Please provide a "4 dummies" administration and users manual.

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matangdilis

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Jun 11, 2011, 7:26:22 PM6/11/11
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I've finally been able to run the server but I have no idea what I'm
looking at.
Contextual help files and a "4 dummies" administration and users
manual are desperately needed.

IMHO the documentation is for developers rather than ordinary users.
Example is when users are told to go to /weblab/server/admin for
administration but there is no information on how to use those tools.
How do you manage accounts? How do you set a weblab administrator
account? The deployment steps did not ask for this and there is only
the student1, password account that is preset.

Hope someone can help a newbie.

Pablo Orduña

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Jun 12, 2011, 6:26:34 PM6/12/11
to weblab...@googlegroups.com
Hi,


On Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 01:26, matangdilis <matan...@gmail.com> wrote:
I've finally been able to run the server but I have no idea what I'm
looking at.
Contextual help files and a "4 dummies" administration and users
manual are desperately needed.

How to manage accounts is detailed using the Database Manager:
   http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/4_0M1_DatabaseManagerGuide

Which is indexed in the "Full documentation" link of the front page:
   http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/4_0M1_Index

I'm afraid that the "Full documentation" link is not clear at all. Would it be clearer if we change the frontpage to add a new line outside the bullets saying "everything else is detailed in the rest of the documentation"? Suggestions are welcome :-)
 
IMHO the documentation is for developers rather than ordinary users.

You are definitively right, and we want to fix this. It is noticeable when comparing the documentation of the latest two versions:

   http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/3_9_Index
   http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/4_0M1_Index

We know that it's still not enough and we plan to extend the documentation in every release. However, if there are areas you haven't seen information about, feel free to ask them in the list or contact us to have a skype meeting (write me off the list for this) and we will also add it to the documentation index.

Example is when users are told to go to /weblab/server/admin for
administration but there is no information on how to use those tools.

Added a link to the database manager.

How do you set a weblab administrator account?

Here in the University of Deusto, we are the developers and the maintainers at the same time. Therefore, we have made scripts of the common tasks we do (add user, add group, add user to group, grant experiment to user, grant experiment to group...). Previously we did this in a bunch of separated scripts, but now they're integrated in the Database Manager.

Since it is a script, only the system administrator of the servers can perform these tasks, and we want teachers to be able to handle their students. We placed efforts in creating an initial version of the administration panel. At the moment, it only shows experiment usage in an graphical, easy-to-filter way. It does not still handle user management (although efforts are being placed for the next release). You can check it with the "student1" account by clicking on the "Administration panel" in the client.

However, sometimes we haven't made a script for the very uncommon tasks, such as creating administration accounts, and instead we have directly added it with SQL code in production. At the moment, "administration account" is only used to grant privileges to the web administration panel, which still does not provide too much functionality. You can check this by comparing the behaviour of the user "student1" with "password" and the user "any", with "password", which does not have privileges to use the administration panel. However, you can perform common administration tasks by clicking on.
 
The deployment steps did not ask for this and there is only
the student1, password account that is preset.
 
There are a couple of accounts more ("student2", "student3", "any"...), but without further privileges. We use them for automated tests mainly.

Best regards,
--
Pablo Orduña ( http://paginaspersonales.deusto.es/porduna/ )
MORElab - Envisioning Future Internet (http://www.morelab.deusto.es)
WebLab-Deusto - (http://www.weblab.deusto.es)
DeustoTech - Deusto Institute of Technology (http://www.deustotech.eu)
Tlf: +34 944139003 Ext. 2928

matangdilis

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Jun 13, 2011, 7:54:11 AM6/13/11
to weblabdeusto
Thank you so much for the detailed and clear information. I can live
with the scripts on a terminal window, but I imagine that others will
be clamoring for a GUI admin page.

I never thought the "Database Manager" doc would be about
administration. Perhaps another set of links that says "How to manage
accounts", "How to add students," etc. would be helpful. This is
because when I think about database management I'm thinking about back
ups, roll backs, and major surgery of the db. It's something I would
not dare touch if I'm admin of a remote lab software. I'm too scared
to mess with it as I might whack the system, specially if its a
production system.

A separate list of documents, or links to these documents but retitled
and minus the scary dev details may be useful for newbs like me. I'm
thinking in terms of very basic manuals and walkthroughs for students,
teachers, and non-techie admins. This would be within the theme of
teaching...involving pedagogy, assessment and learning theories. But
I'm saying this openly to the community of weblab users, and not
necessarily to devs. The devs had already done a fantastic job at this
software and had been gracious enough to share it to the world. There
might be other users who might have applied this software, or are
thinking of using this in general science education (probably in K-12
or introductory science courses) whose users are not as sophisticated
as students of engineering or advance sciences; users who might have
the time to blog or share a tutorial about this software. At least
this is what I have in mind while trying to evaluate weblab.

Again, thanks for the response. It's another step forward for me in
learning more about weblab and how to implement a remote teaching
laboratory.

On Jun 13, 6:26 am, Pablo Orduña <pa...@ordunya.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Added a link <http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/source/detail?r=1159> to
> the database manager.
>
> How do you set a weblab administrator account?
>
> Here in the University of Deusto, we are the developers and the maintainers
> at the same time. Therefore, we have made scripts of the common tasks we do
> (add user, add group, add user to group, grant experiment to user, grant
> experiment to group...). Previously we did this in a bunch of separated
> scripts<http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/source/browse/#svn%2Ftags%2Fweb...>,
> but now they're integrated in the Database
> Manager<http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/4_0M1_DatabaseManagerGuide>
> .
>
> Since it is a script, only the system administrator of the servers can
> perform these tasks, and we want teachers to be able to handle their
> students. We placed efforts in creating an initial version of the
> administration
> panel.<http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/wiki/4_0M1_AdministrationPanel>At
> the moment, it only shows experiment usage in an graphical,
> easy-to-filter way. It does not still handle user management (although
> efforts are being
> placed<http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/source/browse/#svn%2Fbranches%2...>for
> the next release). You can check it with the "student1" account by
> clicking on the "Administration panel" in the client.
>
> However, sometimes we haven't made a script for the very uncommon tasks,
> such as creating administration accounts, and instead we have directly added
> it with SQL code in production. At the moment, "administration account" is
> only used to grant privileges to the web administration panel, which still
> does not provide too much functionality. You can check this by comparing the
> behaviour of the user "student1" with "password" and the user "any", with
> "password", which does not have privileges to use the administration panel.
> However, you can perform common administration tasks by clicking on.
>
> > The deployment steps did not ask for this and there is only
> > the student1, password account that is preset.
>
> There are a couple of accounts
> more<http://code.google.com/p/weblabdeusto/source/browse/tags/weblab_4-0M1...>("student2",

matangdilis

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Jun 13, 2011, 7:09:29 PM6/13/11
to weblabdeusto
After reading the docs further and testing the software, forget about
what I've said earlier. It dawned on me that I may be thinking about
the experiments themselves that should be developed by the user.
Weblab is for deployment of experiments and is pretty straightforward.
The documentation is ok because there is a need for experiment
development/coding.

Thanks for all the help.

Pablo Orduña

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Jun 14, 2011, 1:14:50 AM6/14/11
to weblab...@googlegroups.com
Hi,

Yes, WebLab-Deusto is a platform to create, deploy and administrate Online Laboratories. There are two types of Online Laboratories:

 a) Virtual Laboratories, on which users access to simulations

 b) Remote Laboratorioes, on which users access to physical experiments located in the university

While we support both approaches, we focus on dealing with the latter.

The problem with Remote Laboratories is that there must be a physical experiment near a server connected to WebLab-Deusto. For instance, in:

  https://www.weblab.deusto.es/weblab/client/ (user "demo", password "demo")

You can see some demonstrations of experiments we have. Given that the real experiments that students use can break the hardware, we use . The source code of these experiments is included in the archive you downloaded; however you would need to ask us for the latest versions of the hardware schemes and build that hardware from scratch.

One solution to avoid this is to buy the hardware already built. For instance, my colleage Ignacio Angulo at the University of Deusto has created a box that hosts a full remote experiment (including its webcam, a fitpc, fans, a controller, etc.) that can be sent. This has some economic costs added given that it's hardware and that they are manually added.

  https://www.weblab.deusto.es/web/weblab-deusto/weblab-box.html

The other solution is, as you say, to develop the experiment by yourself. WebLab-Deusto focuses on making this part easy (providing easy to use libraries for many platforms and providing the Virtual Machines for those who are not web developers on which you can deploy any software application), by providing the relying framework with the common requirements met (such as handling authentication in different several ways, authorization, user tracking, logging, mobile support if the experiment developer uses AJAX, integration on facebook, load balancing among different experiment rigs -if you provide 2 CPLDs, users will be sent to one or to the other- etc. etc.).

That's why it's difficult to provide a experiment-level user manual, given that it completely depends on the experiment itself. However, you are completely right regarding that we do not provide any documentation for the common things at user level (such as "the list of experiments you are seeing is the experiments you have permissions to. Go here to add new permissions to this user, go here to add a new user, etc."). I'll add those entries in a couple of days.
--
Pablo
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