The European Commission has installed an update to Joinup, its collaboration platform for eGovernment professionals. The update includes many improvements and bugfixes that together focus on improving user engagement and fine-tuning management of the collections of reusable ICT solutions.
The developers working on the Joinup platform log all changes publicly on the GitHub code repository. The release, implemented last Monday evening, includes changes that have been developed and tested since October.
One of the two main aims of the update is to make it easier for users to start or get involved in discussions and participate in projects. For example, new users who join a collection can now easily select the kind of notifications they want to receive, including all notifications or none. In addition, users can subscribe to individual discussions, and can be invited to take part in a discussion. Once subscribed to a discussion, users can be notified by email of new comments.
It sounds easy enough, but to add this functionality the developers had to go deep into the internals of Joinup. Email addresses need to be handled prudently and carefully, for instance, and plenty of tweaks were needed to get the privacy and security settings exactly right. The changes also required the developers to rework the cache system, which stores data to speed up requests from web browsers.
The other target of this week’s update is Collection owners. Collections, the thematic reordering of Joinup’s reusable ICT solutions introduced in October, can now highlight a solution by pinning it to the top of the Collection front page.
Until last Monday, collection owners had no good way to emphasise one version of a solution over an earlier one. For projects that yield a rapid series of updates, this was problematic. Finding a better solution sounds simple, but again the developers had to make plenty of changes, especially since Joinup is a federated collection of ICT solutions, many of which reside on repositories elsewhere. To bring it all together, Joinup uses knowledge management modelling tools such as Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS).
In addition, the team added plenty of bugfixes and improvements. Examples of the former include fixing problems with the cache tables, a pesky bug in the download counter, and an issue that prevented custom-built pages from showing file attachments. Improvements include the way Joinup creates URLs for custom pages: these now indicate the Collection within which they are built.
The Joinup team also addressed security problems recently discovered in the Drupal content management system, SA<-CORE-2018-003, SA-CORE-2018-002, and SA-CORE-2018-001. Patches for these problems had already been implemented on Joinup; this update ships the latest version of Drupal (8.5.2).