Building requests to GeneWeb server

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gwd is the GeneWeb server that accepts requests and returns results. Its interfaces are entirely web-based: it behaves like a HTTP server.

All query parameters are directly available in the URL window of your web browser to build links to GeneWeb pages.

They may be useful both to GeneWeb users, and to persons who, without knowledge of GeneWeb, may want to insert in some of their web documents a link to a page produced by a GeneWeb server that they may have found on the Web.

Welcome page of a GeneWeb database

The welcome page of a GeneWeb base can be found at an URL of the form http://server:port/base where:

  • server is the IP address or DNS name of the server hosting the GeneWeb daemon;
  • port is the TCP port on which the daemon is listening, the default value being 2317 for base access with gwd and 2316 for management with gwsetup (these two parameters may be changed at launch time of these two programs);
  • base is the name of the GeneWeb database.

To ease things, gwd opens up by displaying the standard page welcome.txt on which a multiplicity of text capture zones and clickable buttons provides a convenient way to build a complex request.

When further navigating with GeneWeb, you will discover that your requests translate into URL which contains a command (action) and related parameters (data).

Starting the gwd server

GeneWeb server gwd is a web server listening for requests on TCP port 2317 by default, in the same way a standard HTTP server, such as Apache, would do on port 80 or 8080. Gwd accepts a specific set of URL following a precise syntax (see below) describing all the commands it can perform. Results are returned as text and if the URL request was sent from a web browser or any HTTP compatible program, the text will be treated as HTML code.

Usage: gwd [options] where options are:
 -hd <dir>
      Directory where the directory lang is installed.
 -bd <dir>
      Directory where the databases are installed.
 -wd <dir>
      Directory for socket communication (Windows) and access count.
      Force CGI mode.
 -images_url <url>
      URL for GeneWeb images (default: gwd send them)
 -images_dir <dir>
      Same than previous but directory name relative to current
 -a <address>
      Select a specific address (default = any address of this computer)
 -p <number>
      Select a port number (default = 2317); > 1024 for normal users.
      Display a link to local gwsetup in bottom of pages.
 -allowed_tags <file>
      HTML tags which are allowed to be displayed. One tag per line in file, no trailing space!.
 -wizard <passwd>
      Set a wizard password: access to all dates and updating.
 -friend <passwd>
      Set a friend password: access to all dates.
      Wizard just friend (permanently)
 -lang <lang>
      Set a default language (default: fr).
      Select the user browser language if any.
 -only <address>
      Only inet address accepted.
 -auth <file>
      Authorization file to restrict access. The file must hold lines
      of the form "user:password".
      Force no reverse host by address
      Use Digest authorization scheme (more secure on passwords)
 -add_lexicon <lexicon>
      Add file as lexicon.
 -log <file>
      Redirect log trace to this file.
 -robot_xcl <cnt>,<sec>
      Exclude connections when more than <cnt> requests in <sec> seconds.
      Minimum number of requests in robot trace (default: 6)
 -login_tmout <sec>
      Login timeout for entries with passwords in CGI mode (default 1800s)
 -redirect <addr>
      Send a message to say that this service has been redirected to <addr>
      Print the failed passwords in log (except if option -digest is set)
      Do not lock files before writing.
 -max_clients <num>
      Max number of clients treated at the same time (default: no limit)
      (not cgi).
 -conn_tmout <sec>
      Connection timeout (default 120s; 0 means no limit)
      Unix daemon mode.
 -chwd <comm>
      Call command when wdoc changed

Requests to gwd server

Requests to gwd server are formulated as URLs loaded with parameters. The question mark ? after the base address marks the beginning of the request: http://server:port/base?request.

It may sometimes be necessary to manually edit the URL to obtain the desired effect because some parameters aren’t available for selection and/or clicking for all pages of the interface.

The request in itself is the sum of all query parameters added to the end of the URL after the question mark. The gwd server analyse the different parameters and will render a specific page. Depending on the situation, the delimiter between the query parameters in the URLs may change between ; and &. Both can be used simultaneously.

The gwd server assumes that the URL request comes from a standard HTTP client (a browser or any other HTTP compatible program), and returns its result page accordingly (i.e. prefixed by the standard Content-type text/html header).

Links to persons, access_by_key and opt=no_index

Within GeneWeb, persons can be identified through two main methods, names and id:

  • p=first_name;n=last_name (exact match);
  • p=first_name;n=last_name;oc=occurrence if there are homonyms;
  • i=1234 GeneWeb internal id.

GeneWeb id numbers are unique across a base, but may change over time after clean up for instance.

Obtaining permanent links is achieved through two methods:

  • using option access_by_key=yes in the .gwf configuration file of your base, which will prevent the use of internal ids for URL construction;
  • adding opt=no_index to an URL containing id numbers will return the URL with unique but bulkier keys of individuals p=firstname;n=lastname;oc=occurence instead of id numbers.
Link to use without i=, obtained adding opt=no_index in the URL.

This last remark applies to all GeneWeb queries, particularly those about parental relationship where many individuals are referenced.





Pedigree collapse, dag=on

Ascendants tree with dag=on: common ancestors are merged.

On ascendant and descendant trees, dag=on will merge common ancestors.

Origin of a person, opt=from

The opt=from option is used to determine which source file a particular person’s data comes from. See merging bases for details. This information appears in italic after the family of the person, and is visible only to wizards.

Cancel GeneWeb links, cgl=on/off

Use the cgl=off (cancel geneweb links) option to cancel GeneWeb links in a given page. This may be useful for printing, or to do a copy/paste operation of a page into some other document where you don not want to transport the various GeneWeb links.

Names for one person, opt=misc

The opt=misc option will display at the end of the page all the first_name last_name alias combinations considered valid to call a particular person.

Hidden titles, all_titles


Refresh modified pages, escache


Insert images and text files

  • m=IMH insert image
  • m=SRC insert text file (typically HTML code)

For example, to display an image in notes we use <a href="%sm=IMH;s=image.jpg">Displayed text</a>. In this example, the “command” is the m=IMH part, %s is a macro transformed into the server address, and the rest of the URL being the parameters passed to the command, here the name of the image.

GeneWeb Manual

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Use and manage genealogical databases

Technical annex