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MIS Systems Thread, [Development] An Open Source Parent Gateway in Technical; So I'm still looking for a good web based parent gateway. We had SLG for a few years but the ...
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    zag
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    [Development] An Open Source Parent Gateway

    So I'm still looking for a good web based parent gateway.

    We had SLG for a few years but the complicated sharepoint interface, cost and pain of upgrading all the time means we are giving it up soon.

    So I've written a fair few PHP systems in my life and I was wondering if there was any interest in an open source parent site?

    My main objective is to get the kids reports into a secure system.

    So what would everyone else want?

    My list

    - Use the student logins so no user/pass problems
    - Simple web based GUI, big buttons and no clutter
    - Secure
    - Email submission forms for contacting teachers, updating admin details, approving trips

    Anything I'm forgetting?

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Sounds good. I think it should intergrate into AD and parents should use own passwords and not student ones ideally.

    It would be nice if it could be a system that auto logs students on when logged into a network computer.
    Last edited by FN-GM; 22nd March 2012 at 10:18 AM.

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    I'd be very interested in this.
    We currently run a custom django based intranet/extranet that is AD integrated and pulls student/teacher/class details from sims. Like FN-GM says, AD integrating parental login details would be the idea solution but that would be the difficult bit, extracting the right details from SIMS and creating the parents accounts. If you do get anywhere with this please do let us know.

    Matt

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    zag
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    To be honest AD integration and Separate logins are exactly what I'm trying to get away from

    What I really want is something that is "single sign on" from the student logins. They are all used to signing in from home and I think this will make the system much more reliable.

    I was thinking a CSV file of students could be much easier and allow me to concentrate on the interface and features instead. This is easy to create from AD or live@edu.

    @saundersmatt, do you have any schematics for the Sims database that I could use?
    Last edited by zag; 22nd March 2012 at 10:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    @saundersmatt, do you have any schematics for the Sims database that I could use?
    I'll slap the both of you if you do. Use the approve methods, either a report, the vle tool or the SIMS api.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    How do you mean a CSV file of student?

    To be honest AD integration and Separate logins are exactly what I'm trying to get away from
    Im also lost by this

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    I'm not pulling information directly from the database I'm afraid. (I can't work out how Capita use foreign keys to relate all their tables together.) I'm just using the low tech method of SIMS built in reporting.

    Matt

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    zag
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    Does anyone know how the document store works?

    Taking a quick look it should be possible to access the reports quite easily because the filename includes the admissions ID. But the actual folder structure seems complicated.

    Also why don't the xml files parse properly? Are they even proper XML files?
    Last edited by zag; 22nd March 2012 at 10:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Does anyone know how the document store works?

    Taking a quick look it should be possible to access the reports quite easily because the filename includes the admissions ID. But the actual folder structure seems complicated.
    I've done a fair bit of work with the document store, pulling the documents out and converting to pdf. However, as @matt40k said, all access should be through the Sims API. Anything else isn't supported, will by-pass any security and will be at great risk of showing the wrong documents to people.

    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Also why don't the xml files parse properly? Are they even proper XML files?
    Yes, they are Word Xml files. Should open straight up in Word if you've got that installed and double click on them. Not a suitable format for presenting to parents as it will rely on them having the correct version of office installed.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    The files in docstore are encrypted, so accessing them and then decrypting will be a pain ... ?

    I think single sign-on would be really useful. What do they log in with from home, their AD credentials?
    Parents need to have their own logins, even if it's just the student login with a P, so you can share different things with them.

    Do you not also want a Student portal? If you have one, i'm guessing some kind of VLE, is it not possible to add parents to that?
    Creating your own thing is a good idea, but it might be simpler to use something off the shelf. Presuming you've compared what's on the market, i'd be interested in seeing what your conclusions are. We're currently looking at VLEs

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    rpwillis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saundersmatt View Post
    I'd be very interested in this.
    Like FN-GM says, AD integrating parental login details would be the idea solution but that would be the difficult bit, extracting the right details from SIMS and creating the parents accounts. If you do get anywhere with this please do let us know.

    Matt
    Yes creating parent accounts is a potential minefield. The quality of the contact data is generally the poorest quality data in the system, and whatever you do make sure you take account of parental responsiblity and court order, on an ongoing basis. If that changes, they need to lose access immediately.

    I've written more at length on this at

    Parents need to have their own logins, even if it's just the student login with a P, so you can share different things with them.
    Yes parents need their own logins, but they should be on a per parent basis. If they are based on the student then parents will be sharing the same login which is a big no-no to me. Think about estranged parents - you could say we'll deal with separately, but at what point in a break up will you get to hear about it?

    Richard Willis – SharePoint Learning Kit Coordinator, SalamanderSoft Owner » Creating Parent Accounts for your VLE from Sims, Facility CMIS or other MIS.
    Last edited by rpwillis; 22nd March 2012 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Response to @vikpaw

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    TheScarfedOne (22nd March 2012)

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    zag
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    Managed to get the site layout working now.

    sitedesign.jpg

    I also wrote a little vb command app that searches the document server for the relevant reports. It works in concept but quite dangerous searching by wildcards I think Just a proof of concept for now. I'm sure there are better ways to do it.

    So I'm up against encrypted documents now. :/
    Last edited by zag; 22nd March 2012 at 01:22 PM.

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    @zag:

    As the others have already said "Use the proper Sims API's" there are many options available:

    We currently use Moodle 2.0 which has been developed by WebanyWhere which is working very well and offers all kinds of variations, parental access being just one of them, writing back to Sims is another function which will allow staff to take their registration from within Moodle which is a SSO so that AD authentication is dynamic which syncs with Sims and automatically creates the user accounts in Moodle which are then syncronised with the user in AD.

    Looking really good and working just as well. Not been painless but has been dealt with very well by the WebanyWhere support team.

    Moodle is obviously free but the WebanyWhere integration packages are costed depending which modules your school require.

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  16. Thanks to vikpaw from:

    rpwillis (23rd March 2012)

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    IMO a moodle module would be the best way forward, because most of the hard work is already done. Schools could optionally use the rest of moodle if they wanted to. There are commercial parental plugins available already which use SIMS api's or SIF.

  18. Thanks to CyberNerd from:

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