MLS export

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
nathangg
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Re: MLS export

Postby nathangg » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:07 pm

So, because of this issue, I've written my own "Custom Report" that takes 98% of the columns in MLS and dumps it out to a Custom Report.

I then save that custom report to a CSV file and I've written an analysis program to read in the CSV data and convert it to a tabular format (well, it is already in tabular format, except the callings... so my program reads the calling information and normalizes it into it's own table).

I can now get the information I need and extract information out of the data that I need for PPI information and whatnot.

I know this is kind of a hack-job... but allows me to get the information I need.

Thank you~!

scgallafent
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Re: MLS export

Postby scgallafent » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:26 am

I just noticed this thread. I don't know why I missed it before.

We don't maintain the export features in MLS. If they get broken as the result of another change (the likely scenario here), they won't get fixed. There have been some long-running discussions about (1) whether to remove export capabilities from MLS and (2) what, if any, export capabilities will be provided from LCR. So far, the decision for MLS has been to leave things as they are but not maintain them.

I scanned back through the thread to see what people are using the exports for since we had a discussion yesterday about if, when, and how custom reports will be handled in LCR. Here are some observations:

As far as what I use MLS Export for:

Stake President PPIs with Bishops - For each ward/bishop I auto populate:
* YM Ages 16-18 - show name, age, priesthood, confirmation date, and Y/N if there is an overdue ordinance
* YW Ages 16-18 - show name, age, confirmation date
* Prospective Elders - show name, age, priesthood, confirmation date
* YSAs - show name, age, PH (if applicable), confirmation date
* Married members who aren't sealed

'm also thinking about adding "Melchizedek Priesthood Holders who aren't endowed".


Most of this data is already available without an export:

* YM Ages 16-18 and Y/N if there is an overdue ordinance: Quarterly Report line 6 shows name, gender, age, birth date, current ordained office, and whether the priesthood office is appropriate for the age
* YW Ages 16-18: Quarterly report line 19 shows name, gender, age
* Prospective elders can be obtained from the quarterly report on line 4.
* YSAs - Quarterly report line 17
* Married members who aren't sealed - Quarterly report line 1
* Melchizedek Priesthood holders who aren't endowed - Adult Members Not Endowed would be the best place to start

None of these reports show confirmation date and I wouldn't expect that to be added. Confirmation date gives you an indication of whether you're looking at a recent convert, but that is covered by lines 22-25 in the quarterly report.

The list above was written before the new quarterly report was available, so that report is a new source for this information. I also realize that it is not in the exact format you are used to.

nathangg
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Re: MLS export

Postby nathangg » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:44 am

@scgallafent : THANK YOU for your response!!!! I love it that church employees are on the forums!

I appreciate that most of the same information I'm including in the Stake President's PPI is available already. Since my last post, we've also added "Families who are not currently assigned home teachers" to the PPI list. I currently can't obtain this information online.

Since most of the information is already available, one might ask, "Why do you need an export still?" I think there are two main reasons (and a 3rd less important one):

1) If I have an export, I can write queries against the data (two weeks ago the stake president asked for a list of everyone with a stake calling that does NOT have a current temple recommend... yes, this information is kind of available online, but the amount of time it would take to obtain the information is high. In just a few minutes I can write a query and print a report... and I can set this up so that we run this report every month/quarter.)

2) Time savings. We only have 7 units in our stake, but when I was manually creating the PPI forms, it would take a LONG time to create the PPI lists for the Stake President. It is true that they could just click through the online information during the PPI, but having a separate form for the PPI is what the stake president asked for... so I was copying/pasting all the data from the online pages to the form. Formatting took FOREVER. I was spending hours of my time building forms and this didn't seem a good use of my time.

3) (Less important): Historical callings. Since I'm taking a biweekly csv export of my custom report and saving it, I now have a list of historical callings. This comes in handy from time-to-time to see who has had a particular calling in the recent past.

With the above reasons, the MLS export is extremely helpful. Since I'm capable of writing programs and analyzing data, I was able to automate the PPI forms. I now spend very little time building forms and I can spend my time helping the stake presidency in other areas.

With all that I'm saying, though, I'm okay with the official MLS export being removed because I'm now basing all my data off of a custom report from MLS. In a way, it is almost better to remove the MLS export since it doesn't have all the data... no data may be better than incomplete data in this case.

When I get released, I understand that all my automation/programming will likely get "released" with me... so I really love the idea of having LCR continue to gain more features AND make it easy to navigate and find information. If you are able to add a few extra features (families that currently don't have home teachers and people with stake callings that don't have current temple recommends) then you'd have all the same "reports" that I'm generating from MLS. (Or if you add custom reporting).

Furthermore, when I'm released I will probably suggest that the stake president switch to using the online reports instead of my generated reports (and to make it easy I could give him a list of static URLs to click on during the PPI). For now though, we're trying to find a balance of

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mfmohlma
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Re: MLS export

Postby mfmohlma » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:05 pm

I'll have to throw a bone out here, though I know it's a sore spot for many: The MLS export is also very useful for Home and Visiting teaching data analysis. :)

scgallafent
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Re: MLS export

Postby scgallafent » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:22 am

nathangg wrote:I appreciate that most of the same information I'm including in the Stake President's PPI is available already. Since my last post, we've also added "Families who are not currently assigned home teachers" to the PPI list. I currently can't obtain this information online.

We are aware that information isn't available online. :)

nathangg wrote:1) If I have an export, I can write queries against the data (two weeks ago the stake president asked for a list of everyone with a stake calling that does NOT have a current temple recommend... yes, this information is kind of available online, but the amount of time it would take to obtain the information is high. In just a few minutes I can write a query and print a report... and I can set this up so that we run this report every month/quarter.)

That's a reasonable scenario. I'm not sure whether that is something that could be provided as a standard report or whether it would be handled with a custom reporting function.

I would send feedback in Leader and Clerk Resources asking if that could be added as a report. (That really is a better route than me suggesting it since it goes through the proper channels and becomes a leader suggestion instead of a developer suggestion.) That also gives us something to look at when we revisit the question of custom reports online.

nathangg wrote:2) Time savings. We only have 7 units in our stake, but when I was manually creating the PPI forms, it would take a LONG time to create the PPI lists for the Stake President. It is true that they could just click through the online information during the PPI, but having a separate form for the PPI is what the stake president asked for... so I was copying/pasting all the data from the online pages to the form. Formatting took FOREVER. I was spending hours of my time building forms and this didn't seem a good use of my time.

I'm not sure that we can solve this easily. Lots of people will have preferred formats that are slightly different from what is provided in LCR and it would be difficult to accommodate them all. Custom reports might get close, but there will always be scenarios that can't be handled there.

nathangg wrote:3) (Less important): Historical callings. Since I'm taking a biweekly csv export of my custom report and saving it, I now have a list of historical callings. This comes in handy from time-to-time to see who has had a particular calling in the recent past.

Interesting issue, that one is. CDOL doesn't currently store historical data. We've had discussions among developers about the potential benefits and drawbacks of storing historical calling data. (Yes, we feel there are some drawbacks from an ecclesiastical standpoint.) I don't know what discussions have been had on the product management side as to whether to make that change.

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Re: MLS export

Postby RossEvans » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:03 am

scgallafent wrote:I just noticed this thread. I don't know why I missed it before.

We don't maintain the export features in MLS. If they get broken as the result of another change (the likely scenario here), they won't get fixed. There have been some long-running discussions about (1) whether to remove export capabilities from MLS and (2) what, if any, export capabilities will be provided from LCR. So far, the decision for MLS has been to leave things as they are but not maintain them.


Just noticed this comment. I certainly hope that export capabilities for leaders will remain in MLS, and be added to Leader and Clerk Resources online. We would be crippled to large degree without them.

Meanwhile, I do think it is pretty fouled up to deliberately let features grow [more] buggy.

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mlh78
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Re: MLS export

Postby mlh78 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:52 am

Stake clerk here - Every quarter I export a custom report that exports just about everything. I am not as fancy as some here, so I just drop it in Excel and add a few columns with formulas that give me some more information (e.g., do they have a current recommend, are they a prospective elder, what demographic category do they fit in, etc.). We use this for things such as:

1. Making short lists for consideration for church callings (e.g., bishops, potential storehouse church service missionaries, etc.)

2. Requests for random lists (e.g., every youth who will be between 14-18 on the first day of Trek, etc.)

3. Modeling ward boundary realignments (How I use this would probably horrify the more tech savvy among us)

4. Historical purposes (it is invaluable to have quarterly snapshots of the stake).


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