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East Carolina University Onestop. Leveraging Enterprise Portal Technology Steven Forehand, Manager, NTDG forehands@mail.ecu.edu. Who is East Carolina University?. Founded in 1907 Located in Greenville, North Carolina (about 80 miles south-east of Raleigh)

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east carolina university onestop

East Carolina University Onestop

Leveraging Enterprise Portal TechnologySteven Forehand, Manager, NTDG


who is east carolina university
Who is East Carolina University?
  • Founded in 1907
  • Located in Greenville, North Carolina (about 80 miles south-east of Raleigh)
  • Approximately 22,000 enrolled students
  • Approximately 3,500 staff members.
  • Offers approximately 100 Bachelor degree programs, 18 Masters degree programs, and 13 doctoral programs
  • Visit http://www.ecu.edu for more.
who am i
Who am I?
  • Steven Forehand
  • Current Manager of the New Technologies Development Group… more later…
  • Graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. in Computer Science
  • 9+ years of software development experience
  • Been employed by ECU since 1997.
who is the ntdg
Who is the NTDG?
  • New Technologies Development Group
  • Resides with Software Development Services
  • Part of ECU’s Information Technology and Computing Services (ITCS)
  • Consists of 3 distinct divisions with 14 total employees… more later…
  • Primarily responsible for the investigation, development and implementation of “newer” technologies
ntdg divisions
NTDG Divisions
  • Investigation and Integration – 3 dedicated staff, development of Onestop portal
  • Application Development – 6 dedicated staff, development of applications
  • Web Initiatives and QA – 4 dedicated staff, main ECU website, usability and interface, ADA, Quality Assurance
  • Each division has a project coordinator
ntdg in a nutshell
NTDG in a “nutshell”

The NTDG is mainly responsible for….

  • E-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
what is a onestop
What is a “Onestop”?
  • Traditional Portal functionality
  • Addition of managed, secure software development environment
  • Offers services for entire campus community (i.e. students, staff, advisers, instructors, etc)
  • Designed and developed using Macromedia Coldfusion
  • For lack of better term… “Campus Portal”
why macromedia coldfusion
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?
  • Minimal costs
  • CFML syntax is tag-based
  • No manual compile process for testing
  • Source can be encrypted
  • Short learning curve
  • Allows code reuse and extensibility
    • Custom tags (CFML and java based)
    • User defined functions (UDF)
  • External object calls
    • Java
    • C++
why macromedia coldfusion1
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?
  • Easy to manage application and session data within applications
  • IDE ColdFusion Studio and now Dreamweaver are very user friendly
  • File Management (Visual SourceSafe) from within ColdFusion Studio
  • Easy server administration
    • Simple database connectivity
    • Job/template scheduling
  • Clustering capability
why macromedia coldfusion2
Why Macromedia Coldfusion?
  • Large developer community provided excellent support
    • Coding methodologies (fusebox)
    • Custom tags and code snippets
    • Answers to the rare question
  • Most legacy developers find syntax and concepts easy to understand
ecu onestop development
ECU Onestop Development
  • Developed initially by a team of dedicated, talented software developers
  • Provides service to the entire campus (ie students, faculty, staff)
  • First University “portal” within the N.C. University system
  • Was a lot of fun!
develop why not purchase
Develop? Why not purchase?
  • Evaluated packaged and open-source solutions (i.e. Uportal)
  • Others did not offer the “entire” package
  • Functionality was somewhat limited
  • Some processes were unnecessarily difficult (i.e. channel development)
  • Had a talented staff… could do it ourselves… and better.
is the onestop successful
Is the Onestop successful?
  • Used by over 98% of students
  • Used by over 94% of staff and faculty
  • Over 15,000,000 logins by 82,000 unique visitors since 2000
  • Strong campus support
  • Recently selected over Sungard/SCT Luminis … more later…
  • Nearly zero maintenance
  • Requires little funding
sct luminis vs ecu onestop
SCT Luminis vs ECU Onestop
  • ECU recently purchased Sungard/SCT Banner Enterprise solution.
  • After analysis, Onestop chosen over SCT Luminis as campus “portal”
  • ECU Onestop 100% compatible with SCT Banner (including self-service applications)
  • ZERO functionality loss with selection of Onestop over Luminis…
  • Onestop better financial decision (ie maintenace, support, etc)
  • Onestop will work with ANY campus’ SCT Banner implementation (or other ERP solution)
  • Servers use 128-bit SSL security for HTTP requests
  • ECU Onestop requires login by University userid and passphrase
  • Servers located behind several firewalls
  • Hardware clustering solution offers better performance and security
  • Datasources are located behind firewall
  • To date, no major hacks
ecu onestop login process
ECU Onestop Login Process
  • Go to http://onestop.ecu.edu
  • Login using University email userid and passphrase
  • Login verified
  • Roles and permissions are established
  • Session created
  • Access granted! Have fun
roles and group permissions
Roles and Group Permissions
  • Roles and permissions are determined dynamically according to University databases
  • Can 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 permissions1
Roles and Group Permissions
  • Content and applications based on roles or combination of roles
  • Dynamic roles allow “instant” access to applications and content
  • Dynamic roles require very little maintenance
  • Allows creation of traditional, maintained groups.
ecu onestop tabs
ECU Onestop “Tabs”
  • Sections of the portal content are accessed through “tabs”
  • Each tab contains user specific and customizable content
  • Not all tabs are available to all users
ecu onestop tabs1
ECU Onestop “Tabs”
  • Home – first tab encountered, channelized content with login area
  • My Page – traditional “portal” with channelized, personal content
  • Tools – personalized applications available to users
  • Profile – “snapshot” of current user
  • Community – threaded discussion, chat
  • Email – one click access to University email system
have it your way
Have it your way
  • Look and feel entirely customized by user
  • Themes change the look (graphics) of all content including individual applications
  • My Page channels can be selected and arranged
  • Channels can be “forced”
  • Again, content and applications available are based on “roles”
applications available
Applications Available

A sample of typical “student” applications or “tools”….

  • Course grades and schedules
  • Course catalogs
  • Course registration
  • Tuition payments
  • Parking Citations and Appeals (interacts with T2 solution)
  • Various surveys (i.e. DE Survey, Adviser Survey, etc)
  • More
applications available1
Applications Available

A sample of typical applications offered to advisers, instructors, employees, etc.

  • Advisee listing – including contact information and schedules
  • Course rosters – including contact information and schedules
  • Service Request
  • View pay check information
  • Faculty and Staff training
  • Publications database
  • Academic difficulty reports
  • More
applications available2
Applications Available

A sample of typical applications offered to all (or most) users…

  • Employment opportunities
  • Campus Directory / People Search
  • Register vehicle and purchase permit
  • Majors and degrees
  • Course catalog
  • Graduation and honors listing
application development
Application Development
  • “Portal” and internal applications written in CFML.
  • APIs provided for formatting, data elements, and business logic.
  • “Portal” and internal applications written using Fusebox development methodology
  • Rapid Application Development
questions to ask ourselves
Questions to ask ourselves
  • What 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?
what s missing changes
What’s missing? Changes?
  • Dynamic content formatting
    • Currently, each channel or app is responsible for display
    • Theme settings passed to apps for formatting
    • Multiple display types established at the application level
      • PDA
      • cell phones
    • Consistency is hard to maintain
what s missing changes1
What’s missing? Changes?
  • Reusable code
    • Currently, some reusable code is stored in CF Custom Tags and UDFs
      • Not efficient
      • Duplicate code in various channels / apps is difficult to maintain
  • Adaptability to other channel standards
  • Advanced Proxy capability
what s missing changes2
What’s missing? Changes?
  • Single Sign-On capability
  • Interaction with JMS (i.e. SCT LDI)
  • Greater use of web services to syndicate data for external and internal sites.
  • Portal Standards
    • Investigating three
      • JSR 168 Portlet Spec
      • JA-SIG channel archive (educational market)
      • Web Services for Remote Portals (WSRP)
  • As always, improved performance
moving forward version 2
Moving Forward…“Version 2”
  • Single Sign-On
  • JMS
  • Expanded development API
  • Environment controlled content rather and application controlled
  • Full support of SCT Banner solution
  • Macromedia “Blackstone” or CF version 7.0
  • Expanded Channel architecture support
expectations with version 2
Expectations with “Version 2”
  • Will be based on Macromedia MX 7.0 platform.
  • Will be “object” based
  • Better support for external applications (i.e. Banner, Blackboard, T2, etc.) not based on CFML.
  • Better support of industry standards
  • Fall 2005 “beta” release
  • Possible package and licensing for marketing
so how does it work

So… how does it work?

Live Demo… Keep our fingers crossed!