My order, fill it!
August 28, 2013 1:45 AM   Subscribe

We have four departments and each has their own way of managing their student lists, I'd like to find one solution to rule them all.

Each department has their own way of managing which students are active, on sabbatical, sick leave, and their contact information, with solutions ranging from a Google doc spreadsheet, Excel document, to DB-to-PDF export — all dumped in one shared folder on the network. I'm on the receiving end of this when I'm managing mailing lists etc.

The fastest solution would be 1 strictly controlled Excel document on the shared volume, but this opens up for human errors of saving, moving, or when there's simultaneous editing of the document. The next step up is a locally hosted database which I would administer, with a simple & pretty GUI for those who update the student info.

I need to be able to create categories (Year, course, name, email, phone, ss#) and be able to view & export the data. My users would have to be able to add/erase student information (but not categories) and view/export the data, and because of the data I'd need to have some security — most practically with a user/pass setup.

What's the least painful way of doing this? I want to have a web interface for this, and won't go near Filemaker with a cat5-pole. We have an OSX server running, but can set up another host should it be required.
posted by monocultured to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Excel file checked in to a hosted repository, with each editor taking a local checkout?
posted by katrielalex at 3:14 AM on August 28, 2013

I'm kind of building a project that is somewhat similar, so.. not that I've tried it or saying its worth it, but I thought I'd throw Centreli into the mix. Designed to integrate with Basecamp and Highrise. I just happened to be checking it out myself.
posted by phaedon at 3:27 AM on August 28, 2013

Access with a SharePoint front end?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:25 AM on August 28, 2013

That's nice that you want to find one solution for everybody, but the person who wants that solution has to be, as in "you will be back here afterwards with complaints about other departments," has to be the person who is the boss of all four of those departments. If you can't get that, then the best solution will be to have something for yourself that can receive any of these files and present them in the form that works best for you.
posted by rhizome at 10:02 AM on August 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers all.

I have no experience of Access and don't think we use Office365 anywhere here. Seems to do the trick, although it's way more capable than what I need out of it…

Centreli isn't really what we're looking for feature-wise, and I want to host it inhouse.

I've no experience with setting up hosted repositories with Excel either. Any suggested guides to how this might work / look?

What little experience I have here is mysql and a php frontend (WP sites and the like) so perhaps I'm framing the problem in terms of what I already know when another solution would be more suitable?

Rhizome: I pretty much have the support and mandate to implement a system that the others have to use. Besides, it's not like the other departments have a system that they like — it's all ad hockey. So if I can offer people my spreadsheet instead of whatever was grandfathered to them, it's not much of a change. But yes, I'm aware of toes and mind stepping on them — which is why I want to have a simple front end.
posted by monocultured at 3:28 PM on August 28, 2013

Response by poster: Hosianna! Someone else got assigned to solve the problem, so it's out of my hands. Think they're going through a centrally controlled Excel sheet — so it's a low-tech bottleneck solution.
posted by monocultured at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2013

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