May 11, 2004
Members present: Jamie Bethel, John Chandler, Marty Fettman, Tom Harmon, Charlie Kerlee, Jill Lenz, Mary Pridgen, Sallie Varner. Guests: Larry Cobb, IT Development Manager, and Trudy Nicholls, Programmer.
Sallie Varner, Chair, began the meeting at 9:05 am.
Demo by Larry Cobb of the new web portal system, see http://portalproject.colostate.edu.
Larry mentioned there are two parts to the project, both from the company SCT.
There is the portal named RamPoint and the student information system, Aries
(Greek for ram) which replaces ISIS this fall. There will be a a slow,
"quiet" rollout of the portal this fall with most students
discovering it by word-of-mouth. The students funded a major portion of this
project with their University Tech Fees. Jamie mentioned that other
universities that did a "quiet" rollout had no problem publicizing
the new portal to students - they found it. There was also a kick-off campaign
and an article in a recent edition of Vector, see http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/ACNS_Pubs/Vector/21-2Spring04/features.html#portal.
There will probably be links on the CSU homepage and RamWeb to the portal. Tom
asked if this will have any impact on the way the CVMBS webmasters do web
design. Larry said no, not for the webmasters. However, the programmers may
need to rebuild web-based applications to fit in a smaller screen area and do
some rewriting regarding the login process for certain CVMBS applications such
as the PVM System.
Larry showed us some examples and said it will be filled with more content by this fall. The idea of the portal is to provide a collection of "channels" like TV channels for the user to switch to, with different information flowing through the various channels. Channels can be dynamic like a weather channel, scrolling or similar to RamWeb. University Relations will be the content provider for everything under the "Home" tab. The idea is to offer a single logon for all services. Email will be in the portal as an icon to WebMail or will "shell out" (exit out of the portal and pop up a separate window) to Outlook Express. Trudy asked if a print preview function would be available for email, Larry thinks not. There will be an icon for the WebCT or portal calendar, similar to the desktop icon for staff. For students, an online calendar is a new feature they never had before which will link to personal, class, and group calendars. Larry said to think of the portal as a way to carry all your "favorites" with you anywhere in the world where you access the Internet. Channels can be customized, but another feature called "Quick Links" cannot, as they are created by a content provider. Quick Links pop open another window. Jamie mentioned pop-up blockers and individual security controls will most likely cause problems accessing these pop-up windows as they have done in WebCT. Larry mentioned that if a user stays in a popped up window too long, the portal will log them out for security reasons. The pop-up window can be maximized and resized. Larry will participate in a test group to conduct simultaneous logins in an attempt to “stress test” the portal server, trying to create the potential situation that may be encountered in the fall when students return.
Due to the portal server being down during the meeting, Larry will return next month with a view of a typical staff profile on the development portal and a demo of the "Channel Builder" program which will be useful when building channels for the portal.
2. Discussed design comps for new web portal - ACNS is requesting feedback on which features we like from each comp. We reviewed the comps, concentrating on the look of the top banner. The majority liked the more colorful banners featuring photo collages of students and didn't prefer the one comp featuring squared off pictures. Sallie Varner has a CD of the images if anyone would like to view it.
3. Demo from Jill Lenz on a new improvement to Photoshop's Web Photo Gallery function in version 7 and up: the ability to have titles or captions display for individual photos in the gallery. Linda Tarnoff added descriptions to each image by copying and pasting the descriptions from a Word document into each image in Photoshop 6.0 using Photoshop's File Info command. However, Photoshop 6.0 doesn't have the ability to add titles to images in the Web Photo Gallery function; this was introduced in version 7.0. So Jill created the web gallery for Linda in Photoshop CS, and then Linda uploaded the generated files and folder to the web server. The resulting photo gallery for the Scholarships & Awards Luncheon on April 17th is available at http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/ScholarshipAwards2004/. Please note that the titles only appear on the individual images, this feature is not available for the thumbnails. Also, there are other labeling options to display, such as file name, copyright, title and credits. FYI, Linda used the field "caption" in Photoshop 6.0's File Info, which was later renamed to "description" in version 7. No problems were encountered doing different tasks in different versions. Jill wondered if the process could be automated further. Marty suggested maybe there's a way to dump the captions to a database then dump into Photoshop. Jill will email the Photoshop User help desk. Their solutions were to write a script in Visual Basic or investigate third-party programs that can work with a database.
1. The link to the South Campus Expansion has been added to the home page.
The meeting concluded at 10:07 am.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 8, 9:00-10:00 am, W1 A/Z.
Minutes submitted by Jill Lenz.
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