1.4.1 release update – where we are now

When things are quiet here it usually means that we’re all pretty busy.  Either that or on holiday.  But for now we’re just plain busy.  The last two months have seen the team working hard to complete the upgrade to DSpace 1.4.1 and we’re very close to being able to make the test site publicly available.

Firstly there’s been the somewhat onerous task of translating much of our old code into the new format; that’s now done.  At the same time we’ve been cleaning up the design along the way, improving as much as we can within the limitations of the current layout and that’s almost complete; should be finished in a day or so.  We’ve also been tinkering with the way in which the service works in order to improve overall stability and performance.  If all’s gone according to plan you’ll not notice that last one. 

We’re now down to our last batch of bug fixing and as soon as that’s done we’ll have a version to show off.

Any software release is a game of compromise, whether it’s a DSpace release or the latest version of Windows.  You start with a long list of requirements, prioritising the showstoppers (those you can’t proceed without), the essentials, the would like to haves and the wouldn’t mind having if time allows.  Then you set a provisional release date and as the date grows closer you start to shave off the requirements from the bottom of the list upwards and pushing the date back to allow for as much work as possible until somehow you meet in the middle.  I think as compromises go we’ve managed to do pretty well in terms of what we’ve been able to add.  So for now I’ll leave you with a list of the new features for the 1.4.1 release.

  • Logged on users will now be greeted by name not by email address.
  • The list of top level communities has been removed from the main section of the home page and now appears in the left hand side-bar.  Furthermore you can decide whether you want a full list of communities displayed or a featured selection.
  • The five most recent additions to the repository are now displayed on the main section of the home page instead of the communities list.
  • Links to external resources will now be displayed from the home page above the quick guides.  Previously we have had to make these changes, however you will now be able to edit this list from the admin menu.
  • Clean ups to the interface have been made throughout with particular attention being paid to: the home page, the My Repository page, researcher pages and the community and collection home pages.
  • Journal name has been added as a default field to the submission form and MeSH terms have been added as optional fields
    Journal name and MeSH terms are now both added to the PubMed pre-fill and OA datafeeds.
  • The document conversion tool has been expanded to include PowerPoint and Excel files with conversion to HTML and text as well as PDF.
  • RSS feeds will be available at all levels (repository / community / sub-community / collection).
  • You can now choose which browse option you want displayed from a pre-determined list (choices will be announced soon).
  • You can also decide which metadata indexes you want included in the the advanced search options, again from a pre-determined list.
  • And you can choose which metadata fields you want displayed on the submission form from a pre-determined list.
  • Administrators can configure the default submission licence.
  • Groups can now be added to groups as well as e-people.
  • Item names now appear in the browser heading.
  • Controlled vocabulary pick-lists are available for the subject keyword field in the submission form.
  • A ‘suggest an item’ button can be placed on each item view page

All the previous OR functionality will be available as normal with one exception; the saved searches will not be available in this release.  It is not currently a greatly used feature and the effort required to make it available this time would have pushed the release date back unacceptably.  For those customers who have users with saved searches we’ll be in touch regarding what will happen.  The saved searches will be back in a future release but I’ll save more about what’s coming for a later post.

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