>John Bolger wrote>
>I just succeeded in moving the data for Facility CMIS (the student records
>system in use in most of Ireland) from the MS Access MSD files to a
>Postgresql database, using the ODBC driver. The facility program is used
>by almost everyone and does most of the admin work for many schools.
>>This means the data for students is on the Linux box, and can be accessed
>by perl/python scripts, php, C and any other programming language, and
>is a first step to a linux based solution - the data is now accessable.
>>IT should be difficult to write some tools to allow tracking of
Actually, this is a VERY good starting point. I got the job recently of
getting computerised reporting up and running in our school using Facility.
As a result of this, I spent many hours pouring over Facility and it's
quirks and foibles. While it is an excellent resource, it is NOT that user
friendly, and despite being essentially a database, it doesn't seem to allow
the type of querying that a normal database should allow.
So, here's a suggestion for a program which would be a BIG hit with the
Headmasters/Principals - a User-friendly Linux front end to the databse. I
don't want to knock CCM (who manufacture Facility) - they are entitled to
make a profit as much as the next man, but Facility is VERY expensive,
especially when you have a networked version of it. We recently upgraded
from 5 users to 10 and it was as expensive as buying a single copy of a well
known software giants Office Professional Suite. So, if a front end was
"free", that would be a big selling point. In fact, even if it wasn't free,
it's a suggestion for a commercial product. The program is used to send
information/statistics back to the Dept. of Ed twice a year and they don't
specifically look for a Facility version. I believe that there are other
programs around which are also used, but Facility is the most common.
So, why not start at the top with the people who hold the purse strings? Win
them over and you have another group of advocates who wield a lot of power
and control in the decision-making process.
I would be glad to get involved in any way that I can in this also. I use
the package and have come across many limitations. I'm not a C/C++
programmer, but any help I can give, I will.
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