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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS Learning about SQL and Writing basic Scripts in Technical; Edited my last post dumb me did not see the SQL folder in the SIMS drive and spent ages trying ...
  1. #16

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    Edited my last post dumb me did not see the SQL folder in the SIMS drive and spent ages trying to look for it.

    Made a copy of it and will have a look at it tonight at home
    Last edited by chrisateen; 14th October 2013 at 02:41 PM.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Yes just like that but with added options I personally needed, plus the offer of source code to look at. I'm not trying to compete with anyone, don't worry
    Haha, was just more a is this the kinda thing you were doing - do agree about the source, you did use to be able to run reflector and get something useful out of it. @chrisateen - did you put a pause in after it. Also I'm sure you're worrying a few people at Capita, might want to have a go at the build in reporting first, sounds like your trying to run before you can walk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Haha, was just more a is this the kinda thing you were doing - do agree about the source, you did use to be able to run reflector and get something useful out of it. @chrisateen - did you put a pause in after it. Also I'm sure you're worrying a few people at Capita, might want to have a go at the build in reporting first, sounds like your trying to run before you can walk.
    Excuse me - I forgot to take my bowl of humour this morning!

    BTW - Code Reflect is a good substitute for Reflector now that the latter has gone commercial: CodeReflect Free .NET Decompiler

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisateen View Post
    I tried that but every time I tried running the command line it opens for a few seconds then closes again not giving me a chance to write the command to run the programme
    Are you just double clicking the exe? If so, that's the problem: it's a CLI program, so you need to call it from a command prompt, otherwise Windows will automatically close the window when the program exits (which it will do immediately after printing the help message if you provide no params). My app works exactly the same - seemed pointless making a GUI for it when I mainly call it from scripts.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    If you could share it with me that would be great . As I have done a few small stuff in C# I could sit down learn a bit more and then could try and understand what you wrote as well.
    It isn't the tidiest of code but it gets the job done and should give you an idea how to parse XML and convert a base64 string back in to an image stream (handy for any DB work): SIMSImageGrabber.zip

    You'll need to import the included RptDef (if you'd rather make your own, it only needs a few fields, I'm happy to just tell you what they are) to SIMS, then run that and save the XML somewhere. Finally, run the XML through my app with any additional args (run it with no args to see what's available, or work it out from source ). Of course this can all be automated with BAT scripts and CommandReporter - in fact I do just that to gather photos for my Intranet's assessment analysis system.
    Last edited by LosOjos; 14th October 2013 at 03:11 PM.

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    BTW - Code Reflect is a good substitute for Reflector now that the latter has gone commercial: CodeReflect Free .NET Decompiler
    You tried JetBrains one? Was more pointing out that Richard has now obfuscated code.

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    I have made a copy of the SIMS database and because it is a db file I'm unable to open in SQL studio express. How do I go about opening the SIMS database file

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    Stop.

    Go to work, open SIMS .net, create a SIMS report. Play with that. Get booked onto a SIMS reporting course, then a Managing your SIMS.

    If you've got a copy of the school's SIMS database at your home, your breaching DPA and you could get fired. Delete it. Walk before you can run. If you want to learn about Microsoft SQL - first use Microsoft example database AdventureWorks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Stop.

    Go to work, open SIMS .net, create a SIMS report. Play with that. Get booked onto a SIMS reporting course, then a Managing your SIMS.

    If you've got a copy of the school's SIMS database at your home, your breaching DPA and you could get fired. Delete it. Walk before you can run. If you want to learn about Microsoft SQL - first use Microsoft example database AdventureWorks.
    I already know how to do complex reports in SIMS.net and have set up a whole load of reports for teachers to use. Thanks for the advice and I think I'm going to give up on learning how to run queries using the sims database. (I already know/learnt how to run some queries using SQL). Just wanted to do it as if I want to get a higher paid data manager role one of the requirements is to have experience using SQL

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    Yer, AdventureWorks is the way forward. Also get MS certificated, you can pick the self-study books quite cheap, SIMS is... pretty specialist. I think that's the polite way of putting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisateen View Post
    I have made a copy of the SIMS database and because it is a db file I'm unable to open in SQL studio express. How do I go about opening the SIMS database file
    I think you would need to do a backup of the database and then restore. However, SQLExpress may complain if the DB is over 10GB and hails from the future (different version).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I think you would need to do a backup of the database and then restore. However, SQLExpress may complain if the DB is over 10GB and hails from the future (different version).
    Thanks. I don't have access to the server at the school (only have access to the client machine) and it's going to be impossible for me to do without server access so I think I'm going to leave it for now

  11. #26

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    To be honest, I've never seen a Data Manager job that requires SQL experience; all the MIS I know of strongly discourage you directly accessing the DB. Also, taking a copy of the DB home is a huge breach of DPA! Really wouldn't recommend that.

    Using a combination of CommandReporter, XML and $LanguageOfChoice you can do a hell of a lot with your data though, plenty to get stuck in to. Admittedly you can't write back to the DB this way and the data is never truly live, but as a DM myself it's never been a huge problem.

    All that said, SIMS DB would be a horrible one to try to learn SQL on; it's structure is (probably purposely) obscure, you'd spend more time working out where your data is than doing anything with it, then after each update it's likely to change!

    If you needed any more convincing; Capita will bleed your school's budget dry to fix anything you break while tinkering with SQL; you'll almost certainly be fired and once word spreads you'll be unlikely to get another DM job soon.

    TL;DR - I strongly advise you leave the SIMS SQL DB alone

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    To be honest, I've never seen a Data Manager job that requires SQL experience; all the MIS I know of strongly discourage you directly accessing the DB. Also, taking a copy of the DB home is a huge breach of DPA! Really wouldn't recommend that.

    Using a combination of CommandReporter, XML and $LanguageOfChoice you can do a hell of a lot with your data though, plenty to get stuck in to. Admittedly you can't write back to the DB this way and the data is never truly live, but as a DM myself it's never been a huge problem.

    All that said, SIMS DB would be a horrible one to try to learn SQL on; it's structure is (probably purposely) obscure, you'd spend more time working out where your data is than doing anything with it, then after each update it's likely to change!

    If you needed any more convincing; Capita will bleed your school's budget dry to fix anything you break while tinkering with SQL; you'll almost certainly be fired and once word spreads you'll be unlikely to get another DM job soon.

    TL;DR - I strongly advise you leave the SIMS SQL DB alone
    I would never ever write to the SIMS Database even if I had tons of programming experience due to the high chances of bugs and errors. All I really want to do is run scripts that enables me to get data out of SIMS (which getting data out of SIMS is mainly what we do in our jobs anyway)

    Thanks for the help everyone

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisateen View Post
    I would never ever write to the SIMS Database even if I had tons of programming experience due to the high chances of bugs and errors. All I really want to do is run scripts that enables me to get data out of SIMS (which getting data out of SIMS is mainly what we do in our jobs anyway)
    All the more reason to use CommandReporter - it's read only, Capita approved and will allow you to pull whatever data you want from SIMS (so long as you have the permissions). It'll allow you to do more than SIMS own reporting tools will as you can pull whatever data you like to XML and tie it all together from a student ID (get yourself added to the "Third Party Reporting" permissions group to open up the usually hidden ID's).

    Have a read through these threads to get an idea of how CommandReporter works:
    SIMS.net Reporting
    executing CommandReporter from scripts
    Command Reporter and Filtering Reports
    CLR /Params String

  14. 2 Thanks to LosOjos:

    CAM (16th October 2013), chrisateen (15th October 2013)

  15. #29


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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    To be honest, I've never seen a Data Manager job that requires SQL experience; all the MIS I know of strongly discourage you directly accessing the DB.
    I would certainly be asking for some SQL experience in a Data Manager and we make use of SQL to query the CMIS database. I think being cut off from native access to the data would be like losing a hand. I can certainly understand supplier reluctance to have users writing to the database and I can even understand how poor SQL can cause issues (transactional consistency can lead to performance issues) just reading the database. However, the talk is always then of supplier provided API's or reporting engines and I'm the curious as to why SQL is not seen as an appropriate API? It is so fundamental as an API that the suppliers themselves use it when developing the applications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I would certainly be asking for some SQL experience in a Data Manager and we make use of SQL to query the CMIS database. I think being cut off from native access to the data would be like losing a hand. I can certainly understand supplier reluctance to have users writing to the database and I can even understand how poor SQL can cause issues (transactional consistency can lead to performance issues) just reading the database. However, the talk is always then of supplier provided API's or reporting engines and I'm the curious as to why SQL is not seen as an appropriate API? It is so fundamental as an API that the suppliers themselves use it when developing the applications.
    They are asking for it when looking at Data Manager/MIS Roles in London and they tend to pay the top wage as well and if i want to get the best data manager jobs in London its something I have to learn. Plus SQL is a basic requirement for a Data Manger in the corporate world. I agree with Capita being wary of people writing to the database but I don't see the problem in people being able to have read only access as one cannot edit the database.

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