In the world of student information systems it’s traditional to use our website to tell you how wonderful we are. Instead, here are a list of products you might want to use one day instead of ours:
In our experience, many open source student information systems are wholly developed by a company which sells a hosted version of their product, or a more enhanced closed source version. So while open source tends to evoke the image of community participation, be aware you might just be buying into a company’s bait-and-switch in some cases. But of course, you can obtain the source code and fork these systems, which still could be a great advantage.
Another thing to bear in mind are the tools and frameworks required to run these systems. Most web servers (and hosting companies) support PHP and MySQL as standard – other languages such as Python and Ruby, and databases such as PostgreSQL may require additional installation or may not be available at all in the case of some hosting companies.
PHP and PostgreSQL or Oracle. Developed by Learners Circle, LLC. Interface is rather basic but has adequate functionality.
Ruby on Rails. Claims extensive usage in India – it’s home market. Not well known but actually looks quite well featured.
Python with Zope. Automated updates via the Ubuntu Software Center. Professional looking interface and good documentation on the website. Uses ZODB as a database which means this link is worth reading.
SWORD (aka Django-SIS)
Python, presumably with the Django framework. Called a ‘School Information System’ rather than a ‘Student Information System’ but seems to cover most of the same functions although some of the terminology is different. Might be a bit hard to get into due to lack of information but has an online demo.
Commercial systems are often sold using a modular approach and so whatever headline prices you are quoted you need to have a clear picture of what exactly you will use it for and what that actually means in terms of additional modules and cost.
If schools go down the commercial route, this is the product we believe they usually buy. Owned by Pearson.