[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Re: [OPEN-ILS-DEV] Evergreen issues andsuggestions

Kay Scoggins kay at wgrl.net
Tue May 20 17:03:21 EDT 2008

Hi, I enjoyed your email while waiting for my white screen of death to go
away. Kay

Kay Scoggins, Catalog Librarian
West Georgia Regional Library, WGRL-HQ
710 Rome Street
Carrollton, GA  30117
770-836-6711 (Main), 770-836-4787 (Fax)
-----Original Message-----
From: open-ils-general-bounces at list.georgialibraries.org
[mailto:open-ils-general-bounces at list.georgialibraries.org] On Behalf Of
Jason Etheridge
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 2:18 PM
To: open-ils-dev at list.georgialibraries.org
Cc: open-ils-general at list.georgialibraries.org
Subject: [OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Re: [OPEN-ILS-DEV] Evergreen issues

Hey Bryan,

This is awesome, thanks.  I'll share my thoughts on some of this...

> In the cataloging editor, when looking at an authority record pop-up, the
font on my screen is a shade of white on light gray/tan background. This
makes it rather difficult to see. Is this font color an option I need to set
somewhere, or is this the intended color? Why isn't the color something
darker, like black--like the same color as that of the editor text? Or is
this a problem with my computer's (Windows XP SP2) installation of the
Evergreen client?

This was fixed in the trunk/ and rel_1_2/ branches about 2 months ago,
but is likely still affecting Evergreen  It's simply a matter
of tweaking a server-side CSS file.  If you're working with a PINES
library, they'll get the fix when they upgrade to 1.2.2

<snip MARC editor>

All good points on the MARC editor.  I know there are plans to revisit
it (I certainly have the itch but not the resources).  I'm also hoping
that we can leverage existing open source MARC editors and maybe offer
some choices.

> After editing a record and saving, and then discovering another edit that
should have been made, the changes made earlier are sometimes not
retained--if I recall correctly, the changes appear in the MARC view, but
are not always present in the MARC Editor. It seems as though this might be
related to the way the database updates records--as if the updated copy of
the record has not made it to the official database yet. Given a sufficient
amount of time (a day or so), the changes solidify and it should be possible
to update the record again without losing the changes made earlier.

Hrmm, I bet this is a caching issue, though it could be replication
lag.  Try closing the tab, and then executing Admin -> For Developers
-> Clear Cache, and then re-retrieving the record.  If that is indeed
the problem (Clear Cache fixes it), then we should be able to tackle
it pretty easily.

> In the Evergreen client, if I accidentally press control-Q instead of
control-W when trying to close a tab, the window containing all my tabs
disappears, leaving just the Startup/Shutdown portion of the client running.
Is there a way to get the main window back from this interface without
having to log-off and then log-on again?

Yeah, I need to add a button for that.  It's low-hanging fruit if any
would-be developers want to wet their feet with the staff client. :D

> If not, I do see that it is possible to retrieve the last record I was
working on after logging-out and back in again, provided the client does not
die while loading (which it does on > occasion--either freezing while
loading or when it gets to the Data loaded message, without opening the main
> Related to the above, sometimes, right after logging into Evergreen, the
Data Loaded message appears and then the program encounters an error and
asks if I want the report sent to Microsoft. Looking at one report I
received: AppName: xulrunner.exe. AppVer: ModName: js3250.dll.
ModVer: Offset: 0001f7b5. A second report: AppName: xulrunner.exe.
AppVer: ModName: unknown. ModVer: Offset: 8f8ff981. The
program then goes away. Relaunching the application is usually successful.

Hrmm, I've seen the freeze before (has anyone seen this in Linux?),
but not the segfault.  Xulrunner hasn't matured as fast as I had hoped
(Firefox 3 was supposed to be on xulrunner), but I've been
contemplating some options (this is mostly for OPEN-ILS-DEV):

1) use local XUL instead of remote XUL, and do remote upgrades.  A lot
of developer headaches come out of the differences between remote XUL
and local XUL, and the Mozilla developers appear to be having second
thoughts about remote XUL.

2) target Firefox as a run-time instead of xulrunner.  Both are from
the mozilla source tree, but Firefox has more stable releases whereas
most of the active xulrunner development is unstable.  The downside is
that if we actually do this as an extension on a end-user's own
Firefox, then they can upgrade the run-time out from under us, and
Firefox likes automatic upgrades.

For the crash, if there's anyone out there handy with a Windows
debugger and can narrow this down, we can submit a decent bug report
to Mozilla, and/or workaround the issue.

> Could "Actions for this Record"->"Set bottom interface as Default" be a
workstation-level (individual PC) setting rather than an account-level
setting (username qualitybooks)? It appears to apply to all using the same
username rather than being limited to one workstation. There are times when
1 person here is setting holdings (Holdings Maintenance) and the other is
importing records or editing records (MARC View/MARC Editor), and it would
be nice to be able to set the default for each client/workstation.

In the long run, I want us to be able to choose exactly where all
settings are stored (org-level, user-level, on the file system, etc.)

> In the Holdings Maintentance screen, might it be possible to have buttons
for some of the more common tasks (add volume, add items)? Selecting these
from the drop-down menus, either via right-clicking, or by going to the
Actions for Selected Rows button, may not take much time, but when adding
new items any time or mouse motion savings would be welcome. Even better,
but as a longer-term goal, might be to have the buttons be customizable, as
one can do in OCLC Connexion Client.

You should be able to use the keyboard to navigate that menu fairly
quickly (you should be able to use it for almost anything, but I don't
know how to re-position list columns with it, for example).  Alt+F, A
for Actions -> Add Items

I think end-user reconfigurability would be good, but the original
users indicated that if we did that, we would need a way to lock it
down, so we punted.  Now that you're a user too and you want it, it's
back on the table. :D  There's always trade-offs involved when we
decide where, how, and if to offer features, toggles, options, etc.,
and so we tend to make the framework as flexible as possible but try
not to make the end-user interfaces more complex than they need to be
until folks demand something.

For this specific function, I think it'll come more easily once
internationalization/localization is complete (since they keys will no
longer be hard coded anyway).

> A few times, after importing from OCLC, the record failed to finish
loading--it appeared to import ok, then began loading the OPAC view. It
failed to finish loading that view and did not go on to load to MARC view
(my default). Opening a new tab and searching by TCN usually succeeded in
bringing up the record. In at least 1 instance, it was necessary to bring up
3-4 tabs before the TCN search successfully brought up the record.

Hrmm, are you familiar with the debug console for the staff client?

See if you can capture the debug output when anything like that
happens and email it to me directly.  If you're working with a PINES
library I should be able to reproduce it.

> In Holdings Maintenance, if the only copy is deleted from the only volume,
must that always mean that the bibliographic record is marked for deletion?
If so, it might be good to provide the person deleting the last copy with
stronger warning about the consequences of deleting that last copy (for
example, in cases where someone has imported the record, set holdings but
found them to be wrong, attempted to delete the volume to be able to start
from scratch, and then found that the bibliographic record had to be
imported again). If any changes had been made to the bibliographic record
during or after importation, those changes have to be made again or are lost
when the deleted record has to be reimported.

The auto-deletion behavior can be disabled site-wide, but I thought we
already required an "override" for deleting the last copy, but
apparently we don't.  I'll ask Bill how easy that would be to add in
the middle layer.

> Is there a way to move between tabs using the keyboard rather than the

Alt+1, Alt+2, etc. would be the easiest way, though Control+Tab would also

> The Staff Client is very slow on older computers (ca. 2002-2003), when
bringing up a record, bringing up Holdings Maintenance-related screens, etc.
While it is to be expected that older computers might have difficulties with
newer software, it would be nice if improvements could be made to the Staff
Client's responsiveness.

There are a lot of performance tweaks I have planned, but in general,
cataloging will always be more resource intensive than circulation.
The current client is very dependent on low-latency broadband (it's
very AJAX-y), and fortunately or unfortunately is "modern" in the same
way as all applications built with developer-friendly tools, in that
all the abstractions are resource hungry.  I do have the itch to make
a "green-screen" terminal application that you can ssh or telnet into,
but no one will let me. :)

We do have a notion for pushing more of the staff client logic into
the middle layer, which will make it easier to produce multiple "thin"
staff clients on different technology stacks.

> When there is a list of multiple search results, is there a way in the
staff client to open individual records in a new tab so that the results
listing will be available for subsequent access? I have tried right-clicking
and clicking while holding down various keys, but I fail to get a pop-up
menu with various choices, including Open in new tab. This would allow
comparison between multiple records without having to do multiple searches,
among other things.

I think that would be nifty.  I imagine the OPAC will also get a way
to select multiple records from a result list (for say, batch adding
to a bookbag), and that's something else that could probably be
leveraged and hooked into staff client functionality.

> While searching for a TCN, the program took a while (as it often does when
searching for a TCN it can't find--when searched via shift-F3; when searched
via Quick Search as TCN, the not-found message comes up relatively quickly).
When I put my cursor down near the button (on the Windows taskbar, arranged
in order of opening) for the Evergreen window (of tabs for searching etc.),
the button moved, as if it had closed and reopened itself. It was then
impossible to get the Evergreen window to come back up by clicking on the
button. It also disappeared from the Alt-Tab options. I was able to get to
the initial Evergreen log-in window and chose to exit Evergreen. This closed
the launch window, and then the other (searching) Evergreen window came up.
While attempting to get the search window back before exiting the log-in
window, I did notice a small dialog box, but it disappeared before I could
access it (fell behind windows for other programs I clicked on trying to get
Evergreen back).

Hrmm, we should open a bug for this so I won't forget to look into it
(done, bug 623).  Has anyone else experienced this?

> Frequently when searching for a TCN that is not in Evergreen, I get a
network error message. After clicking the ignore error button, I get a
message saying that it is a deleted record but would I like to display it
anyway. Saying yes usually results in a pause and then a message saying that
the TCN was not found.

Mike, Bill, I'm using open-ils.search.biblio.tcn for this.  If the
count comes back 0 I call it again with a flag for including deleted
records. Then it tries to construct an OPAC URL (if staff says yes)
with the returned record id.  I'm going to bug this one too (bug 624).

> Searching for words with diacritics may need some attention. For example,
I searched by title on "Vietnamese-English dictionary". One of the results
included a heading "Nguy??n, ?ình Hoà". I clicked that heading and retrieve
0 hits. Removing the diacritics from the search box (Nguyen, Dinh Hoa) does
appear to bring up the record among the 15 results.

I'm going to punt this to Mike and Dan.

> In the OPAC, advanced search, the Quick Search options for various
numbers, it would be nice to have these quick searches available on the
results pages, as well--either as options in the Keyword drop-down at the
top, or somewhere else, but available without having to go back to the
Advanced Search page each time.

Punt to Bill.

> In the Staff Client, it might be useful to have an option to batch search
by ISBN or by TCN, which could be stored in a bucket. Along with this, it
would be helpful to know which search lines did not result in a match (in an
exportable format like 1 line per term in plain text, preferably).

Hrmm, I have been planning to allow population of record buckets by
text upload of TCN's, and the trunk version of EG has an experimental
interface for populating record buckets from adhoc searches.  I hadn't
given much thought to an exceptions list, though.  I'd look toward
release 1.4 for these.

> LCCN searches don't seem to complete successfully. When I searched for
LCCN 2007013351 (found on TCN ocn122338074), the initial search presented a
progress bar crawl and then said there were no hits. Doing the search again
returned desired 1 result. (This appears to be similar to the MARC Expert
search behavior I posted about and others responded to earlier). ISBN and
TCN searches seem to work without problems.

Hrmm, punt to Mike.

<opac usability>

Punt to Bill.

> There is an option to Upload from File. On exporting, there are options
for Export (to clipboard) and Print Export (to printer or image file). It
might also be nice to have an Export to File option for lists that may be
too long to fit on the clipboard (though based on exporting 662 items, this
may no longer be as much of a problem as it was when I tried exporting the
list last August on an older computer).

Yeah, that's half-way done in trunk, and will be presented much more
cleanly as a "CSV to" drop-down.  I want to expose that functionality
for all lists throughout the client.

> When exporting, it might be nice if the column order were retained.

Ah, agreed.

> When the record to be overlaid is displayed, the right side appears to be
cut off. It is possible to scroll to see the rest of the record, but there
does not appear to be a way to expand the white portion of the display into
the gray background so that the entire record is visible on the pop-up.

Hrmm, I'll look into that.

> After overlaying a record, the message box indicates that the record was
successfully "overlayed." Perhaps "overlaid" would be better?

Oof.  I'll punt to the translators. ;)

> After conducting a search in Z39.50 when a previous result is in MARC
View, the button for Results View/MARC View does not reset itself. As a
result, it is necessary to click on the button 2 times to get the MARC to
display for the results of the new search.


> When clicking MARC Editor for Import, would it be better for the program
to prompt at that point if an existing record has the same TCN, rather than
waiting until after the record has been edited and the Import Record button
is clicked? That way the person importing the record would know immediately
that the record already exists in the database, before any time has been
spent editing.

Yeah, I've also been wanting to do some background searches whenever a
record gets highlighted.  Also, in trunk, this interface becomes
multi-sourced/federated, and one of the sources you can use is your
own database, so you'll be able to search your catalog at the same
time explicitly.

> Sometimes when clicking the Results View/MARC View, perhaps while  the
results are still loading, an error message pops up. Debug output:
> Please open a helpdesk ticket and include the following text:

Gracias.  I'll see if I can robustify that.

> In the Actions for this Record menu, if I accidentally select View Holds
when I meant to select Holdings Maintenance, it might be nice to be able to
press the Escape key to cancel the resulting message about not having
permission to view holds. Also, when I clicked the Cancel button, an alert
message came up saying "!! This software has encountered an error. Please
tell your friendly system administrator or software developer the following:
patron/holds.xul [object Object]".

In the long run, I want to grey out options you don't have perms for,
rather than checking the perms after the fact.

> What would be involved in implementing the checks of MARC::Lint,
MARC::Errorchecks, etc. in the cataloging editor, perhaps in association
with the Validate button or as a related button next to it?

It'd be easy to present that information textually in a window, but
harder to integrate it into the current MARC editor.  It's something I
want to do if I get dibs on writing a new editor.  We used to have one
that would look at field repeatability information, etc. and color
problem fields in red, but that editor was deficient in other ways (no
authority validation, for example).

> Thank you for your assistance,

Hey, thank you!   As more resources get poured into Evergreen we'll be
better able to tackle things like these, but I think it's important to
point them out as soon as you find them.  Folks, when you become
involved in the community like this, you can be become a force for
change, even if you're not a software developer.  Your domain
expertise is a valuable resource.  Of course, let others know what you
like about the software as well.  We need to know how to improve
things, but we live off of kudos. :D

Jason Etheridge
 | VP, Community Support and Advocacy
 | Equinox Software, Inc. / The Evergreen Experts
 | phone: 1-877-OPEN-ILS (673-6457)
 | email: jason at esilibrary.com
 | web: http://www.esilibrary.com

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