CommanderBill.net

Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Recordkeeping Software – A.R.K.

I have personally used the A.R.K. software in a club setting. At the time I was deciding between Clubmouse and A.R.K. (the two products I knew were available at the time). I selected A.R.K. mainly due to price. At the time it was free and that met my budget. I used it for several years and it met my need. Yes, I still maintain a copy and I do pay the annual renewal fee.

Dan Harding (developer) does keep me informed of updates to the software and we have communicated at various times via e-mail. I have not met him in person as of this post.

Let’s take a look at our interview and see what Dan has to say about A.R.K. software and the future of recordkeeping software:

I feel the need to share that I do not receive any compensation of any type from any of the software products on my website. The information is made available to help you decide which product meets the need for your club.

 

Please share your heart behind why you developed and still offer/maintain the software.

I have enjoyed working in the Awana program, now for over 25 years. Initially the program was written to assist my wife in the secretarial aspects of our Awana program as co-Commanders in a small church in Minnesota.  I personally use the software in our own church’s Awana program now and continue to offer it to others because that is where my heart is: to help other churches and missions with their computer software needs.(www.techteam.org)

What operating system(s) does your software currently run on?

Windows XP or later
Mac OS X 10.4 or later, Intel or PowerPC
x-86 based Linux distribution with GTK+ 2.8 or higher, glibc-2.4

With the proliferation and popularity of Smart Phones and Tablets (iPad, Droids, etc), have you considered having an app for the software? Would that even be feasible?

No plans as an app. Looking into browser based, internet stored database for any device with a browser.

Do you think that there will ever be a commercial web-based recordkeeping database for club use?

Eventually there probably will be. It could be in the next 6-12 months if our current investigation turns out well.

In this culture where people want immediate responses, if someone has an issue with the software during club, or at an odd hour of the night, is there any help for them? What type of support do you offer for the software?

We offer quick response to any issue arising from using the ARK software, but only during the hours of 7-5 M-F Central time

How often do you update the software, and what do you do to help you decide what updates, or features, to add?

Maintenance updates aside, we update the software once a year. We request suggestions from existing users.  We then list these suggestions asking users to vote on the ones they would most like to see.  We take the top 3 (sometimes a few more) plus any others we decide would be quick to do in light of the impact they would have.

What are the key features of your software?

Attendance related, Section related and award related tracking entered in an efficient method, keeping in mind the secretarial process to cut down on human error. Lots of customization options available.

Some people think that some of the record keeping software is an Awana product. I know that you are a “third party” product, meaning that you are not developed by, or supported by Awana, you are completely independent of Awana. How do you find out about revisions to the Awana program (like the change to bones and patches from seals for T&T)?

From Awana conferences I attend, the local Awana missionary and existing users who are on ministry teams in other parts of the country.

What is the best way for someone to see and evaluate your software?

Demo version for download (http://www.mcg.net/awana/obtaining.htm)

Please share anything else about you and the software that you think would benefit clubs that are looking at which software package to use for their club.

My desire is to help each Awana club run as best as it can.  If a software solution can help in that, great.  If it happens to be the ARK software that works best for you, we are pleased to be of service.

To learn more about the software, please visit their web site

Click here to read some comments by users of the software and if you use the software, please feel free to share your experiences with it. (You must be join the  CommanderBill.net community to post a comment there, joining is free)

 


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