AN-2: Hosting School Databases on a Server

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Once created, Grades2Go™ School database files can be used by all Grades2Go™ Users at the same school (see Sharing School Databases).  Though these files can be copied and shared between users via email, the network, etc, the ideal approach is to host them on the school's server.



FTP server setup


The School's FTP server must be set up with a folder structure as follows, using folder names exactly as shown.  However, (SchoolCode) should be replaced by the School Code used in School Profile (without parentheses), and (YEAR) should be replaced by the current school year (eg 2010 for the 2010-2011 school year, without parentheses).  Not all these folders are used to store the main School databases, but setting up the entire structure at once will prepare the server to receive data uploads if those features are utilized (eg, grades, attendance, student database edits, student journal updates, EP progress log updates, etc).  If necessary, the entire structure (Grades2Go folder) can be located in a subfolder (subdirectory) on the FTP server.  If so, note the name of that subfolder because it will need to be entered in School Profile.





Creating School database files


Complete school database files can be created from any User's installed Grades2Go™ Desktop application.  Alternately, the Access 2003 databases with their constituent tables could be created from scratch by an IT department, exporting data from  existing administrative databases.  This latter approach will not be covered here, but Mindspark Inc would be happy to provide interested IT professionals with necessary information for doing so.


To enter data into the various School databases, go to Main Menu > Setup > School and open the appropriate forms.



Modifying the School Profile database


After creating the necessary files on a User desktop, open School Profile via Main Menu > Setup > School > Profile.  Click on the Edit Button and then click on the Server-Based Data Checkbox if not already checked.  This will make all server controls visible, as shown below:




Now enter the FTP URL of the school's server in the FTP text box.  If the server's Grades2Go folder was installed in a subfolder, enter the name of that subfolder (or the path and subfolder) in the Folder text box.  Otherwise, leave Folder blank.


The Downloads checkboxes make it possible to configure downloads according to which databases are made available on the server. Profile must always be available and is always downloaded, so it can't be unchecked. Calendar, Courses, Students and Grading should be configured according to which files will be made available on the server.


For now, Tchr Secs, EP Docs and EP Logs should be unchecked.  Hosting of these databases on the server will be covered in a separate manual.


The Uploads checkboxes should also be unchecked.  These control uploading of User-generated data to the server and the topic will be covered in a separate manual.


After modifying School Profile, click on the Save Button.



Posting files to the server


Now that all databases click on Main Menu > Data Folders > School Folders > Current Year School Databases.  The database files  of interest will be in the following format.








Those databases that were checked for hosting (School Profile) must now be copied to the (YEAR) subfolder of the Grades2Go folder on the school server (see the FTP folder structure graphic above).



User setup (existing Users only)


The server is now ready to supply up-to-date Grades2Go™ School databases to all Grades2Go™ Users upon request.   But before that can happen, each existing User (set up before implementation of server hosting) must enable server communications on their copy of Grades2Go™ Desktop. Users added from this time on will have server communications set during the Year Setup Wizard.


As an existing User, you must first open your Teacher Profile by clicking on Main Menu > Setup > Teacher > Profile.  Click on the Edit Button and enter your Server User Name and PW (password).  Then click the Save Button.


Your existing School Profile database will be replaced by a the one on the server during the first download.  However, in order for the first download to be possible, you must alter your existing School Profile server setting.  Open School Profile via Main Menu > Setup > School > Profile and click on the Edit Button.  Place a check in the Server-Based Data Checkbox. This will make all server controls visible, as in the screenshot shown earlier in this section.  Now enter FTP and Folder information, per IT department instructions.  Ignore all other settings.  Click on the Save Button to save the changes.


The Connect heading should now be visible on the Main Menu.  Click on Connect > Check/Download School Databases to initiate downloads from the server.

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