Monday, 8 June 2009

Proman in public beta

Proman has been accessible to students since last Friday. I still have to implement the selection algorithm, but they can browse the projects. The source code has branched and now ca be found at and Google code at The project history, since the branch, is only stored in the Gitbub repo, and I would prefer to stick with Github as the main hosting site. It has the better UI. I will continue to upload commits to Google code, but the full history can be tracked on Github.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Almost ready for preview

After nearly two weeks solid work, Proman is almost ready to be exposed to staff and students. Here are some features:
  • Project views use jQuery for client-side table sorting, paging and "accordian" views.
  • Namespaces have been exploited to simplify the access features: for example to provide protected areas for admininstration, coordination and staff-project creation.
  • CVS uploaders for staff, student and project details: makes initial population of the program work without the need for a registration step (there wasn't time this year!).
  • Hosting on the "cloud" via Aptana.
Still quite a bit to do, not least providing the actual mechanism for project selection, but the program will be available for preview from very soon.

Hopefully, when the dust settles, I'll have some time to document some of the design ideas built-in to the tool.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Towards a Usable Layout

Today I started to work on a layout for the Proman web application.

I have started by adopting Matthew James Taylor's Perfect 3-Column Liquid Layout. I will then set up the templates for the rails app using this template. Finally, I will add decorations to add SU branding.

The dimensions for the liquid style are set as shown below. These of course can be adjusted.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Progress report

I have unit (model) tests in place for users, roles and projects and the functional (controller) tests now work again for the user and session controllers. Migrations continue to work properly.

The views and hence the web application itself may well be broken. I need to add a few more unit and functional tests before I'll be in a good position to get the views working properly. And then, when I've got that done, I can think about adding some style and deploying.

Unfortunately, I have a busy spell of marking and meetings ahead, so the next-few week's activity will be part-time.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Migrations fixed ... now for some tests!

I've been away for the weekend: but I've been doing some reading and today have managed to refactor the migrations in Proman so that they now work (both up and down). I have also fixed the tests so that I can start to write some unit tests. Once we have unit tests in place, I can start to validate the web application itself.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Source now dual hosted at Github.

Following a general trend in the Rails world, the deployment tool capistrano and hosting service Heroku both use git, the distributed version control tool, rather than subversion, for deployment. I have therefore created a new public repository in my account and Proman is now dual hosted both as a subversion repository at Google Code (see last post) and as a git repository at

Some of the project management features seem much more polished on Github than Google Code so it may well be that the project will eventually migrate over to Github. In the meantime, the recommended work flow is to check out the project from Google Code. Add a git repository and download the latest HEAD. Merge the HEAD with your checked out local svn repository. After that, you should commit incremental changes to the git repo during each development iteration. On completion, push your git committed changes to github (so they'll be available to the deployer), then commit all the changes to subversion. I will document this better when I have worked out how best to run the joint svn/git set up.

Hello there!

Proman is a web-based management tool designed to help with the gathering of projects, student selection, project allocation and management of undergraduate dissertation projects. It was created by Nicolay Parashkevanov, a student of Mobile Communications and Internet Technology at Swansea University. Proman is a Ruby on Rails application and hopefully it will be going on trial later this month.

The actual Proman project is licensed by an Apache 2 licence and is hosted on Google Code. There is a Google Groups discussion group: