Q3 2016 uPortal Open Source Support Briefing

Benito Gonzalez , Senior Software Developer , February 10, 2017

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 Q3 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 October 19, 2016, the Unicon Open Source Support (OSS) team held the uPortal Open Source Support Briefing summarizing OSS activities for Q3 of 2016.

Briefing Agenda

  1. uPortal Vision

  2. uPortal 5 Roadmap

  3. Current Community Release Updates

  4. Update on uPortal Accessibility Audit

  5. Revamped Documentation for Portlets

  6. UW-Madison AngularJS Portal Incubation

  7. Open Apereo Conference - Philadelphia

uPortal Vision

We reviewed the uPortal vision statement for any newcomers and as a refresher to those long in the tooth:

“uPortal is a free, sharable portal under development by institutions of higher-education. This group sees an institutional portal as an abridged and customized version of the institutional Web presence... a ‘pocket-sized’ version of the campus Web. Portal technology adds ‘customization’ and ‘community’ to the campus Web presence. Customization allows each user to define a unique and personal view of the campus Web. ...”

uPortal 5 Roadmap

uPortal 5 is building up to be a significant break from previous major versions. While other major versions encompassed notable changes that were not backwards compatible, uPortal 5 entails important changes to code organization, build process, and deployment. One goal is to move away from building on every server to creating binaries that can be deployed from dev to staging to production. Support for “cloud native” deployments is another target. A third goal is to break up the codebase into smaller, more manageable modules to facilitate faster development.

Current Community Release Updates

We backported eight commits, including two critical fixes. One was to address the fact that CalDav4J binaries were never in Maven Central and had been moved from where we were referencing them. The binaries are now captured in CalendarPortlet until they are moved to Maven Central. The other critical fix was for a logic error in determining group membership based on group ancestry.

There were also a number of bug fixes and improvements across portlets. NewsReader had a number of fixes thanks to University of Kansas’ upgrade project. They did a thorough job of testing NewsReader since it is an important portlet in their portal. Several portlets also had support added for encrypted values in properties files. This was to improve protection of critical information, such as credentials.

Finally, two high impact efforts should be noted. First, as part of uPortal 5, uPortal Master now has gradle build support. Second, we have performed an accessibility audit thanks to the interest of several clients.

Update on uPortal Accessibility Audit

There is a lot of interest in Accessibility. Besides legislation, several institutions desire to support their users who have disabilities.

Accessibility issues in uPortal fell into five categories. There were 58 occurrences of contrast issues in which the text and background lacked sufficient contrast. Three images lacked alternative text. Two forms were missing submit buttons. There were 51 places where form input required additional markup to support screen readers. And, finally, three broken links were found.

Work to correct there issues began as they were discovered.

Revamped Documentation for Portlets

Another effort that goes along with our focus to better enable the community is to revamp documentation. We find that the documentation for uPortal is in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, documentation for the portlets is not in as good of shape. Their documentation is often outdated and hard to track down. Some do not even have proper documentation. Even uPortal’s documentation can sometimes get hairy with searches returning random versions of the manual.

To address this, we are going to pull the documentation into the source code repositories with the README.md as the starting point of project documentation. This allows us to update documentation as part of commits to the source.

UW-Madison AngularJS Portal Incubation

UW-Madison has decided to open source their AngularJS front-end to uPortal through the Apereo incubation process. This project is an effort to bring a simple, concise front-end to more accessible technologies than portlets. The page shows tiles that represent portlets with potentially custom information. The user can then click on the tile to drill down to the actual portlet in uPortal. We already have Sinclair College looking to adopt this in their next uPortal upgrade.

Open Apereo Conference - Philadelphia

Lastly, we shared an announcement for the next Open Apereo conference. Open Apereo 2017 will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, PA, between June 4 and June 8, 2017.

Click here to view the briefing slides.

That about wraps up what we covered. Please consider joining our briefings. They are open to anyone interested in the uPortal community.