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July 2016 | Issue #45

Current Releases: SM 8.0.041 (6/29) | AW 3.5.032 (6/28)
Webinars:  Room Use (7/6 1:30 Central)
Filters (7/13 1:30 Central)
Follow-up Email (7/20 1:30 Central)
ACEware Systems Newsletter - Information to Run Your Program
Generate Transcript PDFs in Batch Mode
Recently we had a request that we felt had to be followed up on. The request was to generate a PDF of everyone's transcript in the system. This could be done, but you had to do it one at a time.

We  had routines in Student Manager that would break out a batch of people into individual reports and generate PDFs for them. Those PDFs wouldn't be saved, but would instead be emailed. These routines were the Email Certificates, Email Invoices, and Email Faculty Contracts. From this, I was able to do something similar but suppress the email and permanently save the PDF.

In Student Manager 8.0.041 (just released), you can now save all transcripts. Go to Reports > Registrations > Transcripts and check the  Generate Individual PDFs box. Then run your normal routine to get the transcript you want. A new box comes up asking where you want to store the PDFs. Each PDF is named with the student's last name, first name, middle name, and ID number.

It's as easy as that!

Contributed by  Matthew Olson
Using the Zip Radius Tool
The zip radius tool allows you to narrow the addresses shown in a report to only those that are within a user-definable number of miles from the center of a specific zip code.  You'll appreciate this tool when you want to scale your marketing efforts to a very specific area.

For example, if I specify the zip code 66502 and 50 miles, I would get a list of all customers within 50 miles of the center of this Manhattan, Kansas zip code.

Combined with the mapping tool, I could then see a map of all these addresses.

The zip radius tool works within a justdoit and can be added to any report containing addresses.  For more information on this great  tool, check out the help topic .

You can also contact your tech for more information.

Contributed by Matthew Olson
Your Data on SQL Server
Student Manager, like most business software, is fundamentally a tool for manipulating data. At its core, it's about letting you put in the data about your programs and then getting that information back in a useful format when you need it. Since its early days, SM has relied on a database management system known as Visual Foxpro to accomplish those operations. Under VFP, data is stored in the .dbf, .fpt, and .cdx files that should be familiar to anyone who's looked at a directory of the SM folder on your server.

While the VFP data format has served the ACEware community well over the years, it's an older technology that has some inherent limitations. Those can impact performance, security, and maintenance, especially for customers with larger data sets. Happily, there is now an alternative.

Microsoft's SQL Server is a dedicated database server, designed to store and retrieve data as requested by other  software applications. Student Manager and ACEweb now include the option to work with SQL Server data. The $2,995 database upcharge will cover the costs of making the transition, including conversion of your VFP data to equivalent tables set up in SQL Server and your annual service agreement will go up by about $480 per year. (Note: that does not include the cost of SQL Server itself.)

SQL Server offers a number of advantages over legacy Foxpro data:
  • Your data is more secure since it is stored in system level MDF files rather than VFP's open tables. Data can only be accessed by users with proper authentication via the SQL Server engine.
  • There are no limits on storage size. VFP tables cannot exceed 2 Gigabytes.
  • You'll experience faster data access in most situations, especially with larger data sets.
  • Backup and other maintenance operations can be carried out without forcing staff to exit Student Mgr.
  • IT staff who dislike the idea of working with Foxpro will have one less thing to complain about.
There are a few issues to be aware of:
  • You'll need access to a copy of SQL Server 2012 (or higher). If your institution already uses SQL Server databases in other areas, you may be able to "piggyback" on an existing installation.
  • Your staff must have the expertise to support SQL Server - maintenance, upgrades, security, etc .
  • Under SQL, once a record has been deleted, it is gone for good. There is no way to recall it.
  • Some expressions used in queries or AW templates may need to be changed. Customized AW pages such as Express Reg forms may require modifications to work with SQLS. Some custom reports (ones that have SQL JustDoIts) may need to be retooled to work with SQLS as well.
  • If you have alternate interfaces, all of them must use SQL. (You can't "mix and match".)
Several ACEware customers are successfully running their programs using SQL server data, while a number of others are waiting to schedule the transition. The process can take several hours so you'll need to allow for some down time. But once you've made the switch, general operations of SM 8.0 should be virtually the same as they were when using legacy VFP data.
If you would like more information or want to schedule your upgrade, please contact your technician. You can also contact Sharon if you have questions about your SMA or purchasing this add-on.

Contributed by Stein Goering
We're Upgrading Your Support Agreement!
For most families, a vehicle purchase is a significant investment. You spend hours shopping, evaluating, and testing knowing that your family will rely on that purchase to meet their transportation needs for a long time. Periodically, your mechanic hooks your car up to a computer to test the various systems and predict where problems are, or may, occur. S/he then makes recommendations in the best interest of your vehicle operation.

Similarly, your organization made a significant investment in your registration software and, like a vehicle, Student Manager needs a little time and effort to keep it running at peak performance. Your support agreement is designed to provide you with the mechanics (both human and technological) to keep things running smoothly. 

An engine checkup (Annual Consulting and Evaluation) is being added as an additional service to your Support and Maintenance Agreement. At the time of your annual renewal, your Student Manager team will be provided with a performance questionnaire in the form of a short, simple and painless survey. This is an opportunity for your team to share candid information about how your software is supporting your daily work.

Responses will be evaluated and a customized web-based consulting session will be scheduled with your team. During the session we'll take the time to address concerns, answer questions, and provide some education where needed. We'll get you on your way with healthier software practices, enhanced performance, and a deeper understanding of the part your software plays in your organization.

We look forward to launching this new service and hope it will help keep your program cruisin' along!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire and Lauri Thompson
Chattahoochee Technical College Public Training
Enter, "data based decisions," into Google and you'll get over 2 MILLION results. It's a hot topic, a buzzword, a catch-phrase, a (you name it here). Whatever you call it, we all know how critical the data is for Continuing Education programs. It's hard evidence about what is happening within your programs, registrations, and revenue.

ACEware and Chattahoochee Technical College ( in Marietta, GA) are hosting a one-day special workshop on August 5th to help you use the data already in your Student Manager database to build your programs through better decision-making.

Your Student Manager database is loaded with internal tools and specialized reports to help you make informed decisions for your Continuing Education/Workforce Training programs. Join Chuck to discover how to use your data to:
  • Make better marketing decisions;
  • Supercharge your program development process;
  • Use integrated Profit and Loss reports to measure programs; and
  • Measure and reward staff performance.
You'll be doing hands-on work in a Student Manager learning lab, and at the end of the day you'll have a set of reports that you'll be able to take home with you!

There will be ample time to review procedures and best practices with your colleagues. You'll leave with ideas to put into practice immediately.

Don't delay, register today.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire

Have a happy and safe Independence Day!
Here's to your continued success!

Your ACEware team,

- Chuck, Sharon, AJ, Cheryl, Jason, Lauri, Lindsey, Matthew, Mike, and Stein

 Aceware Systems
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ACEware Systems, Inc.
7480 Dyer Road
Manhattan, KS 66502


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