Hedtek are pleased to announce that they have finished their third contract for Jorum, an Open Educational Resource repository run by Mimas, a JISC funded National Data Centre.
As the major part of that work we designed and developed a very clean user interface to replace Jorum’s rather arcane and frustrating user interface. The new user interface was implemented by the provision of a new front-end webservice to handle all user interaction including new navigation and discovery features. The new front end was implemented in Ruby on Rails, and used the DSpace REST and SWORD APIs to communicate with Jorum’s DSpace core.
Our work also entailed considerable improvement of the open source DSpace REST API, where we performed testing and refactoring to support our new front end functionality. This involved complex work in Java. Other Java-specific work performed for Jorum involved modifying DSpace’s OAI-PMH interface to allow ingest of Open Educational Resources with specific kinds of open licences from other repositories.
We have some regrets about this contract for Jorum because, due to a need to perform unscheduled work on the REST API, Jorum’s funding ran out before we could transform our clean user experience into the phenomenal end-user experience that we wanted to implement. This early end was always acknowledged as a possibility, but nonetheless we are pleased to note that, when rolled out, a clean user interface and accompanying user experience will be a vast improvement for Jorum.
Despite the contract ending, we did some pro bono work for the service post-contract purely because we like Jorum and want to see it succeed. This extra work was in four areas: (i) a final refactor of code and tests to ensure clarity (ii) Rails skills transfer, (iii) a bit of tricky Rails development in a separate branch of the front end code so Jorum could later rapidly proceed with the development of some more advanced features they want, and (iv) performance and load testing of the new composite system (report to be published in a later post). As a result of the latter we confidently predict that the new Jorum will handle many times its current load.
We look forward to seeing Jorum rolling out our work in the near future.