A Busy Summer for DSpace — GSoC & DSpace 1.7 updates

Tue, 2010-08-24 13:26 -- Anonymous (not verified)

The summer is always a great time to sit back, relax, and put your feet up. But this summer, the DSpace developers have been hard at work (though, we’ve also taken our respective relaxation time). We’ve been making early preparations for the upcoming DSpace 1.7 release and mentoring four successful student projects during the 2010 Google Summer of Code (GSoC).
Google Summer of Code 2010
The Google Summer of Code is a global program which offers student developers stipends to write code for open source software projects. This is DSpace’s fourth straight year mentoring students to work on DSpace related projects. This year, we had four great students who completed four successful projects. More information on each of these projects can be found at: https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/Google+Summer+of+Code

Backport of DSpace 2.x Storage Services - Andrius Blažinskas
Andrius joined us for a third straight year. The past two years, his projects centered around early investigation into Fedora integration. This year, Andrius investigated strategies to backport the DSpace 2.x Prototype’s storage modules into our current DSpace 1.x architecture. A goal of this project was to begin to investigate a potential roadmap towards the DSpace 2.x architecture, one which would allow you to run your current user interfaces on top of a more flexible storage layer. Although there is still more work to be done, Andrius’ project helps bring us closer to realizing this roadmap. In addition, Andrius’ work over the last three years begins to showcase a potential route towards a DSpace with “Fedora Inside”.

DSpace REST API - Bojan Suzic
Bojan continued his investigation into a REST API for DSpace from last year’s GSoC. Even if you are not a developer, you’ve probably heard of REST APIs. Essentially, a REST API allows other systems and software to more easily interact with your system (and its contents) via the web. The DSpace Developers hope that a REST API will enable more user-based tools to be built around DSpace. Bojan’s summer work has provided us with a basic, experimental REST API. There is still work and testing to do to make it fully stable, but several developers have expressed an interest in seeing this work move forward. Bojan himself has also volunteered to help after GSoC to ensure this REST API is released in a future version of DSpace.

Unit Testing Project - Pere Villega
Pere’s project sought to add a Unit Testing framework to DSpace. A Unit Testing framework provides a route for improving the testing of internal DSpace code. It can also help to locate bugs/issues before they are ever seen in the user interface. In fact, Pere’s work already helped to locate a minor issue or two within DSpace code which had yet to be noticed via a user interface. Pere’s work is also the first Google Summer of Code project to have ever been immediately accepted into the main codebase. His Unit Testing framework will be released in the upcoming DSpace 1.7. Keep an eye out for a formal announcement in the next few days!

Storage Service Implementations Based on Semantic Content Repositories - Yigang Zhou
Yigang investigated building a Semantic Storage option for DSpace. A Semanic Storage option would allow DSpace to store its data in a more flexible/dynamic fashion, similar to Fedora’s storage layer. Yigang’s project worked alongside Andrius’ project to also investigate ways to potentially allow DSpace 1.x to take advantage of this more flexible storage model. Although there is still more work to be done, Yigang’s project adds more context to the DSpace with “Fedora Inside” initiative. It provides us with some immediate examples for how DSpace content could be stored in a more flexible fashion, which has the potential to inform this larger initiative.

DSpace 1.7 Updates
In addition the the GSoC news, the DSpace Developers wanted to provide a brief status update around DSpace 1.7. This next major release of DSpace is still on-target to be released in December 2010. Work is ongoing, and the developers are still working to finalize the list of 1.7 new features. An up-to-date list of expected 1.7 features is available on the DSpace 1.7.0 Release Notes wiki page. There are already two nice features which have been added to the codebase and finalized for the 1.7 release:

  • Unit Testing Framework - As mentioned above, Pere’s Google Summer of Code work has already been approved for the 1.7.0 release. Although this is not a user-facing feature, it should help to ensure that DSpace 1.7.0 is even more stable and bug-free than past major releases.
  • AIP Backup/Restore - This preservation-oriented feature allows you to backup and restore your DSpace contents as a series of AIPs (Archival Information Packages). Once exported, these AIPs can be backed up to any sort of external storage (tape, hard drive, cloud storage, etc). The AIPs can be used at a later time to restore all your DSpace contents (should it all be lost), or just a single Community, Collection or Item (should you accidentally delete something, or find something has been corrupted). More detail can be found on the wiki at https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/AipBackupRestore and in the Open Repositories 2010 presentation on “Improving DSpace Backups, Restores and Migrations