MicroViews: A Mixed Week

MicroViews on course notes pages

Now that MicroViews has been deployed on the public people pages for ECS bringing a little life to the publication lists, MicroViews has seen it’s first deployment on a online course notes page.

An example of a MicroViews InPlace view on a course notes page.
An example of a MicroViews InPlace view on a course notes page.

Here we can see an example of a MicroViews InPlace view linked to an item in the University of Southampton EdShare installation. As you can see the InPlace view sports most of the same data that is included in a MicroViews tooltip. Incidentally the “can be found in EdShare” link is also enabled with a MicroViews tooltip in this case.

The only feature that the InPlace view does not include is the image preview of the attached documents. The reason for not including the document previews in the InPlace views is that they have the potential to become quite large on the page. By only including a minimal set of data with the InPlace views this will hopefully stop the views from monopolising all of the space on the page. To further this goal of reducing the amount of screen space taken up by InPlace views it is now possible to collapse them by clicking the “[Hide]” button found at the top right of every InPlace view. When an InPlace view is collapsed you can only see the header and “Generated by MicroViews” footer. It is also possible to define whether these InPlace views should start life  collapsed or expanded when the page is loaded. By default they appear collapsed but you can tell them to start life expanded with an extra option in the initialisation function.

There is an issue with the styling of the InPlace view on this page and I am working to get a consistent style across. At the moment there is an element of the page CSS that is interacting with the InPlace view and causing the font size to increase to the standard font size on the rest of the page. I have been able to overcome this problem when styling the tooltips but the solution to the styling issue with InPlace views is still eluding me. I may need to pull out and dust off my CSS books.

MicroViews and HTTPS

A problem that has reared it’s head is an issue relating to make requests for HTTP resources from a page loaded via HTTPS. All of the ECS course notes pages are held within our department network and are served over the HTTPS protocol. After testing the page in Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera no problems were found with this set up at all and the InPlace plugin rendered as expected. Unfortunately under Internet Explorer this was not the case and a warning appears every time the page is loaded informing the user that the page is loading insecure items. They can choose to ignore the warning and continue to run the library without any problems. But these kind of errors can end up driving users away as they don’t trust the page to be non-malicious.

A potential solution is to create a reference to the HTTP resource inside the ECS intranet so that the resources are in the same HTTPS domain as far as the browser cares. At the time of writing this post I have spoken to system admins in ECS and they are setting up the redirects. Hopefully by doing this and hosting MicroViews as https://secure.ecs.soton.ac.uk/microviews.js being a reference to http://microviews.eprints.org/microviews.js this should clear up the problem. Hopefully I will be able to update you all about this next time I write a post.

MicroViews Statistics

There has been a bit of a loss here. If you remember a few posts back now I was hoping to collect some usage information for MicroViews. Around now I was expecting to see some results appearing as the library is now being employed on the ECS people pages and on a notes page. Now either I am getting extremely unlucky with regards to people looking at MicroViews enabled pages or there is something wrong with the statistics collection. Either way this is a problem that I am going to be putting some time into fixing. If not enough people are looking at MicroViews pages I need to find out why and see if I can reduce this as an issue. If the statistics layer is broken then I need to investigate what is going wrong.

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