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					Homegrown Office Management
   and Payroll Applications

              Brad Edmondson
          Senior Student Supervisor
     Tufts OnLine, UIT, Tufts University
         Tufts University
• 5000 Undergrads
• 1000 Grad students
• 3300 Total residents
  Technology Services at Tufts

Tufts University

                    IT Services

                   University IT

                                   Tufts OnLine

             Tufts OnLine
• Functions:
  –   Provide student desktop support
  –   Manage all UIT     student contact
  –   Manage itself
  –   Budget: small
       Tufts OnLine Staff
• 1 full-time Supervisor
• 1 Student Supervisor or Senior Student
• 2 Student Technicians
• 1 Student Secretary
• 25 Total
• Busy students
• Student employees: coursework vs. our
• Small budget
• Complicated, changing schedules for all
        Available Resources
•   Lots of computing power
•   Plentiful bandwidth
•   Student employees
•   Open-source and free software
Tufts OnLine Student Website
•   How-to's and troubleshooting docs
•   Software downloads
•   Console MAC registrations
•   Conference MAC registrations
•   Already running on a VM
    – VMWare host has RAID 1

Result: Tufts OnLine Portal v1-2
 •   Scheduling
 •   Hours recording
 •   Punch clock
 •   Contact info
 •   Drop-shift emails
     Tufts OnLine Portal: v3
•   Same features
•   AJAX user interface
•   Tough to administer
•   Firefox only
•   Available to all UIT groups
•   Permanent and dynamic schedule model

Tufts OnLine Portal: v3: PII → VM
  • Old PII machine
  • HD fails
  • Late-night data recovery and VM setup

  • Results: Website in one VM, portal site
    in another

                          p.s. - always RAID your
                          mission-critical systems
Tufts OnLine Portal: v4 (payrails)
 • Frameworked
    – Ruby On Rails
    – Model-View-Control
 • New problems, new opportunities
    – Students learning Ruby, Rails
    – More and faster coding thereafter
 • Currently pre-alpha
    – Source access available on request
    – Will be released open-source when ready

Tufts OnLine Portal: v4 (payrails)
 • Coming features:
   – Administrative email notifications, statistics
   – Students emailed for open shifts, 18-hour
   – Internal help, documentation, configuration
   – Pay rates
   – User-editable contact info
   – Collision detection
Tufts OnLine Portal: v4 (payrails)
 • Coming features:
   – Administrative announcements
   – Massive punch-in/out
   – Block out holidays
   – Accounts for everyone
      • Authentication, select actions by group
      • Software downloads, device registrations
   – Organization editor
     Development Patterns
• Students have limited development time
• Frameworks make efficient use of time


                   LAMP      Ruby on Rails
Tufts OnLine Portal: v5 (payrails 2)
  • Possible features:
    –   Installation instructions
    –   Student worker seniority
    –   Automatically build schedule
    –   Students choose their own shifts
    –   Repeat offender tracking for missed shifts
    –   Track/alert total $$ earned per student
    –   Arbitrary day start/end time
         Contact Information
• Tufts OnLine:
• Email:

• Php app (v3): email for .zip
• RoR app (v4): email for svn
  access (still under heavy development)

                    See also: ConPortal, developed at
                    Pomona, enhanced at Bucknell

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