OpenWetWare:Software/Milestones/April 2008

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Development Items

  • Jason R. Kelly: Just adding a couple other open threads that should be considered when prioritizing this list.

Ordered Priority List

  1. Reformat the RSS feed CSS and format
  2. Migrate to new RHEL5 server. (Due now on Thursday April 17th)
  3. Migrate to MediaWiki 1.12. (No sooner than Thursday April 17th)
  4. Visitor blurb: add it
  5. Who's online: fix it
  6. Google Search: use it rather than OWW/MediaWiki on all searches. See notes below.
  7. New OWW Logo: Done.
  8. Email Issues: Investigate current problems (per Reshma's message)



  • Allow for the current RSS feed reader to be CSS-styled
  • Allow for the RSS format to be specified: current feed is a mess
  • Work with Ricardo to get the CSS more consistent with other content

Visitor blurb

  • Sounds like next step might be to contact austin and see if the cookie issue can get sorted.
  • I think this could have a big impact on new user sign-ups.

Who's online

  • This is providing inaccurate info, should probably either fix it or deprecate it on some time scale.
    • wjf 13:05, 14 April 2008 (EDT) Will address immediately. Should be a short fix.

Lab Notebook

  • Create a model group lab notebook for IGEM users
    • Work with Ricardo to do the design
  • Evaluate using a simplified entry form for daily log entries
    • Does not require adding the template calls to the beginning and end of daily lab notebook sections.
    • Also provides a drop-down list of all current projects
  • Add auto-create of a Project page
    • No need to enter or edit mediawiki text on project creation
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT)Working with Ricardo on rolling the 'slimmed-down' version of MediaWiki to end-users

User Poll

  • Add a small user poll to the OWW front page just below the current search box
    • When a person responds, the current poll stats will be shown as a histogram.
    • Poll will not be limited to OWW members.
    • Will revise as needed if abuse is detected.
    • Will use existing Ajax-based PHP/JavaScript/MySQL script
    • Reports for all polls will be maintained in an OWW MediaWiki special page
      • All new poll questions will be added via the special page
      • Results will be stored in the OWW database
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT)Deferred: As-time-permits for April


  • Complete poll to determinne whether we should eliminate the Ajax Google-suggest-inspired search
    • The idea of prompted search is sound but the implementation has been criticized by several users
  • Jason R. Kelly 17:18, 22 March 2008 (CDT):Should we consider moving to google search? We could have "Go" and "Search", but search would point to a google search. I did some informal testing and google seems much better, what's the tech dev position on this?
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Google only searches linked pages. All unlinked pages are not covered by Google.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Searches of a subset of the wiki will require custom Google searches
      • wjf 13:05, 14 April 2008 (EDT) Fixed the Google Search on the OWW search results page. You can now search OWW via Google
      • wjf 13:05, 14 April 2008 (EDT) Issue re: Google Search: ads are returned within OWW when this search is done.
        • Should I eliminate ads? This may not be too hard but it will require some time (TBD)
        • If not, should we register with google so that we get paid for clicks on those ads?

Invite User

  • Complete work on the "invite" extension
  • Use the HTML form Ilya and Reed worked on
  • The inviting member will be alerted when a user that member invites joins OWW
    • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred to April: As-time-permits

Contact Us

  • Fix the 'navigation' sidebar icon.
    • Part of the problem may be related to caching pages.
    • Also may be related to how labels are stored in the MySQL database and the MediaWiki: namespace.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Fixed. Problem was related to the siet-wide sidbar and the user-specific sidebar.

File Upload

  • Deploy a test version of the abbreviated file upload process
    • Provide a way to use it within the editor
    • Try out the Java-based drag-and-drop upload.
      • Radlinks has a closed source but still pretty useful component that fits the bill.
      • The initial 'trial' version is limited to small files.
      • Price for the full version is $69.00
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred to April: Fix as-time-permits

Fix Google Search

  • Was incapacitated when the "search from current page" feature was added.
    • The code is in the Special:Search page. This is a matter of moving part of the OWW modified version of the page into the OWW subclassed OWWSpecialSearch php page.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred to April: Fix as-time-permits

User Interface

  • Install the FCKEditor
    • Requires MW1.11
      • Notify Steering Committee
    • Solicit input.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Awaiting Rackspace and server upgrade before movving to the required MW 1.12 release

Community Features

  • Add configurable header text to the Feedback tag.
    • The text will appear in the MediaWiki: namespace
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Fixed. MEdiaWiki:contact is the page where it can be modified from.

Filename conflict resolution

    • Investigate providing a way for users to see filenames minus any disambiguation tagging.
    • Other users will see the full name.
    • Evaluate in light of the MW1.11 Image programming model change.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred. Work on as-time-permits in April

Deprecate support for Flash Video

  • Decided to just use youtube or google video, rather than host anything ourselves.
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Removed

System Management

Upgrade OWW Linux Server at Rackspace

  • Complete upgrade agreement/service order
    • Work with MIT legal to do this
      • Send a message to her immediately
      • Get back agreement
      • Return to Rackspace
  • Move OWW Server to RHEL5
    • Currently on RHEL4
    • 2 weeks to complete the work
    • Move /data directory
    • Reconfigure MySQL
      • Standard on RHEL5
      • Currently on MySQL 4.1
    • Reconfigure PHP5
      • Will use the native RHEL5 PHP5 package
    • Install sudo and other packages needed
    • Load all Databases
    • Test Mediawiki
      • Test all extensions
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred. Still awaiting Rackspace/MIT contract amendment signoff
        • Current status: RackSpace has sent a revised agreement with acceptable hardwaere specs and language that is consistent with MIT procurement. I have printed out the agreement with a set of instructions (Short!) for procurement and will hand-deliver with Isadora tomorrow morning (April 10, 2008)
      • wjf 13:05, 14 April 2008 (EDT) Rackspace will have new server online April 17th
        • Will update as soon as anything happens.

Complete upgrade to Mediawiki 1.11.2 (or most recent release)

  • Load all Databases
  • Test Mediawiki
    • Test all extensions
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred. Still awaiting Rackspace/MIT contract amendment signoff

Modify backup procedures

  • Add all MySQL backups to the /data rsync process back to MIT
  • Move local MIT copy of /data to MIT Bionet server (nightly backup)
  • Move rsync job from (RHEL4) to (RHEL5)
  • Investigate MySQL replication between MIT and Rackspace
      • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Deferred. Still awaiting Rackspace/MIT contract amendment signoff

Speak to Sasha at Harvard Church Lab re: MySQL database replication

  • Explore how this may be accomplished
  • Church Lab has excellent web server Internet access and backup facilities
    • Will contact this week (April 9th, 2008 week)
      • wjf 13:05, 14 April 2008 (EDT) still pending

SSL Certificate for OWW

  • Price out certificate
    • Verisign: 1 Year: $399 for 1 year
    • Rackspace/Thawte: $249 for 2 years
      • wjf 13:10, 16 March 2008 (CDT) Based upon the Rackspace ***Price, I ordered a 2 year SSL certificate.
        • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Original Rackspace certificate was cancelled re: concerns from Austin.
    • Alternate vendor ( offers certs for less than $20.
      • Will address after server upgrade (IP address will change but this won't affect a certificate. But will hold off: 1 less thing to go wrong during upgrade to RHEL 5)
    • Details of the certificate will be present in the certificate itself:
    • Rackspace will invoice/install this week.
    • No issue moving the certificate to another server that I'm aware or
      • Certificate does not contain the IP address, just the DNS name
    • This will allow user logins to OWW to be protected.
    • We don't anticipate deploying SSL for all OWW transactions.
    • The basis for this is non-repudiation and authentication but not general encryption.

Email Issues

  • Current Mailman mailing lists
    • List all of them
    • Document where they are described in OWW help
      • Make sure help is accurate
    • Evaluate other mailing list solutions
      • Not planning any immediate changes
  • UMS
    • Document the current email settings
    • Verify all are accurate
  • Admin Mailing List
    • Look to other means of allowing admins to be connected to apps.
      • example: new RSS feed to track pending users
    • Report findings

Research items

Image Upload naming

  • Determine how to reduce problems resulting from MW's "global" image naming features.
    • Recently was responsible for taking out parts of the Endy lab pages.
    • We should address at the same time better image upload is added.
      • May be a higher priority than adding image upload improvements.


  • Evaluate Wikipedia's Lucene Search for OWW
    • Provides for Relevance-ranked searching
  • Evaluate Google Custom Search
    • We can create multiple custom searches, each for a major site area such as
      • Materials
      • Protocols
      • Courses
        • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Still in progress

Subscribe to Page Range

  • Evaluate a way to subscribe to changes for a range of pages rather than from a specific page.
    • Uses the "Recent Changes" page and a filter
        • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Still in progress

OWW Chat

  • Work with Austin to integrate the new Jabber chat features with OWW
    • Figure out what to do about the current Wiki:Chat PHP/HTML/Javascript search
  • Is there an way to implement/reserve a way to schedule voice chats?
    • Skype works but is proprietary
      • Most OWW members have access to it.
      • Other VOIP methods?
        • wjf 16:34, 9 April 2008 (EDT) Still in progress