Starting new Ward Picture Directory

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coloradotechie-p40
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Starting new Ward Picture Directory

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:42 pm

So, I've spent the past hour or so reading over every thread I could find regarding ward picture/photo directories. The reason is that our bishop is calling a new ward directory person and I was doing some background work to give ideas or suggestions. (I'm currently the ward finance clerk but I get asked questions about technologies and best use and whatnot)

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find one right way to do a photo directory. Here is what I've seen:


  • MLS Companion Database - has picture capabilities but I can't tell if it will do a directory... plus requires an export from MLS
  • LDS Compact Directory - easy directory creator from LUWS csv, but no pictures
  • LDS Ward Photo Directory Wizard - looks like it was created in 2007, I have no idea if this works with the MLS 3.1.X updates...I did just install it and it looks like it would be best if it were run from the MLS computer, however, the instructions do say how to copy a .txt file out of the MLS Directory of Members report
  • Ward Directory - no information is given on the download page or on the site...However, I did install it and it will work with a CSV output from LUWS... unfortunately I can't figure out how to have the program keep the photos from import to import... essentially meaning you'd have to re-add the photos each time.
  • Custom Python Code - developed in Sep of 2009, so probably works better with MLS 3.1, but requires some tech/geek skills :-)
  • Manual cut, paste, edit

So, before I go install every application above and test it out (LOL: looks like I've already installed most of those above), does anyone have a preference? Which one has worked best for people? Am I missing links to another great ward directory creator program?

Also, I prefer to avoid using the MLS Export feature... the CSV download from the LUWS is WAY easier because you can do it at home. Right now there are so many things to try and get done while we are at church (with no internet access), that remembering to ask someone with an admin login to MLS to export the data is kind of hard to do.

In the end, it would be great to recommend one program to our new ward photo directory person and have it be easy to update (e.g.: download new CSV from LUWS, take new pics, rename pictures, run program, VOILA! New PDF of ward photo directory).

Thanks!
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Keywords: Photo directory picture photos pictures

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:37 am

To further complicate your choices, be aware that the photo features available on the website are likely to change, and probably for the better. I expectantly hope that there will be a home online for photos for both families and individuals, and that the restrictions on file dimensions will be relaxed. Can't guess how soon that will happen.

One major advantage of building a photo directory around the website is that ward members then would have the benefit of seeing them there, not just in your directory.

coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:09 am

Yeah, good point.

Upon doing some searching, I found this:

http://myward.info/

Does anyone know what that is? Is it even possible to create your own website that authenticates with an LDS Account? (And it looks like it even does it over an HTTP connection instead of HTTPS... :eek: ).

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:18 am

coloradotechie wrote:Upon doing some searching, I found this:

http://myward.info/

Does anyone know what that is? Is it even possible to create your own website that authenticates with an LDS Account? (And it looks like it even does it over an HTTP connection instead of HTTPS... :eek: ).


That site is scary in so many regards. You can't directly authenticate your own site using LDS Account, but once someone is sufficiently reckless to give their LDS Account credentials to a non-Church website, that site could use those credentials to login behind the scenes to LUWS or some other LDS Account site, and determine if the credentials are valid.

My guess is that that site uses the LDS Account to login to LUWS and scrape some information from LUWS. But that's only a guess.

But once you give a site your LDS Account credentials, they can do anything on your behalf on any Church site that uses LDS Account. I imagine this was done with good intentions, but not by anyone who cares much about security.

That site was clearly created for a particular ward, and so it seems like a pretty clear violation of the prohibition in the Authorized Church Web Sites policy on wards creating their own sites.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:43 pm

coloradotechie wrote:Yeah, good point.

Upon doing some searching, I found this:

http://myward.info/



i agree with Alan_Brown about that web site. I think it is so far out of bounds it isn't in the policy ballpark.

But to make a printed directory from the LUWS directory for church use, you don't need a web site at all. All you need to do is log on to LUWS, call up the membership directory, and click "with Photos" on the upper-right of the screen.

The downside of that is that you don't directly control the formatting, which may have more textual detail or white space than you want. Also, it suffers from the shortcomings of the current LUWS design, which may be replaced Real Soon Now by an improved design.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:14 am

Independent non-official church sites should never be asking for LDS Church credentials without approval from the Church. We will check this site out. I'm sure that the site is well meaning but we must be extra careful with regards to membership information. In addition, the site asks for credentials over plain text, exposing someone's username/password unprotected on the Internet.

Tom

coloradotechie-p40
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Finally made a choice

Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:03 pm

So, I finally made a choice in which direction to go. I chose LDS Ward Photo Directory Wizard, not because it worked when I downloaded it, but because the developer open sourced it on CodePlex ( http://www.codeplex.com/wardphotodirectory/ )

I just got done updating the code to read the CSV download from the LUWS. Anyone wanting to use my version can get it here (download the zip, unzip it)

Some things to note:

  1. I can't figure out how to make an installer (some incompatibilities on Windows 7?)
  2. Because of #1, you'll have to download Visual C# 2008 Express Edition (free)
    1. Download it, install it, but don't install SQL Express, you don't need it
  3. Start Visual C# Express, Open the solution file that you unzipped, click okay through the error messages
  4. Right click on "WardPhotoDirectoryApp" and select "Set as startup project"
  5. Click the Green Play button
  6. The app should run
  7. Remember: even though the instructions say to open MLS and copy some things to the clipboard, you don't have to do that anymore. I coded the app to work with the CSV download from your LUWS. Just download the CSV, then run the app and import the contacts from the downloaded CSV.
I know the above instructions are kind of techie, but until I get the installer figured out, that is the only option.

Here is a video on how to do it: http://screencast.com/t/OWFjMDI2

Thanks~!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:31 pm

I think since this thread started, the beta directory came out on https://beta.lds.org

Since it allows for individual photos, anyone starting from scratch might want to consider it instead. (Of course if you don't have Internet connection in the clerk's office, then a local program might be preferred.)
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

coloradotechie-p40
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Postby coloradotechie-p40 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:38 pm

Agreed... the online member directory is a great option.


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