[CS-FSLUG] International Data

Tim Young Tim.Young at LightSys.org
Wed Nov 28 14:26:35 CST 2007

Hi there,
I have had some experience with this.  ;)  Actually, the last three 
weeks I have been working on such a package (opensource, community 
developed, etc.).  BUT, what I am working on will be considerably larger 
than just a contact management system.  It will also contain financial 
stuff (payroll, receipting, etc.)  We are scheduled to have it fully 
deployed at our first location in the second quarter 2008.  Our first 
part of the project to be deployed was scheduled to go out today, but we 
are still a few days out.

For our international address component, we have a number of things 
going for us.  Operation Mobilization (a mission organization) has a 
contact management system that is currently deployed in 90+ countries.  
They have given us their database structure, and we have used that as a 
reference for our design.  Oddly enough, some of the mailing 
considerations here in the States are more confusing than what we have 
in other countries.  Here we have a lot of "bulk mail" issues, with 
different prices, address certifications, complex bar-codes, and a lot 
of interesting things.

I will need to talk with Greg to see if we could send you our current 
database structure.  I think that is a possibility.

But also, if you wanted to help out on our project, we would be happy to 
talk with you on that.  We are developing using entirely open-source 
stuff.  The users will have a web/AJAX interface so it has a snappy look 
and feel.  Because I have personally worked with over 60 missions in 9 
countries, I know there are a LOT of peculiarities in missions.  We have 
developed our behind-the-scenes infrastructure to fit with what I have 
seen and experienced, so that, hopefully, missions will have the 
flexibility they need to customize what we build to fit their own 
needs.  Because we have not yet deployed our first application, we will 
need to wait to see if we have been successful in our flexible design.  :)

Oh.  Regardless, the best folks to talk about this will be at the ICCM 
conference (www.ICCM.org).  While at the conference, you would probably 
not have all your questions answered, but you would make the contacts 
with the people who can answer them...

    - Tim Young, Field Consultant
    LightSys Technology Services, Inc

Links to pages that are woefully out of date:
Kardia (our application): kardia.sf.net
Centrallix(the background infrastructure): centrallix.sf.net

Josiah Ritchie wrote:
> Something new and interesting about my new position here at FIM is the
> consideration of International data. I'm in the early thoughts of
> starting up an open-source project for missionary care, I haven't come
> up with a nam yet. I'm thinking about its requirements in terms of
> database design. I figure a firm foundation would be critical and that
> means a well structured database.
> Anyway, the thing that is really floating around in my head right now
> is how a system like this would handle international contact
> information. Each country has their own postal systems and telephone
> systems. How can you store this sort of information in a database
> without creating an unpredictable mess? Usability is also a concern.
> Does anyone have any experience in this sort of thing they'd like to share?
> JSR/

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