MLS Export Formats...

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
leejj
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Postby leejj » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:34 am

I've tried changing the regional options to Traditional Chinese. Encoding of the CSV files are still Latin1. I asked about XML since almost always the encoding is UTF-8. Opening in an editor later on to save wouldn't do any good as the Chinese would have already turned into ???????. The encoding seems to already be set when exporting the csv files.

Thanks for your quick response.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:46 am

konglong wrote:I've tried changing the regional options to Traditional Chinese. Encoding of the CSV files are still Latin1. ... The encoding seems to already be set when exporting the csv files.


I can see how the export files would be useless to you.

It sounds like a solution could be for MLS to suppress the translation of the exported data, leaving it in the UTF-8 form MLS uses internally -- or better yet provide the user the option to do so.

zaneclark
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Exported files not in right order

Postby zaneclark » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:41 am

I export the MLS files to use on WardTools and find that they do not export with the leaders at the beginnning of the list, and other positions are also out of sequence, scattered throughout the list. I have made sure they are in the proper sequence in the MLS but they are still out of order when exported. I guess I can attempt to correct this on the spread sheet before uploading to Ward Tools, but would rather not if there is a fix for this... Is there?

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:25 am

zaneclark wrote:I export the MLS files to use on WardTools and find that they do not export with the leaders at the beginnning of the list, and other positions are also out of sequence, scattered throughout the list. I have made sure they are in the proper sequence in the MLS but they are still out of order when exported. I guess I can attempt to correct this on the spread sheet before uploading to Ward Tools, but would rather not if there is a fix for this... Is there?


That is a known problem with the order in the MLS exports. I have heard from a clerk who once reported it as a bug in MLS, and the problem was fixed but later reappeared in the current form. Since nothing in the MLS export files is officially documented, including the sort order, perhaps no one in authority considers this to be a bug and third-party programs reading the export files just have to make the best of it.

I strongly recommend against doing any manual editing of the MLS export CSV files in a spreadsheet, because that will probably do even more harm by corrupting the file format. If you must edit the raw data, you do so at your own risk, and you should use a text editor such as Notepad instead of a spreadsheet.

You might also report this as an issue in the Ward Tools support group. Possibly the retrieval program's logic can be changed to use a different sort sequence. My own guess is that a problem like this may be fixed eventually, in a major release of the product, but not immediately.

jmessinger
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Postby jmessinger » Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:31 pm

For myself, I have been editing the export files in a text editor (Notepad++) to simply change the order of the callings within each organisation. The position sequence number ("Pos Seq" field) seems to be irrelevant in this case, as all I do is re-order the rows to put the leadership positions at the top of each organisation. I don't worry about modifying the sequence numbers at all.

This works fairly well for our requirements. The leadership positions all appear at the top of the page in Ward Tools.

I agree that you shouldn't use Excel or other spreadhseet apps, this will make the file unusable for conversion to Ward Tools format, even when saving as CSV. Modifying the files even in a simple text editor still runs the risk of corrupting them such that they can't be converted, so try one type of change at a time, and keep a backup of the original export files in case you need to start again :)

phatav8r-p40
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CSV files and loss of the UTF-8 format is killer

Postby phatav8r-p40 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:12 am

boomerbubba wrote:I can see how the export files would be useless to you.

It sounds like a solution could be for MLS to suppress the translation of the exported data, leaving it in the UTF-8 form MLS uses internally -- or better yet provide the user the option to do so.



Yep, this is the problem, people in SLC who do the MLS programming forget that their audience and users are not always limited to just ENGLISH systems.

Here in Shanghai, our branch is composed of several nationalities. Predominantly English and Chinese. But we also have Korean members and Japanese members.

So, the difficulty in having the UTF-8 formatting preserved when the CSV file exports is significantly important to using external tools such at Ward Tools.

I don't know why they don't just let you export in .xls format and then you can preserve it yourself. I mean I already have to authorize any exported files, so what difference is it that it is in a format we can actually USE once we get it off the computer

Especially since our Membership Directory HAS to be built externally, the MLS version is worthless to members in a branch like ours where email must be a primary communication method and where texting is as important as having home numbers

Someone needs to wake up the folks in IT at Church HQ to the realities for units outside of the US.

For instance, in China, the current trend is that people don't install home phones, they simply use a cell phone because the service costs less.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:32 pm

phatav8r wrote:Yep, this is the problem, people in SLC who do the MLS programming forget that their audience and users are not always limited to just ENGLISH systems.


The developers are constrained by resources, timelines and the church department making the specs. The current situation could well be due to things outside of their control. While the frustration is understandable, we ask that in the forum that we focus on the problem and not engage in things that could be seen as an attack on others.


phatav8r wrote:So, the difficulty in having the UTF-8 formatting preserved when the CSV file exports is significantly important to using external tools such at Ward Tools.


That sounds like a problem. Have you reported it via the authorized feedback channels? The email address is MSRMail@ldsmail.net.


phatav8r wrote:For instance, in China, the current trend is that people don't install home phones, they simply use a cell phone because the service costs less.


The last few versions of MLS have allowed individual phone numbers (such as cell) as well as a household number (such as a traditional landline). Are you not seeing that?
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