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Admin: Update March 2007

This program hasn't been maintained. It runs adequately in the Classic environment on PowerPC-based Macs and on any old Macs running Mac OS 9, but (because of the lack of the Classic environment) it can't be used on the current Intel Macs. Due to the programming environment used its unlikely to ever be updated for new systems. For information on more recent projects look at my project list.

Admin: Introduction

Admin is a very sophisticated program disguised as a relatively simple one. You can use it at whatever level suits your needs and experience. A beginner can use Admin with very little training but there are also many features available to suit advanced users. Version 5 adds "Assist" functions where more complex tasks can be simply carried out with the program prompting the user for information at each step. For full flexibility the menus/dialogs interface is still available.

Admin runs on relatively humble Macs. To run version 4 any Mac with 1.5 MB of RAM free and a hard disk will do. An LC, Mac II, Centris, Quadra or Power Mac running System 7 is recommended. To run version 5 any Power Mac is required. The hard disk and memory requirements are minimal so you are certain to have enough memory already.

Admin does most things much faster than a database manager or spreadsheet can. For instance a similar program designed using a database manager previously took 1 hour 30 minutes to generate a complex report, Admin does the same task in 3 seconds! With version 5, which is PowerPC native, Admin is even faster. In most cases the task will be done before you even move your finger from the mouse button or key!

Admin: Advantages

Admin can be customised to your requirements. Each database stores over 500 settings relating to your particular preferences. Sophisticated users can use the menu and dialog conventional interface for full flexibility. Inexperienced users can use the buttons and assist functions to do complex tasks easily.

Admin mark calculation is very flexible. The program can automatically choose the best 2 marks out of 3 for instance, accept results as numbers or letter grades, apply plussage, handle excused marks, store marks without adding them, create sub-totals, and do rounding and scaling on marks and papers.

Admin stores far more data than is practical on a spreadsheet. To store the same data on a spreadsheet could involve up to 1500 columns per student! Different areas of the program are separate so if you don't use one function (records for example) the records data doesn't get in the way of the data you do use.

Admin can communicate easily through text files with central student records systems and any other program on the Mac or other platforms. Hundreds of different analyses, export files, import files and reports can be exchanged with other programs and/or other platforms.

Admin provides sophisticated analysis features not available on most other systems, such as; graphing, statistics, timetables, hundreds of reports, extensive import and export, clash checking, checking for potential errors, etc.

Admin Screen

An example of the type of graphs Admin produces. This graph shows frequency distribution
for a paper compared with all the papers in the database, a standard curve for comparison and
the mean and standard deviation of the current curve.

Admin tries to guess what you want to do, many dialogs appear with the correct settings and don't require any intervention except clicking OK. This system is integrated into the program to the extent that most users don't even realise its doing it! You can also use the Auto buttons to reset dialogs to their standard, safe settings.

Admin can process in the background. Any task which takes a significant period of time (there aren't many) can be sent to the background while you use your Mac for some other purpose. The program won't suck up all your computer's speed either - you won't even notice its working!

Admin has extensive built-in help including balloon help as well as a conventional help window. Complex dialogs are explained in a hint window by simply clicking the hint (?) button.

Admin protects your data with passwords to prevent unauthorised access. The passwords operate at several levels, for instance you can let a user look at but not modify the data.

Admin has an automatic save function to protect you against System crashes and power cuts. Damaged databases can be repaired automatically by the program. It can even recover students you have deleted accidentally!

Admin can remember any number of settings for creating reports, graph results, selections, etc and these can be re-applied at any time. A standard set of graph options, for example, can be stored and re-used whenever required.

Admin has control bars that you can use! Instead of small buttons with pictures on them that you have no idea of the meaning of, it has large buttons with the function they perform written on them! And the control bars are stored in a format that allows them to be displayed very quickly. Compare this with a couple of other well-known Mac programs!

Admin has a macro language that allows you to create your own sequences of commands to automate repetitive processes. Warning: for experts only!

Admin is 32 bit clean, System 7, 8 and 9 compatible (and runs in Classic mode in Mac OS X), uses color, is fast and is totally bug free (you do believe me, don't you?) The program has been used for 10 years by various departments at Otago so it has a proven record of working properly. It runs well on both conventional Macs and Power Macs. Version 5 and 5.5 work on PowerPC Macs but older versions will even run quickly on old 68K based Macs. It works well in the Classic environment of older Mac OS X computers, but not on Intel Macs.


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