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Q2 2018 openEQUELLA Open Source Support Briefing

The quarterly openEQUELLA Open Source Support (OSS) 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 Q2 2018 openEQUELLA OSS Briefing focused on Community News, Open Apereo 2018, Sustaining Engineering, openEQUELLA 6.6, and a discussion around future development.

On Thursday August 2, 2018, the Unicon OSS team held the openEQUELLA OSS Briefing summarizing OSS activities for Q2 of 2018.

Community News and Activities

We began the briefing by noting some community news. The open source version of EQUELLA is now known as openEQUELLA. You may have already noticed a shift in the postings about, and branding of, the application.

The openEQUELLA stable-6.6 stream was branched on June 11, 2018. There are now two 'stable' versions of openEQUELLA available - 6.5 and 6.6. Bug fixes can be made to either branch, but all new development will be made in the master branch, which will become 6.7 eventually. The press release is here.

Open Apereo 2018 Review

A highlight of the briefing was reviewing Open Apereo 2018. The conference was held at the Montreal Delta Marriott from June 3 - June 7. Several presentations and numerous discussions around openEQUELLA occurred. The following were specific openEQUELLA events at Open Apereo:

  • EQUELLA 101 (Unicon Workshop)
  • EQUELLA Customizations (Unicon Presentation)
  • EQUELLA and uPortal integration (Unicon Presentation)
  • Implementing EQUELLA Content Management at BYU Idaho (BYU-I Presentation)

It brought another level of energy to have an adopter (BYU-I) presenting and attending at the conference, and we encourage more adopters to join in on the experience next year.

One of the highlight discussions was around integrating openEQUELLA with presentation-layer applications, such as uPortal (another application under the Apereo foundation). Combining the customizable, 'content hub' offering of openEQUELLA and the presentation and diverse integration offerings of uPortal garnered interest in the community. The openEQUELLA and uPortal teams of Unicon built out and presented on two proof-of-concept integrations that utilized web components. This showed that a potential adopter could build out a simple portlet in uPortal, provide a search url to either of the openEQUELLA web components, and get up and running with an integration quickly.

Sustaining Engineering

After the Open Apereo review, we reviewed Sustaining Engineering for this past quarter. In Q2 2018, Unicon completed 2 issues: #459 to fix the display of restricted-display attachments, and #492 to allow a cap on how the long the Background Indexer can run. Both code changes are in 6.6 Stable.

We also open sourced a script to remove unassociated attachments. We welcome the community to also contribute scripts and tools that work with openEQUELLA to improve the adoption and experience of the application.

We always welcome ideas on how openEQUELLA can be improved. Through the voices of Unicon's OSS openEQUELLA subscribers, Unicon's SE efforts will continue to drive meaningful, timely contributions to the openEQUELLA platform. If you have an idea to enhance openEQUELLA, please open a S5 Zendesk ticket to make your voice be heard!

openEQUELLA 6.6

Since 6.6 went stable in Q2, we reviewed some highlights and early lessons learned about this stable branch of openEQUELLA. The highlights included:

  • Reporting tutorials (not specifically in 6.6 stable, but contributed in the same timeframe)
  • Additional metadata from LMS
  • Admin Console migration
  • Enhanced REST API
  • Wizard configuration (repeater 'Add', and delete confirm)
  • Metadata-based facet searching
  • 'New UI' with Google's Material Design

These highlights were discussed during the briefing in more detail, so please take some time to watch the recording!

When considering adopting openEQUELLA 6.6, there are some important details to be aware of, besides the useful features and bug fixes included. First, the language pack keys needed to be changed from 6.5 to 6.6 due to a refactor of the code structure. While the keys changed, the values and purpose of the language pack were largely unaffected, so adopters should perform a basic find-and-replace of the old keys with the new keys. Second, the CSS selectors for custom themes have changed. The core concepts in the theme have not, but adopters should be aware that some revision will be needed to their custom theme.

Finally, the 'new UI' has been introduced in 6.6 stable. It sets up a responsive layout, but not all components of the UI have been switched over yet. Theming in the 'new UI' will be different then the 'old UI'. Current plan is for the 'new UI' to not be as customizable in terms of giving direct access to all the CSS in the UI, in favor of providing a theming solution that will be more resilient. However, with the 'new UI' and the Admin Console migration into the web UI, the functionality of openEQUELLA is being exposed via REST APIs. This will eventually allow a complete re-skin of the application, or use of a presentation layer such as uPortal, via the REST APIs.

Future Development

Our final topic centered on roadmaps of openEQUELLA. With openEQUELLA being open source and available for anyone to enhance, it creates exciting opportunities. While the commercial service providers have roadmaps, we encourage folks to contribute to the future of openEQUELLA as well; either by putting dollars towards projects with their region's commercial service provider, or rolling up their sleeves and becoming an openEQUELLA contributor themselves. We shared our roadmap, as well as Edalex's roadmap, so adopters can have a better understanding of the near term future of openEQUELLA. One of the consistent roadmap items is migration of the Admin Console into the Web UI via REST APIs. Take a look at the slides for more details.

For a long term direction, Unicon is continuing to gather and analyze pain points from adopters and especially from subscribers. Possible areas of enhancement for openEQUELLA are: an openEQUELLA-toolbox of scripts, similar to, but more modern than, EBI; indexing strategies; filestore strategies; and IAM strategies. Which of these concepts will make it to the roadmaps of the community and in what form is largely driven by voices in the community, so please make yours heard.

We closed the discussion with a call to action for adopters and potential adopters to consider three questions:

  • What integrations would be useful?
  • What is preventing openEQUELLA from going to the 'next step' for you?
  • Are folks interested in helping to develop openEQUELLA?


The briefing was well attended, and we appreciate the discussion and follow up from the call. We encourage you to reach out to the community, get excited about openEQUELLA, ask questions, and help shape the future of this open source Content Management System.

Click here for the video recording.
Click here for the briefing slides.

Chris Beach

Chris Beach

Software Developer
Chris Beach is a Software Developer at Unicon, Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Chris is currently involved in the support and development of open source software, focused on openEQUELLA and uPortal. Chris was previously a Senior Support Analyst for EQUELLA at Pearson, where he was involved with hosting support and escalated client support for EQUELLA.