Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 12 total)
  • #6683

    I’ve just updated the Road map page so please take a look, and let me have some feedback.

    The two largest things I’m working on right now are replacing the “Descendants” report; and an exciting new module / tool to enable simple backups of important files like a copy of your GEDCOM and your media files to a Dropbox cloud account.

    Descendants report.
    This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. For a while now we have had the excellent “Fancy Tree View” (FTV) module, originally created by JustCarmen for webtrees. It does a very similar job to the Descendants report, but looks much better. So the new replacement is directly linked to the FTV module. It uses the same admin configuration settings page and the same display. The only difference is that it can now also be accessed from the Resources menu, and automatically displays the report based on the person you are viewing (or the family tree root person if you are not viewing an individual). just like the old report version. It’s progressing well, with just some minor bugs to tidy up now, so it will definitely be part of the next release.
    But for those who like and use the unique FTV menu and it’s specific family name reports, they are not changed by this development. You can continue to use those with or without the new menu option. Thanks to kiwitrees’ flexible menu and module configuration options, you decide for your site what tools you want.

    Backup to Dropbox
    I was recently asked to help a kiwitrees user decide how to preserve their very large family tree after own death which of course comes to us all eventually. It’s not an easy subject to think about, but well worth everyone considering. The aim was to leave instructions in a will so an heir or executor would reasonably easily be able to access at least the GEDCOM file. They also plan to bequeath a copy of that to their country’s archives. In their case this is important, as it is a substantial body of work, extensively researched and sourced.
    The major challenge in this case is the size of the GEDCOM file, well in excess of 60MB. That’s actually too large to use kiwitrees zip & download function. You can, with a little difficulty generate the file on the server OK though. But that then leaves the heir / executor to access it via FTP. Complications best avoided! It also still leaves the issue that the referenced media objects in the GEDCOM file would still be problematic. There are a further 100+MB of those!
    So after talking through various options, and doing some research, I found that it should be possible to create a fairly simple backup tool that would copy selected, or perhaps pre-determined, files directly from kiwitrees to a Dropbox account (cloud storage. Then all the heir / executor needs to is access that account (details in the will).
    I chose Dropbox for two reasons, 1) a free account is a good size, easy to use and large enough for most peoples needs, even this one; and b) they publish a usable code API that enables the necessary direct access to their file systems.
    So far I have it working OK, but only on hard-coded files. Next stage is to decide on how to select the necessary files / folders manually. We also need to get and store a secret “token” necessary to access your personal Dropbox account.
    I also need to decide if we’re going to enable it to allow backup of ANY files / folders on your server, or to fix it so it just targets xxxxx.ged files and the media folder(s) stored in the /data/ folder. I’m slightly leaning towards the latter, for simplicity, but happy for any thoughts you might have.

    My personal kiwitrees site is
  • #6699

    In our support team I allways tell users to dl gedcom and all files in /media.

    I have no clue about dropbox since I do not use it at all. So I have no suggestion about this!

    Im happy about the ideas about new reports 🙂 Still miss my “userdefined” ones (in wish list)

    Sorry not much help from me but you got my footsteps 😛

    Regards, Jamie Jaconelli

    admin and owner of a user customized version of kiwitrees (contain 3 family trees)

  • #6700

    In our support team I allways tell users to dl gedcom and all files in /media.

    I think it is a little more complex than that. I see two different reasons for a backup:

    1. To protect your family history data. In this case your advice is absolutely correct. The Dropbox suggestion is aimed at making this easier.
    2. To protect your website completely. In this case a backup of your GEDCOM file is not needed. It is far more important to backup your database, as that stores everything, including your family history data, all settings, user information, etc. But still a backup of media is required.

    In both cases a backup of the kiwitrees software is not necessary as that is easily obtained as a fresh download.

    My personal kiwitrees site is
  • #6702

    These are excellent development objectives and I applaud your roadmap.
    I usually do a monthly backup of the /data folder using filezilla and of the database using phpmyadmin to a local drive, but having an easy option for a cloud backup of the gedcom file is simpler for others to understand when I pass on. I use Dropbox and Google Drive for cloud storage.

    Best wishes
    Paul Bootes

    Penguins Are  Boss

    Happy to be hosted by

  • #6704

    Oh I did not talk about backup. I was refering to save data for the future. If backup I allways tell users to backup db and media!

    Regards, Jamie Jaconelli

    admin and owner of a user customized version of kiwitrees (contain 3 family trees)

  • #6776

    It would be nice if with the backup there was a restore function as well. That way if something happens to the site and you have to use a backup to get it working again you can easily restore to exactly where you were. Would be especially useful if the data being backed up included the full database used by kiwitrees so we wouldn’t need to import from gedcom again when recreating the site from backup and also include user information, ect.
    Perhaps give the user a choice on what to backup:
    kiwitrees database
    kiwitrees website files

  • #6788

    t would be nice if with the backup there was a restore function as well.

    I an see the logic, but that’s a serious complication to what I aim to have as a simple solution to a simple problem.

    Producing a backup of a database (and restoring from it) is a very complex process to do in PHP, one I feel is best left to specialist tools. The three solutions I recommend are either

    1. Use a webhost that backs up your data on a regular basis (kiwitrees hosting operates secondary servers in a different location that constantly mirror our databases for all clients)
    2. Use phpMyAdmin / cPanel of whatever tool your web host provides for back-end management to export a copy of your database regularly. Such tools automate zipping, emailing etc.
    3. Install the software MySQLDumper (“MSD”) and run it regularly. It does the same as using phpMyAdmmin / cPanel, but is not as daunting as digging into the actual database itself. Download the kiwitrees add-on module Simpl_MySqlDumper from and run MSD from the kiwitrees admin->tools page.

    Personally I use both 1 and 3 for my own family tree site, and store the zipped DB copy in the cloud.

    Regarding the kiwitrees software, whilst it could be included in the backup module, it’s a lot of extra cloud storage which many users might find themselves paying for, and as you can download the same from this site anytime, there seems little point. Plus, you would need to install it BEFORE you could restore anything, so that kind of defeats the purpose.

    The point of a cloud storage for the media and GEDCOM files is that they are readily accessible, and NOT on your home PC, so far safer against risks of fire, theft, equipment failure etc.

    So initially at least, my plan is now to provide the backup option, and set it to backup all / any GEDCOM files and the media folder (i.e. most of the content of the /data/ folder in kiwitrees) as a single-click operation. There will however be some Dropbox set up required which I will have to write a detailed FAQ for.

    My personal kiwitrees site is
  • #6789

    I agree storage space is a concern and that’s why I suggested the site files and site database be provided as an option to backup and restore.
    But to really make that feature useful considering the amount of space it would require it would be ideal do have multiple options for where to remotely store the backup at a minimum I’d suggest adding at least a custom FTP server in addition to Dropbox but Google Drive is popular also so if they have an API that’s easy to use that might be a good addition to.
    But considering the difficulties you mentioned and getting a backup and restore to work with PHP I agree it’s Beyond this Module.
    Regarding backing up just site files with what you were planning and not the site database I think that would be useless since the site files without the database serves no purpose. If a backup and restore feature was to be added later including the database and the site files would be useful so any custom changes, modules, themes, ect that were made to the website would be included with the backup.
    Of course you’d most likley have to reinstall kiwitrees if you need to restore but that’s the beauty backup. Restore from your remote backup and your original site is back the way you said last. There are free plugins for WordPress that do this and I would never use wordpress without it, although I hope I’ll never need it. Your suggestions work as would work but about as convenient as manual backups when it’s time to restore. My suggestion just makes it easier.
    I hope my suggested restore function makes it in some future mod. Perhaps you can save some work by leaning on a working implementation in another program like wordpress if the license allows that.

  • #6790

    Options for other backup cloud locations might be possible in future, but each has their own API, so almost become a separate module. Now if there was a standard API it might be different.

    …since the site files without the database serves no purpose.

    But you are looking at this as a pure backup option. If you read my original post that is not the aim. It’s more accurately a “family tree data preservation” process. The DB is actually unnecessary in that scenario. Perhaps I need to come up with a new title 😛

    However, if you setup MySQLDumper I’m pretty sure you could set it to save the DB backup to the kiwitrees /data/ folder, as a zip file. Then it could (or even would) be included with the other Dropbox uploads.

    Finally, there is no way I will include the software files. I feel strongly that it is unnecessary. I don’t keep backups of ANY software these days. I admit I used to, but with everything accessed via the web it’s no longer necessary. The last time I had to re-build a hard drive I found it easiest to download fresh copies of all products. But if you really feel it’s necessary, then again, store the original zip version in the installed /data/ folder.

    My personal kiwitrees site is
  • #6791

    Again I agree most of my suggestion is beyond the scope of this mod so perhaps it doesn’t go in this topic. And backing up the entire site files is as you suggested prob not needed. But any files that would be changed or added to like mods and themes should be included in a site backup solution which as you’ve already stated this mod is not.
    With different apps for each backup location it would be like a seperate mod for each one but one front end interface should be able to allow a user to select which one to use.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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