SData Training Videos
A couple of weeks ago I blogged on Learning over the Web, in this blog I mentioned that I really like the Khan Academy and their video method of training. I’ve now started experimenting with making Khan Academy style videos. I’ve now done three, so far, as an introduction to SData. I plan to make more of these going forwards. Once I have a larger set of videos on SData, I may try branching out to other topics. Below is a picture of Sal Khan working on such videos:
New Video Page
I’ve added a Video page to my blog which will provide links to all the videos I produce. To start with there are three videos, which aren’t very many. However I hope to make a new one every week or so and then if I can keep that up, after a year there will be fifty or so videos. The first three videos are:
The best way to learn something is by doing. So I recommend playing with SData and experimenting with the various items described in the video. To this end you can play with a locally installed version of Sage 300 ERP (or another Sage product) or you can access our demo server at http://sage300erpdemo.na.sage.com. The user id and password are ADMIN/ADMIN, make sure you enter them in upper case if prompted from the Browser or other client software. If you type the URL: http://sage300erpdemo.na.sage.com/SDataServlet/sdata/sageERP/accpac/SAMINC/arCustomersFinder into the Chrome browser and enter ADMIN/ADMIN for the userid/password then you should get back a large amount of XML containing the first 10 customer records in the SAMINC database. For information on how to perform other querying, see the third video.
If you want to try these with a different Sage product, then you might need to run Fiddler to see the exact form of their SData URLs. Once you have this, you can be up and running. Fiddler is a very useful tool for spying on HTTP requests made from your computer. You can spy on any program or website to see what it is doing.
For more background information on SData, see the SData Website or some of my previous blog posts: SData in Sage ERP Accpac 6, More on SData and Sage ERP Accpac 6, Stateful SData, On the Sage GCRM Contract, Fun with SData, A Roadmap for SData Integration to Sage Products or Defining SData Feeds for Sage 300 ERP. Jarett Smith has also started a blog on SData which is well worth checking out.
I find creating videos more time consuming than writing, mostly because it’s harder to jump around in videos and harder to edit them. I’m hoping I can get better at creating videos with more practice and time. Partly getting used to the process and learning by doing. I hope that as I keep doing these, they will get better. It certainly takes some practice to use the writing tablet for drawing (hopefully my handwriting will improve) and at the same time I need to watch myself to not say “Um” so much. So I consider these first three videos the first three steps on a longer journey.
For producing the videos I pretty much copied what they use at Khan Academy. It’s neat that you can create videos these days with very little equipment or post production software. I used entirely either open source or free software and a very inexpensive writing tablet. The items I used:
- YouTube to post the videos to. Seemed the easiest and the URLs are easy to circulate.
- SmoothDraw 3 for drawing. I start with a black rectangle 854×480 pixels (which is a preferred YouTube resolution that fits well on my monitor).
- BB FlashBack Express for screen recording.
- Wacom Bamboo Connect pen input tablet. Cost around $80CAD.
- A Blue Snowball Microphone. This works a lot better than the microphone built into my laptop and we already have a few of these around the office. Original cost was about $65CAD.
- Windows Live Movie Maker for video editing. Not a very good solution, but it has done what I need. Suspect I might need to buy Camtasia eventually.
It took me a bit of trial and error to get things to work right. I tried a couple of free screen recording utilities like Camstudio, which didn’t work for me. They either crashed or didn’t produce good results. Then in editing, for MovieMaker you need to change the project from 4×3 to 16×9 or it produces something that doesn’t work right on YouTube.
Generally handling video files is a bit of a pain since they are so large. Uploading from work is ok. Uploading from home is very slow, I suspect because cable modem is optimized for downloading content rather than uploading it. Either that or Shaw decided that uploading videos is a no no and throttled my connection.
I’m still undecided on whether I want to add vlogging to my blogging. This requires a camera, but web cams are cheap and for that matter both my phone and camera both take really good videos, certainly good enough for YouTube. When I’ve tried this in the past, I haven’t been happy with the results and found that much more video editing is required. But then again hopefully with some practice, I can get better over time.
I hope you find my new Video page useful. Hopefully over the coming month I’ll add quite a few videos and start to branch out to other topics.