Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Brief Description of Recent Updates

The American Numismatic Society's finding aid collection (an ANS implementation of EADitor) is tentatively set to be released in late October, and I am planning a major release of the EADitor general distribution beta to coincide with this event.  Over the last few weeks, I have been making some improvements to the code, several of which I will discuss briefly in this post.  A number of these improvements have been borrowed from Numishare, which is our software for managing and publishing collections of coins and similar objects.  Like EADitor, Numishare's back-end is built on top of XForms and the server-side XForms processor, Orbeon, so much of the code is interchangeable.

The list:
  1. A major effort to remove hard-coded URLs to eXist and Solr, placing them, instead, into configuration files that can be edited by an XForms web form.
  2. Introduction of themes configured through a web form.  Though rudimentary so far, they are documented here.  Currently, the user can select from a list of available jQuery UI themes and select the layout of the search results page: facet list in a left or right-aligned column.
  3. Flickr API integration.
  4. The introduction of a new Solr core for storing docs of every finding aid in eXist (including those not published), so that the file list page in the admin section loads faster and enables full-text searching of the collection.  I will eventually develop methods for more advanced searching and sorting of records in the admin page.  Each time the file list page is loaded, it verifies the number of eXist documents is the same as Solr documents, so that if finding aids are added/removed with the eXist client, the Solr index is flushed and the collection reindexed.
  5. Batch publication of all finding aids to the public Solr index and batch removal of all documents from this index.
  6. The ability to edit a container-type template.
  7. Significant improvements in performance due to rewriting of some XBL components in which a glitch in my code resulting in commands being fired off numerous times, and other general bug fixes.
There aren't many more improvements or features that I would like to make to the code before the next major release in several weeks, but I would like to begin writing documentation for use and testing with Fedora repositories.

Screenshot showing "sunny" jQuery UI theme and a thumbnail served from flickr.  The banner text "EADitor: XForms for EAD" is stored in the configuration file and editable in the admin section.