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SPIDER's blog

Since Monday 03 October 2005 04:30 pm

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 29 October 2010 04:19 pm

first few 'bans' of 2010 handed out for use of offensive language. Started to scope an AJAX based chat tool as potential replacement for the Director shockwave system.

radiation stock (v1)
bug fix to allow viewing of archived stocks following switch to single licence.

class tools/ edit content
bug fix in 'classic' file manager to stop illegal web characters in file uploads.

fixed bug that was causing extra / to appear in nicknames containing apostrophe characters after discussion posts are edited.

SPIDER tools and functions document; use cases
spent a large amount of the week creating and editing a document listing all of SPIDER's tools and functions which will for a discusion document for a future meeting with the myPlace team to determine what SPIDER tools will need integrating with Moodle. Also created a 'use cases' document for 8 typical users - 4 students, 4 staff - to inform this discussion. The use cases list the typical activities and tasks that these users carry out on SPIDER. Have passed to colleagues for input prior to distribution to the myPlace team.

exam papers database
added question check tool for 'regular' staff to 'check off' valid questions to show their suitability for use in examinations. Parse tools for import of stock questions from Word documents (cut n paste).

numeric question type now parses out 'unit' text from answers.

class review tool
now live for final approval and testing.



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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 22 October 2010 04:10 pm

minor changes to the alumnification scripts needed due to the MIS_programmes_users table now stores all instances of students for all sessions - the alumnification script was just checking to see if a student was in the table, needed to change to check they are in the table for this session.  Once that was done, ran the script to alumnify all the student accounts for students no longer on courses.

updated reports pending tool to include filters for examiners. Update tool to allow Faculty level staff to access any departments students/ reports, and added new report filter to show 'unsatisfactory' progress reports. Updated research groups for Physics. Student credits tweaked to hide credit value of class before credits are assigned - need to update this to handle credit 'value' as well as P/F options to allow for differing credit value of class/ half-class depending on what course student is taking.

minor updates to include/inc_functions_data and inc_functions_status

updated group editing tools to allow group owner/editors the abillity to add multiple users at a time using copy/paste of comma delimited list.

bug fix to allow access to locked classes by staff_aux when on teaching staff list

updated admin/user view. Added all 10-11 OSPAP students from Aston.

updated admin/departments tool to include faculty department belongs to. This was to allow faculty user in PG DB to switch between faculty departments only.

batch copy/move/delete
updated code so it correctly handled delete of file-less aassignments

radiation v2
updated stock reports - now handles isotope report and bins report (need minor work on bins still to get total per bin type to display correctly)

updated layout to replace tables with divs. Fixed class code listing to not show archived classes.

help wiki
updated groups edit and squid results pages

content fixes (removing rogue HTML from copy/paste).

class review forms
ready for testing

research admin
grants pages (data in deptWeb_grants) added; available to SIPBS website.

exam paper database
minor fixes and updates

logins/ day
data for the week (note that 15/10 is when we added the login counter, starting around 09:40. Will update for 22/10 next week so it includes full days worth of logins)

Date # logins
2010-10-16 2562
2010-10-17 4985
2010-10-18 9596
2010-10-19 8803
2010-10-20 8620
2010-10-21 8185
2010-10-22 5763

This equates to approx 48,000 logins a week - 48,514 is the total of all logins from the first full day of logging (16/10) until midnight 22/10. Total number of different users for this time point is 5982. [figures updated 25/10/2010]

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 15 October 2010 03:03 pm

registration updater
updated the registration and login screens so that students with new registration numbers have their SPIDER account automatically updated to use their new registration number on login. Thanks to the students who confirmed this works, as its quite tricky to test this on the DEV server. Updated the 'change username' script in admin tools to include myFiles.

updated browser detect code for analysing log files to pick up a few more browsers and better differentiate between Safari and Safari-phone.

Class Tutors
updated class tutor tools to include the staff/messaging so that class tutors can now PM/email students in their groups

showPDP progress
updated to allow filtering of students - by not/completed or not/seen by staff

post login
now tracked so we can count logins/day, week, month etc. Have had 2600 logins between 09:10 and 15:00. Will be interesting to see how many we have over a week/ month and how that compares to our overall traffic 'hits'.

enforced due date on 'student upload file' assignments.

fixed bugs in section settings which were broken as a result of changes to 'MCQm harsh marking' option

exam paper database
various minor modifications, improvements, usabilty updates/ testing and filters for searches of question banks.

file manager
fixed 'vanishing' content due to bug in filters not resetting when moving between manage view with category filter on/off.

SIPBS website
changes to general style sheets and staff pages.

wiki help
updates to various quiz builder pages

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Wednesday 13 October 2010 11:57 am

added APC to SPIDER - APC or "Alternative PHP Cache" is "a free, open source framework that optimizes PHP intermediate code and caches data and compiled code from the PHP bytecode compiler in shared memory." Caching is always a good thing, so should speed things up a bit. But the only reason we added it was so that we can include a file upload progress bar to the file manager so that a) it looks nice and b) users reporting issues with file uploads can see whats going on a bit better, which should help us diagnose the problems. As the progress bar/meter needs APC, had to install it. 

Using pecl, this was pretty easy:

   pecl install apc

Once that had done its thing, just a case of:

  echo "extension=apc.so" > /etc/php.d/apc.ini

and then the scary part, restarting the apache process. Minor panic when I did this as SPIDER took a few seconds to respond, but then it reloaded the home page and all was well.  Now we just have to code in the progress bar.

Also, made some config updated to apc.ini:


to increase the memory allocated from the default 30 to 256 (Mb), segments from 1 to 3 and changing the ttl values. Added rfc1867=1 so that the uploader progress meter will actually work.

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 08 October 2010 04:23 pm

asset register
updated search/ browse function to include more options for filter/limits for PAT testing details. Updated old code in add/edit asset page. Added in code to automatically make PAT due date +1 year from asset entry date. Added field to hold PAT duration (number of years between required PAT tests). Update navigation from old grey buttons.

page builder/loader
seems some staff are still using these old tools for displaying/ tracking web content in classes. Updated the progress overview page to fix some display bugs and fix 'completed' status issue. Similar changes made to student view of their own progress, including splitting progress by academic session.

radiation database
updated reports (can now view lab/ all labs stock holdings + temp stores). Tweaked bin_seal as it wasnt correctly changing bin active/status change. Changed display/ layout of swabs/sharps page.

mobile SPIDER
updated inc_bottom to give a bit more white space (handy for larger fingered folk on touch screen phones trying to swap to 'full site' without hitting the bottom of the screen). Updated inc_head to consolidate the viewport/ width meta tags - was causing iPad view of normal site to mess up, so now in 'mobile only' section. Working on tools/viewScores (quiz results) for mobile - nearly done. Fixed login for users with multiple accounts so that it retains mobile status.

updated to include new option for class content - can now choose to view file based content in same window (default) or in new window/tab (basically adds a target=_blank (or not) to the a href in inc_function_show_content

updated to allow staff to view students 'not in group' for pre-assigned class groups (was previously only showing this for 'self sign up' groups).

SIPBS website
staff profile v2 in progress - allows staff to add PG students from PG DB, papers and grants (from research admin) to their web profile. Photo-board updated and fixed.

exam paper database
added filters to allow easier navigation to questions. Essay questions now handled by the system.

quiz tools
changes for Psych quizzes completed and live! Fixed bug preventing students from reviewing quizzes where review is allowed.




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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 01 October 2010 04:39 pm

first week of teaching, lots of new SPIDER users to deal with, though at least the number of students unable to read the FAQ relating to not being on the class list has dropped off. However, even with a hectic week of email/ phoning, had some time to do a few bits of dev.

bug: was not accounting for users logging in directly to the clas page without first going to the home page - result - _SESSION['interface'] was not being set, so the code was dropping through the switch without calling the function to display the list of classes. Added a default (standard view) and updated code_prefs so that _SESSION['interface'] is always set, regardless of entry page.

phone detect login
the login page now includes a snippet of code to sniff out phone based browsers and automatically redirect to the mobile login page

SIPBS safety
link to the SIPBS safety pages in myStuff (tools) for UG and PG students in applied-phys/ bioscience/ pharmacy clusters; access limits to some of the safety databases by user status (UG/ PG/ staff)

showContent (Class category pages)
updated 'download all' to allow user to select one or more files to be included in a download

file manager
bug: assignment submission blocking allocation of uploaded file to an actual assignment (somehow a line of code was commented out!)

squid (quiz results)
updated the session limits (from 1st Oct back to 15th Sept) so that quizzes completed early in the session show in the correct session.

radiation database (v1)
updated all stocks, users, labs and bins to 'belong' to SIPBS instead of the old departmental licences. Cleverly forgot to add in a monthly cron for the new licence, had to run it manually (decays, temp stor, report email to users); added in for next month.

fixed bug that was adding in ,, to user discussion/news filters

quiz tool changes for Pyschology
nearly all done. Final testing underway.

exam database
undergoing testing by academic staff

SIPBS website
photo board page under development


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