SirsiDynix SuperConference – Day 2.5

I’m a bit more awake now so I will add a few more details for Day 2.

Tuesday was also the day of the System Administration Sharing Session.  There was a spirited discussion about the java workflows client.  Aspects of the use of the java client are enough to chill the soul of a system administrator.  I can’t find my notes on the session but here is what I recall:

  •  The java WorkFlows client uses Sun java runtime which is updated frequently.  Sometimes the upgrade breaks Workflows.  apparently Sun recently issued an update with major changes and didn’t tell anyone.  SirsiDynix is talking with Sun about finding a way to get a heads-up on major changes.
  • Where the C client handled printing with a dump to lpt, Java requires that printing go through Windows print drivers. Consequently, printing is slower.  Frequently it is much slower.  The latest print drivers don’t always work better.  Not good for Circulation activities.
  • Under MS Vist, java updates can only be installed by administrator.  This doesn’t mean someone in the administrator group, it must be administrator.  Yikes!  This means every staff station in the library will have to have java updated by someone from LIT .
  • Under Vista, Microsoft removed the way it handles help files.  While a C client will work on Vista, help won’t be available.  Yikes again!  The yellow question mark is our friend.  this means that new staff PCs delivered with Vista will require the java client.
  • The java client doesn’t support the “house” and binoculars” searches.  There is a multi-line Item Search and Display wizard.
  • The java client runs slow.

The last event of the day for me was the API Sharing Session and API After Hours.  Being the API forum Moderator I got to run these two events.  The Sharing Session is mostly administrative where we discuss enhancements, procedures, etc.  I gave some tips to the newly minted APIers.  I also made the plea that we get enhancements posted to the forum earlier so that we would have time for discussion prior to voting.  We also briefly discussed the value of an API wiki which everyone agreed was a fine idea if we can work out security details.  The System Administration wiki, which I co-manage, is proving successful and we feel that an API wiki will prove equally valuable.  I will work with SirsiDynix to explore this possibility.

The API  After Hours (aka API Mini-Summit) is more of a birds-of-a-feather session where the die-hards stick around and talk API.  Charles S. demonstrated several custom java reports written for his school system.  Pretty nifty.  Among other benefits, the reports give us good examples of coding particularly tricky parts of java client reports.

Shawn C. reprised a presentation she gave earlier but with more technical details that appealed to the APIers.  Shawn figured out how to do a variety of My Account activities outside of the OPAC including social software/networking tools such as tagging, book reviews, shared book lists, and RSS feeds.  She also demonstrated how she was able to created staff functions to give staff access to normally client-based activities.  Oooh! Bright & shiney.  Must have.finally, Joel H. and David B. volunteered to have questions thrown at them in an attempt to stump the experts.  There were not many questions (mostly because I neglected to tell anyone we were doing it) but they were not stumped.

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One Comment on “SirsiDynix SuperConference – Day 2.5”

  1. Wayne Graham Says:

    One thing you mentioned sounded funny to me…they switched from printing to lpt to using print drivers. Is this a business decision? You can rather easily print directly to lpt using the FileWriter class in java.io. As a simple example:

    FileWriter out = new FileWriter(“lpt1”);
    out.write(“This is the library report”);
    out.write(0x0D); // CR
    out.close();

    Also, have they investigated other JVMs? IBM’s Jikes and Apache’s Harmony are pretty decent and especially with Harmony, it’s open source so changes are more community based, and, hopefully, better communicated. I wonder if the movement to OpenSource for Sun’s language will have any effect on these changes.

    One last thought…I know not all shops have implemented Active Directory, but remotely installing software using it has come a long way. Is Sirsi giving any guidance to this a la http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816102?


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