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Editing Database directly

Forums: Questions and Answers About Building Your Site
Created on: 07/09/11 05:05 PM Views: 1269 Replies: 11
Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 5:05 PM

After many years, I've made the decision to go ahead and move my class website here (and may possibly be moving our alumni site as well, if the board agrees).

I have my own servers and have hosted for years, plus am a whiz at direct database editing.

The biggest problem I see with my alumni site is not being able to import all the data - I'll be having to edit down over 20 years of information we have on file and that is in the current database, including things like birthdates, etc.

I use MySQLFront (well Heidi now) to do direct database edits...it's much faster...is there any possible way to connect to the database directly?

I am a volunteer and we have over 25k members in the alumni association - my class, while it only has 850...it's still cumbersome. One of the reasons for moving was that I want to make sure if anything happens to me, it's readily available for take over...but while I AM still functioning (Smile) anything to help me be more efficient would be appreciated. I run my own design, hosting and maintenance business, so need to use my time efficiently.

Also - I am going to be recommending this to other classes. I've watched you guys over the past few years. Smile

One more question - is it possible for us to have our own template imported as opposed to using the "ready made" ones?

thank you in advance!

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM - Response #1

1) No, you cannot currently connect a MySQL database directly to the site. No ability for this is planned. I'll add this question for discussion at our next meeting and get the Programmers' take on direct database editing.

2) Outside of direct database editing, let me reverse the question. Given the tools you see in front of you, and your skills with database editing, design etc., how could the current tools be improved or added to in order to make your job faster? If you can describe it and it makes sense we can and likely will implement it. A good 80% or so of Class Creator has come directly from users' own creativity and ingenuity.

3) Answered in another post put no for now, yes for the future. We have some advanced features planned for this and all of it is behind a large series of other revisions so this will not be available soon. But it is coming though after the main Class Creator 3.0 revisions have launched.


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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM - Response #2

Our multi-year site has similar stats, and our database needs are well in excess of what CC provides. I, too, rely heavily on manual manipulation of our master database offline. When I took over its maintenance, it had been converted from 3x5 cards to a series of Excel worksheets. Coming from a dBase/FoxPro/SQL environment, it was a real challenge for me to work my magic on it, but I am required to share it with others who only work in Excel.

Our Master List's XLS format does make it easier to merge in regular CC downloads of our multi-year and a dozen separate year sites covering our 28,000 alumni population. 90% of our contact info updates now come from CC downloads; the rest by direct email notices, class reunion rosters and association membership dues paid by mail.

Since we track a whole range of additional data, I've asked for a set of admin-configurable additional hidden fields that I can load (manually or by a one-time upload) into the CC contacts data. The ability to then edit online, remotely, through designated co-admins and to download subsets on demand would be a huge plus.

Your programmers have been very receptive to my suggestions, making it easier now to merge downloads of contact & profile sets with the master file offline. It's still very klutzy to extract a single-year's data for a reunion book from the multi-year, for instance. That could be further facilitated by allowing single year-based admin permissions so each class rep can be give access to only their own grads.

How about a forum dedicated to discussing advanced programming issues?

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 12:32 PM - Response #3

Mary Smith wrote:

How about a forum dedicated to discussing advanced programming issues?

Yes, but I would like programming in the literal sense - maybe 2 forums, 1 DB or template/css style issues, 1 actual javascript code peculiar to CC.

For example, I've run into certain javascript mouse issues because of constraints in the CC system (meaning outside of CC code works or by disabling a section of CC code). If there was a more concentrated forum, more and easier progress could be made.

It would also be a good place to show other users how to do things that can expand their creativity - beyond copying and pasting in external Flash objects.

Would be a low volume area, except when someone wanted to do something that at first glance does not appear to work.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 12:36 PM - Response #4

Some of our Alumni Assocation data fields:
- Association Member #
- Alternate class year (early/late grads)
- Status: Lost, Dec'd, interest levels, contact prefs, etc
- Date of status, membership change or payment
- Membership expiration, total years of membership, date of first membership, years renewed at last payment, payment type, member type; donations
- Code for inclusion in special mailing or email
- Academic awards; Alumni Assoc. scholarship type & amount
- Class offices & positions
- Reps, Board, Faculty designations
- Spouse name, spouse member # if an alum
- Nickname; name to use on mailings
- Zip Plus4
- Facebook address
- Homepage(s)
- Alternate address/phones, dates valid (vacation home, etc.)
- Date deceased; year publised in our 2 annual magazines (also want date moved from Active to CC In Memoriam)
- Member numbers of related family alumni
- ID of person updating the record
- Date email(s) changed or last confimed as valid
- Date phone(s) changed or last onfimed as valid
- Date address changed or last confirmed as valid
- Source of updated info (CC, mail, email, renewal, event)

Note: Membership payment, donation & scholarship award bookkeeping is kept by the Treasurer using financial software. We run various checks and entry validations to ensure that both systems agree...

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 1:14 PM - Response #5

Thank you Brad

1) "No, you cannot currently connect a MySQL database directly to the site. No ability for this is planned. I'll add this question for discussion at our next meeting and get the Programmers' take on direct database editing."
>>I'm a *nix girl, not windows, so I'm not sure what tools work there...I do see you use fckeditor, which is what we implemented when we wrote our proprietary content management system for our clients...I know there is phpmyadmin (which I hate because it's so bulky and slow)...I allow only people who know what they are doing to directly edit their database with heidi, and they are required to send me their drivers license...and I don't allow it for specific countries...maybe some sort of test/identification if that were to be implemented. I know that I can do in 30 minutes what it takes me 2-3 hours to do through the interface. I DO plan on recommending this system and already have sent it to 5 other classes that I think can benefit from it Smile )<<

2) "Outside of direct database editing, let me reverse the question. Given the tools you see in front of you, and your skills with database editing, design etc., how could the current tools be improved or added to in order to make your job faster? If you can describe it and it makes sense we can and likely will implement it. A good 80% or so of Class Creator has come directly from users' own creativity and ingenuity."
>>I'll have to think about that. I've already set up ours and only had 850 to import...it wasn't awful Smile but with classes going back to 1959 for the alumni site...at this point, I'm exporting them through heidi, formatting them to your specifications, and leaving off all the other data...at least that's the plan. Overall it's pretty simple, and well done for the layperson<<

Thank you for your response (and thanks to the other people & their input...some of that was in my head as well Smile )

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 2:12 PM - Response #6

Brad

I'm sorry...I forgot about #3...prior to this, is there any possibilities for a choice in templates to include liquid?

thank you
Lorri

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Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM - Response #7

No. Unfortunately with so many classes if we had some fixed templates and some liquid we'd get huge incompatibility problems as people switch from one design to another. I suppose we could include liquid templates in the future, but anyone using them would have to realize that things that fit ok in a liquid template might blow out a fixed design in numerous ways if they attempt to switch to one. For the moment the upcoming 3.0 revisions include new CSS versions of all current designs that are slightly wider so you'll have more room for your body content. Several new themes are also upcoming.


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Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 4:26 PM - Response #8

Hi all, I wonder if the idea of customized database fields is still being discussed. Many of the fields that Mary listed would be interest for our 3 high school reunion sites that I set up. I also created a Retirees group for a company I worked for. They have their own data requirements that would be great to have custom profile fields for the membership registrar, and other fields for different functions our club uses.

Of course we would like to load them from an existing database (around 1000 members) and not have manually enter them! And download them as well.

Any hope of such enhancements Brad & gang?

ps. Just thought of one option after I hit Save. Instead of providing specific data fields, you could provide a general field (limit the size) where we could do initial loads, maintain, and be downloadable.

Mary Smith wrote:

Some of our Alumni Assocation data fields:
- Association Member #
- Alternate class year (early/late grads)
- Status: Lost, Dec'd, interest levels, contact prefs, etc
- Date of status, membership change or payment
- Membership expiration, total years of membership, date of first membership, years renewed at last payment, payment type, member type; donations
- Code for inclusion in special mailing or email
- Academic awards; Alumni Assoc. scholarship type & amount
- Class offices & positions
- Reps, Board, Faculty designations
- Spouse name, spouse member # if an alum
- Nickname; name to use on mailings
- Zip Plus4
- Facebook address
- Homepage(s)
- Alternate address/phones, dates valid (vacation home, etc.)
- Date deceased; year publised in our 2 annual magazines (also want date moved from Active to CC In Memoriam)
- Member numbers of related family alumni
- ID of person updating the record
- Date email(s) changed or last confimed as valid
- Date phone(s) changed or last onfimed as valid
- Date address changed or last confirmed as valid
- Source of updated info (CC, mail, email, renewal, event)

Note: Membership payment, donation & scholarship award bookkeeping is kept by the Treasurer using financial software. We run various checks and entry validations to ensure that both systems agree...

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Edited 11/13/14 4:33 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM - Response #9

Nothing is planned at this time. However I will be sure that Brad sees this so that he is aware of the interest.


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Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 8:07 PM - Response #10

Thanks Scott. On the same topic, we were going to see if we might use the Class Of (year) field for a different purpose, i.e. maybe use it as our Membership Paid To field, i.e. if a member was paid up to the year 2014, the field would contain 2014. Just a thought anyways.

Since we could not find the Year, I thought perhaps it is invisible unless you are a multi-year site, so I went to look for how to do that, but cannot find where to do that now. The FAQs show:

I cannnot find that particular link. I kinda remember it when I converted our LVR high school site but that was a long while back Sad

How do you convert to multi-year, is the question...

After writing this, I realize we cannot use the field for that, unless we change the year span to cover a wide range of years coming up, i.e. 2014 to say 2024 or something like that to cover 10 years...

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Edited 11/13/14 8:09 PM
Friday, November 14, 2014 at 4:53 PM - Response #11

We have changed that process slightly. I would need to convert your site for you. Just let me know when you are ready and provide the year range as well.


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