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  • TroopMaster Web

    Anyone using the TroopMaster Web add on? What do you think of it?

    We use TroopMaster for membership and advancement records, but have a separate ScoutTrack package for calendar and emails. Having two is a pain.

  • #2
    http://www.soarol.com/ is one site that combines it all. You can export Troopmaster into it and there you go....

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    • #3
      Interesting.

      Do you use the online payment option? What does a troop have to do to accept online payments?

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      • #4
        I've looked into using TroopMaster Web and tried it out during their beta.

        I think the idea is great, but there is one giant flaw in the implementation from my perspective. They set it up as a separate database from TroopMaster.Net. So while I'd like to give people some easy access to the data, I don't want to stop using the full version of TroopMaster myself or for any other leader who likes the functionality.

        Yes, you can run both TroopMaster Web and TroopMaster.Net - but you have to manually sync up the data from one to the other - you would not necessarily all be seeing the same data at any given point in time, and who wants the hassle of syncing up? Also, I'd have to pay both fees. I really think TroopMaster got this design wrong - what I really want is web and/or full client access to the same set of data.

        However, if you just wanted to switch over to TroopMaster Web, then I think you'd be fine. I didn't think it would take the place of TroopMaster.Net for us.

        I have lots of comments on the design of TroopMaster - it's clearly grown up as function after function has been added on top of one another. I love the functionality, but there are some issues that arise from the way it's all been built up.

        As for accepting money, I think that would be a fantastic function to have - we've just started looking into paypal, which looks pretty easy to use but charges 2.9% of each transfer.

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        • #5
          What does TM.net do that the TM.Web doesn't?

          I had assumed TM.Web was just an add-on giving you the added communications, calendar and email capabilities. If you were to go to .Web and drop .Net, what would you lose?

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          • #6
            My troop uses Troopmaster. We have assigned the primary updating to one person and then we all share the data among the adult leaders mostly using thumb drives. However, if I want to share the data with someone who was absent from the meeting I simply use Google Docs to transfer the files for free. All you need is a Google account (a gmail account is not required to use this service, any email account will work to establish a Google account.)

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            • #7
              I have just set our Troop up with it. And I LOVE it. Basically it is letting us involve everyone in the record keeping and communicating process without compromising the integrity of our records - particularly advancement.

              I have regular Troopmaster on my computer - think of it like our "server", though the website does store the database as well.

              Troopmaster Web is accessed by everyone else in the unit, with each person (or group) having different access rights.

              Scoutmaster can view all info and reports and can update activities and advancement.
              Advancement Chair can update advancement and maintains the MBC list.
              Ass't Scoutmasters as directed by the Scoutmaster.

              All youth can access/view and depending on their position can update. For instance, the Scribe can update activities so he can track attendance.

              All parents can view their own boy's information.

              There is a message board built in that we can utilize. We are going to encourage the boys to use it to help with planning and just a place to talk to each other. We will have threads for leaders and parents, as well.

              There is a calendar where all activities are posted that everyone can see and certain people can update.

              I sync the information between the web version and the version on my computer each time anything is updated. It takes about 4 or 5 minutes once you get through the learning curve!

              Sorry to sound like a commercial. I just wanted to share that this was a great investment and ongoing expense item in our budget.

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              • #8
                We use it as well. The main program stays on my lap top but I sync up to the web so everyone else as "read only" access to the information whenever they want. Parents can only see their scouts info but the SM, ASMs, and SPL can look at all information.

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                • #9
                  I don't really understand the manual sync thing. (Cut me some slack here, I'm just a dumb carpenter.) Why are you still running both systems?

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                  • #10
                    Twocubdad,

                    I'll happily cut you as much slack as you'd like. You might be a carpenter, but I would never call you dumb.

                    So think of it this way -
                    whichever version of TroopMaster you use, somewhere the master data has to sit. It can be on an individual's machine, or it can be on a TroopMaster server. TroopMaster has two different servers - a web server, or an ftp server.

                    If you use TroopMaster Web, they use the model that the main data is kept on the administrator's machine, and the data that people can look at is on the web server, but the administrator can sync up the web site with the master data. From their site, one of the FAQs is what does it mean if the web site is locked - "Your administrator is currently synchronizing the TroopMaster Web database with the main TroopMaster Program. If the administrator is not currently in a sync operation it is possible their was a problem uploading the data and unlocking the database. Please have your Administrator run the sync process again."

                    With TroopMaster.Net, the master version of the data sits out on an ftp server somewhere (which TroopMaster is happy to host for you). Everyone gets to look at the same master data.

                    If you were to go to .Web and drop .Net, what would you lose?

                    It depends. If there is only one person who wants to run the main TroopMaster program, then you're fine and you don't lose anything because that one person can keep running it. But if you want multiple people to be able to edit the data, you might lose something.

                    People who use the web version can do the following things (from TroopMaster.com)

                    TroopMaster Web allows you to view and edit:
                    Scout and adult personal data, including addresses, phones, email addresses, emergency contacts, emergency phones, doctor information, insurance information, physicals, medications, allergies, and more!
                    Advancement data, including rank advancement, merit badges, partial merit badges, special awards, Varsity, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Duty To God (for LDS Units).
                    Adult Training
                    Activities and attendance.
                    Merit Badge Counselor personal data and merit badges.

                    You'd have to do a detailed comparison with the current TroopMaster interface to see what they've left out. I'm assuming they may add more stuff to the web interface in the future, but right now I do not see them listing the ability to view/edit (and maybe they have these but just didn't list them, but there are definitely some items missing from the web UI):
                    OA
                    Swimming levels
                    Adult awards
                    Family links
                    Photos
                    Unit and patrol awards
                    Group credit

                    You can compare the list of features for what the person with the master copy can do (http://www.troopmaster.com/products/boyscouts/troopmaster_features.html) and what the person with the web version can do (http://www.troopmaster.com/products/boyscouts/web_features.html).

                    I believe that one of the other things you'd lose with TroopMaster Web is for the ability for someone other than the main administrator to be able to run in a disconnected mode. In our troop, for example, the advancement coordinator normally locks the database at the beginning of a troop meeting, makes all the changes locally, and uploads the changes at the end of the meeting with TroopMaster.Net. This would work ok with TroopMaster Web as long as the internet connection was consistently available the entire time, but TroopMaster.Net is going to be a lot better for any place with intermittent internet connectivity, I think.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks, O.T., very helpful.

                      So the understanding I'm developing is this:

                      Currently we have 6-8 people with full access to the .net data -- advancement chairman does adv. reports and uploads to the council, membership chairman maintains personal data, Troop Scribe maintains activities and attendance, etc., etc. We probably need to keep that whole system in place with those folks doing what they need to do.

                      More or less separate from that system, on a regular basis the administrator syncs the data those folks are maintaining with the .web side of things (I suppose there is a reason this isn't automatic, but whatever). From there, everyone else in the troop as access the the database, at some specified privacy/security level. The only private info most folks will see will be their own. There is some limited abililty for everyone to make changes. You may go in and change you own email address, for example. But, most of the real data management will continue on the .net side.

                      (I understand this isn't necessarily the only way to use this, but I'm trying to understand both how the system works AND how our troop would most efficiently use it.)

                      The advantage of all this is we get a troop web site (which we don't currently have) which in addition to all the usual photos and stuff, includes the ability for all troop members to access common directory information (rosters, phone lists, etc.), access and update their own info including advancement records, easier access to the troop calendar and all the networking functions like email, forums, etc.

                      How am I doing?(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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                      • #12
                        Yes, that's exactly how I understand it.

                        Note - we had decided not to use TroopMaster Web for now, so I'm not speaking from current experience, but it looks like you've got it right. When I looked at using it for our troop, I wasn't looking at all of the benefits that you are. Mostly I just wanted to give an ASM the ability to access our current data from a Linux or Mac, and the extra hassle wasn't worth it. But for all of the things you want, it sounds like it's a good fit.

                        [Disclaimer - while I'm generally quite happy with TroopMaster, I'm not associated with it in any way other than as a customer.]

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                        • #13
                          Our troop is considering purchasing Troopmaster Web. I noticed that most of the posts are not recent and I would like to receive your opinions now that some of you have been using Troopmaster Web for a while. Pros and Cons?

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