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MIS Systems Thread, Sims Tests before updates in Technical; I don't want to be a moaner, I realise that SIMS is a vast and complex system which is trying ...
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    Sims Tests before updates

    I don't want to be a moaner, I realise that SIMS is a vast and complex system which is trying to do an awful lot of different jobs from one database, but does anyone else think that recently we have seen updates sent out without full pretesting?

    May - the update prevents people printing out student timetables because someone failed to put a quote marks around a string variable. The system comes up with an error message about reading "C:\documents". The workaround we are told is to delete the temp entries in the system control panel. I don't know which programs on our system use these variables but schools in general run some of the most heterogeneous collections of software and I'm reluctant to risk finding out which ones break for this the hard way.

    May - again - our profiles system crashes for some, not all, classes. This means that we have had to delay reports until we can install the June update.

    FMS - The invoice screen demands a different resolution from the rest of the system so our finance staff need new monitors and still complain that they have to fix the settings every time they move in and out of the system.


    Now I find myself wondering if some of these updates are being rushed out to meet deadlines of various kinds and as a result there is no full testing regimen in place. When you consider that in order to use SIMs we have had to invest in a new server and upgrade the SQL install, I am having to fight some of our senior team not to switch MIS systems. One or two more such errors and I'll begin to wonder if I'm right to do so.

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    The FMS resolution change was enough for me to almost condemn our finance lady as a liar until I seen it for myself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrubinstein View Post
    does anyone else think that recently we have seen updates sent out without full pretesting?
    Has that kind of feel about it, doesn't it? I agree with you in that SIMS must be a sprawling, complex piece of code, tricky to maintain, and I certainly don't envy the poor sods who have the task. I understand how a system could get that way, too - SIMS is full of features that have been added in over a decade, and any system is going to become difficult to maintain over that kind of time period. However, it does seem to be lacking in some of the basics - like someone hasn't quite got the hang of branching in their source code control system, or isn't being given time to ensure that bug fixes on branches are merged back into the main code body.

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    David Hicks

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    I've checked out the minimum spec for SIMS and its 1024x768 and I am told that FMS has not exceeded that requirement.

    Some of the errors in Feb & May should have been picked up and we have reviewed our processes to ensure that the traps that we fell into have been closed. We have a large workforce and proper procedures are followed including code branching, load testing, user acceptance testing etc etc.

    We do get time constraints when we have to release new statutary requirements that are woven into new features but there is a full release process which identifies barriers. We will not release if such barriers are found.

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    zag
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    Remember you don't have to use Sims for alot of things. We have our own web based reporting system, its never gone wrong in the year we've had it running and is a simple PHP based system.

    We use Sage instead of FMS, again never had a problem, its run 100% uptime since install 3 years ago. Not one update has been needed.

    We use sims for a student database and for Census returns and thats about it, I would never rely on a product with this many things that go wrong for stuff like reporting or profiles, our teachers would go nuts if a simple monthly upgrade broke something

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