Plaza Status

September 12, 2005

Jennifer Oxelson, Joanne Graham, Jeff McWhirter

The current Unidata PHP-Nuke web portal architecture is to be replaced on September 18, 2005 with apache and Java Server Pages (JSP) technologies.

Website functionality of the new architecture broken down into major components:

  • A new database schema has been created to address current and future needs.  The new database schema is highly normalized which should make it easier to re-factor/upgrade the database in the future.

    This database will serve as a larger community member database and serve as resource for future collaborative endeavors.

  • The website was redesigned by Sandra Petrie to improve usability and highlight improved online support features when they are avaiable.

  • Posting and presentation of news items, events, and job announcements has been improved to make this information more accessible and useful to our users. 

    Future plans are to incorporate RSS feeds into these sections of our website so community members can easily include relevant news items on the Unidata site and their own web sites.

  • The mechanism for uploading package distribution files for download by Unidata developers has be simplified and less time consuming for developers.  More accurate logging is in place for tracking download data.

  • Website formatting and user authentication functionality has been moved into the scope of server-level framework. An open-source Apache module has been implmemented that automatically applies formatting to the Unidata website, replacing PHP functionality.

    A Single Sign-On package called Cams, or Cafesoft Access-Management System, has been pruchased and is being used to implement user authentication and access control for the website.

  • The web file system has receive an ‘overhaul’ and structured in a manner thathas do away with unconventional apache web server configuration. 

  • Best practices are being drafted as a resource for staff on how to ‘optimize’ Unidata web pages for improved search engine ranking.  

  • Addressing the file system issues and the non-standard apache configuration will also go a long ways towards improving search results for Unidata content using the in-house search engine.