[FRPythoneers] Considering programming our own school administration system in Python... need advise.

Brian Jarrett bjarrett at garcoschools.org
Thu Jul 10 11:13:43 MDT 2003

Hello all,

I'm VERY new to Python and need advise on how to go about creating an application that would keep information on teachers, students, classes, grades and disciplinary actions for a small school district.  We currently spend close to $6K a year on support for software that really doesn't fit what we need very well.

Some background:
Since our district is on a WAN, client/server apps can be slow over the T1s between schools, so I thought going to a web-based application might be good where we'd just have one central server and all anyone would need would be a web browser.  This would prevent the need of having to update all of the clients also.  Currently we have 3 servers (one at each school) and data has to be "rolled-over" from one school to the next as a child progresses.  It's also a HUGE pain to do patches and upgrades because each server has slightly different data and requires individual work.

We currently have less that 1000 students and I'm guessing around 200 employees total.  The  peak access times would be at the start of each class as teachers were entering attendance.

So anyway, I thought a web-based app that handles all students (for all the schools) would be the way to go.  We are purchasing a few new servers that I've gotten the green light to install Linux on.  These will need to participate in a mixed Windows 2000 domain and MacOS 8,9 and 10 environment.

I'm assuming most of the Python users on this list are partial to using it on Linux, but I could really create it on Windows as well.  One of the things I would have to tackle would be authentication against Active Directory if I built it on Linux.

So here are my questions:
1.  Would you do a web-based app?

2.  What OS would you use?

3.  What Database would be best to use with Python?  A few years ago I created an order and invoicing web app using ASP and MS SQL 7.  I really liked the flexibililty and power of being able to use stored procedures and views in the SQL databse.  The ASP just diplayed the result sets most of the time.  Is there a better way?

4.  What webserver should I use (apache?) and in what way (mod_python, cgi?)?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

Brian Jarrett
Network Administrator
Garfield County School District 16

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