MLS 3.3.0 vs Membership Master

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
lrawlins
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MLS 3.3.0 vs Membership Master

Postby lrawlins » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:56 pm

Hi,

I just noticed that MLS 3.3.0 really messes with MembershipMaster!

When I update MM the families get all mixed up and people show up in families they weren't in before. The first thing is everyone gets selected as "to be deleted".

Oh Well, sleep is over-rated.

BTW with this update WardTools will no longer be functioning either.

Bye,

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:02 pm

Probably due to the fact that the MRN is no longer included in the export files. You'll either have to wait for those third-party products to be updated or abandon their use.

The removal of the MRN was not a oversight. It was a deliberate decision by the powers that be for security reasons.
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elderlarryhawkes
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Postby elderlarryhawkes » Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:39 pm

I really wish they would create replacement tools for leaders that meet the churches security requirements before they just up and break what we are currently using. It is just not practical to have to go to the ward computer to look up and verify MRN's and other member data.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:46 pm

elderlarryhawkes wrote:I really wish they would create replacement tools for leaders that meet the churches security requirements before they just up and break what we are currently using. It is just not practical to have to go to the ward computer to look up and verify MRN's and other member data.


It's hardly the responsibility of the Church to be aware of every third-party tool that may be out there that depends on something the Church never guaranteed would always be available. And I would note that the Church has created tools for leaders that meet the Church's security requirements -- there is the Leader Portal on lds.org, where leaders can see membership records, including MRNs. That is visible to authorized leaders from any computer, including handheld devices, that has an Internet browser.
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lrawlins
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Postby lrawlins » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:54 pm

WOW!

I never realized all that was available online. I had only briefly looked at what was new and noticed the membership directory had been vastly changed. Other than being a bit sluggish it works quite well.

At the risk of giving away secrets, on my first go-around at Membership Clerk to transmit & receive information meant putting what went out in an envelope and waiting for another one to come back with changes. Now we can log into lds.org and get live updates.

Bye,

elderlarryhawkes
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Postby elderlarryhawkes » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:16 am

aebrown wrote:It's hardly the responsibility of the Church to be aware of every third-party tool that may be out there that depends on something the Church never guaranteed would always be available. And I would note that the Church has created tools for leaders that meet the Church's security requirements -- there is the Leader Portal on lds.org, where leaders can see membership records, including MRNs. That is visible to authorized leaders from any computer, including handheld devices, that has an Internet browser.


I'm only wishing for some courtesy, and I can't imagine I'm the only one. Not asking for any guarantee or implying some level of responsibility. The fact is, that the MLS export function, is a very useful tool and many use it to increase efficiency and flexibility. I don't think we are looking for a level of responsibility or a guarantee, just common courtesy. An advanced message via MLS as to the change in what is exported would be simple to do and how to access similar info via the portal on lds.org could be included in the message also. Would have only taken someone a few minutes to send that kind of message. On the other hand, you have a bunch of people spending hours trouble shooting and contacting each other trying to figure out what happened and what the alternatives are. Also, not everyone's device that they are currently using for the information exported from MLS, has the ability to access the online portal, so they are just totally out of luck unless they go buy something else. So some consideration and simple courtesy would go along ways in regard to these kind of changes.

elderlarryhawkes
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Postby elderlarryhawkes » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:56 am

lrawlins wrote:I never realized all that was available online. I had only briefly looked at what was new and noticed the membership directory had been vastly changed. Other than being a bit sluggish it works quite well.


I would agree very much with the sluggish part of the new church website, especially on Sunday. The new website is very much still in its infancy. I experimented with this idea of accessing data via the portal before the change to the MLS exported data that no longer includes the MRN. Trying to use the leader portal at church on a Sunday to access similar information that we would have normally done on a device containing the exported data from MLS, still leaves a lot to be desired. The Portal may be considered as a replacement, but it's not yet a better or just as good as the current methods that we were using via the MLS export. For example, with the exported data from MLS on my PDA, I can lookup member data in 15 seconds at the most and I don't need to login or be connected to the internet. To do the same thing (on a laptop or other device with internet access) via the new portal by getting online and signing in and dealing with the sluggishness of the website, would leave one very frustrated if they were trying to verify member information during an interview.

rebowes
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Ward Tools Works

Postby rebowes » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:10 pm

Ward Tools 2.0.7.4 works. There is not a mobile application update, but the converter with the latest desktop software is smart enough to know the MRN is missing. I just downloaded it and ran it and I'm back in business with the mobile app. The link for the latest version is at http://code.google.com/p/wardtools/downloads/detail?name=WardTools-2.0.7.4.zip&can=2&q=

I'm still waiting for a membership master update to take care of the missing data. I reverted back to an earlier copy of the database because it was getting all messed up and not useful any more.

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ckmcdonald
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Postby ckmcdonald » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:16 am

v3.3 (and it's missing MRN in the "Membership" export) has broken the only 3rd party SW tool our ward uses. Over the years the frequency of this breakage occurring is clearly increasing. Ideally, I'd like to wean the ward off this 3rd party SW. However, we are fairly addicted to the half letter sized booklet form ward directory it generates. Ironically, it doesn't even use the MRN but the missing column in the export file has broken it.

I have yet to find any church supported feature that will print a booklet style ward directory.
Anyone know of one?

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Postby RossEvans » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:47 am

ckmcdonald wrote:v3.3 (and it's missing MRN in the "Membership" export) has broken the only 3rd party SW tool our ward uses. Over the years the frequency of this breakage occurring is clearly increasing. Ideally, I'd like to wean the ward off this 3rd party SW. However, we are fairly addicted to the half letter sized booklet form ward directory it generates. Ironically, it doesn't even use the MRN but the missing column in the export file has broken it.


When the 3.3.0 beta surprised us by stripping out the MRN, feedback on this forum suggested that if the MRN content must be suppressed, it would generally be less painful to third-party tools downstream if the MRN column was left in, but just not populated. That feedback was rejected. So the impact of breaking such tools is maximized. "Third party tools" here include not only products such as Membership Master, Ward Tools, etc., but a plethora of locally developed extensions to MLS functionality using the exports. Hopefully the authors will eventually cope by changing their software, as Ward Tools developers did.

I'm not familiar with Membership Master and how it parses the CSV files. It may be possible to work around the problem temprorarily by inserting a blank MRN column where it used to be in the Membership.csv. But be careful doing that in a spreadsheet, because spreadsheets alter the format when they write CSV files, so that might also break Membership Master. A better tool might be something like a database program that can import and export CSVs: Read in the file with all fields defined as text, add the empty MRN column, then export the CSV. But again, the particular CSV format exported by such a tool may not match the idiosyncratic dialect of CSV supported by the MLS export files. Yet another workaround would be to use the language or scripting tool of your choice to have a custom process read each line of Membership.csv, modify it, and write it to a new file.

[Edit: As I look at ckmcdonald's comment, I now realize that he did not name the particular "third party" tool his ward is using to create the printed directory. And as for this thread's original post, I can't find anything about "MembershipMaster" anywhere on the Internet. But my comments, and a possible workaround, are meant to apply generally.]


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