The CRC806-Database has a new web frontend


The CRC806-Database now has a new web frontend and a new SDI, including many new useful features and improvements for usability and stability of the system.

Just in time for the yearly CRC 806 Workshop, we launched the new web frontend for the CRC806-Database. Due to some issues with the former frontend, it was decided to rebuilt the website applying a more robust system architecture, by switching to another web framework, that is better supported by the content management system (CMS) of the website. Technical details of the re-implementation are described on a poster we contributed for the recent 2nd Data Management Workshop at the University of Cologne. A paper detailing the reasons for and the technical details of the website upgrade will follow in the workshop proceedings soon.

The main reason for the redevelopment of the website frontend were rendering and performance issues we had with the AngularJS framework, that we used for the frontend in the previous version. We will not go into detail of these issues here, but you can get the informations from the mentioned publications. For the new version, we switched from Typo3 version 4.5 to Typo3 version 6.2 for the CMS framework. And our ustomizations (Extensions) are completely developed using the Typo3 Extbase & Fluid technology. This way we moved the main logic processing for user interaction and data handling to the server side, from which we expect more stability and better usability.

Some new features were implemented for the new data catalogue interface. The temporal filter is probably the most notable improvement. Now it is possible to temporally annotate datasets and filter these by time intervals. Major improvements were also employed on the data entry user interface. Another remarkable new feature is the new Maps interface. We switched from a custom SDI stack (Mapserver, MapProxy, pyCSW) to the GeoNode system, that sells itself as a CMS for spatial data. Similar to the integration of CKAN for the metadata handling, we integrate GeoNode through a REST API and a reverse proxy. Additionally we implemented a feature to relate datasets from the data catalogue and spatial data from the maps interface. The members directory was also re-implemented to solve some display issues, also the members profile pages are now linked with their datasets in the database. The frontpage including the news system was also redesigned, now it is possible to subscribe to RSS feeds for the different contents (Datasets, GeoDatasets, Publications) and news of the CRC806-Database.

Thanks to the project members who helped to test the new version. We hope to solved the remaining issues have found the most bugs, but in the first days/week it is possible to encounter some problems. Please provide feedback and notify us, if you stumble upon an issue of the new website, so we can fix it and make the system better.

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