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


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Bulk Loading Photos From Sims Into SharePoint

I now have a way to script bulk loading of photos from Sims into SharePoint, for example to enable the use of the Learning Gateway My Children web part.

The script is in 2 parts. First extract the photos from Sims using our free Photo Export tool

PhotoExport.exe simsuser simspassword outputFolder /names:mapping.csv

where mapping.csv is a csv file mapping admission numbers to Active Directory login names

The use the PowerShell script in my last blog entry Using PowerShell to Bulk Upload Files to SharePoint to upload the images to SharePoint.

You could even set up a scheduled task to automatically upload them on a predefined schedule.

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Updated Sims Photo Export Utility – Choose image format, Save as Different Name

I’ve updated the free Sims Photo Extract Utility to have the following extra functionality:

  • Choose image format to save as
  • Ability to read a csv list of names to save images as. Useful for example if you want to save the images with their network login name – you would just have to provide a csv linking their Admission Number to login name
  • Display list of years if an invalid year is passed

Details of how to use these are detailed in the README.txt file and by running PhotoExport /?.

    I’ve also fixed a bug where the wrong extension was used in some circumstances.

You can download the updated version from http://www.salamandersoft.co.uk/free-utilities/.

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Updated Free Photo Export From Sims

I’ve uploaded a updated version of the free photo export from Sims utility. There are 2 changes:

  1. Option to save the photos named as the internal sims ID rather than Admission Number and Staff Code. Run PhotoExport /? for help on how to do this.
  2. It now handles the cases where the Staff Code contains characters which are not valid characters for a file name. It replaces these characters with –.

You can download the utility from http://www.salamandersoft.co.uk/free-utilities/.

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