Internet Mission Office System Predecessor

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
mattgarner-p40
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Internet Mission Office System Predecessor

Postby mattgarner-p40 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:07 am

Hello-

I was wondering how the new iMOS system relates to the similar system that has been in use in the
Alaska Anchorage Mission since 2004? I authored the AAM's Online Mission Office Database system
while I was an elder there at the request of my mission president and was later asked to make a
presentation regarding the system to Elder Quentin Cook. Subsequently, the mission department asked
many questions and approved it for use in the AAM as an Intranet only application (all Internet
connectivity was disabled) to comply with the Church's then policies, in which capacity it has been in
use since. Over the years, I heard from different sources inside the mission department that a similar
system was being developed and was curious if my project contributed to any of the ideas further
developed in your version?

I have attached the presentation that was sent to Elder Cook. This system is completely web-based and
authored in Perl and uses Apache and MySQL. It can be hosted on Windows or Linux. The GUI was
designed to mimic MLS but via a web-browser. It has a well developed multi-user framework and uses
a report markup language that i designed for the task that is easily extensible and could be adapted to
use for any kind of database. A later version of this same core system was adapted for genealogy and
released as PedigreeSoft.com in 2005. I am happy to make the source code available if anyone is
interested.

(I was unable to get the file attachment widget to work properly, so the attachment is here:
http://www.pedigreesoft.com/fhw/AAM_MDS_Pres.ppt)

Regards,
Matt Garner
London, United Kingdom

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:08 am

The PP presentation seems to have a password associated with it. However I've not heard anything from the missionary department regarding this software. If I hear anything, I'll post it.

Tom

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:39 am

tomw wrote:The PP presentation seems to have a password associated with it. However I've not heard anything from the missionary department regarding this software. If I hear anything, I'll post it.

Tom


It may depend on your version of PowerPoint, but even though I am prompted for a password to open the presentation for modification, I am able to open the presentation in Read Only mode and see it just fine. I'm using PP 2003.

There is a reference in the PPT to a website, which understandably is no longer in service, given the Church's policy on unofficial websites. So you can't see a running demo.

But the presentation does show quite a bit of detail on an application that is quite impressive. Especially considering that it was developed in only 4 months by a missionary who I assume was still doing missionary work and only had his office time to work on it.

I did wonder about how it could run as an intranet application. Although the bulk of the features deal with mission administration, there were some cool features related to interaction with the stakes, which seems like it would require an Internet connection. Were those features simply unused when it was converted to an intranet app?

In any case, I don't know anything about iMOS, but just thought I would throw in my two cents.

mattgarner-p40
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Postby mattgarner-p40 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:19 am

Alan_Brown wrote:But the presentation does show quite a bit of detail on an application that is quite impressive. Especially considering that it was developed in only 4 months by a missionary who I assume was still doing missionary work and only had his office time to work on it.

I did wonder about how it could run as an intranet application. Although the bulk of the features deal with mission administration, there were some cool features related to interaction with the stakes, which seems like it would require an Internet connection. Were those features simply unused when it was converted to an intranet app?

Actually, I worked on it for about a year or so during normal office hours and otherwise proselyted. I
started from scratch since I wasn't aware at the time of any other suitable, non-commercial frameworks.
It was a fairly organic project, starting with the basics and built out as requested by office staff or
where I determined ways that it could be used to supplement or improve existing processes. In fairness,
I was a professional web-based application developer prior to my mission and had my education in
business administration and process management and even had professional certifications in application
security. Incidentally, my mission president was a former CEO of a large business and already was well
aware of the advantages of reporting and analytics.

Initially, the application was all run from a dedicated Linux web server in a commercial datacenter under
the domain of alaskaanchoragemission.org. Stake presidencies and other priesthood leaders were given
usernames and passwords and able to login and view reports pertaining to their stewardships. Zone
leaders, instead of the traditional phoning, faxing and rekeying, logged into the system during their
personal internet email time and submitted statistics and viewed reports about their zones. Although the
site only was available via HTTPS to those holding individual usernames and passwords, Salt Lake felt
that it still qualified as a website and asked that all Internet access be terminated; however, they
conceded to allow it to run on the mission office network with no external access via the Internet. I
installed Perl, MySQL and Apache on a Windows machine that the mission president had purchased
out-of-pocket and it still runs as a server there to this day in the AAM office. The software there is still used
as the primary system for boardcards and transfer planning (as it has a number of tools to automatically
calculate the travel logistics (very useful in what was among the largest geographical missions in the
Church)). The interaction with leaders outside of the mission is no longer used. Every couple of months I
occasionally get a phone call for support, but it's been surprisingly trouble free.

One of the main reasons the application was developed as a web-based application was to provide for
Gift of Family History tracking and reporting. The AAM was one of the early adopters of the program
and the program was initially supported directly and overseen by the mission. At that time, the local
priesthood leadership was very interested in the progress and success of the GoFH program. We felt
that for the best chance of success, the program required collaboration on nearly every level from the
missionaries, the ward consultants, the high priest group leaders, ward mission leaders, stake leaders
and even mission presidency; and that the best way to accomplish this was to put everyone on one
system with a standardized set of printed forms, online forms, tracking tools and reports. A number of
leaders at various levels were given access to the system (restricted to GoFH related data) and required
to report their progress on the system. This was effective in helping leaders identify where to apply their
resources. Via the GoFH program and successful collaboration, a fair number of families were able to be
helped all the way from introduction to progress beyond the temple. I do have a firm testimony of the
effectiveness of the GoFH program, however, it is difficult and expensive to manage and operate. When
the online system was discontinued, it threw the GoFH program in Alaska into disarray and, in
conjunction with a change of mission president, the whole GoFH program in Alaska just kind of fizzled at
that point.

About the time the decision came back from headquarters to shut down the Internet site, several other
missions began calling and inquiring about using the software in their mission. Unable any longer to
provide them with a web version, I packaged it all onto a single CD with the appropriate open source
server software and an install program for Windows machines. In an intranet, it would be installed on
one machine as a background server and then all the other networked machines just use a web
browser to access it. I don't believe it was ever actively used in any other mission. If anyone wants
to play with the packaged version, I can make that available as well.

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Postby WelchTC » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:31 am

Alan_Brown wrote:It may depend on your version of PowerPoint, but even though I am prompted for a password to open the presentation for modification, I am able to open the presentation in Read Only mode and see it just fine. I'm using PP 2003.

I'm on the latest version of PowerPoint and I don't get an option to open it as read only, simply a dialog that states:
This presentation is protected by a password or Digital Rights Management (DRM). To access the presentation you must have a version that is not protected by a password or DRM.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:54 am

tomw wrote:I'm on the latest version of PowerPoint and I don't get an option to open it as read only


I didn't mention it at first, but I did save the presentation to my local disk, then opened PowerPoint, then opened the file from PowerPoint. Perhaps that makes a difference.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:02 am

For giggles, I DL'ed the presentation into PP2007 and it prompted me for a password or the option to open it Read Only. I chose Read Only and it came through just fine. I did both a direct open and a save to disk and both worked the same.

Mike
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mattgarner-p40
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Postby mattgarner-p40 » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:07 am

Hmm. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what the original password was or I would have removed it. It didn't
seem to prohibit me from opening the file in my version of PP2007. In any case, I've converted it to a PDF file
that can be viewed at http://www.pedigreesoft.com/fhw/AAM_MDS_Pres.pdf .

Note:I don't have Adobe Acrobat Pro so I couldn't properly rotate the slides in the PDF after my freeware PDF
printer created it, so if you access the PDF version, you'll need to manually rotate the slides. I don't think you
can do this in the Adobe browser plugin, so you'll probably need to save the file locally thenopen it in the full
Adobe Reader.

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kd7mha
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PDF Document

Postby kd7mha » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:01 am

mattgarner wrote:Hmm. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what the original password was or I would have removed it. It didn't
seem to prohibit me from opening the file in my version of PP2007. In any case, I've converted it to a PDF file
that can be viewed at http://www.pedigreesoft.com/fhw/AAM_MDS_Pres.pdf .

Note:I don't have Adobe Acrobat Pro so I couldn't properly rotate the slides in the PDF after my freeware PDF
printer created it, so if you access the PDF version, you'll need to manually rotate the slides. I don't think you
can do this in the Adobe browser plugin, so you'll probably need to save the file locally thenopen it in the full
Adobe Reader.


I have rotated the above .pdf document
http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=F.3264fa40-5b51-415d-90b5-acacc930b778

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:53 am

kd7mha wrote:I have rotated the above .pdf document
http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=F.3264fa40-5b51-415d-90b5-acacc930b778

BTW, when I click on this link, I get a "document does not exist."

Tom


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