IRC log of #schooltool for Thursday, 2004-07-22

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---Topic for #schooltool set by mgedmin at Fri Jul 16 18:15:5211:57
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th1aGood afternoon, folks.16:50
th1a thisfred Jul 22 16:52:49 <mgedmin>hi, th1a16:52
th1aI talked with Mark on the phone yesterday. 16:53
th1aIt had been a couple weeks because my long distance carrier just silently failed when I tried to dial his cell,16:54
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th1aand I couldn't figure out what the problem was.  So I finally used a calling card.16:54
th1aSo Mark's primary interest is speed at this point.16:55
th1aAnd bringing in a new team to do either the calendaring or core stuff will slow things down.16:55
th1aSo the optimal case in his (and my) opinion is to increase our developer bandwidth at POV.16:56
gwenhi. I have installed schooltool and everything is running, but what is the default user and password to access the server ?16:56
th1aHi Gwen.16:56
gwenmaybe you have guessed that i'm e newbie ;)16:57
th1aThe user is "manager" and the pasword is "schooltool"16:57
gwenthanks a lot16:57
th1aWe need to add that in a more obvious place.16:57
gwenI'm gonna try now16:57
gweni couldn't find it anywhere 16:57
th1aI know.  I'm sorry about that. 16:58
th1aCan we add a message when you run 'make' on the server or something?16:59
gwenok, I'm connected. The sample school work fine, I'm gonna watch it closely now17:00
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th1aCool.  Have fun.  Let us know what you think.17:00
gwenok, tanks again, bye17:00
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mgedminthe default username and password are mentioned in the README17:03
th1aThey are?17:04
th1aWhoops wrong URL.17:06
th1aAnyway, they aren't in m5.17:06
th1aAs long as it is in m6.17:06
mgedminthey weren't in m5? oops17:09
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th1aSo what does POV have planned for August?  Do you have much non-SchoolTool work that needs to be done?17:21
mgedmin(we're now discussing this among ourselves)17:29
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Aisteth1a: do you know what exactly Mark wants for calendaring?17:44
Aistewhat would be the timescope for the calendaring?17:45
th1aI don't know that Mark has any personal calendaring desires.17:45
Aistewell :) who would be setting requirements for it?17:45
th1aWhat do YOU want for calendaring?17:46
mgedmina detailed and correct requirements specification ;)17:46
mgedminaiste's nominally our boss17:46
mgedminI'm not sure if you were introduced17:46
mgedminaiste, meed tom hoffman (th1a)17:46
Aistesorry th1a, forgot to introduce myself :)17:46
mgedminth1a, meet aiste17:47
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AisteI'm from POV as well17:47
mgedminalga, meet aiste17:47
algaHi Aiste17:47
Aisteso anyway, we are trying to give an answer to your question what are our commitments and whether we can take on the calendaring stuff in august17:48
th1aWe'd like to have a calendaring release out in September, so initially we'll have to limit the scope to what we can do in roughly a month.17:48
Aisteok, so I guess that solves the problem17:49
th1aYeah.  We have more of a firm time requirement than a firm feature requirement.17:49
Aistewe do have another non schooltool contract which estimated for 2 weeks of work and should be finished by the end og August/beginning of September17:49
th1aOK.  I think we can work with that.  Will everyone be working on the other contract?17:50
Aistethat would be the best solution17:53
mgedminwhen can we start working on calendaring?17:53
mgedminas I understand, you were writing down some user stories17:53
th1aI should be able to have a draft of those for you tomorrow morning.17:55
th1aSo you guys are pretty much free for a couple weeks, then you've got two weeks of other work to do?17:57
Aistehm... basically we can d either callendaring or the other project first17:58
Aisteit depends which is more urgent17:58
Aistei will find out about the other project next week17:59
Aisteth1a: another question, who is the person to contact about payment for calendaring?18:06
Aisteyou or Mark?18:06
SteveAAiste: you can contact me about that18:07
Aistethen i guess i will contact Steve :)18:07
Aisteso i thought, when th1a said mark18:07
th1aNot me.18:07
th1aChanging topic... is the Zope instance at running behind Apache?18:13
mgedminwhy do you ask?18:17
th1aThe new plone site is at so we need to set up a Zope SiteRoot or VirtualHostMonster and rewrite rule in Apache to make it look like the root directory.  Or just do a redirect from the root to the plone/ directory and leave it visible.18:27
mgedminVirtualHostMonster is already set up18:30
mgedminI can just update the rewrite rules18:30
mgedmindo you want me to do that now?18:30
th1aHold off.18:30
th1aI'm going to proof read and tidy up tomorrow.18:31
th1aAre you guys planning on finishing m6 tomorrow?18:31
mgedminwe're planning on finishing it today18:31
mgedminbut this is not the first time we're planning exactly that18:31
th1aWe'll put m6 on the new site and launch them together.18:32
th1aI'll email Thomas Black about the DNS change.18:34
th1aHm... actually I guess you should do the rewrite now.  18:35
th1aNo reason not to.18:35
th1aIs there?18:35
th1aAnd set it up to expect and, I guess.18:36
th1aThis is the sort of thing I work out through trial and error, so I'm not very good at making clear requests yet  :) 18:37
mgedminin that case we'll set up the m6 page on the new server18:38
mgedminI'll update the rewrite rules now18:39
mgedminhave you looked at the new site with internet explorer?18:47
th1aI suppose not...18:47
mgedminit does not like transparent PNGs18:48
th1aOK.  So the header is a big white box?18:48
mgedminit is a free service that lets you make screenshots of ie rendering a url18:48
mgedminyes, the header has a big white box18:49
th1aI can make it a jpeg.  jpegs can be transparent, right?18:49
mgedminI'm not sure18:49
th1aAnyhow, I can fix it.  I've got the gimp files.18:49
mgedminI think the existing site did not use transparent images18:49
mgedmincan you simply reuse them?18:49
SteveAjpgs cannot be transparent18:50
th1aI know, that was my innovation  :)   Without doing more extensive redesign,  it is hard to integrate the old graphics.18:50
th1aPerhaps a gif will do in the short run.18:51
th1aI think I can coax Bradley into a putting together a permanent solution, but I don't want to get totally bogged down.18:52
mgedmingifs do not support 24-bit colours18:52
th1aWell... I'll figure something out.18:52
mgedminalso, is the vertical white line to the right of the shuttleworth foundation logo supposed to be there?18:53
mgedminit is in the png itself, but it look weird to me18:53
th1aThere are a number of ways to handle the header.  18:53
th1aWell, I need to get a real logo from the foundation.18:54
th1aThat's just lifted off their page.18:54
th1aI'll note that in my email to Thomas.  I can tell him to hold off on the switch until Monday.18:55
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th1aHi Oren.18:58
orenHi folks18:58
th1aOren does a lot of work on calendaring at the University of Washington.18:58
orenmight be more accurate to say I do a lot of thinking about calendaring...and herding the other folks who actually do the work18:59
th1aThere is a UW calendaring project, right?18:59
orenyes - we have an open source calendaring effort19:00
th1aCan you describe that briefly?19:00
orencurrently it does personal calendars and event calendars19:00
th1aA server?19:00
orena server and a web client19:00
orenhold on - I'll find the url19:00
th1aI read about this a couple weeks ago but my memory has faded.19:01
th1aHere's the quick rundown on SchoolTool.19:02
orenthe url for ucal project is
th1aIt is a server written in Python, that currently communicates with a wxPython client via a REST web services API.  There will also be a web interface.19:02
orenwhat functionality is included in schooltool?19:03
th1aSo in SchoolTool you can define people, groups and resources (rooms, projectors, etc).19:03
th1aEach person, group or resource has a timetable of recurring events, like a class schedule.19:03
th1aWhich will auto-generate an ICal file for the timetable.19:04
orencool - sounds useful19:04
th1aAnd each person, group or resource can have events.19:04
th1aYou can upload an iCal file that will be parsed into events in SchoolTool, and it outputs ICal, too.19:04
orendo you hook into any other resources that might have persons or groups defined, like ldap directories?19:05
th1aNot yet.19:05
th1aI suspect that isn't too far away.19:05
orenin the uw calendar, we don't do anything with groups or group calendaring yet19:06
th1aSo SchoolTool is ultimately meant to be a platform for K-12 school admin apps.19:06
th1aIt is funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa, btw.19:06
orenalways nice to have funding :)19:06
th1aSo creating something that will work in schools in the developing world is also a priority.19:06
th1aBut anyhow, 19:07
th1aOur first usable release is just going to be calendaring-specific.19:07
orennodding - sounds wise19:07
th1aSince we've got a good start on that, there's demand, and it is easier to adopt than a whole student information system.19:07
th1aSo we're working out what additional features to add to this first calendaring version.19:08
orenthe way we've been thinking of calendaring19:08
orenit basically breaks down into three overlapping kinds of uses:19:09
oren1 - personal calendaring (what am I doing today?)19:09
oren2 - group calendaring (let me see if I can schedule a meeting with Ellen)19:09
orenand 3 - events announcements (there will be a concert on Friday at 8 pm)19:10
orenso far in our calendaring effort we handle personal and events, 19:10
orenbut there's large demand for the group stuff before it becomes really useful for the mass of people at least on campus.19:10
orenbut that, of course, is the hard part.19:11
th1aSo what are the hardest parts?19:11
orenwell, trying to understand the requirements for group scheduling is difficult19:11
orenand then there are questions about other sorts of requirements, like delegation19:12
orenwe were thinking we would implement the CAP spec when it's finalized19:12
orenand we have been seeking funding for that work (from the Mellon foundation)19:12
th1aWhich one is CAP?19:12
orenCAP is the IETF Calendaring Access Protocol19:12
orenwhich attempts to define a set of client-server interactions19:13
algabasically, sending around iCal events?19:13
orenyes -19:13
orenthough more than sending them around -19:13
orenactual client-server interactions19:13
orensending them around is covered in the imip/itip specs for doing stuff over email19:14
th1aOh.  So does that still use BEEP?19:14
orenright - CAP uses BEEP19:14
th1aBut it doesn't only use BEEP?19:14
orenI believe it only uses BEEP, but I'm not too sure.19:15
th1aSo is Chandler also planning on using CAP?19:15
orenNovell claims to have implemented CAP in Groupwise, as does SUN19:15
orenThe Chandler folks have decided not to use CAP, and are moving towards using a brand new protocol, which is being dubbed CAL-DAV19:16
orenbased on WebDAV19:16
orenthere's a draft spec at
th1aYeah, but didn't that expire?19:17
orenit's written by Lisa Dusseault, who works at OSAF19:17
orenshe's working on the next revision19:17
orenthen to make things even more confusing...19:17
th1aWell, that's not a short term goal then, but something to keep an eye on.19:17
orenMicrosoft is probably going to be working on an Web Services calendaring spec19:18
orenwe've urged them to consult with others as they do so, but who knows what they'll end up doing19:18
th1aWell, CalDAV strikes me as interesting.  But not something to charge ahead on.19:19
th1aSo are you worried about the slow progress of Chandler?19:19
orennot too worried - I think it's actually moving along pretty well. 19:19
orenThey've got smart people working hard on it19:19
orenand it's not too surprising that their initial timelines turned out to be a bit optimistic19:20
th1aI think they ended up not being able to reuse as much open source code as they thought.19:20
th1aSo lets talk about delegation.19:20
orenthat's true - they initially thought they'd be able to use the Zope DB for the repository19:20
orensure - delegation19:20
orenI don't know if it plays a part in your world, but19:20
SteveAI read the report on why they didn't use the ZODB.  I couldn't really find a particular reason there.19:21
orenhere a typical scenario is a Dean or Provost wants to delegate calendaring privileges to someone else - typically and administrative assistant19:21
orenso that person has the full privilege to act for the principle19:22
th1aSteveA: The best reason I saw was they might not want to be completely tied to Python forever.19:22
th1aoren: yep.19:22
orenI think they had performance issues with ZODB and scaling concerns too.19:22
orenso what you need is a way for the assistant to be able to assume control of the principles calendar19:23
orenwhile authenticating to the server as themselves19:23
orenand having the server record the fact that the actions taken were taken on behalf of the principle by the assistant.19:23
orenand it's possible that the princple might want more granular control over the delegation19:24
orenfor instance - the assistant can schedule me for work events Mon-Fri 8 am - 5 pm only19:24
orenand can't see the appointments I have on weekends19:25
th1aI don't think we'll be getting that granular.19:25
th1aBut I'd like to have some delegation.19:25
orenI don't think we will either - but it all implies having a well thought-through authorization structure19:25
th1aOne thing that we'll have to figure out is when delegation goes to an individual or a group.19:26
th1aIt seems conceivable to me that delegation would always go to groups, even if they were groups of one.19:26
oreninteresting approach19:26
orenbut possibly a good one19:27
th1aLike every person's calendar would by default have an "editor" group that you could add people to.19:27
th1aWith a preset bunch of permissions.19:27
orennodding - that sounds reasonable19:28
orenwill people be able to have more than one calendar in your setup?19:28
orenlike they do in apples?19:28
th1aRight now, everyone has two.19:28
th1aA generated timetable and an event calendar.19:28
orenwith an integrated view of the two on a timeline?19:29
th1aAnd they'd likely sync/overlay other group calendars.19:29
th1aWell, there isn't an HTML view that integrates them yet.19:29
th1aBut in your client app you can, at least in iCal.19:29
th1aI can't remember if Moz overlays them.19:30
algait does19:30
algaevents in different colours19:30
orenof course what everyone wants is a single view of their multiple lives 19:30
th1aSo we'd likely just replicate that in an HTML view.19:30
orenso will you rely on the clients to do the scheduling, in terms of noting conflicts and resolving them, or will that be done in the server?19:31
th1aThat's a good question.19:31
th1aIt seems like that's much easier to do if you're using an HTML interface.19:32
th1aI mean, we can't send an error code to Mozilla.19:32
mgedmincurrently schooltool allows overlapping events19:32
mgedminthe user is responsible for resolving conflicts19:33
th1aI haven't been thinking of conflict resolution as a big priority.19:33
SteveAoften, it isn't a conflict in reality19:33
th1aExcept in scheduling resources.19:33
SteveAand making the on-line representation of reality sufficiently granular is hard work on the person who has to maintain that19:33
SteveAit can be for scheduling resources19:34
orenand if you're scheduling someone else for a meeting19:34
SteveAfor example, two classes can use a projector at the same time, it can be moved during the course of a lesson19:34
SteveAprovided the teacher co-ordinate out of band19:34
orenthat's a great example, Steve19:34
th1aBut primarily the reason you want to schedule resources is to eliminate the need for out of band coordination.19:34
orenor at least lessen it19:35
SteveAin that case, the teachers would have to change the simple "book a resource for a lesson" into a more complex "book a resource for half a lesson"19:35
th1aWell, I'd say the sharing cases will have to be done out of band.19:36
th1aOne person is responsible for the resource that period, and what they do with it is up to them, if they want to share.19:36
orenbut I think it might be important for the software to tell you when you want to book a resource whether it's already booked for that time19:36
SteveAit should be easier to use a calendaring system than to coordinate out of band, otherwise people won't use the calendaring system.19:37
orenwell put19:37
th1aYeah, but the dominant problem is not sharing, but NOT sharing.19:37
th1aIf you know what I mean.19:37
SteveAthe calendaring system may benefit people who are not inconvenienced by having to use it, but rely on the input of people who are.19:37
th1aYou mean, knowing the teacher's schedules is good for the principal, but less useful to the teachers themselves, for example?19:39
SteveAyes, that kind of thing19:39
SteveAthe teachers have to do the work of keeping their schedule up to date19:39
th1aResource scheduling is a big win.19:39
SteveAbut it may benefit the principal more.19:39
th1aIt is one of the most clearly useful networked tools you can add to a school.19:39
th1aI'm thinking about computer labs, projectors, etc.19:40
th1aLibrary access.19:40
th1aDoing those things over the web is clearly better for everyone.19:40
orenit's clearly different in k12 than in higher ed19:40
*SteveA needs to pop out for a while. I'll read the logs later. Cheers!19:41
th1aI've tried lots of networked apps at school, and resource scheduling has the most tangible practical benefit.19:41
th1aBye Steve.19:41
orenhere we have classes that get scheduled, then students register for the classes19:41
orenand we can then populate their individual calendars (as well as the instructors)19:41
th1aThat process is different for us.19:41
th1aWell, when I'm talking about resource scheduling, that is different because19:42
th1amore things have to be shared in k-12, I think.19:42
orenwe have resource scheduling issues too - like conference rooms are a big one19:42
th1aHow do you handle those?19:43
orenpoorly ;019:43
orencurrently, in our part of the university, we use Oracle Calendar (because our own product doesn't handle groups or resource scheduling)19:44
orenbut the resource handling isn't really granular enough in OC19:44
th1aI have a clear memory of scheduling a concert in the Mellon Institute of Science auditorium over AppleTalk at CMU in about 1989.  It was a seminal event for me  :) 19:45
orenI can only imagine....and it's much the same here19:45
th1aActually, it worked perfectly.19:45
orenso what are you using for managing user accounts and authentication?19:46
th1aIt has been downhill from there.19:46
th1aWell, we have our own system.19:46
th1aI don't think we'll be able to avoid interoperating with LDAP for long.19:46
th1aBut I think there are good Python libraries, so it shouldn't be a big deal.19:47
orenIf you haven't looked at Shibboleth yet, you might want to, at least in thinking of future directions19:47
th1aWhat is that?19:47
orenIt an Internet2 project to create a cross-institutional authentication protocol, mostly for web-based apps.19:48
th1aYeah, I see.19:48
th1aWell, is that still under development?19:48
th1aAnyhow, good to know about.19:49
orenWell, we're going live with our first production apps this fall - some library resources19:49
orenwith others to follow19:49
th1aThat may be something that Mark Shuttleworth would find interesting.19:50
th1aHe made his money starting Thawte, you know.19:50
orenahhh....that would be interesting19:50
orendo you have contact info for him?19:50
orenok - i'll talk to you separately about that19:51
orenI'm going to have to run off to another meeting, but I'd be interested in talking more about how these various things overlap19:52
th1aCool.  Thanks for chatting, Oren.  It's been very helpful.19:52
orenone non-calendaring effort we're involved in is in using some of our web-based educational tools (which we call the Catalyst Tools)19:52
th1aAre you working with John Bransford at all now?19:53
orenin k12 institutions - we're going to roll them out to about 30,000 high school students this fall, including our online portfolio19:53
orenwe're just starting to work with him and his new center19:53
th1aI worked with him some on the project I was doing before this one...19:54
orenhe's an impressive fellow19:54
th1aHe's funny.19:54
orenfunny ha-ha?19:54
th1aFunny ha-ha.  In a good way.19:55
th1aWe had a kind of strange group.19:55
th1aI'll tell you about it some time.19:55
orenok - look forward to it.19:55
orenbut gotta run now19:55
orenthanks, Tom - I enjoyed it19:55
orenbye alga19:55
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th1aWe're going to have to deal with delegation under any circumstances, since resources can't schedule themselves.19:57
algaheh, heh19:58
algaare you're thinking of a kind of ACL for each resource?19:59
th1aYou'll have to be able to define who can schedule the resource.20:00
th1aOtherwise you end up with chaos.20:00
th1aI know, because the resource scheduler I wrote didn't do that.20:00
algawell, you can get by with a group of admins20:00
th1aBut if you have to go to an admin to schedule the resource, you might as well be writing it in a book.20:01
algaI see your point20:02
th1aIf we can't do ACL for the first release, that's something that is going to have to 20:02
th1abe a priority for core work anyhow,20:02
th1aBecause it will be necessary for all sorts of things.20:02
th1aMaybe it is an area where we'll want to bring in more Zope 3 code.20:03
th1aIf someone's parents want to see their grades, for example.20:03
th1aLegally in the US only a student's current teachers can see parts of their academic record, etc.20:04
th1aSo it is inevitable.20:04
th1aI'm going to go get a haircut and talk to some folks about timetable interfaces.  Catch you later.20:07
algabye bye20:07
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algath1a|way: we're done with the release21:47
algawe can not publish it yet as the release info is on the new site21:48
algaso, tell us when to announce21:52
algaor, alternatively, announce it yourself21:52
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