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MIS Systems Thread, Accessing the SIMS database and querying it to retrieve information in Technical; In fact i totally agree with what you've said. There's a lot we can do using just CLR, and combining ...
  1. #31

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    In fact i totally agree with what you've said. There's a lot we can do using just CLR, and combining the various scripts we've each made is also valuable, especially if they could be compiled into an end usable app. If we can get Capita support for such a project, i'm sure the 'Geek Gods would look favorably on us

  2. #32

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Also in agreement with you there @matt40k although I must say I'd really like to just play with the business objects to see what they can do. At the moment we're limited to do only what can be done in a SIMS report, which really isn't great when it comes to assessment in particular - I either have to have overly complex and rigid reports or pull a load of data that ultimately won't be used just to filter out the bits I want - either way it makes systems slower and less economical. Not a massive issue on an ad-hoc system basis but as for anything bigger than that, it could fast become a crippling slow down...

    EDIT:
    I'm much more interested in read only access than writing anything back though - with the exception of uploads to the DMS, which is a little project I hope to start soon (I know SalamanderSoft has already got a tool for this, but the school would rather me sit and input each document manually than "pay any more SIMS fees" as they see it - false economy that it is!)
    Last edited by LosOjos; 11th October 2011 at 01:58 PM.

  3. #33


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    From what I remember most of the documentation was wrapped in NDA which put any sort of sharing out of the question, plus the 'documentation' seemed to be undocumented code anyway
    Capita make a lot of money for extra modules that don't do very much at all, so once you get at the data - writing things like inTouch (3000 + 1000 per year) is fairly trivial.

    I'm sure that the way forward is leveraging the schools interoperability framework (SIF) Groupcall Xporter SIF agent that works with almost all major MIS systems including SIMS.NET, Facility CMIS

  4. #34

    matt40k's Avatar
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    So who's going get this going at EduGeek HQ then?

    RE: InTouch - I'd rather not. To be fair to Capita - InTouch does a fair bit more then just SMS and their already are ALOT of people offering this. Unless people are saying their SIMS link is pants and they would like to sponsor a community tool

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I'm sure that the way forward is leveraging the schools interoperability framework (SIF) Groupcall Xporter SIF agent that works with almost all major MIS systems including SIMS.NET, Facility CMIS
    Perhaps, but for most of the "problems" this would be like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

  5. #35
    pubgrub277's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like there a a great number of us, as mentioned in other posts, are all working along the same lines with things like CLR to get at data so we can manipulate it outside of SIMS to produce "custom" analysis/reporting ideas (probably all our custom ideas are very similar)

    I would love to have a more specific group to share /Vet my coding through, being the only individual in my school working on this its often difficult to find people to bounce ideas off.

    I took some of my coding and ideas of templates to my LEA Sims user group, they were impressed with what we were producing but i would say they were along the lines of "users" who would want to run with the ideas rather than being at a level to contribute to the development of such things.

    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    EDIT:
    I'm much more interested in read only access than writing anything back though - with the exception of uploads to the DMS, which is a little project I hope to start soon (I know SalamanderSoft has already got a tool for this, but the school would rather me sit and input each document manually than "pay any more SIMS fees" as they see it - false economy that it is!)
    Have you looked at cohession software's solution for writing documents to DMS.

  6. #36

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    Have you looked at cohession software's solution for writing documents to DMS.
    I haven't; is it free? I know solutions are out there, but my school isn't willing to pay for one

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I haven't; is it free? I know solutions are out there, but my school isn't willing to pay for one
    no it's not free, i don't think I've seen a free solution.

    You sound like we're in a similar boat "why pay for it when we can just get so and so to do it manually!!"
    It took a while and a change of line manager to understand that if it takes me two hours now to script it it takes me 30 seconds for the next 100 request for a task, opposed to an hour everytime you want something.

  8. #38

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pubgrub277 View Post
    no it's not free, i don't think I've seen a free solution.

    You sound like we're in a similar boat "why pay for it when we can just get so and so to do it manually!!"
    It took a while and a change of line manager to understand that if it takes me two hours now to script it it takes me 30 seconds for the next 100 request for a task, opposed to an hour everytime you want something.
    Yeah I have that problem, fortunately my line manager knows enough about "macros" (as he calls any script) to know that it might take me a while to get my head around it the first time but it will ultimately benefit us.

    Just today I had somebody annoyed with me because their request for a load of photos to be "downloaded" from SIMS took me an hour but their colleague got the same in 5 minutes - obviously I'd already done the tricky part for her request, it was just a case of running a report by the time their colleague asked!

  9. #39

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I haven't; is it free? I know solutions are out there, but my school isn't willing to pay for one
    It's not free, but it looks really cheap, something like 60p per student, with a cap for secondaries at around 800. I think for the time saving alone, it's worth it.

    I know what you mean about people expecting you to script things and solve them quickly. They don't care how long it takes you, or the hassle, just how much time you can save them.

    I saw this in the paper yesterday and it made me chuckle :

    Dilbert_working_hours.jpg

  10. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    LosOjos (13th October 2011)

  11. #40

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    It's not free, but it looks really cheap, something like 60p per student, with a cap for secondaries at around 800. I think for the time saving alone, it's worth it.

    I know what you mean about people expecting you to script things and solve them quickly. They don't care how long it takes you, or the hassle, just how much time you can save them.

    I saw this in the paper yesterday and it made me chuckle :

    Dilbert_working_hours.jpg
    LOL Dilbert is awesome - I have the Daily Dilbert app on my Android and so often it's right on the ball! I also recommend Scott Adam's Dilbert Books (the actual books, not just the Dilbert compilation books) - they're hilarious and so true!

    Back On Topic: Perhaps as an interim to anything more substantial being set up for this (if it ever is), we could just maintain part of the EduGeek Wiki for our collective efforts?

  12. #41

    vikpaw's Avatar
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    I was hoping to make a group, or get some workspace, but the wiki would do for now i suppose. That or just a thread in the forum, but then it gets too big to manage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    I was hoping to make a group, or get some workspace, but the wiki would do for now i suppose. That or just a thread in the forum, but then it gets too big to manage.
    Yeah the problem with threads is they have a habit of veering off topic or getting so big you can't find the information you want! Perhaps a two pronged approach - a thread to discuss issues and a Wiki as a central place for information and links

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post

    "I'm sure that the way forward is leveraging the schools interoperability framework (SIF) Groupcall Xporter SIF agent that works with almost all major MIS systems including SIMS.NET, Facility CMIS"

    Perhaps, but for most of the "problems" this would be like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
    The latest version of the SIF specification includes SIF web services which allow you to query a SIF agent (much like you would a SOAP web service) and ask it for specific data. Far less heavyweight than the usual message delivery patterns in previous versions of SIF.

    It will take a while before this functionality is widely available in the UK but if each MIS had an agent which supported it, it would make extracting data from any MIS a far easier task.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_uk View Post
    Pulling the data out as XML makes it even easier over pulling it out as a CSV.
    Might I ask why? ie why is XML easier. I use csv at the moment and it looks to me that the filesize of xml is so much bigger with all the tags and stuff, plus importing csv is more of less universal. I can't see any advantage. What am I missing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    Might I ask why? ie why is XML easier. I use csv at the moment and it looks to me that the filesize of xml is so much bigger with all the tags and stuff, plus importing csv is more of less universal. I can't see any advantage. What am I missing?
    I think a better question is what the advantages XML has over csv. XML is much easier to work on complex data structures (like MIS output), it's easy to validate and you can have different relationships in multi-level xml which you can't do in csv. XML is also more or less universal

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