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MIS Systems Thread, [Development] An Open Source Parent Gateway in Technical; Originally Posted by matt40k So why do we have audit trail? So idiot can bypass it and skip over the ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    So why do we have audit trail? So idiot can bypass it and skip over the policies that are in place to protect you. Way to go giving technician a bad name and why? Because you can't be bothered to follow the procedure and ask for help. One for your CV.
    You have an audit trail for accesss to the data? CMIS certainly doesn't - if you are a user with access to reporting you can see anything. SIMS - not that I'm aware of, you have a permissions system that may or may not be granular enough but it does not keep a record of the fact that you selected particular data. CMIS' audit is pretty useless even for tracking down data writes and I've seen enough comments about SIMS audit trails that I don't believe they are entirely effective for that, let alone read.

    Data protection is an issue - but have a look at the plethora of 3rd party performance analysis packages out there or the number of schools which make data available to teachers on spreadsheets or PDF's of reports. You can be very secure and very compliant with DP - perfectly safe, because no one can get effective access to what they want. DP is as much about staff knowledge and training as it is about technical measures.

    [ETA - Another way of looking at this : if I am ignorant enough of the issues to get myself fired writing SQL to access a database, what makes you think I would think of setting up appropriate permissions in an MIS system in the first place.]
    Last edited by pcstru; 23rd March 2012 at 07:40 AM.

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Back to the original points boys

    Just to add my 2 pence here: SIF does not get the recognition it really deserves, and to answer the original questions: Everything should be SIF enabled. It is easy and cost effective for everyone meaning you don't need to directly partner with all the companies or all the MIS suppliers, you don't need to pay, in some cases, extortionate prices to be technical partners or whatever, and most importantly of all, if gives schools the freedom to pick and choose the products that is right for their school, not just ones the MIS they have is working with (which is a frequent occurrence!)

    I understand the idea of building this, but do it for your school or local school... you won't sell it. If you do, be prepared to put a hell of a lot of time and money into you new company just to keep up with changes to the MISs and changes in customer requirements.

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Sorry if it sounds extreme, just fed up of repeating myself. Maybe someone needs to publicly publish details of someone who's gone down the path and has f00ked up the database or raised data protection issue and is now jobless.
    I wont be using a live database for this Its all on a test SQL instance for now.

    Is there any official documentation for these API's? How do I get hold of them?

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    @pcstru

    If you use the SIMS API, you use a SIMS user account, this uses the standard SIMS security groups which schools have spreadsheet details what permissions are, there is an audit trail that details when users are added or removed. This limits it in an approved, standard, controlled way who has access to what.

    Creating a sql user with read-only access would ignore this and give you full access over the database. Using the SA or similar with read-write would be completely stupid and would get you fired.

    If a school (head, SMT, governors, parents, staff) decide to use a open-source product to access their MIS system, which is fine, they have to access the risk and the damage that it could cause if a security hole is exploted. If you purchase a product off the shelf, the company would have hired a 3rd party to regularly security check there software and would have insurance to cover any costs that might occur if the worse happens.

    Clearly posting on a public forum that you're ignoring the approved methods of data access is silly. If you've actually done it, your leaving your school vulunable and unsupported is professional gross misconduct. I hope for anyone sake that ignores the approve methods that they have covered there backs (in writing) and for the schools sake, they don't end up getting hacked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I wont be using a live database for this Its all on a test SQL instance for now.

    Is there any official documentation for these API's? How do I get hold of them?
    If it's got real pupil\staff data in, it does matter and you MUST follow the same rules. If you're after the documentation, contact who you get support from for SIMS to see if it covers it. It's not easy to support for LAs, but they might be happy if they let you (proxy via them) to Capita. Documentation is pretty basic, they give you enough to get you started, but Capita are happy enough to give you examples of doing bits and tip bits. They won't give you final code, but it's enough. Once you've got the basic sorted you can work it out, personally, I'd rather ask them for an example then waste hours of my time working it out.
    Last edited by matt40k; 23rd March 2012 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Muppet got my does and doesn't the wrong way round - doh!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post

    Is there any official documentation for these API's? How do I get hold of them?
    I've been using the commandreporter tool, part of sims. I create a report in SIMS and have a scheduled task publish it on a secure internal web service that our secure data connector picks up and exports to google docs. I've not taken it any further than that, and it was really just an experiment and to get around a problem where staff without MSOffice can use SIMS data.

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    zag
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    We are supported directly so I gave capita education services a ring (0844 893 8000)

    1st Lady - She has never heard of the "Sims API". Put me onto her manager, he asked why I wanted them which I told him I just wanted access to the reports in an automated way. He transferred me to the "correct department".
    2nd chap - He had also never heard of the Sims API either, Spoke to his manager. They didn't know so logged a call....

    Searched Support net for API, no relevant results.

    Am I looking in the wrong places?

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    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I've been using the commandreporter tool, part of sims. I create a report in SIMS and have a scheduled task publish it on a secure internal web service that our secure data connector picks up and exports to google docs. I've not taken it any further than that, and it was really just an experiment and to get around a problem where staff without MSOffice can use SIMS data.
    Cool this is probably exactly what I want.

    Could you write up how you did it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    The best way to do it would be to batch script command reported output to csv and then at the end execute a php page which sucks up the csv's and then trims etc imports into mysql

    thats what i do atm with out sites. If licensing for Xporter was so much we would use that!
    Similar to @CyberNerd method this is the one I did

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post

    Could you write up how you did it?
    essentially:
    Install apache on SIMS server (it doesn't need to be on sims server, could be any windows server with sims installed)
    configure to listen on https only (non-standard port)
    use a self-signed certificate
    configure firewall and apache to only allow connection from one host (in my case the SDC).
    Write a sims report
    create a batch file to use command reporter to pick up the report and output it as a csv > to the web servers directory
    schedule the batch file to run every X
    install secure data connector, configure connection direct to google (no proxies, firewall everything else) - this is all documented here:
    https://developers.google.com/secure-data-connector/
    write an app that uses appengine to somehow give parents secure access
    inform ICO that you share data outside of EU
    ???
    profit

    I've not actually done the last bits - and probably won't get around to it.
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 23rd March 2012 at 10:15 AM. Reason: cannt spel

  12. #41
    zag
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    essentially:
    Write a sims report
    create a batch file to use command reporter to pick up the report and output it as a csv > to the web servers directory
    schedule the batch file to run every X
    Sorry yeh I know all the 3rd party bits

    But how do you use the command reporter? I basically want to convert 500 reports to something readable.

    Code:
    SIMS.net Command Line Report Exporting Utility 7.142.28.0
    Parameters :
    /USER:ABCD         - ABCD is the SIMS user name 
                       (not the SQL Server user name)
    /PASSWORD:ABCD     - ABCD is the SIMS password 
                       (not the SQL Server password)
    /SERVERNAME:ABCD   - The name of the SQL Server to connect to.
    /DATABASENAME:ABCD - The name of the SIMS database to run the report against.
    /TRUSTED           - Use the current Windows user to connect 
    				   to the SIMS system.
    				   (not to be used with /USER or /PASSWORD)
    /REPORT:"ABCD"   - ABCD (quotes optional) is the name of the report 
                       seen in this users My Reports screen in SIMS.net
    /PARAMS:"ABCD"   - ABCD (quotes optional) is a string containing xml 
                       which defintes the parameters for the report. 
                       See the Third Party Access to SIMS.net SDK for details on 
                       the format of this xml string.
    /OUTPUT:"ABCD"   - ABCD (quotes optional) is the name of the output file 
                       to write the report contents or parameter definitions to.
                       The OUTPUT Parameter is optional, if left out the system 
                       will output the results in standard xml to the console.
    /PARAMDEF          - Output the parameter list for the specified report. 
                       If OUTPUT is not provided the results will be written in 
                       standard xml to the console. See the Third Party Access 
                       to SIMS.net SDK for details on the format of this xml 
                       string.
    /PARAMFILE:"ABCD" - ABCD (quotes optional) is the filename of an xml file
                          which contains the parameters for the report. 
                          See the Third Party Access to SIMS.net SDK for details on 
                          the format of this xml string.
    /QUIET	         - Switch to quiet mode, this mode will not write any log 
                       messages to the console.
              
    If the system is not run in QUIET mode and no OUTPUT is specified then 
    the result data will be proceeded with <CommandReporterResults> and followed by </CommandReporterResults>.
    
    /HELP or /? - Display this help information
    Last edited by zag; 23rd March 2012 at 10:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    How is it? Work ok?
    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Yup seems to be - we struggled initially but that was down to the amount of data in sims which we where trying to extract using the groupcall exporter Sif agents. I'm currently trying to setup user accounts for parents.
    It was a massive amount of data, its the most amount of behaviour events i have seen. You can see rack them up when doing positive behaviour and merit point schemes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Sorry yeh I know all the 3rd party bits

    But how do you use the command reporter? I want to convert 500 reports to something readable.

    ]
    Code:
    cd C:\Program Files\SIMS\SIMS .net
    commandreporter.exe /USER:XXXX /PASSWORD:XXXXXXX /REPORT:"student list by year group" /OUTPUT:"C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\htdocs\yeargroup.csv"

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    It was a massive amount of data, its the most amount of behaviour events i have seen. You can see rack them up when doing positive behaviour and merit point schemes.
    The worst thing about it is that its supposed to be a good school!

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    you'd need to do each report individually commandreporter method.

    If you are serious, look into SIF.

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