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Q4 2017 uPortal Open Source Support Briefing

The quarterly uPortal 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 Q4 Support Briefing focused on Sustaining Engineering, Conferences, uPortal-home, and uPortal 5.1.

On Wednesday January 24, 2018, the Unicon OSS team held the uPortal OSS Briefing summarizing uPortal OSS activities for Q4 of 2017.

Sustaining Engineering

We kicked off the briefing by reviewing our Sustaining Engineering (SE) efforts, in which Unicon spent over 262 hours! These hours were dedicated to 3 uPortal releases, 136 merged pull requests, and 438 resolved issues - 300 of which were closed through backlog grooming. Highlights include Portlet migration to Java 8, Java library upgrades, and the exciting release of uPortal 5!

uPortal Conferences

As we moved into conferences, we started off by reviewing uPortal Dev Days. Dev Days occurred on December 5 - 7, hosted at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dev Days was provided without conference fees thanks to the generosity of UW-Madison! Activities included presentations, working sessions, and 'Unconference' style discussions. There were a lot of highlights mentioned, so please review the recording or slide deck. Some of the highlights included a presentation by University of Edinburgh on Notifications, a uPortal 5 workshop, discussions on Soffits, uPortal Architecture, Microservices, and a BYU presentation on Securing RESTful APIs. An excellent event with good energy fostered.

Another exciting development out of these Dev Days was the initial uPortal Technical Call where the Javascript libraries of Lodash and Template were discussed, and the use of AngularJS in Portlets was reviewed. The next Dev Days will potentially be hosted in Gilbert, AZ, at Unicon - stay tuned!

The next conference discussed were ESUP Days and Apereo Paris 2018 coming up on February 6, 2018 at Université Paris Descartes. Highlights include learning analytics, Apereo Karuta, Grouper, Apereo OAE, and uPortal 5! It's inspiring to know that there is a large community of uPortal adopters within the French higher education system.

The final conference mentioned was Open Apereo 2018. Open Apereo is a yearly gathering of open source educational advocates and enthusiasts to share ideas, and inspire folks to enhance their digital learning experiences. This year, Open Apereo will be hosted at the Delta Marriott Hotel in Montreal, Quebec from June 3 - 7. Unicon will be there to discuss uPortal and other open source applications, and we hope to see you there. Help launch uPortal into the next 10 to 15 years by providing insight on what is important to you!

uPortal-home in uPortal-start

Directly after discussing the conferences, we covered uPortal-home. uPortal-home is an AngularJS based frontend that uses a card layout to skin uPortal. Originally from UW Madison, it's now available for the global community via uPortal-start. It shows the power of open source communities when efforts like uPortal-home are opened up, free of charge, for users around the world to adopt. We provided a quick-start guide to get up and running with this enhancement of uPortal Since it follows the uPortal-start methodology, it's really quite easy to enable in your uPortal 5 environment. As of the briefing, the effort hasn't been merged due to some outstanding WCAG 2.0 AA items, but it'll be merged soon.

uPortal 5.1

The final topic centered on the near future of uPortal: uPortal 5.1. We discussed several upcoming enhancements for uPortal, and to get the full details, we encourage you to watch the recording. Highlights included layouts based on CSS Flexbox, content matching strategies based on learning analytics, Docker container support, automatic API documentation via Swagger, better Tomcat server configurations in uPortal-start, and enhanced Shibboleth integration.


In conclusion, the briefing was well attended, and we appreciate folks taking time out of their schedules to join us We are sensing a lot of excitement around uPortal 5 and the opportunities it affords adopters. Please continue to be active in the community channels, and if you are a Unicon OSS subscriber, feel free to open an S5 ZenDesk ticket to let your voice be heard to help shape Unicon uPortal SE efforts.

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.