Home Teaching / Visiting Teaching Application

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RossEvans
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#111

Post by RossEvans »

Alan_Brown wrote:Yes, there was a discussion along those lines, starting with this post. But I don't see how that works very welll. It would only work if a tremendous amount of detailed household and individual data were transferred from MLS to the HT/VT app. That seems impractical, and a poor segmentation of data if it were done. It's much more practical to move HT/VT data back to MLS, which is the natural and proper repository for household data.

I think it does work conceptually, because one so-far uncontroversial assumption in the HT/VT app's Wiki is that the new app would have access to the central membership database that is maintained at CHQ. (I have been calling that the "mothership" in my comments there, but I think it is more properly called the CMIS database.)

But it is not in the current scope of the HT/VT app to produce these integrated reports. The comment here by GarysTurn is the first mention of this idea I recall.
SmithCur
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#112

Post by SmithCur »

I have posted version one of the service data model and Java service API to the detailed design section of the wiki. Please take a look at it and post any questions or concerns.

Now for some comments of my own. As I understand it, one of the primary purposes of the Home Teaching/Visiting Teaching community effort is to provide an easier and more available means for managing and reporting on home teaching and visiting teaching efforts by members. This would be achieved by allowing members to access the functionality of the system in alternative ways and locations including via a browser, PDA, mobile phone etc. As the ward houses and stake centers adopt broadband connections, this functionality will become accessible there as well.

The intention is to build this system so that as many participants in the process benefit. To me this means that the system must integrate with the backend data maintained by the church so that each of the community applications do not need to keep their records in sync manually. Just imagine what it would be like if each of the community applications had its own database that was not synchronized with the backend. Everytime a member or household move in or out of a ward or stake, records from multiple systems would need to reentered or removed manually. Over time as the number of community applications increased, this would become overwhelming.

To address this from an architectural point of view, the Church has begun efforts to design backend systems so that data and functionality are made available via a service architecture. The intent is to provide secure access to the data and business functionality of these systems internally by approved applications so that every application does not need to maintain its own database and redundant copies of data. This will help ensure that the quality of data improves rather than worsens over time as the number of applications increases, and will allow individual applications to benefit from a set of shared services that understand a common schema. We must benefit from these efforts in order to justify them.

My role in this is to provide direction around the development of the backend services needed by the community development process, and to provide access to the data and functionality that is needed. I am a member of the Software Architecture group and meet regularly with the Enterprise Architecture group to make decisions regarding the development infrastructure of the Church. I am also in contact with the development lead of the MLS project and can coordinate with anyone else that we may need to coordinate with. The goal here is to do the job right so that we get the most out of it that we can.

I will be providing more information as the service becomes available. I am hoping that with the information that is available now, the design of the applications (front ends) can begin.
RossEvans
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#113

Post by RossEvans »

Alan_Brown wrote:
I am aware of the discussion on this thread -- I was responding to Tom's question regarding his summary: "What am I missing?"

I, too,noted that absence from Tom's summary. Although I also am aware of his earlier comment above that mkmurray quotes, that single forum comment is the strongest thing in the record anywhere suggesting that data integration with MLS will come anytime soon. The Wiki documents really don't go that far.
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#114

Post by RossEvans »

It does seem that if development of the new, non-integrated HT/VT app proceeds according to plan, there are some development action items for MLS: (I am posting this here, rather than the Wiki, because no one there is empowered to do anything with MLS.)

If a unit opts to use the HT/VT app instead of MLS for all such data, including assignments, some special-case treatment of this unit's MLS installation would seem to be required to avoid output that is simply wrong.

Would the HT/VT data in MLS be depopulated? If not, any integrated report, screen or export file that accesses this data, such as the New Member report or the Household report, would contain an outdated snapshot of the data. Of course, the same would be true for any output that includes only HT/VT data.

Even if the data is depopulated, will there be special-case versions of the New Member report, export fiile, etc., that excludes the home teaching elements? Otherwise, in the output it would appear that no new members have such home-teaching assignments, and that section of some export output for families and sisters would read "Unassigned."

Would the MLS input screens for HT/VT data in such an MLS installation be disabled? Otherwise, a non-savvy user would start entering data into a part of the system that is basically a Potemkin interface.
richardhamilton-p40
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#115

Post by richardhamilton-p40 »

I'm not sure where to post this suggestion concerning the HT/VT project which we in our stake are excited about. I too would like to beta test the system when we get to that point. I have some thoughts about administrative oversight and training on a the Stake Level. Since a person such as an assistant Stk clerk or High Council member is often assigned to oversee technology and to train the unit leaders and members on how to use that technology, it would be very helpful for the person serving at the Stake level to have access to all of the information on the HT/VT system. They would not need to enter or change organizations or visits etc but should be able to view all of the information and guide quorum and unit leaders through the process. A sample training file with a fictitious unit would also be helpful as we have with MLS. For Example: Since it takes about 3 hours to drive across our stake, it would be very helpful as a Stake Leader to be able to sit at my computer and talk a unit leader through the process while we are both looking at the same screen (It would be really helpful if we could see the changes in real time or after they submit them). It would also be helpful if the stake leaders who have to train the unit leaders could be given any trouble shooting tools and / or special training documents to assist in trouble shooting. This will minimize calls and emails to Salt Lake. For example the website administrator has tools the members don't have to help solve problems etc.
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mkmurray
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#116

Post by mkmurray »

richardhamilton wrote:I'm not sure where to post this suggestion concerning the HT/VT project which we in our stake are excited about. I too would like to beta test the system when we get to that point. I have some thoughts about administrative oversight and training on a the Stake Level. Since a person such as an assistant Stk clerk or High Council member is often assigned to oversee technology and to train the unit leaders and members on how to use that technology, it would be very helpful for the person serving at the Stake level to have access to all of the information on the HT/VT system. They would not need to enter or change organizations or visits etc but should be able to view all of the information and guide quorum and unit leaders through the process. A sample training file with a fictitious unit would also be helpful as we have with MLS. For Example: Since it takes about 3 hours to drive across our stake, it would be very helpful as a Stake Leader to be able to sit at my computer and talk a unit leader through the process while we are both looking at the same screen (It would be really helpful if we could see the changes in real time or after they submit them). It would also be helpful if the stake leaders who have to train the unit leaders could be given any trouble shooting tools and / or special training documents to assist in trouble shooting. This will minimize calls and emails to Salt Lake. For example the website administrator has tools the members don't have to help solve problems etc.
If you look at the following page...

https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Hom ... ss_Control

...you will see a matrix of roles and permissions. There will be default assignments (as shown in the table) but all of these permissions will be configurable to fit each individual stake's needs. It is realized that not every stake will have the same calling do the same role; so this will also be configurable.

Hope this helps.
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mkmurray
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#117

Post by mkmurray »

Just wanted to let you all know that I have been working with Tom Welch to see if we can get some kind of regular update on what is going on at the Church regarding this project. I emphasized the importance of keeping us, the Community, informed so that we don't lose faith in the project thinking it has died or something.

So here is a part of the Wiki page where Tom will be trying to keep us informed on what preparations the Church has been making for us to finish design and begin development:

https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Hom ... ent_Status
RossEvans
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#118

Post by RossEvans »

I notice on the wiki that the core functionality of Return and Report -- collecting home- and visiting-teaching results online from teachers -- has been cut from the design of the new system.

I have difficulty understanding what the benefit of such a system would be, other than just allowing leaders to work from home. Given the downside of stripping all HT/VT information (even assignments) from MLS, the project as now contemplated seems like a net negative.
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mkmurray
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#119

Post by mkmurray »

boomerbubba wrote:I notice on the wiki that the core functionality of Return and Report -- collecting home- and visiting-teaching results online from teachers -- has been cut from the design of the new system.

I have difficulty understanding what the benefit of such a system would be, other than just allowing leaders to work from home. Given the downside of stripping all HT/VT information (even assignments) from MLS, the project as now contemplated seems like a net negative.
While I feel similarly, I will point out that this decision was made by the Brethren and not by some regular old Project Manager or rank and file Church employee.
Many questions are already answered on the Tech Wiki. Check it out!
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brado426
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#120

Post by brado426 »

boomerbubba wrote:I notice on the wiki that the core functionality of Return and Report -- collecting home- and visiting-teaching results online from teachers -- has been cut from the design of the new system.

What?????? You have got to be kidding me!! That is absolutely unbelievable. I don't see how my original vision for this project could be skewed any worse than it has been.

Brad O.
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