Grails HTTP-based Test Plugins

There are two leading frameworks for doing http-based integration tests within the Grails framework: functional-test and webtest. Both are packaged as grails plugins and accomplish the same task in a similar manner. The main library behind the scene is HtmlUnit. This is a well thought out library for abstracting web conversations, i.e get this url, check that it has a form, click the submit button. It’s basically a headless browser which even supports Javascript. Read more →

HOWTO: Layout Django Apps

The Texas Digital Library has been using the Django framework for a growing number of our smaller projects. Typically, if there’s not already a well established open source solution for the task at hand then the default answer is to write it in Django. Our faculty directory and request systems are already implemented in Django and we are currently refreshing our account management system into the framework. As our use of Django has grown, our practice of storing these projects in the version control repository as one unit has shown its weakness. Read more →

Vireo @ JCDL 2009

My colleague, Adam Mikeal, presented our paper titled “Large-scale ETD repositories: a case study of a digital library application” at JCDL 2009, where it was nominated for best paper! The paper describes at a high level the Texas Digital Library’s implementation of a state-wide electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) system, delving into the theoretical, technical, and political issues that were encountered. Vireo is the main component of the system, a Manakin-based addon to DSpace that handles the ETD work flow, starting with a student’s initial submission through an iterative staff review, cataloging by the library, and on to final publication. Read more →

Where to Host a Blog

One of the questions I faced when starting this blog is where should I host it? There are lots of options from several commercial blogging services or from the many free blogging services such as Blogger, SquareSpace, ExpressionEngine, or Because of my employment there is also the option to use the Texas Digital Library’s blogging service based upon WordPress. Then lastly because I have the technical skills and available hosting, I can self publish my blog. Read more →

Microsoft Tools for Repositories Workshop

During the Open Repositories 2009 conference I attended the Microsoft’s “Tools for Repositories” workshop. At the workshop Microsoft was able to get down into the details of their new products and how they are intended to work together. I was impressed by the breadth of work that Microsoft is engaging in to support scholarly publishing use-cases within their tool set. The workshop lasted about 4 hours, longer than most of the other workshops at OR09. Read more →

Customizing DSpace

TDL offers several training classes for DSpace and other software/services we offer. They are a good way to get in depth information on a particular topic; the sessions typically last for a day - in some cases half a day. You’ll be able to get all your questions answered about a particular topic. This last Wednesday after getting back from vacation I co-taught the “DSpace Customization” class with Steve Williams from UT. Read more →

HOWTO: DSpace + Eclipse + Tomcat

Update: There is an updated version of these instructions covering the next version of Eclipse, 3.5 (Galileo). A common question for someone just starting to develop with DSpace is how do others set up their development environment. Often times this isn’t documented anywhere, but a lot of time goes into researching the best way to set things up. Today I co-taught a class on customizing DSpace for TDL. One of the hand outs I created for the class is a simple how to setup DSpace, Eclipse, and Tomcat together for easier development. Read more →

HOWTO: DSpace Batch Import

About a year ago we ran into the problem where a department wanted to ingest content into our repository using a batch ingest format from their internal database system. My initial thought was to pull the page out of the DSpace manual that covers the batch import and hand that over to them so they can build their import. Turns out, that page doesn’t exist. All the DSpace manual will tell you how to do is the syntax the . Read more →