your base.

If your base is named "smith", and you want to save it in the file "", type:

     gwu smith >

Saving your base in different versions and in different files, you can see the differences using a program to compare text files. This is particularly interesting if somebody has done modifications of your base and you want to know which they are.

This is also a method to reconstitute your base when you take another version of GeneWeb, in the case when the internal representation of bases has been changed.

To reconstitute your base, you must use the command "gwc". The saved file must have the extension ".gw". To build a base named "jones", from the file "", type:

     gwc -o jones

File a.gwf

This file holds a configuration template for a database. If your base's name is "smith", make a copy of "a.gwf" calling it "smith.gwf" and edit the file "smith.gwf".

The configurable values are the following:

Directory "lang" - file "lexicon.txt"

This file hold the lexicon of all terms and phrases used in the program. For each, there is a translation in each language. If you want to add a language, choose a code for this language, and add a line with this code to each translation group you see in the file.

Moreover, if one of the proposed translations in one of the languages does not fit you, you can change it.

When you save the file "lexicon.txt", this will be applied immediately in the displaying in your browser. Maybe you just have to click on "reload".

Directory "lang" - subdirectories

Each subdirectory name is a language code. Each holds the default welcome page for this language: the file is named "start.txt".

You can change this welcome page for a given database. For the database "smith" in the language "xx", just make a copy of the file "start.txt" in the directory "xx" naming it "smith.txt". Then edit your file "smith.txt" and make adaptations you want. If you want, you can do that for each language.

Remark: these files hold HTML code with some particular indications: % signs followed by a letter. These are macros that "gwd" will replace by values. For example, "%t" is replaced by the name of the base, "%b" by the value of "body_prop" of the configuration file, etc.

The complete description of these macros is given here.

Return to Directions for Use

© Copyright 2001 INRIA - GeneWeb