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Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby jamief » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:23 am

We are currently looking at the much discussed topic. It seems there are still no solutions.

Having investigated (a little) LDAP as a single sign on, I'm almost convinced this is not the solution people want (Having access to installing an LDAP server is not easy for those who use commercial hosting, for example). And more important, with my little understanding in LDAP, the issue is we are moving user management out of BOTH CMS systems onto a 3rd (OpenLDAP for example) and the solution I want is more seamless.

Another option seems to be what the Joomla community call a bridge. A module that works with the two user tables simultaneously. And this is the route I am now taking. However, the user functions in OCS/OJS are much more finely tuned that those available in Joomla. So I'm assuming a bridge only picks up the user login and password and then, depending on which application is currently serving the needs of the user, keeps the roles separate.

I take it that is is what people are looking for?

An admin (with admin/editor/publisher etc) rights in joomla logs in, and has modification access to his joomla site, but when he enters a OCS page, only has the level of interaction assigned through the backend OCS, for example. i.e. the user tables do not merge, are duplicated (one for Joomla and one for OCS/OJS) and we are still using, more or less, Iframes for the majority of content integration, although we could set up a menu in Joomla what links directly to OCS/OJS content.

In that case I would want only to kill off the standard horizontal menu in OCS, and retain the right column menu blocks as these are 100% OCS information, and don't require a joomla menu in any respect.

I am currently advertising for a php developer to construct this component, and would appreciate any feedback on this before nailing down the project!
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby mcrider » Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:01 am

Hi Jamie,

I think this is a great idea (one that I've advised to some degree in other forum threads)--And a good alternative to the complexities of setting up LDAP and shibboleth. I would suggest developing this as a generic plugin that
1) Adds new users to the user tables of the target system whenever a user is created in OxS, and
2) Adds an entry to the target system's 'sessions' table whenever the user logs in to OxS to provide single sign-on functionality (to the extent that this is possible).
3) Shares user profile information to whatever extent is possible
4) Delete users from all systems when deleted from OxS

I think there are hooks already implemented around these functions, but if not you can request we add them to future releases of our software. Also, I would encourage you to develop a modular way of adding different CMS to the bridge-- I.e. allow the user to select multiple applications to bridge to.

One drawback of this setup is that this puts OJS/OCS at center stage, i.e. you would have to develop a separate bridge plugin for Joomla or whatever other CMS you use to add users created in that CMS to OxS. Another is that it may be difficult to synchronize user privileges/roles with other apps--This would probably best be used just for synchronizing user accounts and sessions.

I'd suggest posting an employment opportunity on the emplyment forum here to see if you get any uptake on this. Also, feel free to post to this thread if you want any more advice!

Cheers,
Matt
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby Anon » Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:35 am

This will be an excellent development if it is possible. As a suggestion, you could investigate using one of the available Joomla bridges to see if this can be amended for OCS? Many are open source as well, for example, JFusion (http://www.jfusion.org/) has been developed so that it does not mess with core files of Joomla or the other package, but sucessfully joins the two together including merging into the layout where required (so that it uses a consistent template system from the Joomla site). It currently works with PhPBB3, Moodle and a range of other software, so may be a good candidate for this project.

In the interim, is it possible to drop the header from OCS (and use a left or right menu rather than top menu bar) so that it can be used in a Joomla iframe wrapper? (Apologies if this is covered elsewhere - only installed today and not had a read through all the documentation yet :mrgreen:)

Good luck

Anon
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby jamief » Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:57 am

I began investigating JFusion in July, and probably will go with it in the end. Getting a programmer nailed down has become a bit of a nightmare, but in the end I expect we will have just that.

Regarding the integration of the content, the wrapper feature functions quite well.
Essentially all one needs to do is grab copies of the links on a core installation (activating all menus for example) and create individual links to each page from a joomla wrapper.

To clean up the OCS, I trimmed down the content pages by eliminating all headers, breadcrumbs, turn off left and right menu bars, headers and footers.
This leaves pure content on the page, and if one wishes, one could also delete the appearance of the full menu in the first content screen one gets when entering the scheduled conferences page (the itemized list of all conference information.)

So the final integration really depends on how the Jfusion plugin responds.

I also experimented with creating a parallel version of the OCS using the same database from the Jooml intergrated one, so that we could have an unhacked version running parallel, to take advantage of the swift menu system for making administrative changes, but this didn't prove very successful.
I need to look at that again. It seems OCS doesn't run AS independently as a joomla 1.5 does today, because you have the URL hardcoded in the config file.

The idea, which I would like to continue to pursue is to have 2 installations of OCS: 1 inside a joomla (database OCS1): example... ocsjoomla.com
Another on a subdomain (admin.ocsjoomla.com) which "connects to" database OCS1, allowing me all the menu functions once again. This won't work with the side menu system because it is part of the entire dbase structure, you cannot turn it off on one site and on on another, like you can with Joomla.

My next project is to try to launch Wysiwyg Pro 3 from inside OCS as it is a superior editor for my purposes.
jamief
 
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby ramon » Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:27 am

Hello all,

I've been in dire need of this sort of integration for a while.
Just now I've found about JFusion and downloaded from their forum a sample plugin code.
It seems possible to even visually integrate and OxS(multiple instances maybe?) into Joomla.

Has anyone already developed anything and would like to share?

I would start looking at OxS login/authentication core code to see if there are any functions that match the JFusion Plugin code.
Is this the right start?
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby jamief » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:17 am

I now have a working plugin now for Joomla OCS and OJS integration. See subsequent post http://pkp.sfu.ca/support/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=5287

The issue is it cost me a large sum to have it produced by a programmer, and ensure it works. It's a single sign on system, and Im currently looking at all the issues related to managing the integration beyond the level of single sign on (for example, wrapper links etc.) to ensure a smooth integration.

I'm probably going to have to put it on my web development service site and ask for a single fee for the plugin(s) with the documentation I have.

If for some strange reason the number of puchases exceeds the cost, I can then push that surplus into PKP and Jfusion equally. I have no interest in making a profit on the plugin, but at the same time, I cannot to afford swallow the development costs whole!

I also paid for a recoding of the shedule template to display a conference in table format with simultaneous session side by side. I will look at adding that to a single package with the sign on.

In the meantime, if I could get an idea of how many people are interested in making a donation for the OCS and/or OJS plugin, that would help me to make it available at the lowest possible cost per person.

Im putting together a demonstration website of OCS running under Joomla 1.5 and can send those interested the link as well.
jamief
 
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby billysundar » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:14 pm

jamie,

we did some basic integration. I have modified the salt/password matching in OCS to mimic Joomla. Also, we de-activated the password change feature in OCS, and have triggers on jos_users which automatically updates the password in OCS. seems to work OK for the time being.

billy.
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby wrichard7 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:58 pm

We have been working on for some time now to integrate it with Open Source CMS. From this post it look like Joomla is a better option. This post is very helpful! Thanks
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Re: Joomla / OCS-OJS integration

Postby jamief » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:48 am

In terms of this problem, having been working now with a "joomla solution" for about 6 months I would like to make these observations:

1. Integration is a loose term here. What we really should call it is single user login module (and its concomitant user table synchronization). This reflects what part of the integration we are talking about.
2. Integration at another level - look and feel, seamless integration of multiple cms platforms for a single user experience - is not so easily achieved, nor guaranteed just by having the login feature solved.
3. The issues of hacking all the user login / logout / profile information and links OUT of the PKP platforms is an issue for many people because one has to get right into the code to do it. With joomla, one merely turns these controls on or off as needed. So even once single signon has been achieved, synchronization of the users across all platforms has been achieved etc, there is still some work to go and this is NOT something one can put into a plugin or an addon in any respect.
4. Integration, as my blog response suggests (http://pkp.sfu.ca/quickstudy5) can include iframes within Joomla such that PKP content lands nicely inside the main content area of a joomla implementation, thus achieving a pretty good level of integration - there are very few issues connected to this approach, but the work related side is that one must learn how to control links to each and every PKP content page and port them into the joomla menu structure. This is not difficult, but it does take time.
5. Integration of joomla within PKP seems to me to be virtually impossible, if not undesirable, so I won't even venture into that area.

Another interesting approach to this question has been one where a designer has taken a fairly sophisticated Joomla template and hacked it INTO a PKP theme. This seems to me to be an interesting solution on ONE level for many people. If this works within reason (as seems to be the case I have seen) then it is possible to create two separate independent platforms running along side each other, more or less having the same look and feel, utilising a user synchronisation for dual login, all without giving up most of what comes with PKP and adding into the joomla those aspects that are wanting or missing from PKP altogether.
In my experience, a JOOMLA/OJS integration would benefit mostly from this approach, but less so a JOOMLA/OCS - or all three.

I am currently building up three examples of what I am talking about, but as production sites.

a) a complete joomla/ocs/ojs integration through a single joomla template, which intends to provide seamless integration of a an organisation, its conferences and OJS for publishing conference proceedings (although it could be a standalone journal)

b) an non-profit organisation website which will provide dual login between an very developed Joomla web through to its Boletin (OJS) and later a conference website (OCS) keeping the 3 platforms independent but hacking the templates so that they provide a similar look and feel.

c) A Joomla / OJS integration under one template. This one has 30 back issues so it is on the backburner at the moment.

When I think they are ready for viewing I will post their locations and see if I can create a demo version of each for testing purposes.

The bottom line: Venturing into integration of PKP with other open source CMS converts the project from the main lines of a CMS (ease of use, for example) back into a PHP programming mode (hacking core code, adapting, bypassing, implementing new codes) so it is a decision which literally puts us back into dependency upon secondary services (designers/programmers/technical support).
If you have that level of support, then it can be done.
If you are an "on your own" novice CMS user just trying to get your publication up and running and would like a quick fix integration with Joomla then I'd say reconsider!
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