News Dashboard Beta

I’ve published the latest version of the news dashboard application to the production server. I consider this to be in “beta” now, though the development work on it is very nearly done. The tasks that remain are to swap out a few images and get the background of the list item to change as you mouse over an item in the featured stories sections of the CMS News web part. I also imagine that College Communications will populate the site with some more content now that it’s on a production server and the data is being saved and backed up.

I was slightly apprehensive about this migration since all of my testing involved a personalization database running on a SQL Server instance on the local machine and I hadn’t yet tested the remote database connection aspect of the site. However, this worked perfectly without even needing to restart the SQL Server service or IIS – that’s pretty rare as anyone who’s worked with either of those systems will have to concede.

I started working a bit on the personal dashboard application a bit last week. I’ve got the rough framework done and am now working to refine some of the specialized content. Exchange Web Services requires that you set up a Context object that includes the username and password of the currently logged in user. We don’t keep the password in system memory for obvious reasons, so I’m trying to work around this using several means I won’t get into deeply here. At the same time, I’ve succeeded in creating a widget that shows the current availability of a list of users you give it based on their Exchange calendars. Right now it just shows 0 if they’re available or 1 if they’re busy, but I’m working on making the user interface a little more friendly.

Once I get a couple of these widgets done, I’ll port the site from my desktop to our development server and allow user testing. Stay tuned!

(also, add a comment here if there is a particular type of dashboard widget you’d like to use)

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