We are currently working on a new distribution of LORLS (That’s right version 7 is coming soon) and to test the installer’s ability to update an existing installation we needed a fresh v6 install to test on. So I dropped into a fresh virtual machine we have dedicated specifically to this kind of activity, downloaded the version 6 installer and ran through the installation only to find that, while it had created the database and loaded the initial test data just fine, it hadn’t installed any of the system files.
So for the next 3 hours I was scouring apache’s logs, checking the usual culprits for these sort of issues and debugging the code. One of the first things I did was check the SELinux configuration and it was set to permissive, which means that it doesn’t actually block anything just warns the user. This lead me to discount SELinux as the cause of the problem.
After 3 hours of debugging I finally reached the stage of having a test script that would work when run by a user but not when run by apache. The moment that I had this output I realised that while SELinux may be configured to be permissive, it will only pick up this change when the machine is restarted. So I manually tried disabling SELinunx (as root use the command ‘echo 0 > /selinux/enforce’) and then tried the installer again.
Needless to say the installer worked fine after this, so if you are installing LORLS and find that it doesn’t install the files check that SELinux is disabled.
In the early hours of yesterday morning LORLS v6 slipped its keepers (Jon and Jason) and escaped into the wild. LORLS v6 is described as flexible open source resource/reading list management system. Alongside LORLS v6 its three children (LUMP, CLUMP and BibGrab) also successfully made their breaks for freedom.
Members of the public are advised to check the following safety guidelines before approaching the beast.
Just recently I have been looking at tweaks that I can make to improve the performance of CLUMP. Here are the ones that I have found make a difference.
Set up apache to use gzip to compress things before passing them to the browser. It doesn’t make much difference on the smaller XML results being, but on the large chunks of XML being returned it reduces the size quite a lot.
Another thing is if you have a lot of outstanding AJAX requests queued up and the user clicks on something which results in those requests no longer being relevant then the browser will still process those requests. Cancelling them will free up the browser to get straight on with the new AJAX requests.
This can be very important on versions 7 and below of Internet Explorer which only allow 2 concurrent connections to a server over http1.1. If the unneeded AJAX requests aren’t cancelled and just left to complete then it can take Internet Explorer a while to clear the queue out only processing 2 requests at a time.
The good news is that Internet Explorer 8 increases the concurrent number of connections to 6, assuming that you have at least a broadband connection speed, which brings it back into align with most other browsers.
We now have a demonstration version of our new reading list system available for everyone to play with. The last couple of weeks we have been making lots of little tweaks to the system to get it to the stage we felt comfortable with letting others play with it.
The link to our demonstration site is https://sandbox.lboro.ac.uk/CLUMP/
For a long time we have been told that staff want an easy way to add an item to a reading list. To make item entry easier the data entry forms for LORLS v6 are specific to the type of item being added. This should help avoid confusion when people are asked for irrelevant metadata (e.g. asking for an ISBN for a web page).
Once logged in they can see all the items that BibGrab found.
When they select an item they are then presented with all the details for that item and if it is a journal they are also presented with some boxes for adding in details to specify a specific article, issue or volume. They are also presented with a list of their reading lists, of which they can select as many as they like and when they click add the item is added to all their selected reading lists. The item is added to the end of each reading lists and is in a draft mode. This makes it easier for people to add items to their reading lists when they find them without worrying how it will affect their list’s layout.
After the item has been added to their chosen reading lists it is grayed out as a visual indication that it has already been used. They can still select it again and add it to even more reading lists if they want or they can select another item to add to their reading lists.
One tool on our list of things required for LORLS v6 is BibGrab for which we have just finished the proof of concept. It finds ISBNs and ISSNs from web pages and looks up their metadata on COPAC.
The main piece of functionality missing from the proof of concept is the ability to actually add an item to a reading list. As well adding this functionality we are also aiming to make it pick up details about the web page it was initiated on so that staff can add web pages to their reading lists.
While the current source to used to lookup metadata is hard coded, the release version should have a number of sources to it can use and an order of preference for them. This way the metadata will match that of the local LMS if it has a matching record and only try other sources if it doesn’t.