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MIS Systems Thread, Programatic data extraction from SIMS.net Data Base in Technical; Originally Posted by geekulike SIMS has an NDA..whatever next! What does that cover...or is it a state secret?!?!?! SIMS doesn't. ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    SIMS has an NDA..whatever next!

    What does that cover...or is it a state secret?!?!?!
    SIMS doesn't. The Business Objects do...

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    Ok, thanks.

    What is the idea behind the NDA on Business Objects?

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    Ok, thanks.

    What is the idea behind the NDA on Business Objects?
    So that other companies can't get the information to interface without paying Capita as a partner?

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    SIMS has an NDA..whatever next!

    What does that cover...or is it a state secret?!?!?!

    To access their api you need to sign an NDA - I always assumed so you couldn't then opensource anything that you developed (as that would essentially be the instruction to use the api) NDA is directly anticompetitive with OSS licenses. If too many others start interfacing with SIMS then capita loose marketshare on all there other plugins. Not sure how they manage to square that with OFT, I'm sure someone can explain...

    It looks like the way around this is going to be SIF - as soon as it's easy to get data in and out of SIMS using SIF, the api should become largely irrelevant, as SIF will essentially be the api.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    To access their api you need to sign an NDA - I always assumed so you couldn't then opensource anything that you developed (as that would essentially be the instruction to use the api) NDA is directly anticompetitive with OSS licenses. If too many others start interfacing with SIMS then capita loose marketshare on all there other plugins. Not sure how they manage to square that with OFT, I'm sure someone can explain...

    It looks like the way around this is going to be SIF - as soon as it's easy to get data in and out of SIMS using SIF, the api should become largely irrelevant, as SIF will essentially be the api.
    OK, but I don't want/need access to an 'API', just SQL access to my data in my database running on my server...is that too much to ask?

    It may be complex and undocumented, but at the end of the day it's just another SQL Server database.

    Yes, the schema might change, but that's a risk that's always in play when building a reporting/analysis application.

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    OK, but I don't want/need access to an 'API', just SQL access to my data in my database running on my server...is that too much to ask?

    It may be complex and undocumented, but at the end of the day it's just another SQL Server database.

    Yes, the schema might change, but that's a risk that's always in play when building a reporting/analysis application.
    Sorry, what data are you pulling out and why?

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    ...
    As there are no trial, demo, or crippleware versions of SIMS available, how do we assess the complexity of the schema to decide if it will hinder custom report development, without actually buying the product? This is a key deciding factor for us.
    You have to trust us. It's really complex! Really really!
    I've used it a bit from a virtual machine and many others have little bits and pieces that they do via scripts,queries etc. but i don't know of anyone that isn't a business that is doing huge amounts with the data.

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    As SIMS runs on SQL Server, which is licensed to the school separately, there seems to be little Capita can do to stop custom report development or data extracts against the SQL Server database that SIMS requires.
    Well, they could encypt the data in the database

    I've used an SQLLite based product that does that - I can access the database but can't actually do anything useful with the data.

    Now I'd hope Capita wouldn't go down that route but I think thats something that would be purely up to them as a business

    Remember - you pay for a product - not for the internal workings/parts that the product uses and no-one has to make the part work for you if you decide to take the product apart

    regards

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    You have to trust us. It's really complex! Really really!
    I've used it a bit from a virtual machine and many others have little bits and pieces that they do via scripts,queries etc. but i don't know of anyone that isn't a business that is doing huge amounts with the data.
    The key issue is would we be locking our data into a repository that dictates how/if we can retrieve that data, for whatever purposes take our fancy, such as custom reporting/analysis?

    Guided reporting interfaces lack flexibility and demand time and effort to learn skills that are not transferable (the 'Business Objects' interface in this case). The unload 'API' is not an API at all, it's a client application to export data.

    What should be available with any data capture application is a documented schema and the ability to query it to your hearts content. Go and ask any big company if they would accept restrictions on querying/unloading data from their big ERP systems...all of which are no doubt orders of magnitude more complex than SIMS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekulike View Post
    The key issue is would we be locking our data into a repository that dictates how/if we can retrieve that data, for whatever purposes take our fancy, such as custom reporting/analysis?

    Guided reporting interfaces lack flexibility and demand time and effort to learn skills that are not transferable (the 'Business Objects' interface in this case). The unload 'API' is not an API at all, it's a client application to export data.

    What should be available with any data capture application is a documented schema and the ability to query it to your hearts content. Go and ask any big company if they would accept restrictions on querying/unloading data from their big ERP systems...all of which are no doubt orders of magnitude more complex than SIMS!
    @geekulike

    What data do you want to pull out of SIMS.net? Are you wanting to develop custom application that use data stored in SIMS?

    We have done a lot of work in supporting SIF and using it to pull information from SIMS and CMIS. If you let me know what data you want to query i can tell you if SIF supports it.

    If it does we might be able to create a SIF agent that supports your need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    @geekulike

    What data do you want to pull out of SIMS.net? Are you wanting to develop custom application that use data stored in SIMS?

    We have done a lot of work in supporting SIF and using it to pull information from SIMS and CMIS. If you let me know what data you want to query i can tell you if SIF supports it.

    If it does we might be able to create a SIF agent that supports your need.
    There is nothing specific at the moment. It's more about ensuring we don't make a decsion we regret and find we can't access the data as we desire after we've spend a lot of money on an app we can't trial.

    Where can we find out what's available in SIF?

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    @geekulike

    I'm sure a quick phone call to neighboring schools would find you someone willing to demo SIMS to you

    regards

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    @geekulike

    I'm sure a quick phone call to neighboring schools would find you someone willing to demo SIMS to you

    regards

    Simon
    Good idea. Would that shed light on SIF?

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    Info on SIF, including the current specifications, can be found on the SIFA website:

    Welcome to the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association UK

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    Very interesting...questions:

    1. How much awareness is there is the UK of SIF?

    2. How is an analytic app (using data from SIMS or an equivalent) developed/deployed using SIF?

    3. Do UK schools demand SIF-certified products?

    Thx!

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