Development Project 209 - Course In A Box 2 Report

Summary

This project, Course In A Box 2, was the result of the consultation process done as part of project 178. Its conclusion was - a set of information from each of our taught courses, was to be extracted from the Informatics Database and presented as a collection of web pages.

This was to be completed and in place for the beginning of the current session.

The work was done, but overran a bit, as when initial drafts were shown to the Director of Teaching, it became clear that the data in the new database still required some work and wasn't reliable enough to be published for general consumption, and so wasn't needed immediately for the beginning of the session.

Work Done

A new conduit ciab-html was created using the gurgle language. Which has been added to the DAILY run, it is currently generating the CIAB pages in www.inf.ed.ac.uk/teaching/ciab/. I'm sure the conduit could be done more efficiently by someone who knows gurgle (and the standard macros/equates) more intimately.

Fortunately the trickiest part, ie listing what are our list of courses had already been done in an existing conduit (the sortable list one) and I based my conduit on that.

Issues

There were no major issues, the project deliverables were pretty well defined by the parent project, so it was just an implementation project. The only real issue was that fact that the work on the new Theon database is still on going which meant that the data in the DB wasn't complete enough to be able to use CIAB as it was intended.

Knowledge of the database and what state the data is in, eg the 2G or 3G world, is only really well known by a couple of the RAT unit members, and so I had to interrupt them when I had questions to do with where to find the data I was looking for.

Gurgle takes a bit of getting used to, it would be nice to use a language I was more familiar with, eg perl. I think it is actually possible to do this, but that would have been another distraction rather than just getting the work done.

Effort

Two FTE Weeks were allocated (a bit of a finger in the air guestimate), currently I've spent about 40 hours, so a little over 1.1 FTE weeks. I suspect that once the data in Theon has stabilised then a little more work may be requested to smarten up the presentation of the web pages, or make it available in a slightly different format for people to include parts of it in their own course web pages.

Conclusion

Though the projected effort was borderline as to whether it needed to be classed as a project, its importance made it suitable for tracking as an official project.

The finished project doesn't meet its original purpose (web pages suitable for wider student consumption), but hopefully in its current form it will be useful. It will allow course organisers and the ISS staff to check that the data in the database is in the state they expect.

As the database develops, the conduit may need changes to match any changes to the data structure/locations.

-- NeilBrown - 02 Oct 2011

Topic revision: r3 - 05 Oct 2011 - 15:22:19 - NeilBrown
DICE.FinalProjectReport209 moved from DICE.FinalProjectReport-209 on 05 Oct 2011 - 15:22 by NeilBrown - put it back
 
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