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MIS Systems Thread, Individual Reports - crashing - now banging head against wall in Technical; Does anyone have any ideas? We've set up a new SIMS installation at a school with whch we're federated, and ...
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    Angry Individual Reports - crashing - now banging head against wall

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    We've set up a new SIMS installation at a school with whch we're federated, and I'm trying to set up individual reports containing assessment data.

    The reports sometimes preview correctly, but never print, export or upload. More than 50% of the time they don't preview either.

    What happens is the progress bar comes up, displays "generating", then as the generation finishes and it's about to preview/print/export, I get a windows Error message "Sims.net has encountered an error and has had to close..."

    I've worked through the relevant checklists regarding tables and security settings and random number and all that, and I've tried to generate on three different versions of Word. I'm currently using Office 2003, and that's the only office suite that's installed. It's been most stable this way. It's a VM ware machine running Windows XP, but I've tried it on a physical machine and found the same difficulty.

    I've been working on this for three months now, I've missed at least two deadlines, and I'm still no nearer a solution. I could produce a mail merge with results exported from SIMS into excel and then merged into Word, but that's not going to be the best way to have the most up-to-date results and that won't upload to Linked Documents.

    I'm seriously struggling with this. I've been doing exactly the same thing at my usual school for the best part of four years without so much as a sniff of trouble, I just can't see what's going wrong.

    I maintain that the problem lies with our SIMS install, but I can't get Capita to admit to anything.

    Anyone ever come up against anything like this before?

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    There are a couple of things you can try, none guaranteed to work but a mixture of these routines have saved my back side in the past!

    First of all, have you ran the 'Verify Template' routine? You do it from Word itself when editing the template, it's in the same menu as where you add aspects to the document. This will work through your template and verify that all the aspects you have added are valid (it can take a while so bare with it). If that comes up with any errors, replace the tags it lists and try again.

    Another thing you can try is cloning the template. Daft as it sounds, sometimes the cloned template will work!

    There is also a manual clone (so to speak). Open up the template, save it under a different name and close it. Now create a new, blank template, and copy & paste all the information from the file you saved earlier.

    Finally, it may be that the generate template routine is maxing out your connection. You can test for this by trying to run the routine on the server itself rather than a client machine.

    Let us know if you get anywhere with that lot

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    Cheers LosOjos,

    I can't remember if I've done "Verify Template" or not. I'll do that now.

    Cloning's an interesting one. I've tried the normal clone, and that if anything is more unstable. I'll have a go at a manual clone next as well...

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    No invalid tags found...

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    One down... Have you tried manually cloning yet? Also don't know if you saw it because I edited my post but try running it on the server itself too.

    If all else fails, I'll happily take a look at it for you if you export it and email it to me (PM me for my address). At least then we might be able to tell if it's your SIMS setup or a problem with the template itself.

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    As always please drop me an email and I'll investigate. We will put our hands up if we've made a mistake!

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    LosOjos - manual clone - not worked. In fact, manual clone won't even preview!
    Unfortunately I don't have remote access to the server to try that - it's on a different site! I thought it might be the remote access that was causing the problem intially, which is why I've run it on a physical machine to see if it resolved the problem.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeGee View Post
    LosOjos - manual clone - not worked. In fact, manual clone won't even preview!
    Unfortunately I don't have remote access to the server to try that - it's on a different site! I thought it might be the remote access that was causing the problem intially, which is why I've run it on a physical machine to see if it resolved the problem.
    It's definitely worth a try if you can get somebody on site to run it from the server machine, we have to do the same with some of our larger reports.

    If you want me to take a look at your template for you I'm happy to, just PM me

    Also, as you're relatively new around here, PhilNeal (who posted above this) is a SIMS director and a great guy to contact with SIMS issues

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    Cheers,

    I'll e-mail Phil with the background to this.

    I'm sure the template's fine - it was originally exported from another establishment, but has been rebuilt three times now. I've been doing these things for a few years now. SIMS support have seen the template, with our data and doc storage and it runs fine. I've run the equivalent on the parent site, processing three times the amount of data, on a virtual machine with no difficulty...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeGee View Post

    I'm sure the template's fine
    Have you tried a test report with different/simple template ?

    i.e. is the report template causing the issue ?

    It could be a memory issue, I've just replaced our school logo bitmap with a vector emf version and cut printing time from 3hrs+ down to 20 minutes for a 2 page whole year group print.

    Also, are all of the tags really valid, you say the template was from a different school, were the tags copied or re-entered - I just discovered that someone in our school had used search/replace on an individual report template to switch Yr7 to Yr8, it doesn't work, it only changes the visible text not the tag behind it. Oh, that reminds me, take a look in the XML tamplate via a text editor/web browser or in Word use options to show hidden text to examine the tags.

    tim

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    Escalation team are remoting in having a look now. Of course, I can't get the error to recur!

    Tags are valid - I've re-entered them. Even the reports I'm building from scratch aren't working...

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    Wink

    Pulling the JPG out has now made the report generate.
    This is a blessing, I suppose, although I can't understand why it works fine with a jpg on one site but not another!

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    Was it a particularly large JPG?

    I've just had a problem with one of my templates taking a hell of a long time to generate (45 minutes per reg group, roughly 30 students!) and it was because I had lazily resized our logo in Word (the logo is on each page) rather than truly resizing it to reduce the file size

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    Memory seems to have been the issue?

    I've found this problem recently and it's hard to get around. I was thinking it might be cos we have clients on windows 7 with office 2010, but even a vm with XP and office 2007 was failing. My old XP box with office 2007, is the only one that doesn't seem to get this issue. Very bizarre, as my reports don't have a logo on them, as we print onto headed paper.

    The only workaround we had for our reports last week was the Deputy Head in charge was able to preview one at a time and print, so we had to do it the long way around, fortunately it was only for IB so not so many students, but i'll need a fix for the larger year groups, so any other info you get will be v.useful. Whilst at BETT i ended up remoting to my machine and exporting a load to a shared folder which seemed to work okay.

    EDIT: worth looking at permissions if you are on a different site, then the permissions on the local machine may be different, and sims / office will use the local temp folder / application data folder a lot. However, this wouldn't explain why it occasionally works.
    Last edited by vikpaw; 20th January 2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: clarity + addition

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    LosOjos: I've had a little look, and it was a huge png file. For some reason I can't put a vector version into Word, so I've deleted the whole thing and used a text logo for the time being. Graphic logos have been causing reports on the other site to be very slow generating as well, so I'll have a look at both of them.

    Vikpaw: Thanks, I'll look at permissions...

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