Friday, May 26, 2006 3:17 PM
Some major additions to the Ajax Index Popups:
- Now usable for validation lists
- Entry separator now a parameter
- Other fields now a parameter
- Options to avoid putting plaintext passwords in the query string
Validation List Browsing Same features as index browsing, including paging, find-as-you-type, selection builder, etc. Scales up to even very large enormous big big validation lists. Entry Separator Parameter Particularly useful for picking from validation lists. Defaults to bullet (·) but can be overriden depending on the environment. (Genie entry separator is different than ordinary WebPublisher, which is different again from Inmagic ODBC.) Other Fields Parameter I don't know why I didn't add this in the first place. Other fields can be chosen for browsing by the user once the index popup has loaded. No, the field lists aren't merged. But a plus is that alternative labels can be identified for these other fields. E.g. you have a field named "ugly_fld_name", but can have it display as "Gorgeous Field". Password Options Passwords can be passed in plaintext with the query string to the index popup, or a single "master" password can be set in the config file to be used every time, or password 'translations' can be set in the config file - i.e. when query string password=pass1, use "mypassword" as the real password. This means you do not have to let your actual textbase-level passwords be viewable in your HTML. Of course, any sniffer would be able to get the real password from the HTTP request, but at least your page visitors won't easily be able to read the password by going to "view source".
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:27 PM
I like to call web WebPublisher's out-of-the-box data entry "plain vanilla" to set it apart from what we can do with ASP.NET. I just added some chocolate swirl to WebPublisher.PlainVanilla:
- Made it possible to have dropdowns in a web edit form.
- The dropdowns are dynamically populated with the field's validation list on page load.
- If editing an existing record, the field's value is selected in the list on load, or is added to the option list if not found there already.
Ah, the wonders of AJAX.
Friday, May 19, 2006 9:14 AM
Desktop Library Module Sign Out While Genie is a wondrous thing and I encourage everyone to buy at least 2 copies each, the desktop library module is not yet dead and can be a good fit for the right people. Now that it is no longer being upgraded officially by Inmagic, one can really go nuts on customizing it without worrying about whether the next maintenance update will break everything one has built. So in that spirit, and driven by the needs of our lovably demanding clients (you know who you are :), there's been an opportunity to do some neat stuff:
- Add a Holds database and work that into the loans process. (Like, hey, don't loan this because it has a hold on it.)
- One-button renewal feature.
- Loan period taken from catalog item.
- Due dates and loan periods editable on sign-out.
- Various checks and warnings at sign-out based on borrower type, catalog item type - all overridable.
Sign-out becomes a fairly complicated beast with all these edit and override possibilities, so I completely rewrote it to revolve around the concept of an Item List. The list keeps track of all the bits of information about a barcode you want to sign out:
- is there a hold on the item?
- how many holds?
- is the top hold to the selected borrower?
- is the item meant to be circulated (e.g. is it a non-circ reference title maybe)?
- what is the loan period for the item?
- does the item's audience match the selected borrower's allowed audience types?
- what is this item's title?
Here's an example screenshot showing the item info for three barcodes: The first two barcodes do not want to be loaned. The first because there are holds on it, the second because it's non-circ. These warnings can be overriden. I shied away from popup ok/cancel warnings in favour of these item info lines, visual representations of the Item List. These item lines can be manually edited. I can force the non-circ item to loan for 7 days, for example: Due dates are automatically calculated for manually entered loan periods, and vice versa, as soon as I tab out of the item info box. And as soon as it has a due date, it's loanable: The only down side to all this is that Inmagic allows a maximum of 30,000 characters for a script, and this one hit 37,440 (with spaces). Thank goodness for JS Squish.
Friday, May 12, 2006 3:39 PM
Health librarians from around the globe have converged here, on UBC's beautiful Point Grey campus, to immerse themselves in the Cool Tools continuing education course. Yes, from 1:30 until 5:30 pm tonight, these information valkyries will be swooping down on unsuspecting blog/wiki/rss sites until they just can't take it anymore. I am sitting here surrounded by the swirling babble of excited voices, a cacaphony of (Rex says hi) stuff and these people will just NOT STOP LEARNING. Like sponges. Stop. Stop it. Learn no more, I beg you. Later, we will tuck these exhausted mavens under the metaphorical blankie of sufficient education, and say good night. But until then, I remain... A big idiot.
Thursday, May 11, 2006 11:19 AM
I was in Regina last week for the Saskatchewan Library Association Conference
. One of the best things about it was the presentation by David Suzuki
as he was on a book tour for his new book, DAVID SUZUKI: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY. I have always liked his story-telling style from way back to my undergraduate days when I sat in on many of his undergraduate Genetics classes.
Although I did not meet up with the folks from the Saskatoon Public Library
when I was at this conference, I did show off their site a few times, specifically their Inmagic databases
. I like what this site illustrates; that you can use Inmagic software for a huge variety of databases AND in a public library setting.
One thing that they have done is to have a multi-textbase search on all their databases. I did a search on RANKIN and got references to obituaries, newspaper articles, novels in sequence, sheet music, local history, government publications, talking books, and art exhibit catalogues. Obviously if I was looking for Ian Rankin
novels in a sequence, I should have gone to that database first, but it was fun to see what the multi-textbase search brought up. I encourage more folks to use their Inmagic software for more than just their library catalogue and to use the multi-textbase search option of Web Publisher Pro.