PKP Fall 2016 Sprint Report
The PKP Fall 2016 Sprint was held on October 2nd and 3rd at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. As with all PKP sprints, community members joined us from across Canada and other countries – most in-person but with some remote participation. Thanks to everyone who contributed their time and expertise to make our software better for everyone.
The UNB Libraries was our host for this sprint, providing us with an outstanding work space, as well as filling us with food and drink — and delivering a beautiful east coast fall! Our deep thanks go out to them as well. The University of New Brunswick is among the earliest adopters of PKP’s software, and has long been a strong contributor and advocate. We are proud to finally host an event here with their help.
The sprint working groups tackled several major tasks: creating a REST API for OJS/OMP, writing theming documentation and creating a new theme, modifying OJS to work better with multilingual author names, and developing an OAuth plugin — all important projects that help to build out the benefits of the new OJS 3 and OMP 1.2 platforms.
Academic publishing tools do not live in isolation — increasingly it’s necessary for them to be able to work together. A REST API is the most common way of permitting interoperability. This has recently been a popular subject, and PKP has been connecting groups together who are interested in helping to specify an API for communicating with OJS from other systems. During the sprint, the REST API subgroup reviewed the germinal specification work that has been produced thus far, and tackled some tricky technical infrastructure that we hope will permit us to release a basic public API in the near future.
Theming and Documentation
A major goal for OJS 3 was to make it easier to theme, allowing journals to provide a unique and attractive reader interface, while remaining readable, accessible, and responsive. With this in place, the Theming and Documentation group decided to undertake the writing of detailed instructions on how to make your own theme. We hope this will make the creation of new themes easier and contribute to a vibrant community of OJS and OMP themers.
Interoperability is a big subject, and one of the big requirements for operability is authorization. In order for two systems to interact, each must be able to identify the user. OAuth is a standard permitting systems to determine whether a user is authorized to access a resource, and it’s commonly used to permit logins from different websites to work together (e.g., logging in with Google or Facebook credentials, for example). The OAuth subgroup implemented a proof of concept authorization plugin permitting institutional accounts to be used to log into OJS.
Multilingual Author Names
OJS has been translated into many different languages, but one challenge has been how to handle author names, whether they are languages which do not have the same first name/middle name/last name structure as in English, or that need to be translated into other character sets (e.g., Russian or Arabic). This group worked to solve some of these problems.
Watch for reports from each working group over the next week or so. Our next sprint will be held in the spring of 2017, location currently undecided. If you’d like to host us, let us know! We hope to see you there.