UPDATE: This product is no longer available
As I working on the interviews this week, I received an e-mail from Thomas Hintz about a new product that he was developing. It is still in the development stage, but you can view a basic layout of the program. He sent me links (which you can view after the interview) and sign up for his newsletter to keep informed of progress, etc. He is hopeful to have the program available this fall for the new club year. So I interviewed Thomas with the same questions as the others and here are his thoughts:
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 am really good at programming computers and I know that they can improve the quality of the Awana experience. The first Church that used my software was able to save 20 hours or more a week, and I think I can improve that number by quite a lot. I just want people to focus on helping the kids get to know God, I don’t want them to have to fuss with records or computers. My goal is to give more time to the kids! I get really excited when I can meet that goal.
What operating system(s) does your software currently run on?
Keep the Records (KtR) runs on any operating system that has a TCP/IP stack and a modern web browser. This means basically any modern computer connected to the internet (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc). This means that I even support the major mobile platforms like Android and iOS (iPhones/iPods/iPads).
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?
KtR is already fully useable on mobile devices. I use it all the time on my Android phone during my Awana club meetings to look up stuff and do other things. I would like to optimize it a bit more for mobile viewing and in the future, I may bundle up the program into an app available on Android/iOS markets. It won’t take much effort for me, but it is not a priority at the moment, although it may happen in the next year or so.
Do you think that there will ever be a commercial web-based recordkeeping database for club use?
Well, when I release KtR, (which should be soon!) there will be! Yah, finally!
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?
I offer quick email support. Being that my application is a web app, I can update it immediately. Already during beta testing, I had a user experience an issue, I was able to fix the bug in the program and upload it to the web within twenty minutes! I was actually able to fix the problem before they ever experienced it again. I can fix issues with the software in minutes usually, and you can be back on your way.
How often do you update the software, and what do you do to help you decide what updates, or features, to add?
I will often update the software 10 times in one day! Sometimes it may be once a month, but usually it gets updated at least a few times a week currently.
What are the key features of your software?
KtR is a web app! This means that you no longer have to deal with downloading and installing and configuring it. You also don’t have to worry about using more than one computer. You can have an unlimited number of people using KtR on an unlimited number of devices at the same time, and there won’t be any conflicts and the data is updated instantly for everyone connected.
And I also manage all of the security and data backups for you. I store the information securely in multiple places. I have a designed data reliability of greater than 99.999999999%! This means that you no longer have to worry about backing up the records or making sure that unwanted parties don’t gain access to it. And you can access the records from anywhere. Any leader that you want to allow, can access the records from any computer they want!
I will also support many other cool features like automatic phone number verification, (using an automated system to call numbers upon registration), safety is SO important. Being a web app, KtR will also be able to directly send emails to the whole club, or to specific groups within the club.
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)?
I am currently still working out this process. Currently I pull this information from many different sources, although I will make sure that all of the current program is always supported.
What is the best way for someone to see and evaluate your software?
The best way is via the website http://keeptherecords.com. To evaluate just go to https://a.keeptherecords.com/demo, which is identical to the real thing, except it expires awhile after using it. You are also free to email me, Thomas Hintz, at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you should sign up for my pre-launch email list to make sure you can partake in the development of some great Awana software and keep informed of the launch. Just sign up here.
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.
If you are looking for the simplest, easiest to use software, KtR is designed to meet your needs. You shouldn’t have to know the intricacies of computers or even the Awana record keeping system, to keep good records for your club. KtR makes it so you don’t have to worry about backups and security, which is best left for the experts.
KtR also tries it’s best to minimize the amount of data manipulation that you have to manually do. KtR is built with intelligent code that allows it to figure things out on it’s own, so you don’t have to!
And the KtR source code is freely available so you can rest assured that your data won’t be locked up. You can view it at https://github.com/ThomasHintz/keep-the-records.
Since the software is in the late stages of development, I do not have it listed on the recordkeeping software page, nor for comments in the forum. I will add them once the software is available for club use, or close to it.
If you want to learn more about Keep the Records, you can use the following links:
Main Website/Blog: http://keeptherecords.com/
Tentative Pricing Schedule: http://keeptherecords.com/plans-pricing/