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MIS Systems Thread, Capita partners and the API in Technical; I have seen some sample docs and even an example or too, but i can see why they don't want ...
  1. #16

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I have seen some sample docs and even an example or too, but i can see why they don't want to make it easy.
    It is interesting to see the areas that SIMS expands into, e.g. the apps, though only Groupcall have a teacher's app so far, it is a direction @Schoolcomms could go as well since they already do attendance write back via the software. Plus it would be cheaper.

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    I suspect that sample docs was the actual documentation, you REALLY need to be a programmer to understand it, also helps to understand how schools works - like the fact that although UPN stands for UNIQUE pupil number, you can't be sure it's UNIQUE. They can't be expected to teach programming after all, so it's not going to be click this, type that and bam you've made an app! They can however teach a programmer about schools, but I doubt many programmers would want to spend hours reading SIMS manuals and DfE guidance when they could be working on something more exciting and getting paid a heck of a lot more money.

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    Hang on - Business Objects are free to use read only? I tried for ages to get access to those and was told that I needed to pay. I did get some TP documentation a while back, but it only covered calling CommandReporter from C# (so nothing to do with BO).

    How do we go about getting started with Read Only BOs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Hang on - Business Objects are free to use read only? I tried for ages to get access to those and was told that I needed to pay. I did get some TP documentation a while back, but it only covered calling CommandReporter from C# (so nothing to do with BO).

    How do we go about getting started with Read Only BOs?
    Exactly!
    They are all hiding in your C drive, it's just nobody told you what all those .dll files are for

  5. #20

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Hang on - Business Objects are free to use read only? I tried for ages to get access to those and was told that I needed to pay. I did get some TP documentation a while back, but it only covered calling CommandReporter from C# (so nothing to do with BO).

    How do we go about getting started with Read Only BOs?
    Yeah, if you're a SIMS customer you have free access to the BOs. You just need to get the documentation to accompany them, which IIRC is covered under an NDA.

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    You guys want to be careful, you'll give two people at Capita big heads the way you speak about that mythical 18 page word document written back in April 2008.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Yeah, if you're a SIMS customer you have free access to the BOs. You just need to get the documentation to accompany them, which IIRC is covered under an NDA.
    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    You guys want to be careful, you'll give two people at Capita big heads the way you speak about that mythical 18 page word document written back in April 2008.
    That's where I get stuck - I know the BOs are simply a range of DLLs in the SIMS install folder but without the documentation (which I gave up asking for 2 years ago) I don't want to touch them. Brief as the documentation might be, if it simply tells me how to connect to the DB and retrieve data, I'll work the rest out for myself from there. Without that basic info though I don't want to experiment with them on a live DB!
    @PhilNeal - how do I go about getting hold of the BO documentation for read only access?

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    You would NEVER develop of a live db anyway, you would NEVER test on a live db either. What data do you want to retrieve? If you can't tell them what you want to extract and why, I doubt they'll be willing to allocate what limited resources they have when you can use the reporting engine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    You would NEVER develop of a live db anyway, you would NEVER test on a live db either. What data do you want to retrieve? If you can't tell them what you want to extract and why, I doubt they'll be willing to allocate what limited resources they have when you can use the reporting engine.
    I'd just like to try live retrieval of assessment data. I have systems in place to gather data in the wee hours to a separate SQL DB where my in house analysis system picks it up to process, but it'd be great if it was live.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    It's worth talking to @David_Grashoff - always been very helpful, the last time it came up i think was in this thread - not sure if we reached the same conclusion there about the charge, i think it wasn't [Development] An Open Source Parent Gateway

    If BO is too complicated, you could look at just setting up your own read only access to the SQL direct either porting it elsewhere or using a view, it does mean you have to work your way around the tables, but i've done some queries for checking when results were updated, it wasn't too bad. Of course if the structure changes you're in trouble, but i imagine that's an area they will gladly leave alone.

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  12. #26

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    @vikpaw - problem is I'm not part of the IT team here and the NM (understandably) doesn't want to give me access to the SQL DB. Don't get me wrong, not using BO isn't the end of the world but I like to at least try all the tools available to me as you just never know when they'll come in handy.

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    To be honest, I have access to the BO documentation and I decided its simpler for me to continue as I always have - use commandreporter.exe and import the data into my own database periodically that way.

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    @LosOjos Your in-house analysis system - is this open-source? Do other schools use it or is it just your place?
    Last edited by matt40k; 3rd February 2014 at 01:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    To be honest, I have access to the BO documentation and I decided its simpler for me to continue as I always have - use commandreporter.exe and import the data into my own database periodically that way.
    Yeah I imagine that for the majority of things I'll do the same but as a programmer I'm sure you understand that I'd like to be able to weigh it up for myself

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    @LosOjos Your in-house analysis system - is this open-source? Do other schools use it or is it just your place?
    It's only for our own use, though I can envisage the school wanting to resell it at some point in the future. Obviously if I were to use BOs that would entail either paying Capita's partner fee or rewriting it to use CR again (if they do decide they want to sell it, it'll need rewriting anyway, it's very much a patch together job with zero GUI for configuration)

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    If BO is too complicated, you could look at just setting up your own read only access to the SQL direct either porting it elsewhere or using a view, it does mean you have to work your way around the tables, but i've done some queries
    That's a dangerous road mately. It's like change control, no one likes it, most of the time you could get away from skipping it entirely or at least parts of it, but the facts stand up for themselves, almost all the major problems occur because someone skip the change control. Hey I don't need to use the API, I'll go direct, next time it's I'll use the 'sa' account, then it's I'll change that UPN because the UI won't let me (rather then waiting for the UPN tool from Capita), time after that it's delete\update statement.. only you forgot the where clause... and to do a backup before hand - bang goes this morning attendance marks.

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