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Thursday, October 25th, 2007

To quote a wise man (my dad, quoting another wise man (his dad)), "There's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over."

We have a new website at school where content is role-based. This means when you login you are presented with content based on what roles are applied to your account: student, parent, staff, alumni, trustee, etc. Upper school parents probably don't care about nursery newsletters and students probably don't care about board meeting minutes.

In order for all this to work, someone (me) has to export all of our constituents from one of our databases and get them into a form the website company can work with. This was a major pain in the ass. The database that had all the information I needed didn't have a very useful export feature. I basically had to export all the fields I needed and save it as an MS Access database, and then had to write a bunch of queries and modules to do various things to the data like combine fields to make usernames and unique temporary passwords. Then I had to export the output from the Access queries and save it as an Excel spreadsheet like the company needed.

This was all done months ago to input the data into the website database, but not until recently did they need to generate and mail letters to parents informing them of their usernames and passwords. I sent the mail-merge people the same spreadsheet I sent the website people, but heard that there were more than just current parents in that file; there were some former parents and some grand parents. So in a mad rush they had me re-generate this file for their mailing with only current parents in it. In my haste to get this done I fumbled one of the steps and used the wrong username formula. This means the letters were generated and mailed with the wrong usernames.


On the bright side, of the almost 500 letters that went out, only 17 people so far have inquired about their nonworking accounts.

Comments (3) Subscribe

#1 - Oct 25, 2007 at 9:31 AM
Bright side? Doesn't that mean you did all that work and no one is actually using the website?
#2 - Oct 25, 2007 at 10:51 AM
That's the story of my life. I expected less than 25% of the people to actually care or login to the website, so it's about what I expected.

By bright side, I meant I didn't have 500 new voicemails when I came into work this morning.
#3 - Oct 27, 2007 at 7:48 AM
OOps! All in a day's work!

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