Wednesday, August 23, 2006


So Far So Meh

Our brand of Sakai is called TRACS, for Teaching, Research, And Collaboration System. I know, you're not supposed to use “and” in your acronyms, but naming a software system is hard. Ever tried it?

Today is the first day of class, and all the basics are working properly. But not everything is right. Off the top of my head, here is the short list of things that are not working in TRACS:

You can’t request a roster in the site setup tool. I haven't finished updating the CourseManagementProvider yet with the new methods that define the format of your institution’s roster IDs. The methods are simple, but since we have tons of sites already in the database with the old Sakai-preferred format, I have to have a way of migrating those, and I haven't gotten to it yet.

The text areas seem to have a cap on what you can paste into them, and this is bugging our faculty who want to paste their multi-page syllabi into the syllabus tool. We saw this problem a year ago, and before I could do something about it, it appeared to go away on its own. I still need to isolate the conditions that cause the text to truncate.

My code that lets faculty import their Blackboard course archives is generating a permissions error. Even though the faculty have the permission on their sites, the BasicContentService says they don’t. The way that permissions are computed on a piece of content is really complex, probably owing to the whole groups thing. It looks like every directory in the Resources tool gets its own AuthzGroup, but for some reason the site maintainer doesn't have any grants to it. Isn’t it enough that they have the maintainer role?

The import code is supposed to be able to do Blackboard question pools and assessments, and it doesn’t yet. This is nobody’s fault but my own. I just need to get on this.

We use MySQL, so I need to get around to applying the query optimizations from Unisa. Maybe these have already been folded into Sakai 2.2.1, but I need to find out. We’re breaking our record for usage today, and the database is going to be the bottleneck.

There are a few places where the database needs cleaning up. There are quite a lot of roles granted to users who no longer exist, and this is causing problems such as when we try to add guests to a site, and it tells us “so and so has already been used.” Really? Thanks. Having accounts in the SAKAI_USER_ID_MAP table also prevents them from getting guest access.

That’s all for now. On top of this, I need to figure out the fastest/smoothest way to move us to Sakai 2.2.1.

We've got 170 active sessions as of this writing. That’s a lot for us.

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