Exams are now over (whew!) so we're ready to start thinking about plans
for the summer.
We were not successful in obtaining a National Dissemination grant so
activities this summer and next year will be modest. We still have a
small amount of money left that will keep Sam Hathway available for
programming activities and for consulting, but we don't expect to have
any student programmers working for us. In general the WeBWorK
improvements this summer will be from volunteer labor.
The current "HEAD" of the cvs at Rochester is quite stable (we've been
running it on hosted.webwork.rochester.edu for 4 months now and have
just switched our main server over to that code base). I would
recommend that you update to that code base by checking it out of the
cvs (see http://devel.webwork.rochester.edu/twiki/bin/view/Webwork/WeBWorKCVS for setup directions)
Once set up the cvs provides a very easy means to update to the latest
version of webwork and also to backout of recent changes if for some
reason they don't work on your system. To get the most current version
of the cvs type
wwcvs update -A -d
Most files are update automatically, but the files in the lib/conf
directory (which contain configuration data specific to your website)
must be updated by hand. A good procedure is the following. Before
doing an update make a copy of the distribution version of the config
file, for example
cp global.conf.dist global.conf.dist.save
Now do an update. The file global.conf.dist might be updated but your
global.conf file will remain unchanged. Use
diff global.conf.dist global.conf.dist.save | more
to view the changes that have been made in the distribution files.
You will want to make these same or similar changes in your
global.conf file. Because the directory names may be different on your machine, these changes can't be done automatically.
If you have good editors for detecting differences in files you can also simply review the differences between the new
global.conf.dist file and your
global.conf in your editor and transfer the appropriate changes.
With the CVS updating to the latest version and backing out becomes a
relatively simple operation that can be safely done in half an hour.
Unless there has been a really major change -- for example one
requiring new CPAN modules in the code base -- I routinely make these
upgrades on machines that are running classes. I do keep an eye on the
error log when doing so. :-)
For the first few weeks we will be making only minor changes to the
code base. Fixing small bugs that have accumulated over the year (see http://bugs.webwork.rochester.edu/) and making minor improvements to the user interface. During this period it should be pretty safe to
do an update command every morning as long as you are not actually running classes off webwork.
Once we have the easy changes consolidated we'll stamp the release as
version 2.2 and you can check this out as a stable release using:
cvs update -r rel-2-2-patches
If you are running classes, you can get the last stable release as
cvs update -r rel-2-1-patches
Those who are in a position to check out the latest release (using cvs
update -A -d ) are encouraged to do so and report any feature requests
or bugs using the "report bugs" link in the upper left corner. This is
a good time to try to get most of the little things fixed that have
been annoying you or your students about WeBWorK.
After the first couple of weeks we'll work on some bigger projects, including
- speeding up the database calls.
- providing RQP compatibility for moodle (http://mantis.york.ac.uk/moodle/mod/forum/view.php?f=15)
- adding in the gateway quiz module that Gavin LaRose has been working on
- significant cleanup of the PG code, including integrating the
new "smart objects" introduced by Davide Cervones with the original PG
methods and answer evaluators.
- Other requests.
Another important goal for the summer is to collect as
many problem sets as possible and make them publically available. This
seems to me to be an important first step to providing a useful,
searchable and edited database of PG problems. I'm not yet sure what
the best way to organize, cleanup, categorize and edit the problems
will be, but in order to get started I think it's useful for all
involved to be aware of what other institutions have already done in
order to avoid, as much as possible, duplication of effort.
We can provide CVS space for you, Tom, and anyone else using WeBWorK
who would like to set up their own repository of problems. (see http://devel.webwork.rochester.edu/twiki/bin/view/Webwork/WeBWorKCVSCommitAccess for instructions and write me firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain login information.)
After that I'm open to suggestions as to what is the best way to
organize the problem database organization and cleanup effort.
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