HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
jdkinkle
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HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby jdkinkle » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:45 pm

I have developed a web app to do home teaching organization. Below is the address...

http://eng.utah.edu/~dking/HomeTeaching/

This is just a rough draft of what it would do.


A couple of points
1-In accordance with church policy, 'screen-scraping' is not permitted. This is why you must upload the file instead of it automatically retrieving member information.

2 -I know some have already developed a website that has already done this, though it cost money, and I feel it should be free.

3-I know the church is working on this, but I thought I could get something simple up in the mean time.

Some things I plan on implementing
1) Saving assignments to a file and use them as a starting point next time you do assignments
2) Being able to remove people who are not Teachers(For example you wouldn't need to see all the Elders in ward if you are the High Priest Group Leader)
3) Being able to assign District Leaders

Any other feedback would be greatly appreciated. I would love to finish this up soon.

Please respond here or e-mail me at danny.c.king@gmail.com

Thanks!

jdlessley
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby jdlessley » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:14 pm

jdkinkle wrote:In accordance with church policy, 'screen-scraping' is not permitted. This is why you must upload the file instead of it automatically retrieving member information.
I think you run into the same problem by having members upload church data. When exporting directory information this caution appears:
Download Households wrote:You can download household data for use with a spreadsheet application for church use only and not for any commercial, business, or political purpose.
This is a reminder that the information must remain confidential. Confidentiality requires securing it from public access. Uploading the data to a server not controlled by the Church exposes the data to privacy and security compromise. This issue of uploading church data to third party servers has been discussed in other threads. While there is no specific policy stating this third party server issue, I want you and those planning to use your program to be aware of the requirement to secure data you obtain from church sources. If the program resided on the user's computer then there would be no problem.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

jdkinkle
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby jdkinkle » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:47 pm

Point well taken. The only reason it is a web app is to be easily cross platform. Obviously I trust myself with the data but others may not. Interestingly enough the data is never stored on the server. So It won't be hard to switch it to a standalone app.

For the purpose of the demo though, I think I will just make it with dummy names to ease any concerns.

jdkinkle
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby jdkinkle » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:07 am

If the program resided on the user's computer then there would be no problem.


After thinking a lot about this, it doesn't really matter whether the app is on a third party server or on the the user's local computer.

There is no guarantee that any app doesn't make a post to a server other than the church. So using member data in any third party app requires an amount of "trust".

So unless the church lets me write an extension for http://www.lds.org using their servers any software I write and others use will have to be secure but also trusted.

russellhltn
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:21 am

jdkinkle wrote:After thinking a lot about this, it doesn't really matter whether the app is on a third party server or on the the user's local computer.


That's not the rule we've been given. If we upload data to a third party server, then we KNOW that the data is going to someone else. And in this case - someone who knows what it is and how to parse it.

jdkinkle wrote:There is no guarantee that any app doesn't make a post to a server other than the church. So using member data in any third party app requires an amount of "trust".


Yes, it's possible a third party app may send the data. But also likely that someone in the user group will discover the "phone home" and expose it. That still doesn't excuse knowingly sending off to someone else.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

jdkinkle
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby jdkinkle » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:33 pm

russellhltn wrote:That's not the rule we've been given.


What exactly is the rule then? I believe you said there was no official church policy on third party servers. Also, the just church must know the data is being stored in the cloud more and more often. My ward uses Google Docs to organize home teaching, because it is the easiest way to assign, notify , and report Home Teaching. Should we not be using Google Docs because it is a third party server?

russellhltn wrote:Yes, it's possible a third party app may send the data. But also likely that someone in the user group will discover the "phone home" and expose it.


I doubt this. I have a separate application that I wrote in which I connect to the internet and the user is never notified. Without being able to see the source code, how would the user know?

There are also other downsides to making it software run on the machine-

-There is no guarantee if I download something that it would be virus free. If the user can't trust a server, why would they trust 3rd party software?
-I would have to make numerous builds, for Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.

russellhltn wrote:That still doesn't excuse knowingly sending off to someone else


I think they key here is 'someone else' is a church member with a tech.lds.org account, with a website to save time organizing home teaching.

I must say this process has been frustrating, because I am volunteering my time to make something for church members to use to help them in their callings. Far too much time is spent in the 'administering' rather than 'ministering'. If the church allowed me to develop this app for them using their servers, I would gladly do it, free of charge. If they want my code, I will give it to them.

I hope this does not come off as contentious, but more of a suggestion. I believe the purpose of tech.lds.org was to get members involved in the technologies of the church. It was meant to use the talents of members to solve problems just like this. If ideas are usually met with this kind of response, I suggest members with ideas will be less inclined to spend their time on this site in the future.

russellhltn
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby russellhltn » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:30 pm

jdkinkle wrote:What exactly is the rule then?


You can read the posts made by our then-leader in tech here, here, and here. Note that the last one raise the issue of privacy laws. Even though you are a member of the LDSTech, the site is asking members to upload church data about it's members to an individual who is outside of their ward/stake.

jdkinkle wrote:I must say this process has been frustrating, because I am volunteering my time to make something for church members to use to help them in their callings.


I understand the desire. And you're not the first one to run into this. You can read about the Ward Directory Genorator. And you may be interested in reading BradO's experiences and frustration in trying to help with exactly the same topic with his ReturnAndReport site.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

kerrybird
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby kerrybird » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:06 am

It looks like it is time for the lds.org developers to come out with the church approved online home visits reporting program so we don't have a million home made versions. Let's use the talents available and come up with something that everyone can work on together so the leaders can report their visits and organize it all online.

russellhltn
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:12 am

kerrybird wrote:It looks like it is time for the lds.org developers ....


The developers do not control their staffing levels or priorities. They have no say in this.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

kerrybird
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Re: HomeTeaching Organizer App Beta Version

Postby kerrybird » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:22 am

So.. who makes the decision on when the home visits reporting will go online? How can I give them my input?


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