Importing Data into SchoolTools

Asked by Brian Lockwood on 2008-06-27

I have a data set for our school (1450 on role 11-18 Comprehesive).
I want to see if there is a reasonable possibility of changing our MIS over to school tools a year in September.
Where can I find guidance on how to import our data set into school-tools.
The data is on an sql database and I can massage the data into the necessary formats. I could generate xml and such like of I had some info what had to do.
I know that zope is not a relational database.

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Tom Hoffman
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Tom Hoffman (tom-hoffman) said : #1

Hi Brian,

At this point, it might be most helpful for both of us if you would describe what data you want and what format you've got it in.

Brian Lockwood (brianlockwood) said : #2

Thanks for your quick response.

I don't want any data, I have oodles of my own. My aim is to build a school-tools system and see if it can replace our current system. I realise that this is not a project for the faint hearted. We have long experience of using linux on our school systems and although we usually have used Redhat/Centos/Fedora I found ubuntu server perfectly familiar for an install and configuration.

Currently we use a MIS from an outsourcer. They are a well known provider of a large scale college system. I looked at school-tool when we decided to dump the previous MIS. I spoke to someone at a Linux conference in London and even spoke to a developer about it on the phone. Unfortunately It was in no condition at the time to meet our needs.

The current system provides a web based front end for teachers to enter marks, reports, and registration. There is also a desktop system for administrators. This can be installed on their desktop PC but we use Citrix to publish that application to whichever desktops need it. The system is based on a SQL database (MS SQL server is the server that the outsourcers provide).

The database is huge, complex and badly normalised. As I understand it, the whole system uses java servlets to do all the processing.

We are confident we can pull out timetable data; student data; teacher data and groups using sql and starting from there, get the data into whatever format is needed to construct the objects to put into school-tools. I gathered from somewhere or other that this could be done via xml.

So, the current format of the data is inside a set of rdbms tables which do not have a format that can easily be described here.

As a starting point in seeing whether we could move to school tool, I thought I would try to transfer the students timetables to schooltools and see about running the calendar side of things. I also have a technician looking at the resource booking system as a replacement for a system called mrbs we use currently.

I have installed the system on a decent server and it is working fine.

Tom Hoffman (tom-hoffman) said : #3

Hi Brian,

OK, for starters, you're using the packages from our PPA, right?

To import persons, go to Manage then Persons then Import Persons. This is not going to be completely satisfactory yet, as it will only import names, id's and passwords. Now would be a good time to let us know what other demographic fields you need.

Similarly if you go to Manage > Groups > Import Groups you can... import groups.

This should work for courses and sections, too. Let us know if it does.

Brian Lockwood (brianlockwood) said : #4

OK I will get our students, groups and staff in and then work from there. I will let you know.

 However what about timetables, would I need to generate them within the system by scheduling or can I import them a well?


Best Tom Hoffman (tom-hoffman) said : #5

In theory you can set up the timetables when you import sections. Not entirely sure if it actually works now, nor if it is implemented in a usable way.

Brian Lockwood (brianlockwood) said : #6

Thanks Tom Hoffman, that solved my question.