Project Name: SIMS-Exchange Timetable Exporter
Exports staff timetables from SIMS and creates Exchange appointments in a user’s mailbox for all the lessons that they teach.
The purpose of this application is to remove the need for staff to manually input their timetables into their Outlook calendars. With teaching and support staff using email and calendars more in schools to organise meetings, it is becoming more important to ensure that their calendars are as up-to-date as possible. Secondly, with the increase in use of Unified Communications technologies in schools such as Microsoft Lync, which draws information from the user’s Outlook calendar to set their status – which means requiring appointments to be present for this information to be drawn from.
- Will run as a service
- Will have a configuration GUI allowing the user to set up various options
- Will export data from SIMS using Capita provided solutions
- Will be able to write appointments to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and 2010
- Will have full tracking of all actions so that any changes can be undone
- Will not require user intervention on a day-to-day basis
- Will run regularly, monitoring the SIMS timetable in order to update appointments based on changes to the timetable
- Will have the option to email users with details of what has been added to their calendars
For this application to function, you need to have the following:
- Capita SIMS, in the currently support versions
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1, 2010 RTM/SP1/SP2 or 2013
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or newer, Express edition is fine
- Windows Server 2008 or newer
- Microsoft .net Framework 4
Project Update – 24rd January 2013
More testing and bug solving. Database has been updated with a number of configuration options. Have added support for multiple versions of Exchange, updated EWS and can provide support for Exchange 2013. Updated reports from SIMS. Interface is pretty well polished now, SIMS reports are now complete.
Project Update – 5th January 2013
Testing is continuing. Am tweaking the Configuration Tool, my reports, the database to make sure it all runs as it should. Have added in a lot of error handling in all errors. Documentation is under way. I have tested my Exchange interfaces and they are working. All is looking good.
I want to spend some more time checking how the application is working when changes are made to Exchange appointments by the user, what happens when staff leave, etc.
I have managed to post the requirements above though.
Project Update – 20th December 2012
Have been doing a lot of testing on my SIMS interfaces. I have now got it importing reports to SIMS and exporting all of the data the application requires, with detailed logging, error handling, and full configuration.
More tweaks to the GUI – all to do with the aforementioned SIMS testing. More config options for flexibility – and a lot more robust code. Documentation is under way as I work through the application. Also have pretty much completed the installer. Performance tweaks and optimisation to the database also complete.
Moving on to my detailed Exchange interfaces testing next.
Project Update – 17 October 2012
Apologies for the delay in getting this out. Unfortunately other things in life have got in the way.
Have been tweaking the Configuration Interface today. Finished off a number of the management settings and checked everything is writing back to the database correctly. Have got my Installer to work, which also sets up the Service and configures the applications settings, so no need to modify any config files after the installation. Have started work on the SQL Script to create and set up the database on your SQL Server.
I now have some more time at home so will be able to work on this more.
Project Update – 27 July 2012
Configuration interface is just about complete and all the options write back to the database ready for use by ther service. The service is created and reading the values ready for processing with.
Beta release by the end of the month might not happen, but will do in the next couple of weeks.
Project Update – 10th July 2012
So far I have finished coding the program logic – I can read all the data from SIMS, create the lessons for each day in the academic year and am able to write and update the appointments in Exchange 2007 and 2010.
I am now working on the Configuration interface to ensure that all the options necessary can be configured at the schools end without having to edit an XML files or databases directly. This is coming along well, but still requires some tweaking. I want to make sure that all of the options are covered in the first release.
The only part that I have remaining (other than some simple documentation) is the service itself.
I am still hoping that I will have a full beta version out by the end of July.
This software will be available on a commercial license. At present I am not sure what the exact costs will be.
I have now got enough beta testers lined up to be able to fully test the application in a number of environments. Thanks everyone for getting in touch.
Possible Future Enhancements
I know version 1 is not even available yet – but looking ahead some ideas which have been suggested are:
- Ability to export specific rooms to Room Mailboxes to allow resource bookings to be managed through Exchange
- Ability to import a cover sheet, so that staff can be emailed and their cover requirements entered in to their calendars too