MLS Export Formats...

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:39 pm

mkmurray wrote: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."


I answered most of this in my previous post, but just to clarify, the Customize buttons still only allow you to select which fields are included -- they have nothing to do with CSV/vCard. Also, there is no further option for choosing vCard or CSV -- if you choose the Family export, you will get both the .csv and the .vcf versions (and the same for Individual).

At least that's the way it works in 2.9b3.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:40 pm

Alan_Brown wrote: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.

MLS 2.9 Beta 3 is released today? Or is that the one I downloaded last week and then subsequently posted the latest changes to the Release Notes?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:44 pm

mkmurray wrote:MLS 2.9 Beta 3 is released today? Or is that the one I downloaded last week and then subsequently posted the latest changes to the Release Notes?


Actually, MLS 2.9b4 was released today, which I didn't realize until I just went to check. What I reported was how MLS 2.9b3 worked. I'll check out Beta 4 and report back.

pete_arnett-p40
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PalmIndividual.csv is back - Export Slection needs to be udpated

Postby pete_arnett-p40 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:46 pm

Alan_Brown wrote: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.


Alan you are correct that the Export Selection needs to be updated
because as you stated the Export generated the PalmIndividual.csv and PalmFamily.csv
also the MLS Individuals vCard.vcf and MLS Families vCard.vcf files
:cool: Your Fellow Servant,
Porter (Pete) Lee Arnett Jr.
USA

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Postby RossEvans » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:32 pm

pete_arnett wrote:Alan you are correct that the Export Selection needs to be updated
because as you stated the Export generated the PalmIndividual.csv and PalmFamily.csv
also the MLS Individuals vCard.vcf and MLS Families vCard.vcf files


That sounds like what DJC warned us to expect a few days ago. Apparently this was a workaround to get the export files themselves restored expeditiously in this revised beta, with a deferred task to clean up the user interface in a later release..

dwterry-p40
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Postby dwterry-p40 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:05 pm

As has already been noted, both .csv and vCard formats are being written simultaneously.

As for the confusing UI ... the reason is that it takes many weeks to get all of MLS translated into the 21 different languages it is now produced in. Rather than wait for UI updates to be made and translated, the .csv format was simply added back into the code. The UI will be cleaned up later, but at least the third party apps won't be broken by this release.

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Postby Esogs-p40 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:17 pm

I'm so grateful, CSV is important to me too.

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Amended wishlist item for HT/VT export files

Postby RossEvans » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:24 pm

Earier in this thread I posted a wishlist suggestionthat the HomeTeaching.csv and VisitingTeaching.csv export formats be expanded to include unique IDs for the households and sisters being taught, and for teachers. I now realize that suggestion also should encompass unique IDs for district supervisors.

Also, there seems to be an action itemto create export files to inititalize the new HT/VT web application for each unit. Obviously, my idea as articulated earlier -- using the "HofH ID" and "Indiv ID" columns from MLS as locally unique IDs -- would not work for that external and centralized application. But substituting the Church's globally unique MRN (member record number) would work equally well for both purposes.

So perhaps this is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: Expand these two export file formats using the MRNs.

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Exported file encoding

Postby leejj » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:21 am

Any future plans to export data from MLS in a UTF-8 encoded XML file? Until the encoding is fixed, double byte languages will continue to show up as ?????. I'd love to see a fix in the near future.

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Postby RossEvans » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:54 am

konglong wrote:Any future plans to export data from MLS in a UTF-8 encoded XML file? Until the encoding is fixed, double byte languages will continue to show up as ?????. I'd love to see a fix in the near future.


UTF-8 encoding and XML markup are two entirely separate matters.

MLS uses UTF-8 internally, but the export files are apparently rendered in the native, single-byte character set of the Windows machine it runs on. In my North American installation, for example, that seems to be the character set of the Windows 1252 code page, or perhaps the Latin-1 code page (ISO-8859-1). which is almost the same thing.

I have found that when I need conversion to UTF-8 (as I do for loading into SQLite when my data includes accents or other special characters), an easy workaround is simply to load each CSV export file into a modern Windows text editor and Save As UTF-8. I think even recent versions of Notepad will do this. I have no experience with oriental language export data, so perhaps this would not work for you.

As far as XML goes, that is is a matter of data structure. It is not that hard to read CSV data and convert it into XML in whatever hierarchies you need using the scripting languange or your choice. I know it can be done using VBScript and Python, to name just two examples.

Personally, I find it convenient to load CSV into SQL first, and iterate in a calling language to build the XML. This is even better done if the SQL tables have been normalized. But that is just my preference, since I happen to have a SQL background. It is not a requirement. For example, one could use Python directly to parse the CSV files and iterate to build the XML you need.

Or both conversions could be done at the same time. For example, I have used VBScript to drive an XML object model, saving the result as an XML file, directly from the CSV exports without converting the input file's character encoding to UTF-8 first. The Windows XML object made the character conversion for me.


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