MLS 3.1 changes export format. (My Ward)

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
elderlarryhawkes-p40
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MLS 3.1 changes export format. (My Ward)

Postby elderlarryhawkes-p40 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:44 pm

Well, I knew this day would probably come, and it has with MLS version 3.1

We have been using a program called My Ward from shiblon software
http://www.shiblon.com/desktop/myward/download.php
to create a very convienent set of HTML files from the export function in MLS for the past 3+ years. These HTML files could be put on a PDA or PC and by using a web browser, allowed for easy reference to members callings, hometeaching, visiting teaching and membership info for use during Bishopric meetings and various other leadership duties without always needing to use the church computer and access MLS each time.

With the changes in MLS 3.1 database export, the My Ward software no longer works because of the new database format. I'm sure shiblon software won't update MyWard any time soon.

So My question is, keeping in mind the new database format of MLS 3.1, what other tools or options are there for leaders to keep a handy reference of ward info instead of accessing MLS on the ward computer each time?

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:47 pm

The format of the export files changed. I would imagine that all utilities are in the same situation.

Unless "My Ward" is abandoned software, it will probably be changed shortly to accommodate the new format. I'd suggest patience.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:57 pm

elderlarryhawkes wrote:With the changes in MLS 3.1 database export, the My Ward software no longer works because of the new database format. I'm sure shiblon software won't update MyWard any time soon.


Another option is to fix up the export files each time you export so that they are in the old format. That's clearly a bit of hassle, but it would allow you to continue to use the software you like, while you wait for an update that operates directly on the new export format.

elderlarryhawkes-p40
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MyWard fix for use with MSL 3.1.1 export files

Postby elderlarryhawkes-p40 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:50 am

Alan_Brown wrote:Another option is to fix up the export files each time you export so that they are in the old format. That's clearly a bit of hassle, but it would allow you to continue to use the software you like, while you wait for an update that operates directly on the new export format.


I did experiment with this but was not successful, but Layne was. See his post at, http://shiblon.com/forum/index.php/topic,105.0.html
:) :)
This fix if for the use of MyWard found here. http://shiblon.com/desktop/myward/download.php

For example, using notepad to open Membership.csv and being very exact,
replace:
"Household Phone","Individual Phone","Household E-mail"

with:
"Phone 1","Phone 2","E-mail Address"

Also a further fix for the Organization.csv is to also open it with notepad and add an extra blank line at the bottom of the file. This allows the "out of unit" part of the file to properly process during the conversion.:D

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:11 am

elderlarryhawkes wrote:For example, using notepad to open Membership.csv and being very exact,
replace:
"Household Phone","Individual Phone","Household E-mail"

with:
"Phone 1","Phone 2","E-mail Address"


What happens with the new field called "Individual E-mail"? Is it benignly ignored?

Also, doesn't the My Ward software use the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv files? If it does -- especially if it attempts to link them to content from the Membership.csv file -- I doubt the changes above would be sufficient. If there is such linkage, one probably could not work around the problem just by kludging the headers of these files; the logic of the My Ward conversion program might have to change.

elderlarryhawkes-p40
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Postby elderlarryhawkes-p40 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:52 am

boomerbubba wrote:What happens with the new field called "Individual E-mail"? Is it benignly ignored?

Also, doesn't the My Ward software use the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv files? If it does -- especially if it attempts to link them to content from the Membership.csv file -- I doubt the changes above would be sufficient. If there is such linkage, one probably could not work around the problem just by kludging the headers of these files; the logic of the My Ward conversion program might have to change.


Yes, the new field called "Individual E-mail" is ignored.:)

The My Ward software does use the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv files and amazingly how ever it does it, it all still gets linked together and works. So Yes, even though it seems doubtful, the changes above are sufficient to do the full conversion.:)

Larry

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:39 am

elderlarryhawkes wrote:The My Ward software does use the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv files and amazingly how ever it does it, it all still gets linked together and works. So Yes, even though it seems doubtful, the changes above are sufficient to do the full conversion.:)

Larry


Larry,

Just curious. How does My Ward behave in the case you mentioned elsewhere, in which the home teacher has an individual phone entered?

As you know, this complexity apparently has caused problems for some other third-party tools.

elderlarryhawkes-p40
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Postby elderlarryhawkes-p40 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:30 am

Hey Boomer,

MyWard still shows my HT info correctly even with my personal phone number and personal email address being in the exported MLS 3.1.1 csv files. This is, of course so MyWard will even work, having also made the other mentioned fixes to the csv files prior to running the conversion to HTML files with MyWard.

I guess another thing to note, is that I also added my personal email at the same time I added my personal phone number on Monday, so maybe the email entry is affecting the issues mentioned elsewhere. :confused:

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:11 pm

elderlarryhawkes wrote:MyWard still shows my HT info correctly even with my personal phone number and personal email address being in the exported MLS 3.1.1 csv files. This is, of course so MyWard will even work, having also made the other mentioned fixes to the csv files prior to running the conversion to HTML files with MyWard.


From this we must conclude that MyWard has never been as precise as it could be in making the linkage to begin with. It must be using only the Preferred Name field, not the Preferred Name and phone number. (Those are the only data elements MLS provides to attempt the link.) So that increases the likelihood of getting ambiguous matches with common names, fathers and sons, etc. So long as there are no such ambiguities in the data, the loose match works. And now -- accidently -- that seems to help MyWard avoid the problem caused by the new complexity of phone numbers in MLS 3.1. Other third-party programs, designed for greater precision, have been tripped up by the changes.

This whole problem is quite avoidable and always has been: The HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv should contain unique keys based on "Indiv ID" and "HofH ID" in Membership.csv to enable the linking of teachers, supervisors, households and sisters with straighforward certainty. Note that Organization.csv does contain such an ID field. That basic principle of database programming should have been extended to the HT/VT export files.


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