Salamander for School Data Sync – Free Utility update

Since the initial release of Salamander School Data Sync (SDS) in May 2017 there have been a few requests from customers for new features. This new version adds two of those features along with some minor bug fixes:

Support for reading the ‘Home’ Email address from SIMS
Previous versions could only read the ‘Work’ Email address from SIMS. This feature adds the ability to pull the ‘Home’ Email address instead.

Support for Progresso REST API
This version adds support for Progresso’s REST API.

Fix for new SDS Profile Validation
Fixed an issue where some sites were failing validation when trying to upload files to SDS.

For more details on the utility please visit http://www.salamandersoft.co.uk/sds/

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Updated Sims Photo Export Utility–Filter Staff by Surname

I’ve just added the ability to filter staff by surname in our free PhotoExport utility for Sims.

The reason was because a user was getting an out of memory exception loading all the staff photos at once. The Sims API we are using loads all the photos into memory before we can save them, so if they are large then it can take a huge amount of memory.

Now, with the surname filter, you can export them by initial letter of the surname, which will hopefully keep the memory usage low enough to complete. If there are any particularly large photos, you can even filter by more than one letter, but I would start with one and then refine if you hit any further problems.

Usage PhotoExport username password outputFolder [/staff] [/year:x] [/nameAsId] [/format:xxx] [/names:filename] [/thumbnail] [/filter:xxx]

 

/filter:surname An optional parameter which if present will filter staff based on their surname. You can either type the start of the surname or a T-SQL filter
e.g. /filter:j will only export photos for staff whose surname begins with j
e.g. /filter:j%s will only export photos for staff whose surname begins with j and also has an s in it. Note in this case. the s can be anywhere after the j and not necessarily at the end of the name.

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Using PhotoExport to Export Thumbnails from Sims.net

I have just added an option to export thumbnails from Sims.net using our free PhotoExport tool.

The driver behind this was to load the photos into Active Directory for use in Outlook/Exchange 2010. For use in Outlook the photos need to go into the thumbnailPhoto attribute. The attribute’s maximum size is 100Kb, however the Exchange commandlet Import-RecipientDataProperty puts a 10Kb limit on it. In addition the recommended size for images in Outlook/Exchange is 96 x 96 pixels.

So when the thumbnail option is used for PhotoExport, it first checks to see if the image size if over 10Kb and if it is, it then resizes the image so the longest side is 96 pixels. How large the image file size actually is will depend on it’s format of course. With the images from the Sims test database a 96 x 96 bmp is about 22 Kb while the same size Jpeg is only about 3Kb. As the file format required by Outlook/Exchange is Jpeg, then that works out as a good size.

The switch to export thumbnails is /thumbnail, so to export thumbnail jpegs for staff the command would be

PhotoExport username password outputFolder /format:jpg /thumbnail /staff

Here’s a screen shot showing the difference in sizes

photoExportThumbnail

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Free Utility to Check Email Addresses

Inspired by a discussion on Edugeek I’ve quickly knocked up a quick utility to check the format of email addresses in a csv file. You can download it from here.

This utility will iterate through an input file and check the validity of email addresses. Each line of the input file must be of the format identifier,email address. The identifier is used in the output message, and the email is of course checked.

Example input file

002345,info@salamandersoft.co.uk
002346,me@domain.com
002347,do not email
    

The utility will pick up the 3rd line as an invalid email address and output

POSSIBLY INVALID:002347:do not email

Internally it uses a regular expression to check the email. This is not perfect and will give false positives when compared to RFC 2822, but it is good enough for most purposes.

The regular expression used is: ^[A-Z0-9._%+-]+@[A-Z0-9.-]+\.[A-Z]{2,4}$

To use:

  1. Run CheckEmails.exe inputFile
  2. inputFile is the relative of absolute path to the csv file

So to use to check your email addresses in Sims, first create a report which contains their Admission Number and email which saves to csv. The run the report and the use the resulting file as input to CheckEmails.

You can run CheckEmails.exe /? for a brief help summary.

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