Still alive, working hard!

February 11th, 2008 by Rafael

It was a bit silent here recently - but only in the ALOE blog! Behind the scenes, a lot is happening. This especially concerns the refactoring of the system. We learned several lessons in the last months, and we got some very valuable feedback from inside and outside DFKI. So what are the changes to expect in the next ALOE version?

First of all, ALOE 2.0 will have a new JSP interface which allows URI driven navigation. The implementation is performed according to the J2EE Pattern FrontController in combination with the Action Pattern in order to make the component easy to maintain and simple to extend.

In addition to that, a new architecture of the ALOE Web Service has been implemented which provides the following advantages:

  • Improved interface in particular for JAVA clients. For such clients many methods return beans so that a confusion of return parameters can be avoided.
  • The business logic is encapulated in a seperate layer in order to enhance the extensibility of the system.
  • Encapsulation of the data base access in dedicated classes so that the exchange of the persistance layer will be eased for future scenarios.

Further the new ALOE Web Service stores resources, user-defined metadata sets and metadata about the resources in a MySQL data base. That way fine grained access control to the data which is stored in the system can be guaranteed.

Changes in ALOE V0.62:

December 14th, 2007 by Rafael

The current version of ALOE provides new functionalities on the user interface side as well as on the application programming interface side. For the user interface the support for closed groups has been implemented. Whenever a user wants to join a closed group she has to request authorization for the membership from the group administrator. Group administrators can then decide whether they grant or deny access to the group. Further resource previews have been enhanced by status bars which show the user how often a resource has been viewed and how it has been rated in average.

In order to avoid misuse of the system a user has to confirm her e-mail address which she has provided with the registration. For this purpose she receives an e-mail with a confirmation link which she has to click. Her account will then be activated subsequently.

On the application programming interface side possibilities have been provided to reference licenses which are associated with published resources via URI. For the Creative Commons licenses which are supported by the system shortcuts are provided additionally. If you plan to make use of this new functionality please consider our javadoc documentation of the Web service interface. In order to make our Web service easier to use for arbitrary clients the validation of input parameters has been improved. Optional parameters which have been omitted will be set to appropriate default values.

One of the next steps which has to be performed is the integration of the ALOE bookmarklet that has been implemented by our intern Martin Uhlir. Contributing resources to ALOE will then be even easier than today :-)

ALOE presented in the Apple Flagship Store in London!

November 14th, 2007 by Martin

Wow, a small step for mankind, but a huge step for ALOE! Will this be our international breakthrough?

20071113 london 008 20071113 london 012

Ok, to be honest: It was maybe only seen by my dear colleague Stephan and me in the impressive Apple Flagship Store…but it looks great, even on an iPod touch, doesn’t it?

10 days after

October 25th, 2007 by Martin

Today we’ve finished the first testing phase of ALOE - thanks a lot to all the beta testers for their engagement and their very helpful comments and feedback!

So, what did we learn in the last days?

  • The system was running very stable - we didn’t have a single system crash! Maybe the latest HP update was removing most of the trouble we had before.
  • The interface seems to work very fine for firefox, internet explorer, and safari. At least nobody complained ;-)
  • Encoding ist still causing some trouble. We tried to do as much as possible with Unicode, but sometimes you don’t care…and suddenly notice that the DB on your server is running with ISO-8859-1. Bah…there’s some stuff left to do!
  • We need some additional explanations on the pages as well as an FAQ page in the system to which we can refer. E.g., some of our testers complained they didn’t understand the meaning of certain metadata fields.
  • The use of an external web page thumbnailer is not a real good solution. Especially when the service you use does no longer deliver any thumbnails ;-) We’re now developing our own thumbnailer…
  • The group and visibility management will be changed. First of all, every user will have the possibility to share public resources to groups (when he or she is member of the group). And as the owner of a resource, you can chose to restrict the visibility of the resource (as “private” or “for certain groups only”).
  • The privacy settings in the user profiles should of course include that you can’t be found in a “member search” when somebody looks for data you’ve decided to hide - sorry for that!

The ALOE team will have some stuff to do in the following weeks!

Welcome to ALOE!

October 15th, 2007 by Martin

We’re already online for several weeks now, but there was still a lot of work left that we wanted to finish before we today announced the first (more or less private) beta version of ALOE. In the future, we will tell you some more about our ideas, about where we want to go, how ALOE developed, the people involved, news, bugs, what so ever… Stay tuned!

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