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Q4 2016 uPortal Open Source Support Briefing

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The quarterly uPortal Open Source Support Briefing is an opportunity to share the contributions performed on behalf of the OSS program, highlight Unicon's perspective on contributions, and share happenings in the community along with opportunities to engage further with Unicon.

Discussions for the Q4 Support Briefing concerned maintenance development on uPortal, plans for further enhancement of the uPortal project, as well as soliciting and discussing feedback on OSS and uPortal community future priorities.

On Wednesday January 11, 2017, the Unicon Open Source Support (OSS) team held the uPortal Open Source Support Briefing summarizing OSS activities for Q4 of 2016.

Briefing Agenda

  1. Update on uPortal Accessibility

  2. uPortal Master vs 4.3.x Patches Branches

  3. Current Community Release - Updates

  4. UW-Madison AngularJS Portal

  5. Open Apereo Conference in Philadelphia

  6. Sustaining Engineering Plan Q1 2017

Update on uPortal Accessibility

This quarter there was a lot of focus on Accessibility. We spent over 40 hours on the audit and 120 hours on remediation. Luckily, most of the work was straightforward. Contrast issues were the most prevalent with 51 occurrences found. Next in number were 51 occurrences of missing form input markup. There were just a couple of other issues. Only a few issues were found in the Apereo portlets.

The big takeaway is compliance. These changes make uPortal 4.3.2 and 5.0.0 compliant with the following government guidelines:

  • US    -  Section 504
  • US    -  Section 508
  • US    -  ADA
  • FR    -  RGAA
  • CA    -  AODA

uPortal Master vs 4.3.x Patches Branches

We discussed the differences between the uPortal master and the 4.3.x patches branch. First off, institutions should base their production services off of a patch branch. The 4.3.x patches branch, rel-4-3-patches, is based on the 4.3.0 release. As bugs are found, we backport them to keep this branch the most production-ready code for adopters.

Master is where we evolve uPortal with changes that may not be backwards compatible. Bug fixes certainly land here. New features are also committed to master, where they form the bases of new major or minor versions of uPortal. It is very active.

Why do we do this? To adopt semantic versioning. Semantic versioning brings some expectations on differences between versions. uPortal 4.3.x versions should only be a series of code with bug fixes. We do not have a 4.x branch. We generally create one form of the master as we release the next minor version.

Current Community Release - Updates

Again, most of our work was focused on on WCAG 2.0 Level AA. We also completed three tickets focused on security; updated ClearPass to support CAS 5; and assisted other members of the community.

There was one important jira you should be aware of. UP-4712 addressed a bug that University of Kansas found. Event Aggregation was not honoring ancestors of groups. This broke statistics reporting. This is corrected and has been merged into rel-4-3-patches.

UW-Madison AngularJS Portal

University of Wisconsin - Madison has created a project that fronts uPortal with a nice AngularJS facade. It has been in active development and is at version 6.0 as of December 2016. The goal is to enable developers that are more experienced with newer technologies versus specialized portlet technology. This front-end leverages uPortal APIs for functionality.

Design is a card or tile motif. The client-side code retrieves the user layout from uPortal. This drives the single collection of cards or tiles to be displayed. The user can then click on one, which redirects their browser to a maximized view of the related portlet in uPortal.

Open Apereo Conference in Philadelphia

We mentioned that Open Apereo 2017 will be in Philadelphia between June 4 - June 8, and we encourage everyone involved with uPortal to attend. Open Apereo is where several of us discuss the future of uPortal, learn and inspire each other, and simply come together as a community.

Sustaining Engineering Plan Q1 2017

There are big plans for Sustaining Engineering at the start of 2017, including pushing uPortal 5 and working on documentation.

uPortal 5 is a focus on modernizing uPortal to support improved deployments and easier development. Under deployment improvements we want to switch from building binaries on each server to supporting binaries that support different environments. Also, uPortal 5 will include support for “cloud native,” allowing uPortal to run on hosting services. Under ease of development, we wish to separate code in a more concrete way. The hope is that developers can focus on smaller modules rather than the monolithic uPortal codebase.

A revamp of documentation for uPortal and related projects was prioritized at the last Open Apereo Conference. While the uPortal documentation is in pretty good shape, it could benefit from being part of the repository. Pull requests can then include updates to documentation as needed. Portlet documentation is in a woeful state -- out of date, hard to find, and/or missing. This effort extends to those projects as well.

That sums up the briefing. Please consider attending our briefings as they are public. We announce them on the uPortal mailing list.

Click here for the briefing slides.

higher education
open source support
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