Use Fedena to Manage Your School

Fedena is an open source tool developed by Bengaluru-based Foradian Technologies that can automate the tasks of managing a school. This article covers its features, with detailed installation instructions.

A number of open source software and tools are available for many of our day-to-day tasks, and they are on par with their commercial counterparts in terms of features and efficiency. If smartly harnessed, the open source revolution can quite brilliantly serve almost every need of yours. I encountered this awesome open source school management software when I was looking for some open source automation toolsI couldn’t resist a test drive. At first, it seems a lot of work to find and evaluate a tool, but if the tool is as impressive as Fedena, it’s not a bad deal to invest a few hours investigating it, even if it means skipping a few cups of coffee. If you run or manage a school, then this tool can do a lot for you in easing the burden of administration.

So now it’s time to see Fedena in action. I installed it on a Windows 7 machine. You can find installation instructions at Fedena’s website, http://projectfedena.org/, but a few steps are missing, so I will suggest an installation procedure to make your life a bit easier. It would be unfair if I didn’t thank the dedicated Fedena community, which assisted me in figuring out these missing steps.

Fedena is based on Ruby on Rails, so you’ll have to install Ruby. Download it from http://rubyforge.org/frs/download.php/72085/rubyinstaller-1.8.7-p302.exe and run the installer. Now click the Windows icon and click Start Command Prompt with Ruby. In this prompt, issue the command gem install bundler remote. Next, run gem install win32-open3.
Next, install MySQL get the required package from http://downloads.mysql.com/archives/mysql-5.0/mysql-essential-5.0.90-win32.msi and run the installer. Copy C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.0\bin\libmySQL to C:\Ruby187\bin and restart the MySQL service.
Download Fedena from http://projectfedena.org/download/fedena-bundle-win and extract it. (I extracted it to the C drive.) You’ll get a directory called release. Run cd c:\release to go to the Fedena source directory (modify it if it’s different on your system). Run bundle install local. Open C:\release\config\database and under the development line, just update your MySQL username and password.
Then run bundle exec rake db:create to create the database; bundle exec rake db:migrate to populate the database with data; and bundle exec mongrel_rails start to start the mongrel server.

Now Fedena should be successfully installed and it’s time to launch your browser and visit 127.0.0.1:3000. You will see the login screen log in with the username admin and password admin123. You’ll see the main screen with modules like Admission, Examinations, Attendance, and more. All functionality has been categorised into modules, and you can perform your desired operation with just a few clicks.

Fedena comes in both free and commercial versions; obviously, the commercial version has more features. The Fedena website has a link to a demo Fedena site where you can try it out before installing it locally. Here, you’ll find three additional modules (Hostel, Library and Transport) that are only in the paid-for version (see Figure 2).
Fedena is highly customisable to your needs, with its plug-in friendly architecture. You can install various plug-ins to extend its functionality, and you can also write your own plug-ins. You can also integrate it with Moodle, another good open source learning management tool, and BigBlueButton, an open source video conferencing solution. Fedena is so feature-rich that I suggest you have a look at its complete features at the site bet you’ll be impressed.

Fedena can dramatically reduce the time and effort required to maintain a school. It is used by the Education Department of the Government of Kerala to automate about 15,000 schools in the state, and I am sure that what Fedena can do for those 15,000 schools, it can also do for you. So grab this cool tool, test-deploy it, and feel the power of open source.
What I like most about Fedena is that it has been developed by an Indian firm. Recently, I read an article stating that India contributes very little to the open source community in comparison to what it consumes. Products like Fedena show that we can develop some high-quality open source products, and also that the future of open source is quite bright in our country. With more and more developers joining the open source movement, we can surely turn into big contributors to the open source ecosystem.

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