MLS Export Formats...

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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childsdj
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Postby childsdj » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:22 pm

Sorry for any of the confusion. When you get MLS 2.9 (next month or so) the csv export will be replaced by a vcard format. There are different reasons behind this and I am not sure of all of them. I believe that vcard should work well with most apps. There is not a concrete plan to put the csv format back into MLS, but if there is a definite reason, I can try and put in for consideration.

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:25 pm

DJC wrote:Sorry for any of the confusion. When you get MLS 2.9 (next month or so) the csv export will be replaced by a vcard format. There are different reasons behind this and I am not sure of all of them. I believe that vcard should work well with most apps. There is not a concrete plan to put the csv format back into MLS, but if there is a definite reason, I can try and put in for consideration.


If you eliminate the existing six CSV export file formats you will break a lot of existing end-user applications out here.

Are all six export files being eliminated?

Can we get any documentation in advance?

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:29 pm

Can you share the reason the CSV is being dropped? It seems like that would be rather disruptive for units that have already built processes based on those formats.

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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:41 pm

DJC wrote:Sorry for any of the confusion. When you get MLS 2.9 (next month or so) the csv export will be replaced by a vcard format. There are different reasons behind this and I am not sure of all of them. I believe that vcard should work well with most apps. There is not a concrete plan to put the csv format back into MLS, but if there is a definite reason, I can try and put in for consideration.


I don't mind some new format being added, but in my opinion dropping the CSV format is a very bad idea. CSV format imports directly into a spreadsheet -- we have automated processes, as well as many, many ad hoc processes that depend on using spreadsheets for exported data. I fail to see what is so great about vCard format that could justify the pain you will inflict on many units by dropping the CSV format.

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:08 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:I don't mind some new format being added, but in my opinion dropping the CSV format is a very bad idea. CSV format imports directly into a spreadsheet -- we have automated processes, as well as many, many ad hoc processes that depend on using spreadsheets for exported data. I fail to see what is so great about vCard format that could justify the pain you will inflict on many units by dropping the CSV format.


Absolutely right, Alan. Scrapping the CSV exports is technically a very bad idea from a systems viewpoint.

I have to wonder about the genesis of this idea. If it is just a wrongheaded technical proposal that is one thing; if it would implement some newly restrictive priesthood policy directing units to scrap all helper applications driven by the export files, that is something else entirely. At least we can argue pros and cons about the former.

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A wish-list item for enhancing export formats

Postby RossEvans » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:19 pm

First, for the record, I am thankful that the CSV export formats will be restored, as reported in the MLS 2.9 thread.

I thought it best to post this wish-list suggestion here, rather than in that thread, because this comment relates to a possible future release and pertains directly to the topic here.

As I explained in this comment in the other thread, I have been extracting the PalmFamily.csv export along with the four core export tables primarily as a workaround to fill a hole in the implied schema for those tables. And there still are some other holes, imperfectly filled by other workarounds. Surely others wrestling with the export files have similar problems.

Those issues could be resolved more elegantly and reliiably by the addition of a few columns to the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv files:


  1. In HomeTeaching.csv, add a "HofH ID" column corresponding to the same data element in Membership.csv for that head of household. Also add a column "HT 1 Indiv ID" and another "HT 2 Indiv ID" for each of the home-teachers, corresponding to their "Indiv ID" in Membership.csv
  2. In VisitingTeaching.csv, add a "Sister Taught Indiv ID" column, as well as a "VT 1 Indiv ID" and a "VT 2 Indiv ID" column, corresponding to those three sisters' "Indiv ID" column in Membership.csv.
With those modest additions, it would no longer be necessary to use undocumented properties of PalmFamily.csv as a relational bridge, and the schema for the four core export files would be reliable and complete.

The use of "HoH ID" and "Indiv ID" is useful for this purpose, and not confidental like the MRN. The "Indiv ID" already is used as a foreign key in Organization.csv.

Pretty please?

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Postby leejj » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:36 am

Anyway to insure that the exported file encoding is set to UTF8? Our system has a lot of information in Chinese and would love for it to display correctly instead of ?????. I'm surprised that that was not the setting by default.

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A wish-list item for enhancing export formats - Part 2

Postby pete_arnett-p40 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:25 pm

as of MLS 2.9.0-14316, 22Aug2008 17:23 hours (EDT)


the PalmFamily.csv has not returned

see attachment
Attachments
MLS 290-14316 Export Dialog 2008 08 22.jpg
MLS 290-14316 Export Dialog 2008 08 22.jpg (60.93 KiB) Viewed 711 times
:cool: Your Fellow Servant,
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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:35 pm

pete_arnett wrote:as of MLS 2.9.0-14316, 22Aug2008 17:23 hours (EDT)


the PalmFamily.csv has not returned

see attachment

According to the Release Notes, it is suppossed to be; see this post: http://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?p=15595#post15595

The image of your dialog box has "Customize" buttons beside the two Palm exports (Individual and Family). Have you checked that box and tried clicking the "Customize" button? Or perhaps if you check those boxes and then hit OK, does it then give you the opportunity to select CSV?

I realize it says vCard next to the box, but perhaps the functionality is there and the label is incorrect? Plus the note at the bottom of the dialog says that "all files will be exported in the standard '.csv' format."

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:36 pm

pete_arnett wrote:as of MLS 2.9.0-14316, 22Aug2008 17:23 hours (EDT)


the PalmFamily.csv has not returned

see attachment


That's what I thought at first, but actually, it has returned with 2.9b3. The interface is confusing and quite misleading, as the checkboxes are labeled "vCard" but the note below the checkboxes says that all the files will be exported in .csv format. Fortunately, neither part of the interface is telling the whole truth.

If you select the vCard Individual or vCard Family option, what actually gets exported is both the .csv and the .vcf files. That is what we asked for, but the interface is needlessly confusing. You just have to have faith and not rely on what the UI seems to be telling you.


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