HT/VT Reporting Website Overview

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
User avatar
brado426
Member
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:50 pm
Location: Foothill Ranch, CA
Contact:

#271

Post by brado426 »

RussellHltn wrote: My best suggestion for the time being is to put this on the back burner and start on something else. Think of it as the "watched pot never boils". Watching and waiting will just frustrate you even more.

You're right RusselHtm. And that is precisely what I am going to do since there no indication that anything will happen any time soon.
The_Earl
Member
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:12 am

#272

Post by The_Earl »

tomw wrote:
  • Create an API to the member data. Currently most apps that get membership data talk directly to the DB. We obviously cannot allow this moving forward, not only for this project but for any project. So a secure API has to be figured out, scoped out, funded, and developed.
This is about what I expected. Most organizations and their software tools are not tooled to allow 3rd party plugins. This is even uncommon in publicly sold applications, firefox, eclipse and a few others being well-known exceptions.

Creating a secure API, while the right way to do this, represents a complete restructuring of the way software is written for the church. This is a HUGE and COSTLY undertaking for any group. That the church is even considering this is a big step forward. The benefits to the church development group as a whole are likely marginal to the costs without the involvement of the community. If we have tipped that scale, that speaks volumes about the perceived value of our contribution.

The company I work for has done a bit of this while modularizing our code. We managed to slip in in during rewrites, so the cost was mitigated a bit, but it was a huge undertaking, even for our relatively small codebase. Our products do not compare in any way to the size or complexity of LUWS or MLS. We also do not have 24/7 availability requirements, or users in almost every timezone on the planet.

That a public API is being discussed lets me know that the church is serious about getting these projects moving.
tomw wrote: It can be discouraging...I know. Please be patient while we work through the process. Also, my disclaimer here: I'm not promising any that this project will happen. I'm working hard to make it happen but the final decision will be made by those who have that authority.

Tom

Tom:

Keep up the good fight. Let us know what you need from us to push this ahead. You have been a real champion for community involvement. Thank you.

The Earl
User avatar
nbflint
Member
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:07 pm

#273

Post by nbflint »

Brad,

I'm not going to take the time to look it up for sure, but if the church were a corporation it would be considered something like a fortune 500 company! I can't think of a single company on that list that would be quick to allow any outside developer, no matter how revolutionary their code, to access their internal db's and write code to manipulate it. I know you don't want to lead a movement, but you are! I truly feel the church wants and is eager to have your help in this process. Don't give up, just go on to the next project until the church catches up to you.

If you need something to do, my Elder's quorum presidency would love a more robust tool for managing HT/VT companionships and assignments. How about it?

Nick

User avatar
brado426
Member
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:50 pm
Location: Foothill Ranch, CA
Contact:

#274

Post by brado426 »

nimebe wrote:Brad,

I'm not going to take the time to look it up for sure, but if the church were a corporation it would be considered something like a fortune 500 company! I can't think of a single company on that list that would be quick to allow any outside developer, no matter how revolutionary their code, to access their internal db's and write code to manipulate it. I know you don't want to lead a movement, but you are! I truly feel the church wants and is eager to have your help in this process. Don't give up, just go on to the next project until the church catches up to you.

If you need something to do, my Elder's quorum presidency would love a more robust tool for managing HT/VT companionships and assignments. How about it?

Nick

You guys make a lot of sense. For some reason, I envisioned things being a lot different. That just shows some ignorance on my part, I guess.

And let me emphasize again that I have never asked to roll this thing out to the whole Church or even access Church data.... I have been shooting for permission to conduct a small pilot test so that further progress could be made on the actual application while all the political stuff was being worked out. Changes could be made to address issues such as duplicate data and security now. The reason I've been pushing so hard for a pilot/beta scenario is that we could slowly modify the app to better comply with the Church's policies and guidelines rather than reserving the work for a large, expensive future project.

Brad O.
User avatar
daddy-o-p40
Member
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 1:22 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Let's re-focus here okay?

#275

Post by daddy-o-p40 »

This dialog has gotten WAY OFF TRACK.

All that the HT/VT Reporting website needs right now is to relocate in its present form. That means no API or DB connections.

Let's just keep improving the user interface and related methodology. Then once this has been finely honed we look at further integration (aka Phase II.)

I don't know how this got so far off track but again all we need is somewhere to park the application.

The lack of any and/or regular communication about this is killing the momentum this site created. Since this site was pulled the home teaching metrics down here nose dived by 40%.

Meanwhile outlawed sites (meaning sites with church content like singles ward sites, or ymyw.org) which are hosted outside of the church infrastructure remain in use without any enforcement at all.

At least the HT/VT Reporting website was a "secured" site that only contained information that is a public record anyway. The ymyw.org has information on minors (without their parents consent), which is not a public record, and is in violation of church policy and the law.

What's worse is all the excitement around it and beta.tech.lds.org has died in our stake. I am afraid this juggernaut has marginalized the value of this forum and its influence on technology in the church.

In summary, the HT/VT Reporting site was just what this forum was founded for. The failure of this endeavor makes it clear that this forum will never be about productive solutions. Instead it will just be a sounding board for coders and wireheads. :(
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson
rmrichesjr
Community Moderators
Posts: 3122
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:32 am
Location: Dundee, Oregon, USA

#276

Post by rmrichesjr »

tomw wrote:The Earl is right on. ...

Let me give you some insight on what has to happen. To engage the community in this project we would need to do the following:
  • ...
  • Resources - We have so many projects going on at the Church, you sometimes have to wait for resources to free up. Remember, we are talking about if we were to create APIs.
    ...

    Tom
Tom, here's a wild and crazy idea. So far, there has been discussion of two types of work and workers. First, there are Church employees working at Church headquarters, the resources mentioned above. Second, there are volunteer developers not employed in any way by the Church.

Might it be feasible to create a third category between the first two. In cases where projects are approved and funded but sit waiting for resources to free up, might it be possible to outsource specific work (perhaps at lower cost) to paid developers under tight Church control but not necessarily Church W-2 employees and not necessarily located at Church headquarters?

A few recent developments might help make that more feasible than before. If desired and permitted, the "LDS Connected" private group at LinkedIn.com might be one way to facilitate the invitation or selection of workers whose personal motivations are more aligned with Church purposes than those of the general population. Some freelance sites (an example is available on request) allow employers to invite specific professionals to bid on specific projects. They might even allow invitation-only projects.

With the Church funding the work, control would be achieved through the version of the golden rule that says he who is paying the gold makes the rules. SQA, security review, etc. could still be done by W-2 Church employees at Church headquarters. Outsourcing would be a means of expanding the leverage of those employees. Pay rates could be kept at levels consistent with the scripture that says the laborer for Zion must be motivated more by desire to build Zion than by desire for financial gain.
User avatar
WelchTC
Senior Member
Posts: 2085
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Kaysville, UT, USA
Contact:

#277

Post by WelchTC »

rmrichesjr wrote:Tom, here's a wild and crazy idea. So far, there has been discussion of two types of work and workers. First, there are Church employees working at Church headquarters, the resources mentioned above. Second, there are volunteer developers not employed in any way by the Church.

Might it be feasible to create a third category between the first two. In cases where projects are approved and funded but sit waiting for resources to free up, might it be possible to outsource specific work (perhaps at lower cost) to paid developers under tight Church control but not necessarily Church W-2 employees and not necessarily located at Church headquarters?

A few recent developments might help make that more feasible than before. If desired and permitted, the "LDS Connected" private group at LinkedIn.com might be one way to facilitate the invitation or selection of workers whose personal motivations are more aligned with Church purposes than those of the general population. Some freelance sites (an example is available on request) allow employers to invite specific professionals to bid on specific projects. They might even allow invitation-only projects.

With the Church funding the work, control would be achieved through the version of the golden rule that says he who is paying the gold makes the rules. SQA, security review, etc. could still be done by W-2 Church employees at Church headquarters. Outsourcing would be a means of expanding the leverage of those employees. Pay rates could be kept at levels consistent with the scripture that says the laborer for Zion must be motivated more by desire to build Zion than by desire for financial gain.
We actually do hire a lot of contractors for various projects. This does tend to solve problems when resources are over burdened. However broadening it to more of a bidding process is something that has not been discussed. Thanks for the suggestion!

Tom
User avatar
WelchTC
Senior Member
Posts: 2085
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Kaysville, UT, USA
Contact:

#278

Post by WelchTC »

enriquer wrote:This dialog has gotten WAY OFF TRACK.

All that the HT/VT Reporting website needs right now is to relocate in its present form. That means no API or DB connections.

Let's just keep improving the user interface and related methodology. Then once this has been finely honed we look at further integration (aka Phase II.)
I mentioned before that this was one of my objectives. However I have had strong opposition to "replicating the data". Several months back I approached leadership with this very idea. It started a very big groundswell to "get something done".
The lack of any and/or regular communication about this is killing the momentum this site created. Since this site was pulled the home teaching metrics down here nose dived by 40%.
I cannot say everything that has been discussed because it would not be appropriate for me to do that. Also you assume that things are happening faster than they do. I can assure you that there have been several email discussions, meetings, conference calls and even team meetings to discuss this. But it just takes time.

Also, technology should not be blamed for not doing one's home teaching. Yes, it can be a great help but it should never be viewed as the reason we do or don't do our home teaching.
At least the HT/VT Reporting website was a "secured" site that only contained information that is a public record anyway.
This information is not public. You have to have an LDS.org account and be associated with a specific unit before you can see the information. True you can find most information in the phone book but not all.
In summary, the HT/VT Reporting site was just what this forum was founded for. The failure of this endeavor makes it clear that this forum will never be about productive solutions. Instead it will just be a sounding board for coders and wireheads. :([/font]
I can tell that some emotions are running very high and I don't want this conversation to get out of control. Please keep it civil!

Tom
User avatar
thedqs
Community Moderators
Posts: 1042
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:53 am
Location: Redmond, WA
Contact:

#279

Post by thedqs »

I just want to echo Tom's post. I have read the posts coming out of this thread. It was very productive at first but now it has become a "soapbox" where most have been criticizing the church's policy that is there to protect not only your information but also the church's liability in the global community. This forum was created to get input from the community and maybe sponsor a few projects. Don't get me wrong, what Brad has done has been great, and has fulfilled that first mission which is to get ideas from the community.

I also have had run ins with church policy in that I was our ward's webmaster before LUWS came one. I devoted a lot of energy into the site and made it a very useful resource for the ward and especially those that couldn't come each Sunday due to health or other concerns. But when the church pulled the plug there went my site too and all that effort went away. BUT I took comfort that I was able to help some people during the time that it was active. I suggest that everyone here does the same for the time being and when the church opens doors to allow us to continue to then continue with our whole heart into the project.

Also if there are more posts that are applied to just complaining please understand that this thread might be closed in response. As Tom said, please keep it civil.
- David
User avatar
brado426
Member
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:50 pm
Location: Foothill Ranch, CA
Contact:

#280

Post by brado426 »

thedqs wrote:I just want to echo Tom's post. I have read the posts coming out of this thread. It was very productive at first but now it has become a "soapbox" where most have been criticizing the church's policy that is there to protect not only your information but also the church's liability in the global community. This forum was created to get input from the community and maybe sponsor a few projects. Don't get me wrong, what Brad has done has been great, and has fulfilled that first mission which is to get ideas from the community.

I also have had run ins with church policy in that I was our ward's webmaster before LUWS came one. I devoted a lot of energy into the site and made it a very useful resource for the ward and especially those that couldn't come each Sunday due to health or other concerns. But when the church pulled the plug there went my site too and all that effort went away. BUT I took comfort that I was able to help some people during the time that it was active. I suggest that everyone here does the same for the time being and when the church opens doors to allow us to continue to then continue with our whole heart into the project.

Also if there are more posts that are applied to just complaining please understand that this thread might be closed in response. As Tom said, please keep it civil.

I don't think anyone is criticizing Church policy. I think the message that I (and others) want to communicate is that the current situation is frustrating. I could continue to just be quiet and patient, but if the people with decision-making power do not realize there is a problem, they will not have the necessary knowledge to fix that problem.

In my mind, the work I have done so far can be molded into something that the Church could use. So there's some duplicate data for the pilot test.... that doesn't mean the final product would involve duplicate data. I just have to disagree with the concept of everything having to be absolutely perfect the first time. I believe that a phased approach is the most beneficial way to handle situations like this, which would result in a perfect solution in the end.

We have something that we know works. Let's resolve any security concerns and at least try it before the momentum and everyone's motivation is gone.

This is the last post I will make to this thread. I think I have communicated my feelings pretty clearly.

Brad O.
Post Reply

Return to “Other Member Technologies”