next up previous contents
Next: Resources Up: SAKAI EVALUATION EXERCISE (A Previous: Another independent Technical Report   Contents

Integration of UK VRE Tools into Sakai

In this section we describe a number of tools which have been discussed during the evaluation and which we believe would form useful components of a Sakai-based VRE. Some of these will be developed by porting open-source software under the Sakai VRE Demonstrator project funded by the JISC programme

(Lancaster) Learning Design content player for use in training and awareness applications.

IRC Chat Tool.
(Lancaster) IRC is a widely used protocol for on-line chat sessions including group or 1 on 1. Users can choose between several threads. A Chat portlet is already present in the Sakai framework but work is needed to integrate chat sessions from project worksites into a user's personal worksite and to link to external IRC channels. Jabber is an alternative.

(Daresbury) A candidate exists, Blojsom at

Programmable Scientific Calculator.

Active Spreadsheet.

Personal Address Book.

Personal Information Guide (PIG).
Office Assistant and help tool in the form of a flying pig.

Helpdesk Interface

Distributed Word Processor.
A distributed word processing tool to facilitate collaborative document editing.

Shopping Cart.
(Daresbury) Adaptation of the personal resource tool designed to package data and executable programs for processing, e.g. via the Grid.

Distributed Presentation Tool.
A distributed presentation tool for multicasting slide shows to co-researchers.

(Daresbury) Java-based portlet interface to popular collaborative Web editing tool. A prototype exists from Michael Fischer's computational anthropology group, University of Kent. Another candidate is Xwiki.

Research Scheduling Tool.
(Lancaster/ Daresbury) This package will involve the development of software adapters intended to query potential co-researcher's Exchange (or any iCalendar compliant mail server) calendars. A software module will be produced designed to query potential co-researcher's calendars and list potential research time slots.

Cross Search Tool.
(Oxford) An appropriate tool for cross searching digital resource collections is available as a portlet from the Subject Portal Project. This currently searches the RDN, Resource Discovery Network, collections.

Relevant Information Retrieval Tool.
(Lancaster/ Daresbury) This work package will focus on the delivery of a WSRP portlet based tool enabling lookup of resources relevant to the research being undertaken in the VRE at the current time. This focusses on context based content aggregation using the output of the grammar extension deliverable. It will be used in that the subject matter portion of the VRE session description to help generate the information search criteria. Each researcher involved in a project will be able to manage content and publish it for other researchers who can retrieve it from other portal instances. Recent work has shown how WSRP services can be published via UDDI. There are relevant Web-based UDDI clients which could form the basis of this tool.

Personal and Project Notebooks.
(Daresbury) This will be an adaptation of an existing e-Notebook tool. Database backed ``blog'' style tools will be produced to enable the making of research notes.

Personal Information Manager.
e.g. for sharing schedules with other software. Example, Chandler.

Project Bibliography Construction.
(Daresbury) Tool to enable collaborators to upload bibliographies from their work machine into a shared project bibliography. A BibTeX tool exists in OGCE which can be adapted to produce output in different formats.

A Statistical Computing Web Service (SABRE and R).
(Lancaster) Work package 2 is concerned with creating a resource producer, in the form of a web service version of the R and Sabre statistical tools. The Sabre routines will be made available via R calls, and these in turn will be made available as a multiple message web service. A prototype of this has been demonstrated in the GROWL project at Daresbury, see This service will be able to run on the National Grid Service (JCSR nodes at Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, RAL) and will require grid authentication via Sakai's Grid logon facilities, as enhanced in the grammar. Initially, a dataset will be uploaded from a collaborator's computer to the service for processing, although the possibility of remote dataset specification will be investigated. GridFTP or SRB client calls would be used for this.

Video Conferencing and AGN Participation.
(All) This work package will build on the work done by Geoffrey Fox from Indiana on the Narada Brokering based GlobalMMCS video conferencing system. It is anticipated that the bulk of the work will involve configuring GlobalMMCS, devising an elegant deployment solution and coding the conference instantiation facilities into CHEF. GlobalMMCS uses a message exchange protocol based on SOAP for setting up conferences. Communications are then carried out using message packets, which can be shunted over a self-organising network overlay of Narada Brokering nodes. A browser borne video conferencing tool tool, for use by VRE research project members will be delivered.

Scientific Data Management.
(Daresbury) We will port CCLRC's DataPortal JSPs to portlets to provide cross-search access to a range of scientific data via a common metadata model. The ``shopping cart'' portlet will connect a list of identified datasets to a GridFTP facility or other functions.

(Daresbury/ RAL) Visualisation tools will be imported from other projects, for instance the e-Science Visualisation Group at CCLRC Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory and Ken Brodlie, University of Leeds, which provides tools for the GODIVA, GViz and Integrative Biology projects and University of Manchester's SVE Group.

Distributed Whiteboard.
(Lancaster/ Reading) Input will be taken from the CCF, Collaborative Computing Frameworks joint project between University of Reading and Emory, USA which includes a multicast-enabled ``clearboard'' and other collaboration tools. A distributed ``whiteboard'' tool is required, to facilitate collaborative discussion and annotation of research materials such as images and documents.

Distributed Flowchart Editor.
(Lancaster) A distributed flowcharting tool to assist in the planning of research activities.

Text Editor
Emacs style editor

XHTML Editor

Distributed Display.
(Lancaster) A distributed display tool for multicasting live data from HPC.

Collect bug reports and feedback to developers.

A Web front end for CVS exists.

TeX/ LaTeX Processor
Back-end text processing and rendering linking to the BibTeX tool.

Simple Interactive Plotting.
e.g. GNUplot for uploading and graphing 2D datasets.

Portal Statistics.
Extension of portal group collaboration tools to support gathering of usage statistics. Similar tools exist in PHP-Nuke and are very popular.

Graphing/ charting Web service
Takes a dataset and graphs it. Could use the graphing functionality of R behind the scenes.

Extended presence tool
Shows co-researcher's location on a map. Hover over the point and you get metadata about that individual (like contact details).

Grid Information
(Daresbury) InfoPortal tools

Network Information
(Daresbury) Tools from the GridMon project are being Web-service enabled.

Grid Computing
(Daresbury) HPCPortal tools.

Data and Metadata Upload and Harvesting

Project Publishing

Application Publishing
(Daresbury) using IeSE XML database and search tools

(Daresbury/ Oxford) jUDDI has been implemented to test its appropriateness in a Grid context.

Portal Workspace Manager

Authorisation Policy Manager

Documentation Policy Manager

next up previous contents
Next: Resources Up: SAKAI EVALUATION EXERCISE (A Previous: Another independent Technical Report   Contents
Rob Allan 2005-05-09