East Carolina University OnestopLeveraging Enterprise Portal Technology Steven Forehand, Manager, NTDGforehands@mail.ecu.edu
Who is East Carolina University?Founded in 1907Located in Greenville, North Carolina (about 80 miles south-east of Raleigh)Approximately 22,000 enrolled studentsApproximately 3,500 staff members.Offers approximately 100 Bachelor degree programs, 18 Masters degree programs, and 13 doctoral programsVisit http://www.ecu.edu for more.
Who am I?Steven ForehandCurrent Manager of the New Technologies Development Group more laterGraduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. in Computer Science9+ years of software development experienceBeen employed by ECU since 1997.
Who is the NTDG?New Technologies Development GroupResides with Software Development ServicesPart of ECUs Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS)Consists of 3 distinct divisions with 14 total employees more laterPrimarily responsible for the investigation, development and implementation of newer technologies
NTDG DivisionsInvestigation and Integration 3 dedicated staff, development of Onestop portalApplication Development 6 dedicated staff, development of applicationsWeb Initiatives and QA 4 dedicated staff, main ECU website, usability and interface, ADA, Quality AssuranceEach division has a project coordinator
NTDG in a nutshellE-business/e-services applications E-commerce Portal infrastructure development Student-centered and administrative web applications Design, development and implementation of internet/intranet applications Investigation of new technologies
The NTDG is mainly responsible for.
What is a Onestop?Traditional Portal functionality Addition of managed, secure software development environmentOffers services for entire campus community (i.e. students, staff, advisers, instructors, etc)Designed and developed using Macromedia ColdfusionFor lack of better term Campus Portal
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?Minimal costsCFML syntax is tag-basedNo manual compile process for testingSource can be encryptedShort learning curveAllows code reuse and extensibilityCustom tags (CFML and java based)User defined functions (UDF)External object callsJavaC++
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?Easy to manage application and session data within applicationsIDE ColdFusion Studio and now Dreamweaver are very user friendlyFile Management (Visual SourceSafe) from within ColdFusion StudioEasy server administrationSimple database connectivityJob/template schedulingClustering capability
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?Large developer community provided excellent supportCoding methodologies (fusebox)Custom tags and code snippetsAnswers to the rare questionGroup of 4 (including a graphics artist) took only months for the first production rolloutMost legacy developers find syntax and concepts easy to understand
ECU Onestop DevelopmentDeveloped initially by a team of 4 dedicated, talented software developersDesign and development process took approximately 8 monthsFirst University portal within the N.C. University systemWas a lot of fun!
Develop? Why not purchase?Evaluated packaged and open-source solutions (i.e. Uportal)Others did not offer the entire packageFunctionality was somewhat limitedSome processes were unnecessarily difficult (i.e. channel development)Had a talented staff could do it ourselves and better.
Is the Onestop successful?Used by over 98% of studentsUsed by over 94% of staff and facultyOver 15,000,000 logins by 82,000 unique visitors since 2000Strong campus supportRecently selected over SCT Luminis more laterNearly zero maintenanceRequires little funding
SCT Luminis vs ECU OnestopECU recently purchased SCT Banner Enterprise solution.After analysis, Onestop chosen over SCT Luminis as campus portalECU Onestop 100% compatible with SCT Banner (including self-service applications)ZERO functionality loss with selection of Onestop over Luminis Onestop better financial decisionOnestop would work with any campus SCT Banner implementation
SecurityServers use 128-bit SSL security for HTTP requestsECU Onestop requires login by University userid and passphraseServers located behind several firewallsHardware clustering solution offers better performance and securityDatasources are located behind firewallTo date, no major hacks
ECU Onestop Login ProcessGo to http://onestop.ecu.eduLogin using University email userid and passphraseLogin verifiedRoles and permissions are establishedSession createdAccess granted! Have fun
Roles and Group PermissionsRoles and permissions are determined dynamically according to University databasesCan be member of large groups (i.e. student, employee, adviser, instructor, etc)Can be member of small group (i.e. specific department, job class, student class, etc)Permissions can be given to an individual
Roles and Group PermissionsContent and applications based on roles or combination of rolesDynamic roles allow instant access to applications and contentDynamic roles require very little maintenanceAllows creation of traditional, maintained groups.
ECU Onestop TabsSections of the portal content are accessed through tabsEach tab contains user specific and customizable contentNot all tabs are available to all users
ECU Onestop TabsHome first tab encountered, channelized content with login areaMy Page traditional portal with channelized, personal contentTools personalized applications available to usersProfile snapshot of current userCommunity threaded discussion, chat Email one click access to University email system
Have it your wayLook and feel entirely customized by userThemes change the look (graphics) of all content including individual applicationsMy Page channels can be selected and arranged Channels can be forcedAgain, content and applications available are based on roles
Applications AvailableCourse grades and schedulesCourse catalogsCourse registrationTuition paymentsParking Citations and Appeals (interacts with T2 solution)Various surveys (i.e. DE Survey, Adviser Survey, etc)MoreA sample of typical student applications or tools.
Applications AvailableAdvisee listing including contact information and schedulesCourse rosters including contact information and schedulesService RequestView pay check informationFaculty and Staff trainingPublications databaseAcademic difficulty reportsMoreA sample of typical applications offered to advisers, instructors, employees, etc.
Applications AvailableEmployment opportunitiesCampus Directory / People SearchRegister vehicle and purchase permitMajors and degreesCourse catalogGraduation and honors listing
A sample of typical applications offered to all (or most) users
Application DevelopmentPortal and internal applications written in CFML.APIs provided for formatting, data elements, and business logic.Portal and internal applications written using Fusebox development methodologyRapid Application Development
Questions to ask ourselvesWhat do others have that we want?What do they not have that we want?What technologies are available for doing what we want?Is it feasible to make this work within our environment?Is it worth the effort?
Whats missing? Changes?Dynamic content formattingCurrently, each channel or app is responsible for displayTheme settings passed to apps for formattingMultiple display types established at the application levelPDAcell phonesConsistency is hard to maintain
Whats missing? Changes?Reusable codeCurrently, some reusable code is stored in CF Custom Tags and UDFsNot efficientDuplicate code in various channels / apps is difficult to maintainAdaptability to other channel standardsAdvanced Proxy capability
Whats missing? Changes?Single Sign-On capabilityInteraction with JMS (i.e. SCT LDI)Greater use of web services to syndicate data for external and internal sites.Portal StandardsInvestigating threeJSR 168 Portlet SpecJA-SIG channel archive (educational market)Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP)As always, improved performance
Moving Forward Version 2Single Sign-OnJMSExpanded development APIEnvironment controlled content rather and application controlledFull support of SCT Banner solutionMacromedia Blackstone or CF version 7.0Expanded Channel architecture support
Expectations with Version 2Will be based on Macromedia Blackstone platform.Will be object basedBetter support for external applications (i.e. Banner, Blackboard, T2, etc.) not based on CFML.Better support of industry standardsSummer 2005 beta releasePossible package and licensing for marketing
So how does it work?Live Demo Keep our fingers crossed!