Difference between revisions of "Upgrading WeBWorK"

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Jane Smith's initial password will be her <code>Student ID</code> <code>1234</code>. Now login as Jane Smith and play around a little.
Jane Smith's initial password will be her <code>Student ID</code> <code>1234</code>. Now login as Jane Smith and play around a little.
==Optional Configurations==
'''Optional A''' stores WeBWorK's "temporary" files in a separate partition.
'''Optional B''' installs and configures a lightweight webserver to serve static files.
'''Optional C''' configures Apache so that access to WeBWorK will be through SSL.
===Implement Optional A (wwtmp)===
Now is the time to implement '''Optional A''' if you choose to do so. Actually you can do this at any time and your active courses will continue to function seemingly without change. The only change behind the scenes will be that temporary files will be stored in a different location. Note that if you want to use this option but did not create <code>wwtmp</code>. as a separate partition, you first have to create the directory <code>/var/www/wwtmp</code>.
First we set the group and permissions for the <code>wwtmp</code> directory
$ su
<root password>
# cd /var/www
# chgrp wwdata wwtmp
# chmod ug+w wwtmp
# chmod g+s wwtmp
# exit
Next we have to edit <code>global.conf</code> so that WeBWorK uses the new <code>wwtmp</code> directory. Since we have a working WeBWorK system, first we make a backup copy of <code>global.conf</code>.
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp global.conf global.conf.bak1
$ gedit global.conf
Now edit <code>global.conf</code>. Find the lines
$webworkDirs{htdocs_temp} = "$webworkDirs{htdocs}/tmp";
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = "$webworkURLs{htdocs}/tmp";
and replace them by
#$webworkDirs{htdocs_temp} = "$webworkDirs{htdocs}/tmp";
#$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = "$webworkURLs{htdocs}/tmp";
$webworkDirs{htdocs_temp} = '/var/www/wwtmp';
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = '/wwtmp';
Next find the lines
$courseDirs{html_temp} = "$courseDirs{html}/tmp";
$courseURLs{html_temp} = "$courseURLs{html}/tmp";
and replace them by
#$courseDirs{html_temp} = "$courseDirs{html}/tmp";
#$courseURLs{html_temp} = "$courseURLs{html}/tmp";
$courseDirs{html_temp} = "/var/www/wwtmp/$courseName";
$courseURLs{html_temp} = "/wwtmp/$courseName";
Then save the file and quit. If you look at the <code>wwtmp</code> directory you will find it empty but after you restart apache and then access some WeBWorK problems, you will find temporary directories and files in <code>wwtmp</code>. Remember your have to restart apache for these changes to take effect.
===Implement Optional B (lighttpd)===
As is the case for '''Optional A''' you can implement '''Optional B''' at any time and your active courses will continue to function seemingly without change. The only change behind the scenes will be that static images and pages will be served by a light weight web server.
First we install the light weight webserver <code>lighttpd</code>
# Open the <code>Synaptic Package Manager</code> (select <code>System</code>, <code>Administration</code>, <code>Synaptic Package Manager</code>).
# Select <code>Search</code>
# Search for <code>lighttpd</code> and select it
# In the pop up window <code>Mark additional required changes?</code> click <code>Mark</code> to accept the requirements.
# Now click <code>Apply</code> and <code>Apply</code> again to confirm the changes.
You can now quit the <code>Synaptic Package Manager</code>.
Now we configure <code>lighttpd</code>. First let's make a backup of the configuration file.
$ su
<root password>
# cd /etc/lighttpd
# cp lighttpd.conf lighttpd.conf.bak1
Now edit <code>lighttpd.conf</code>.
# gedit lighttpd.conf
Uncomment the line
# "mod_status",
so it becomes
Apache2 is listening on port 80 so we need an alternate port for lighttp to listen to. Standard alternate ports for this are usually 81, 8000, or 8080. 8080 is the only port that is listed as an official alternate at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_TCP_and_UDP_port_numbers . Note that in rare cases an installation may block httpd requests to port 8080. If any of your students report that they can not see graphics, they will have to request that access to requests to port 8080 be allowed.
Find the line
# server.port = 81
uncomment it and change 81 to 8080 so that it reads
server.port = 8080
Finally uncomment the line
# status.status-url = "/server-status"
so it becomes
status.status-url = "/server-status"
Then save the file and quit.
Now restart lighttp
<root password>
# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart
# exit
Note that you can just run <code>/etc/init.d/lighttpd</code> to get a list of all options.
Now test your server by connecting to
"http://localhost:8080/" and/or connecting to your
server from a browser on a remote machine. You should see the page '''It works!''' indicating that lighttp is running.
You can check lighttp's status by connecting to
"http://localhost:8080/server-status" using a browser on your machine or from to "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/server-status" from a browser on a remote machine.
The Server-Status page doesn't indicate that lighttp is the web server, but it's certainly different than apache's Server-Status page "http://localhost/server-status".
Next we configure WeBWorK to take advantage of lighttp.
First let's make a backup copy of <code>global.conf</code> so that we can easily back out of these changes if necessary.
# cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
# cp global.conf global.conf.bak2
Now edit <code>global.conf</code>. Note that while '''Optional B''' is independent of '''Optional A''', we assume most people implementing '''Optional B''' will have already implemented '''Optional A'''. Therefore we give instructions for editing
global.conf assuming that '''Optional A''' has been implemented. If this is not the case, modify the instructions below accordingly. Also replace <code>yourserver.yourschool.edu</code> with the correct address.
# gedit global.conf
Find the line
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = '/wwtmp'
and replace it by
#$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = '/wwtmp';
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp} = 'http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/wwtmp';
Find the line
$courseURLs{html_temp} = "/wwtmp/$courseName";
and replace it by
#$courseURLs{html_temp} = "/wwtmp/$courseName";
$courseURLs{html_temp} = "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/wwtmp/$courseName";
Then save the file and quit.
Now restart apache and lighttp.
$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
password:<wwadmin password>
$ sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart
To test things go to your test course <code>http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/myTestCourse/</code>. Before you login right click on the WeBWorK icon in the upper left hand corner of the login page. The click on Properties (or whatever is appropriate on your browser) and check that the image is being served from port 8080 (something like <code>http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/webwork2_files/images/webwork_rectangle.png</code>. Then log into your course and view a problem with typeset equations (e.g. Problem 1 of the Demo set). Again right click on the typeset equation and check that the image is being served from port 8080.
===Implement Optional C (SSL)===
'''Optional C''' configures apache so that access to WeBWorK will be through an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) with an https: URL. Note that if you implemented '''Optional B''', the non encrypted lighttp server will be used for images, etc but there is no harm in that.
I cribbed these directions from several sources, the main one being http://www.akadia.com/services/ssh_test_certificate.html.
We will create and work in a <code>tmp</code> directory.
$ cd
$ mkdir tmp
$ cd tmp
First we create an RSA Private Key.
$ openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 1024
When you are asked for a <code>pass phrase</code>, enter a phrase which we refer to as <code>&lt;my pass phrase&gt;</code> and then confirm it. Next generate a Certificate Signing Request
$ openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
Enter the requested information. '''Important:''' when you are prompted for the <code>Common Name</code> enter your server's fully qualified domain name, something like <code>yourserver.yourschool.edu</code>. You can leave the last two items
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:
One unfortunate side-effect of the pass-phrased private key is that Apache will ask for the pass-phrase each time the web server is started. Obviously this is not necessarily convenient as someone will not always be around to type in the pass-phrase, such as after a reboot or crash. We will remove this but you must keep this file secure.
$ cp server.key server.key.bak1
$ openssl rsa -in server.key.bak1 -out server.key
Next we generate a self-signed certificate which is good for 365 days
$ openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt
Now we become root, move these files, and set their group and permission.
$ su
<root password>
# mv server.crt /etc/ssl/private
# mv server.key /etc/ssl/private
# cd /etc/ssl/private
# chgrp ssl-cert server.*
# chmod 640 server.*
Next we enable the <code>mod_ssl</code> module
# a2enmod ssl
Now we have to configure Apache to use SSL.
# cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
# cp default default.bak1
# gedit default
Replace the first line
NameVirtualHost *
by the two lines
NameVirtualHost *:80
NameVirtualHost *:443
Now edit the next non blank line
<VirtualHost *>
changing it to
<VirtualHost *:80>
Next copy the entire section
<VirtualHost *:80>
(that is the whole VirtualHost section to the end of the file) and paste it into the file at the end of the file. Now we edit this new pasted section.
Edit the new second
<VirtualHost *:80>
changing it to
<VirtualHost *:443>
Now at the end of the file just above the line
add the three lines
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/private/server.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/server.key
Then save the file and quit.
Finally we restart Apache
# apache2ctl graceful
and test things. Connect to https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/myTestCourse
You will be asked to accept the certificate. After you do so things should work just as before except that all the connection will be via https (except for images, etc if you using lighttp).
Assuming that everything is working, the last thing we do is set things up so that requests to http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/ are automatically redirected to https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/.
# gedit default
In the
<VirtualHost *:80>
section just above the line
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
add the line
Redirect permanent /webwork2 https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2
where of course you should edit <code>yourserver.yourschool.edu</code> appropriately.
Then save the file and quit.
Restart Apache
# apache2ctl graceful
and try connecting to http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/. The real connection should be through https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/.
==Updating WeBWorK files==
==Updating WeBWorK files==
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Cvs will warn you that the file was lost and then download the new version. You can do a <code>diff</code> between the new and old versions to see what changes have been made. That way you have two files (new and old) and both will compile.
Cvs will warn you that the file was lost and then download the new version. You can do a <code>diff</code> between the new and old versions to see what changes have been made. That way you have two files (new and old) and both will compile.
If you want to update the whole WeBWorK system, I would suggest doing the following.
$ cd /opt/webwork
$ sudo mv webwork2 webwork2_old
$ sudo mv pg pg_old
and then install the new version of <code>webwork2</code> and <code>pg</code> following the directions above. That way you can recover you old system simply by moving the old versions back. You also will have an old copy of your configuration files that you probably want when you edit the new ones.
==Where to go From Here ==
You should play around with <code>myTestCourse</code> e.g. click on <code>Library Browser</code> and browse the <code>Problem Library</code> and also the <code>Rochester</code> and <code>Union</code> libraries.
Look at http://webhost.math.rochester.edu/webworkdocs/docs/courseadmin/usingwebwork
Read [[Course Administration]] for more information about creating courses.
Consult [[Category:Administrators]] for other WeBWorK documentation for system administrators.
Consult [[Category:Administrators]] for other WeBWorK documentation for system administrators.
-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 15 Dec 2009 <br />
-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 27 Oct 2010 <br />
[[Category:Installation Manuals]]
[[Category:Installation Manuals]]

Revision as of 13:33, 27 October 2010

Construction.png This article is under construction. Use the information herein with caution until this message is removed.

These instructions cover upgrading the WeBWorK system (webwork2, pg, and problem libraries), and are especially designed to cover the case when you have existing WeBWorK courses.

They are conservative in the sense that they save your old WeBWorK system in such a way that you can quickly switch out your new system and switch back in your old system if need be.

Assummed Set Up

For convenience I will assume you that your WeBWorK system has been set up using recommended directory locations, etc. as in e.g. Installation Manual for 2.4 on Ubuntu 10.04. Specifically I'll assume

  • the top level webwork2, pg, and libraries directories are
    • /opt/webwork/webwork2
    • /opt/webwork/pg
    • /opt/webwork/libraries
  • the files and directories are owned by the WeBWorK administrator wwadmin
  • files and directories that the webserver (Apache2) needs write access to are in the group wwdata


First some short comments on notation we will be using. We will use <key> to indicate that you should press a specific key (e.g. <Enter>, <Tab>, <F12>, etc.). Sometimes we will also use e.g. <root password> to indicate you have to enter the root password.

^ will indicate the <Ctrl> key so e.g. ^X is really shorthand for <Ctrl> <X>, i.e. press the Ctrl key and hit the X key.

We will use # to indicate that the command is to be run as root e.g.

# perl -MCPAN -e shell

and $ to indicate that the command is to be run as a normal user e.g.

$ cp .bashrc .bashrc.bak1

Downloading the WeBWorK System Software

We will use Subversion to download WeBWorK. Note that the following are rather long commands; it is much easier to copy (^C) them from this document and paste (<Shift> <Ctrl> <V>) them in a terminal window.

We assume you are logged in as the WeBWorK administrator (wwadmin) and will download these files to a downloads directory under wwadmin's home directory.

$ cd
$ cd downloads

$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/system/trunk/webwork2
$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/system/trunk/pg

These give you the latest released version

The main information page about WebWork downloads is available at http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Download

Saving the old system

First we save the old system

$ cd /opt/webwork/
$ mv webwork2 webwork2_old
$ mv pg pg_old

Installing the New System

Move the System into the Required Directories

$ cd
$ cd downloads/
$ mv webwork2 /opt/webwork/
$ mv pg /opt/webwork/

Setting Permissions

The PG installation directory and files should be owned by wwadmin and not writable by other users:

$ cd /opt/webwork/pg
$ chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX .

Most WeBWorK directories and files should also be owned by wwadmin and not writable by other users:

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2
$ chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX .

Certain data directories need to be writable by the web server. These are DATA, htdocs/tmp, logs, and tmp. It is convenient to give WeBWorK administrators access to these directories as well, so they can perform administrative tasks such as removing temporary files, creating and editing courses from the command line, managing logs, and so on. Thus we assume there is a group called wwdata, containing both the WeBWorK administrators and the web server.

Now we make the WeBWorK directories that need to be writable by the web server have wwdata as their group. The following are rather long commands; you might want to copy them and paste them into your terminal window rather than typing them.

$ su
Password: <root password>
# cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/
# chgrp -R wwdata DATA htdocs/tmp logs tmp
# chmod -R g+w DATA  htdocs/tmp logs tmp
# find DATA/ htdocs/tmp logs/ tmp/ -type d -a ! \( -name .svn -prune \) -exec chmod g+s {} \;
# exit

Configuring WeBWorK

Making Copies of the Distribution Configuration Files

Before configuring the system, you must make local copies of the global.conf and database.conf configuration files, located in /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/ .

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp global.conf.dist global.conf
$ cp database.conf.dist database.conf
$ cp webwork.apache2-config.dist webwork.apache2-config

Global Configuration

Most WeBWorK configuration is done in the file /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/global.conf. This file provides system-wide configuration settings, and defaults for course settings. Any setting in this file can be overridden in the course.conf file for a particular course. To override a setting for a course, just put the new setting (using the same syntax as is in global.conf) in the course.conf file.

Most of the global configurations settings you want will be in your old configuration file /opt/webwork/webwork2_old/conf/global.conf. Assuming you have kept your global.conf file up to date, a good way to see if there are changes that you need to make is to do a diff between your old global.conf.dist file and the new one.

$ cd /opt/webwork
$ diff webwork2/conf/global.conf.dist webwork2_old/conf/global.conf.dist

You should incorporate any changes into your global.conf file. Perhaps a safer procedure is to do a diff between your old global.conf file and the new one (which is a copy of global.conf.dist).

 $ diff webwork2/conf/global.conf webwork2_old/conf/global.conf

If there are only minor changes to the new global.conf.dist file, you may want to copy your old global.conf file

$ cp webwork2_old/conf/global.conf  webwork2/conf/global.conf

and then edit it.

It there are major changes, you probably want to start with the new version /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/global.conf and edit is using the old version /opt/webwork/webwork2_old/conf/global.conf as a guide.

You should also check to make sure the database.conf file is up to date.

$ diff webwork2/conf/database.conf webwork2_old/conf/database.conf

jsMath Settings

Version 2.0 of jsMath introduced a new fallback method for when the TeX fonts are not available on the student's computer. This uses images of the individual TeX characters in place of the TeX fonts. These are distributed in webwork2/htdocs/jsMath/jsMath-fonts.tar.gz, and you need to unpack this tarball before jsMath will work properly. Use the command

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/jsMath
$ tar vfxz jsMath-fonts.tar.gz

This will unpack the archive. Since there are 20,000 tiny files, it can take a little while, so the v option is used to show you the names as they are unpacked so that you know the command is actually doing something. Once the images are unpacked, jsMath's image mode fallback (the default fallback method) will work properly.

Install MathJax

General information on MathJax can be found at http://www.mathjax.org/ and general installation instructions are at http://www.mathjax.org/resources/docs/?installation.html .

First we download MathJax. We generally recommend using the trunk version which is the latest development version. If you prefer to use the most stable version (that may not include all the latest patches and features), check the documentation above and change the svn command below accordingly.

$ cd
$ cd downloads
$ svn co http://mathjax.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/mathjax/trunk/mathjax mathjax
$ mv mathjax /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/mathjax
$ unzip fonts.zip

Check for updates to courses.dist

You may want to check to see if there are any updates to the modelCourse that you would want to incorporate into your modelCourse.

A good way to see what if anything has been updated recently is to use viewvc: http://webwork.maa.org/viewvc/system/trunk/webwork2/courses.dist/

Note that your modelCourse is already set up at /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse and probably does not need to be updated. If it needs updating the newer version is at /opt/webwork/webwork2/courses.dist/modelCourse

Restart Apache and Test

Restart Apache

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

and then check that WeBWorK is working correctly.

Check to See if the Database Needs Upgrading

If the database structure has changed (e.g. if new columns or tables have been added), you will have to upgrade the database for current courses. If you do not, when you log into a course you will see an error message similar to

DBD::mysql::st execute failed: Unknown column 'merge1.enable_reduced_scoring' in 'field list' at
/opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/DB/Schema/NewSQL/Std.pm line 814.

To check the database log into the admin course and select "Upgrade courses". This initially checks the status of courses and does nothing else. If the listing indicates that some courses need their database tables upgraded, select the courses you want to upgrade and click "Upgrade Courses"

If Something is Wrong Very Wrong Revert Back to Your Old System

If something is wrong you can immediately revert back to your old system:

$ cd /opt/webwork/
$ mv webwork2 webwork2_new
$ mv pg pg_new
$ mv webwork2_old webwork2 
$ mv pg_old pg
$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

You now are using the old system.

Install the WeBWorK Problem Libraries

Before we create a real course we will install the WeBWorK Problem Libraries.

Install the National Problem Library

The National Problem Library consists of both WeBWorK problems and methods for searching and selecting problems. Also it contains as sub libraries many of the other standard libraries. We have to tell WeBWork where to find it.

Edit global.conf.

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit global.conf

Search for problemLibrary and replace $problemLibrary{root} = ""; by
$problemLibrary{root} = "/opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary";

Then save the file and quit.

Run the NPL-update script making sure you are in the /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary directory. This directory contains the files loadDB2 and create_tables2.sql.

$ cd /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary
$ NPL-update

This has to convert a lot of data for over 20,000 problems so please be patient; it can take a long time.

If at some time in the future you want to upgrade the Problem Library, the process is simpler. Optionally remove the previous copy of the library, unpack the new copy in the same place, and run NPL-update.

Finally we put a link to the National Problem Library in the modelCourse so that when we create courses copying templates from the modelCourse, the NPL will be available.

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary Library

Install and Set Up the CAPA Library

This step is optional. It installs and sets up the CAPA Library, which is a library of physics problems.

First we download the CAPA Library including required macros.

$ cd
$ cd downloads
$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/rochester/trunk/rochester_physics_problib

Create a CAPA directory under /opt/webwork and move the CAPA macros there. Then move the CAPA graphics and library files to the required locations and set the group.

$ mkdir /opt/webwork/CAPA
$ cd rochester_physics_problib/macros/                   
$ mv CAPA_Tools /opt/webwork/CAPA/                       
$ mv CAPA_MCTools /opt/webwork/CAPA/                     
$ cd ..                                                                          
$ mv CAPA_Graphics /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/
$ sudo chgrp -R wwdata /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics
  password: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics        
$ cd ..                                                  
$ mv rochester_physics_problib /opt/webwork/libraries/

We need to edit global.conf again

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit global.conf

Search for courseFiles{problibs} and scroll down several lines to the line

#      capaLibrary      => "CAPA",

Uncomment this line (i.e. remove the #) so it becomes

      capaLibrary      => "CAPA",

Next search for Locations of CAPA resources and, if necessary, edit the four following lines so that they read as follows (cut and paste is the best way to do this)

$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Tools}             = "/opt/webwork/CAPA/CAPA_Tools/",        
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_MCTools}           = "/opt/webwork/CAPA/CAPA_MCTools/",      
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_GraphicsDirectory} = "$webworkDirs{htdocs}/CAPA_Graphics/",  
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Graphics_URL}      = "$webworkURLs{htdocs}/CAPA_Graphics/",  

Then save the file and quit. Note that we are setting up the CAPA macros and graphics so that they can be used by any WeBWorK course on the server.

There is one final step that is needed. We have to put a link in the templates directory of every course that needs access to the CAPA Library. If you want to have every course you create have access to the CAPA Library (unlikely unless you are in a physics department) put the link in the modelCourse

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/rochester_physics_problib/ capaLibrary

More likely you just want to do this for individual courses. We don't have any yet. But for example after creating myTestCourse below, to set up access to the CAPA Library from myTestCourse, do the following

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/myTestCourse/templates/
$ sudo ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/rochester_physics_problib/ capaLibrary
password: <wwadmin password>

and do the analogous thing for every course that needs access to the CAPA Library. Then to gain access to the CAPA Library from the course, simply go to the Library Browser and click on the CAPA button.

Create Your First Actual Course

Since we have edited global.conf a lot and this is a very critical file, it would be a good idea to run

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ diff global.conf global.conf.dist

and check that you haven't made any mistakes (e.g. by introducing an inadvertent line break, etc). If there are any mistakes, correct them. Remember that any time you change global.conf, you must restart the Apache webserver in order for these changes to take effect.

Since we have edited global.conf extensively and haven't restartes Apache we do so now.

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
password:<wwadmin password>

Now log into the admin course ( http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/admin ) as yourself or admin and

  1. click on Add Course
  2. For Course ID enter myTestCourse
  3. For Course Title enter My Test Course
  4. Enter your institution
  5. Leave Add WeBWorK administrators to new course checked
  6. Add an additional instructor if you wish
  7. Copy templates from: modelCourse (the default action)
  8. Select sql_single for the database layout (the default action)
  9. Click on Add Course
  10. Click Log into myTestCourse

and log in either as admin or yourself.

At some point you will probably want to "hide" myTestCourse from general view but you already know how to do that.

Test that Things are Working Properly

We will test out a few important parts of WeBWorK. If you run into problems, you should look at the Apache error log which is located at /var/log/apache2/error.log.

Click on Hmwk Sets Editor on the Main Menu. Then select (by clicking the circle button) Import, select setDemo.def from the from drop down list and select all current users from the assigning this set to drop down list. Then hit Take Action!

Now click on Homework Sets on the Main Menu and click on Demo. Then look at the problems. Mathematical equations should be typeset. If not, edit the file Constants.pm in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK. Change the line $WeBWorK::PG::ImageGenerator::PreserveTempFiles = 0; to ...::PreserveTempFiles = 1;. Then restart Apache and view the first couple problems or some new ones. Then look in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/tmp/. cd to one of the ImageGenerator.../tmp/ directories and look at the error and log files there. When you fix the problem remember to edit ...::PreserveTempFiles = 1; back to 0 and restart Apache or you will be saving a lot of unnecessary files. Another useful trick is to try downloading a hard copy of an assignment and then (assuming there are errors) looking at the various log files that are linked to on the output page.

When you continue looking at problems you will probably get an error when you try to look at Problem 6 because you may not have configured the CAPA macros which are required to display CAPA problems. Unless you are teaching physics you probably don't need them. Also in Problem 9 the Java applet will not load. Problem 9 was written in the 90's and used an applet on a server at The Johns Hopkins University. The server went away a long time ago but we have retained this problem for historical reasons and also because it is a example of several things (e.g. WeBWorK problems can include applets running on remote servers but this can lead to other problems).

Next click on Prob. List to bring back the Problem List Page and click on Download a hardcopy of this homework set. The page is a little complicated because you are a professor (students see a very simple page) but you can just scroll to the bottom and click on Generate hardcopy for selected users and selected sets. You will get an error (because of the bad Problem 6) but just click Download Hardcopy to get what was generated. Also you can see links to various informational files that are available if you run into problems (normally these files are removed if there are no errors).

Another thing to do is to use Email on the Main Menu. Again this page is a little complicated because you can do a lot of things with it (including mail merge) but at this point just select yourself in the list to the right and hit Send Email at the bottom. You should receive two emails. One is the message you just sent and the other is an email with subject "WeBWorK email sent" giving information on your mailing.

As a final test click on Library Browser on the Main Menu. Click Problem Library and select a Subject, Chapter and Section and then hit View Problems. The first 20 of your selected problems will be displayed. You can also test that you can access any additional Problem Libraries that you installed.

If all the above tests work, you can be pretty confident that WeBWorK is working properly.

Go back to Hmwk Sets Editor on the Main Menu. Then select (by clicking the circle button) Import, select setOrientation.def from the from drop down list and select all current users from the assigning this set to drop down list. Then hit Take Action!. Then go through the Orientation problems. This is a good first set to use for introducing students to WeBWorK.

If you are new to WeBWorK, you should probably add a regular student to myTestCourse and log in as that student to see what the student interface looks like. It's much simpler than the professor interface. Click on Classlist Editor on the Main Menu. Then select (by clicking the circle button) Add 1 student(s)and hit Take Action!. Add one student, say Jane Smith, with Student ID 1234 and Login Name jsmith. Jane Smith's initial password will be her Student ID 1234. Now login as Jane Smith and play around a little.

Updating WeBWorK files

If you want to update a single WeBWorK file, e.g. /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/Utils/FilterRecords.pm you can just do

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/Utils
$ sudo cvs update FilterRecords.pm

If you want to update all files in a directory and in all its subdirectories, run the command

$ sudo cvs update 

form the directory.

Note that cvs tries to patch the file on disk with any changes. Usually this works but sometimes it results in a file that will not compile. To avoid this do e.g. the following

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/Utils
$ sudo mv FilterRecords.pm FilterRecords.pm.old
$ sudo cvs update FilterRecords.pm

Cvs will warn you that the file was lost and then download the new version. You can do a diff between the new and old versions to see what changes have been made. That way you have two files (new and old) and both will compile.

Consult for other WeBWorK documentation for system administrators.

-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 27 Oct 2010