Update for week ended 31 July 2020

ak19. Friday, July 31st, 2020

Hi again GS blog readers,

This week has been eventful but only involved a little work on general Greenstone code.  That was mainly in the form of a fix to allow the recently-introduced “Export/Convert (GLI) metadata to CSV” GLI feature to work on Java 6 and 7 too, and not just Java 8. This was a necessary change, as our nightly builds are on systems where Java 6 and 7 are installed. Thanks to Kathy’s keen eye which caught the cause of nightly linux GS3 binaries not going through, this was solvable and solved.

There’s a new bug that I discovered this week when working with someone who uses client-GLI to connect to their remote server. Unfortunately, this is a dreaded encoding bug and may take some time to resolve (or, if I’m really lucky, will be easy and quick to solve!) I will be looking at it as soon as this blog post is done.

During the past few months and ongoing, I’ve been assigned to help an institution who hired the university’s CS department to set up their own Digital Library. So I’ve been learning hands-on what it is like to use Greenstone with real-world purpose, rather than just using Greenstone when testing it for a release or investigating it for bugs discovered by mailing list users, or just using the basic collection design. It’s been quite full on work, but it simultaneously benefits the larger Greenstone community: all bugs discovered so far have been fixed for everyone and are made available in the nightly releases. Most of the bugs discovered had to do with client-GLI and its interaction with the remote Greenstone 3 server. As a result of this process, client-GLI has become far more robust to use.

A consequence of working with our colleagues at that institution to set up a GS3 DL for them is that I had to understand format statements and collection design, so I could pass my understanding on to them. While most of our remote conferencing sessions mixed both general needs and needs specific to the institution, I’d created 2 general pre-recorded tutorials covering all those major topics, which I believe could be of use to all persons learning to become Greenstone librarians. The topics covered are collection design from scratch, ranging from configuring browsing classifiers and search indexes, and configuring the UnknownPlugin for MP4s and associating files/equivalent documents, to understanding and working with format statements, including creating basic reusable templates in the global format statement. The second video covers using MetadataCSVPlugin with document metadata in the form of a CSV spreadsheet and ends by going over how to add collection/document level security (pasword protection).

The first video is 3.5 hours long and has some sensitive content visible at present in the form of passwords and private server connection details that would first need editing out before being made public. The second video clocks in at 1 hour and is more or less ready for viewing, except both suffer from my embarrassing grating voice and from format statements being very slow to edit back then, plus I’m not comfortable that there’s a brief shot of my head in the first video. After editing the unwanted segments out of the first video, a task which I have no experience in yet, I’d ideally like to subtitle the videos and then strip out the audio altogether, which would also allow the subs to be translatable, assuming the videos are found useful. I don’t know when I’ll have the time for this, but I’ll do my best to work.

That about covers what I wanted to blog on this week. Until next time!

Improvements to remote GS3 and client-GLI

ak19. Friday, July 24th, 2020

In the past several weeks, using client-GLI running against a remote Greenstone 3 in a real-world setting allowed many bugs to be found and fixed and some hopefully-useful new features to be added to (client-)GLI.

No official release of GS3 containing these features and bugfixes is available yet, but those described below are/will be available in the nightly GS3 binaries at  http://www.greenstone.org/caveat-emptor/ from today onward. The linux nightly binaries are temporarily down and we’ll try to get them back up.

Among the work done:

(1)  Better remote GS3/client-GLI support for different sites and servlet names.

Once you’ve adjusted GS3/web/WEB-INF/servlets.xml as in the GS3 customisation tutorials and set the default servlet in GS3/build.properties, in client-GLI, go to File > Preferences > Connection and choose the Site then Servlet name. Click Apply and OK. Now once you go to File > Open collection, you will see all the collections available in this site and previewing will use the correct servlet.

Rebuilding will activate the collection on the selected servlet so that previewing will now at last work for non-default site and servlet.

Fixed a bug swapping between different remote GS3 sites that client-GLI can connect to: in the past, client-GLI would get stuck trying to load in the previous’ session’s site and servlet, even if it doesn’t exist in the remote GS3 that client-GLI is currently attempting to connect to. Now it will resort to the default site and servlet if the stored one is not present in the remote GS3 server the client is connecting to.

(2) Improvements to working with collectionConfig.xml through (client-)GLI:

- client-GLI (and GLI) now  properly saves edits made to the collectionConfig.xml file through Edit > Edit collectionConfig.xml menu

and furthermore, these changes are immediately reflected in the (client-)GLI interface, instead of GLI reloading the collection as before (which used to take especially long in client-GLI)

- proper support for HTML in the about page description for a collection: Format > General > Format Description field

Now, when you edit the collectionConfig.xml file through the Edit > Edit collectionConfig.xml menu, any HTML in your collection description is still preserved as before. And when you preview, the GS3 reader interface also preserves it as you intended.

(3) Can successfully create new and edit existing Metadata Sets through client-GLI now.

In the past it would let you create a metadata set but then there were issues when you tried to edit an existing one. Also in the past, creating a new metadata set would cause subtle issues that you’d notice if you tried to visit File> Preferences > Connection tab afterward (client-GLI would freeze).

(4) Completer and improved support for Metadata spreadsheet CSV files:

- MetadataCSVPlugin was improved by Dr Bainbridge and has been incorporated into the current Greenstone. The MetadataCSVPlugin nows allow multi-valued metadata fields: configure the plugin now with the new “metadata_value_separator” field set to “\|” if spreadsheet cells use the vertical bar (”|”) to separate multiple metadata values for a particular column denoting a metadata field.

- Fixed bugs related to (client-)GLI rightclick  > Replace feature on a document that occurred when you attempted to replace an existing file with another file of the same name. Although this fixes the feature in general, it is also useful for when you want to update your metadata CSV spreadsheet.

(5) New (client-)GLI features:

a. Metadata to CSV options:

- File > Export to metadata CSV: for a collection you have open, this option creates a metadata.csv file in a location of your choosing containing all the metadata you can see in GLI, including inherited metadata. If the metadata.csv file you selected already exists, then the metadata you see in GLI is amalgamated with the selected CSV file. This option allows you to backup your collection’s metadata to a spreadsheet file. There is NO RECONVERT feature, to convert back to metadata.xml files from metadata csv format. But you can build your collection with metadata from the CSV spreadsheet. See the following option below which explains how to redo your collection to work with metadata from a spreadsheet instead of using metadata in GLI/metadata.xml files.

- File > Convert to metadata CSV: for the collection you have open, this option creates a metadata.csv file in your collection’s “import” folder by default (which is the best location), by destructively removing all the metadata from the collection’s metadata.xml files (in other words, by removing the metadata you see in GLI) and shifting them out into the selected metadata.csv file. If you selected an existing metadata.csv file, then any metadata you currently see in GLI is amalgamated with the selected CSV file, before it gets removed from GLI/the metadata.xml files. Selecting this option prepares your collection so that you can switch over to using a MetadataCSVPlugin, configured with metadata_value_separator field set to “\|”, to then rebuild your collection producing the same results as before.

b. Collection security skeleton elements, as discussed at http://wiki.greenstone.org/doku.php?id=en:user_advanced:security, can now be added through (client-)GLI’s Edit > Edit collectionConfig.xml menu option. At the bottom of the Config File Editor dialog that appears, you will find a small toolbar that allows you to choose which (skeleton) XML <security> element to add:

- to hide the current collection,

- to add the appropriate <security> element to make the entire collection private except for one or more groups you specify,

- to add the appropriate <security> element to make all the docs in the collection private except for the groups you specify (adds a <security> element),

- to add the appropriate <security> element to make select docs in the collection private except for the groups you specify (where you can then specify which docs as explained on the wiki link already provided),

- to add a further <documentSet> element to the existing <security> element

- to  add a further <documentSet> element into the existing <security> element

 (6) Possibly one of the best client-GLI improvements of all: Editing format statements in client-GLI is no longer excruciatingly slow

Where in the past you had to wait several seconds for every character you entered, so that back then it was better to edit your format statements outside client-GLI and paste them back in. With the bugfix now in place, you can now finally easily edit format statements directly in client-GLI.


* incorporated perl 5.30 support needed for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

* bundling CGI.pm perl module now, so hopefully no more “ERROR: Can’t locate CGI.pm in @INC (you may need to install the CGI module)” messages

* I believe I’ve now also fixed a stalemate bug in client-GLI that can occur with some popups when some remote Greenstone3 action goes wrong

* better error display when something on remote GS3 goes wrong: instead of a giant window to contain a giant error message, you get a decent sized dialog with scrollable pane

* bugfix to “replace  srcdoc with html” feature available on rightclicking a doc in GLI so that it now works again in (client-)GLI.

* TextPlugin will now properly preserve manually formatted text went it embeds this in <pre> tags. Starting whitespace even in pre tags used to get clobbered before.

Greenstone 3.09 out now!

ak19. Thursday, May 30th, 2019

At long last, a new and improved version of Greenstone 3  is available for all to download from http://www.greenstone.org/download

Greenstone 3.09 binaries are available for Windows, 32 and 64 bit Linux, and a single Mac binary for High Sierra/10.13 and Mojave/10.14.

The up to date tutorials are at http://wiki.greenstone.org/doku.php?id=en:tutorials (click the Greenstone 3 tab)

The release notes are at http://wiki.greenstone.org/doku.php?id=en:release:3.09_release_notes

The release notes will also cover some of the major areas of Greenstone 3 that have been changed and improved with this release.

We welcome all to download the Greenstone 3.09 binary for your OS today!

Greenstone 2.87 released

ak19. Monday, October 2nd, 2017

We recommend that Greenstone users shift to Greenstone 3, as that’s the future of Greenstone.

But for those who really need Greenstone 2, we’ve now brought out a maintenance release of it with Greenstone 2.87.

You can grab the new GS 2.87 binaries, and source component and source distributions packages from the downloads page.

The release notes include the installation instructions. And here are the Greenstone 2 tutorials, make sure to select the “Greenstone 2″ tab at the top.

For those who need to work from source, the release notes also contain links to pages detailing the steps for compiling the source components and distributions.

As usual, write us if you encounter any issues with GS2.87.

Greenstone 3.08 released

kjdon. Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Greenstone 3.08 was released November 2016 (oops, what a late blog entry!)

You can grab the binaries, source components and source distributions from the downloads page.

The release notes include the installation instructions. There are instructions for helping you port Greenstone2 collections to Greenstone3.

To familiarise yourself with how things are done in Greenstone3, follow along with the Greenstone 3 tutorials.

For those who need to work from source, the release notes also contain links detailing the steps for compiling the source components and distributions.

Have fun with Greenstone 3.08 and write us if you discover any bugs or have any problems.

GTI has moved

kjdon. Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The GTI (Greenstone Translator Interface) is a Greenstone installation providing a web-based facility to translate the various Greenstone interfaces and websites, including the Greenstone2 and Greenstone3 runtime web interfaces, GLI’s interface, the installer interface, and the greenstone.org website. This facility has been moved to a faster and more reliable server. You can access the new interface at http://gti.greenstone.org. The status page showing the translation status of each module, for each language, is now available at http://gti.greenstone.org/etc/status.html.

TWSO library moved

kjdon. Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The TWSO library is a collection of concert programmes from the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra. This has been moved to a new server, so update your bookmarks if you use this collection. It is now available at http://community.nzdl.org/greenstone3/twso/collection/twso/page/about. Note, the http://nzdl.org/twso shortcut now points to the new site. The new server is much faster and more reliable than the previous one.

Greenstone 3.07 released

ak19. Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

We’ve finally released the binaries, source components and source distributions for Greenstone 3.07.

You can grab them from the downloads page.

The release notes include the installation instructions. There are instructions for helping you port Greenstone2 collections to Greenstone3.

To familiarise yourself with how things are done in Greenstone3, follow along with the Greenstone 3 tutorials.

For those who need to work from source, the release notes also contain links detailing the steps for compiling the source components and distributions.

Have fun with Greenstone 3.07 and write us if you discover any bugs or have any problems.

GS 3.07rc2 out now: Mac Mountain Lion binary now runs on Mac Yosemite out of the box

ak19. Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Good news for Mac Yosemite users out there (and possibly Mac Maverick users too): the current Greenstone 3.07 release-candidate binaries now include a JRE with the Mac Mountain Lion binary. This allows the Greenstone 3.07-rc2 Mountain Lion installer to now run out of the box on Mac Yosemite machines. You may still need to change the security settings on your Mac to allow you to open dmg binary files not created by Apple, as this is a new security feature on Macs, but otherwise the Greenstone installer and the Greenstone applications once installed should run fine on Yosemite too.

We’ve decided to come out with another intermediate release candidate, because the major change we’ve made are specific to a Mac binary this time. That means there is still time for Greenstone users to find and report on bugs, and for translators to add further translations and send these back in to us for inclusion in the upcoming official 3.07 release. Therefore, please do try out the current 3.07 rc2 release by heading on over to the Snapshots page, and let us know how the binaries fare, so we can improve them for the official release.

Greenstone website updated

kjdon. Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The Greenstone website www.greenstone.org has been updated and simplified. The updated version is also now available in the GTI (Greenstone Translation Interface) for translation.