Teleconference Agenda

Teleconference Friday, 21 October 2016.

The main QuarkNet website, created in Drupal Commons 6.x-2.x, requires upgrade or redevelopment. This is an excellent opportunity to revisit the site's utility to all QuarkNet members and users.

Background information

The major questions that will guide the overhaul of the site are
  • Is it a priority to move the site onto QuarkNet servers at Notre Dame?
    • Security and maintainability are critical for this
  • Should the site be upgraded to Drupal Commons 7.x-3.x, Drupal 8 + Modules, or converted into a different platform (most likely Wordpress)?

To answer these, it's necessary to articulate precisely what technological functions are required of the site. Below, Ken has identified several functions that the site currently serves (numbered) and Joel has annotated them (bullet circles):

Functions of Drupal

  1. Collect Abstracts, Annual Reports, etc in one site, organized by centers
    • file upload, storage, distribution
  2. Interactive web space (like combination wiki and blog) for teachers in center groups
    • social network - the Organic groups Drupal module that made Commons attractive
    • user wiki
  3. Easy-to-edit, flexible space for creating web pages and sites
    • user-generated pages
  4. Organized web area (by groups) for QuarkNet specialized functions and working groups, e.g. Cosmic fellows
    • social network with groups/circles, also the Organic groups module
  5. Home to QuarkNet public site ( and Data Portfolio
    • To what precisely does "Data Portfolio" refer?
  6. Keeps information on all members (database)
    • What information is in the site database, presumably stored on the same Pantheon servers? How is this database accessed?
    • What information is in LaMargo's and Dave Hoppert's spreadsheets? (e.g., detector numbers)
    • What relation do either of these have to what's stored in the e-Lab databases?
    • Would a single user database be possible, useful, and practical?

The agenda of the teleconference is to clarify in technical terms what goals we have for the site overhaul, with specific input from representatives of Teachers, Fellows, and users. Discussion items are

What doesn't work

What broken features limit the site's usefulness? (e.g., Detector Report) What features are not useful? What do users complain about?

Ken's take:
  • Only uploads certain file types (jpg jpeg gif png doc docx txt xls xlsx pdf ppt pps odt ods odp tar gz tgz zip); we sometimes need others, e.g. mp4.
  • Sometimes will not upload files that meet "type" criteria.
  • Cannot embed forms, videos, etc in pages - must link to a separate place.
  • When making a document, using back key to delete sometimes moves you up a line and starts deleting the previous line.
  • The size of a chosen font is not always consistent: sometimes it comes out larger than previous text with the same font. Looking at the html, one sees that "span" tags were automatically added with font sizes that were unexpected.
  • WYSIWYG: What you see is not always what you get.
  • We do not know how to get lists of needed data in databases, e.g names and e-mails of all teachers in a given center.
  • E-mails from site are often rejected by spam filters. I just do not use that feature any more.
  • Creating a page has a particular difficulty to it due to a glitch that came up one fine day. We were given a workaround but it is clumsy.
  • Too many menus and sidebar items.
  • Logo is way too big.

What works

What functions does the site currently have that are useful?

Ken's take:
  • It is nice to be able to access the full data on any one teacher via her or his group.
  • Use of HTML backup to WYSIWYG (Disable rich text) is very helpful.
  • Docs are easy to make and edit from anywhere...not stored on local machine nor dependent on native apps aside from browser.

What's next

What missing features are most critical? What features of other websites would be most useful to add?

-- Main.JoelG - 2016-10-20


Topic revision: r5 - 2016-11-16, JoelG
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