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1. Message from the Editor

Hi everyone. This is the second monthly newsletter, and the first one with a Job Postings section. If your institution or company has available positions which you'd like to advertise among the JA-SIG community, please submit them, along with any other items of interest to the JA-SIG membership, via email to jayshao@rutgers.edu for consideration in the next issue. Please include a subject line containing: NEWSLETTER-CONTRIBUTION with any contributions.

Jason Shao
Editor, JA-SIG Newsletter

2. JA-SIG Membership

Princeton, NJ - January 24, 2007 - JA-SIG, the non-profit organization focusing on the sharing of open technology in higher education, today announced a new membership program and benefits designed to attract worldwide educational institutions and commercial supporters of its enterprise open source applications, including: uPortal, CAS (Centralized Authentication Service), and HyperContent (the full-featured web content management application). The uPortal Project has reached new levels of maturity as adoption continues and technology contributions are received from institutions and commercial partners. With this increasing market penetration, JA-SIG is expanding its membership outreach and program benefits to support additional organizational growth, increased institutional participation, and broader commercial support. Membership information can be found at: http://www.JA-SIG.org/membership.html and the uPortal software can be downloaded at: http://uportal.org/release/allReleases.html.

As the uPortal community expands globally, it is important that the JA-SIG organization grows and evolves in order to best serve the community, our institutional members, and commercial affiliates. The success of our new membership program will allow us to provide the product development planning and organizational structure needed to maintain uPortal, and our other applications, as robust open source alternatives to proprietary software. And, our members will now be able to actively participate in the organization by nominating and voting on board members and by serving on project steering committees.

Institutional Members:
BCcampus, Cornell University, Dalhousie University, Duke University, Indiana University, Juniata College, Princeton University, Queens University, Rutgers University, Rider University, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of California, Irvine, University of Delaware, University of Guelph, University of Hull, University of Kansas Medical Center, University of Manitoba, University of Michigan, University of Rennes 1, University of Winnipeg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Valenciennes, Virginia Tech, York University

Commercial Affiliates:
SunGard Higher Education, Sun Microsystems, Unicon, Inc.

For the full press release see: http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/070124/0206562.html

Jonathan Markow
JA-SIG Board Chair

3. JA-SIG 2007 Summer Conference (With Altitude! - Denver, CO)

JA-SIG With Altitude!
June 24-27, 2007
Denver CO, USA

The JA-SIG conference committee is proud to announce this year's summer conference Sunday through Wednesday, 24-27 June 2007 in Denver, Colorado. There are several exciting changes this year! More sessions, more seminars, more time to network and an additional track specifically for Sakai. http://www.ja-sig.org/conferences/07summer/index.html

The conference has been expanded by an additional day with more time for networking and additional presentations Wednesday morning followed by optional afternoon post-conference in-depth seminars. We will begin as usual on Sunday with a number of exciting half and full day pre-conference seminars and the Sunday evening reception for all attendees. Regular one hour sessions, kiosks and BOFs will run from Monday morning through Wednesday at noon. This expansion will allow for more sessions, possible encores of some sessions, as well as more interaction and collaboration for all attendees. Wednesday afternoon we will offer several half day post-conference seminars.

To whet your appetite here is a preview of some of the seminars to be offered:

  • AJAX: A full day seminar by Sang Shin, Java Technology Evangelist and Architect at Sun Microsystems
  • Kuali: The ins and outs of the Kuali suite over the course of a full day seminar.
  • CAS: A half day soup to nuts CAS seminar by Rutgers University.
  • Sakai: Introducing Sakai: A half day seminar by Anthony Whyte on Sakai's Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE)

Susan Bramhall
JA-SIG 2007 Summer Conference Committee Chair

4. Recent Changes to the JA-SIG Server and Clearinghouse

The JA-SIG Server and Clearinghouse team has been busy doing some clean-up work on the server that houses the various JA-SIG web-based collaboration tools. We recently received some much needed extra disk space when the Univesity of Wisconsin at Madison donated hard drives to JA-SIG. In collaboration with Princeton, who hosts and maintains the server, we were able to increase our capacity by 54G. In addition, the team and board members are working to put together a grant, which would provide us additional hardware for JA-SIG's anticipated membership growth.

You may have also noticed some recent changes with the JA-SIG Clearinghouse software. It is no longer represented by a uPortal instance and has been migrated to a set of wiki pages in our Confluence instance. A link to the new site along with a more detailed explanation of why we made this change, can be found here - http://clearinghouse.ja-sig.org/. The team looks at this solution as an interim one and will soon be engaging the JA-SIG community about a "Next Generation Clearinghouse" and any ideas that you may have.

Other clean-up work includes upgrades to JIRA and Confluence, decommissioning of unused infrastructure, consolidation of duplicate services, installation of new services, and that's only the beginning!

Aaron Godert
Cornell University

5. User Experience Initiatives

The JA-SIG Winter 2006 conference unveiled several promising user experience currents. Foremost was the first release candidate of uPortal 3. This next version of uPortal lays the foundation for significant improvements in the user experience of the portal including support for the highly-touted AJAX and one of its popular by-products, drag-and-drop. Kudos to Peter Kharchenko for his work in implementing the drag-and-drop. Other user experience gains were made in the uPortal 3 theme regarding Web standards, accessibility, and improved usability - big thanks to Shawn Lonas for his work on the uPortal 3 theme. All of these improvements map up to the uPortal 3 user experience goals (http://www.ja-sig.org/wiki/x/z0E). If you are interested in AJAX, drag-and-drop, Web standards, accessibility, or usability, join the user experience email list (details follow) and participate in the user experience activity on the JA-SIG wiki ( http://www.ja-sig.org/wiki/x/OEo).

Another announcement of note was the introduction of the Fluid Project. Colin Clark of the University of Toronto visited the conference and gave an overview of the project (see an overview of the Fluid technical architecture at http://colin.atrc.utoronto.ca/fluidproject/FluidProjectTechnicalOverview.pdf). This exciting project will be looking at creating a UI component library of flexible, accessible, and usable interface components. We will be keeping up with the project as it progresses and evaluate how it can integrate with uPortal 3.

The User Experience Birds of a Feather at the Winter conference was well attended, demonstrating the desire of the community to improve uPortal's user experience. I encourage you to view the notes from the UE BoF here: http://www.ja-sig.org/wiki/x/cUo. User experience discussion now has an official home! Any and all user experience topics can now be discussed on the JA-SIG user experience email list (jasig-ue@lists.ja-sig.org). To join, go to: http://www.ja-sig.org/wiki/x/40k. I look forward to hearing from you.

Gary Thompson
Unicon

6. Unicon Announces New Cooperative Support Program for uPortal

Unicon, Inc. recently introduced a new uPortal Cooperative Support Program for higher education. It features a dedicated team of expert development and technical support specialists for uPortal to provide direct technical support and assistance to individual subscriber institutions in the program. This new program is consistent with the open source philosophy of contributing features and fixes towards the overall progress of uPortal, as the resulting enhancements will be shared with the open source community. It also addresses individual institution's need for a predictable cost support solution for uPortal.

Support issues are managed on a priority basis with an escalation mechanism available for high priority issues. All development work performed by the team will be undertaken in direct participation uPortal open source Web portal initiative. The uPortal Cooperative Support Program is a strong complement to Unicon's professional services for uPortal which include various bundled services comprised of implementation, project planning, installation, configuration, branding, and training components. More information is available at: http://www.unicon.net/support_1123.html.

Unicon

7. uPortal: 2.5.4 update

A hearty welcome to Paul Gazda as a new uPortal committer. Thanks to Drew Wills, UnionSecurityContext now supports computing the union of any ISecurityContext implementations, and not just ChainingSecurityContext subclasses. Thanks to Cris Holdorph, uPortal 2.5.4 and uPortal 2.6 will compile under JDK 6 by virtue of his enhancements to RDBMServices. Eric Dalquist has begun soliciting volunteers for hosting the next uPortal Developers' Meeting and persons interested in attending should look out for a date/location announcement.

Andrew Petro
uPortal 2.5.x Release Engineer

8. Hypercontent Website

The Hypercontent website is in the midst of a rework in it's Information Architecture which should serve to highlight some of the features of recent releases.

Alex Vigdor
Hypercontent Architect & Lead Developer

9. CAS: Server 3.1m1, 3.0.7, Documentation Efforts

On January 24th, 2007, the JA-SIG CAS project released CAS Server 3.1 Milestone 1, a technology preview of its next major release. This preview includes a re-architected web tier to support multiple authentication protocols concurrently. Milestone 1 demonstrates this capability by being able to speak both the CAS protocol and the SAML 1.1 protocol. With support for SAML 1.1, comes the ability to send attributes about the user back to the client application. The newest CAS Client for Java 3.1 Milestone 1 demonstrates this with its ability to "speak" SAML 1.1. Note that as these releases are technology previews, and are thus "sneak peaks", they are not intended for production use. The upcoming Milestone 2 of the CAS Server 3.1 will include better support for managing Services that use CAS.

Within the next few weeks, the CAS project will also release a CAS 3.0.7 maintenance release which will update dependencies and fix any outstanding bugs. There are currently no planned maintenance releases for the CAS Client for Java.

The CAS team is currently looking for volunteers to collaborate on an effort to improve the existing CAS documentation, including CAS server configuration options, CAS client configuration, and tutorials on customizing CAS. If you are interested in helping, please contact Scott Battaglia <scott.battaglia@gmail.com>.

Scott Battaglia
CAS Server 3.0 Lead Developer

10. JA-SIG With Altitude: Call For Proposals

Deadline for submission of proposals for half or full day seminars: Feb 7, 2007
Deadline for submission of proposals for regular one hour sessions: March 7, 2007

Now open for the JA-SIG Summer 2007 Conference. We welcome your proposals in the following areas:

  • Addressing the Enterprise
    This is the track for enterprise strategies and partner-based solutions where the topics are: making community source work in the enterprise; investing in community source; governance, support, and risk reduction; where policy, requirements, and technology meet; executive planning and strategy; integration with infrastructure; the value of service-oriented architecture and web services models; project oversight, user requirements; working with functional offices; change management; marketing and promotion.
  • Projects, Applications, and Solutions
    In this track the focus is applications and how they are implemented to deliver solutions. Topics include project management, application solution deployment, operational and configuration issues, load balancing, portals and portlets, content management, channel development, repository management, release management, identity management, authentication and authorization, service-oriented architecture, and database management.
  • Design and Technical Development
    This track covers everything to do with coding and the environments in which coding is done, including the design process. If your interests include building code, understanding APIs and protocols, or design work that leads to code, this is the track for you. Topics include technical aspects of Java IDEs, development frameworks, Spring, WSRP, AJAX, Eclipse, Hibernate, Java Server Faces, WS-*, and Kuali Rice as well as the technical underpinnings of services such as CAS and uPortal.
  • SAKAI Project Topics
    This track is designed for content pertaining to Sakai at all levels. A special addition to this year's JA-SIG summer conference, it is designed particularly for people who cannot attend this year's Sakai Conference in Amsterdam. Topics will include updates and information from the Amsterdam Conference.

Proposal forms, topic suggestions, and contact information are provided on the JA-SIG Conference Website. Submit your proposal and join the JA-SIG crowd in Denver this June!
For all the details, visit http://www.ja-sig.org/conferences/07summer/index.html

11. Job Posting: Rutgers - Consulting Application Developer

Rutgers is in the process of hiring an individual to manage ongoing identity management and middleware (including portal) initiatives. The position is both hands-on technical, and involves planning and project management. Listing: http://uhr.rutgers.edu/jobpostings/aps/Detail.asp?id=06-001297

12. Job Posting: Rutgers - Application Developer

Rutgers is looking to add a developer to the middleware (including portal) team. Listing: http://uhr.rutgers.edu/jobpostings/aps/Detail.asp?id=06-001365

13. Job Posting: Unicon - Software Engineer I

Unicon is seeking to hire a Software Engineer. Listing: http://jobs.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?1226