Locations and Groups
Yo! That means "I greet you aggressively" in the language of stylishly assertive people. I decided upon this greeting because my yoga instructor said, in no uncertain terms, that *any* decision I make is the right decision. I found this to be an empowering message that only superficially conflicts with the fact that this week I literally broke the backspace key on my keyboard. But of course all that backspacing doesn't imply bad decisions, because those decisions have been permanently erased and therefore you can't accuse me of that anymore.
In this Whally update I'd like to relate additional decisions that have been made and ipso facto are true and correct. ("Ipso facto" means "therefore" in the language of people who use unnecessary words to impress others). We will examine several topics capitalized for effect: Locations, Guardians, and Groups.
Location matters, if you want it to
One of the notions behind Whally is that it should work at essentially any scale. This means usefulness for a local one-off daycare as well as for centrally managed organizations with many locations. While it's easy to assume everyone in the same building, a weakness of current solutions is handling multiple locations in an "awkward at best" manner. Ideally, an organization can be divided up to operate across its various locations without losing the benefit of a central place to see everything at once.
To this end, Whally now sports Locations. Where it makes sense, any item could be marked as belonging at a location (or multiple locations). When this is done, filters will automatically apply to show that item in the context of its home location(s). Or if we want to view everything across multiple locations, it's as simple as toggling a checkbox.
All you need to set up a new location is to contact your Whally sales rep and schedule a meeting with them to work through the details which they will communicate to the back-end team for implementation within 3-5 business days. Just kidding! You just click the button to add a location, give it a name (or clever acronym), and it's done.
Notice "All Locations" now appearing at the top. We can use it to toggle between any combination of locations to focus on. Speaking of scale, I asked myself if Whally would handle a large amount of data without keeling over. So, I added 100,000 students at 4 locations. The good news is the system happily gobbled up the data as fast as the pipes of the internet would allow. The decent news is that things got slightly sluggish and will need some tweaking, but it works. Here we have set a filter to show us the 40ish thousand students at one of the locations, but can just as easily uncheck the box to see and search them all at once.
If you're wondering why the children appear to be the same with different names, I would try to make a joke about Cylons and Battlestar Galactica while feeling self-consciously nerdy. So I'll refrain.
Speaking of children, they can now have parents! Actually, Whally is calling them "Guardians" which should be general enough while appealing to certain demographics. As you would expect, a guardian can be associated with one or more locations and one or more students. You could also add custom fields like "Favorite Cookie" as with students or other records.
Group all the things
But you ask, how does one represent collections of parents, students, or other things that are useful to treat as a unit like a family or a classroom? Whally's initial answer to this is the new Groups concept. The idea is this: provide a general way to make combinations of things in a way that makes sense to you. You might want to combine:
- students and staff together into a classroom group
- students within a classroom into a reading group
- parents and students in a family group
- students across classrooms into a cohort
- parents in a classroom into a group for email/text notifications
- parents across a school into an interest group for language immersion
- ...or any other useful assemblage of things
To achieve this, a Group can be created. Currently, it can be tied to a location and limited to include only certain types of members. Here's a group representing the Whalberg clan:
Another group could include only students in a literature circle running this spring:
If Groups is indeed a good feature decision, it should form a basis for other nifty capabilities like email or SMS distribution lists, or other ideas I can't conceive of without several more hot yoga journeys.
That's all for this one. I'll endeavor to again impose upon your inbox in the appropriately-near future.