Challenges in an upgrade

At work we have been planning for an upgrade of our research management system, the final launch of which is due to go live in November some time. As part of our standard processes at the university we conduct an Expression of Interest process so management within each school are aware of what their researchers are planning and the financial implications for the school should they accept it.

One of the biggest problems we’ve had with v13 of our system was that staff didn’t like the disconnect between what they entered into the Expression of Interest and the need to re-enter some information again if it got accepted. The v15 release we are currently working on migrating to provided us with an opportunity to expand our support within the EOI space, something I have been working on throughout this week.

I haven’t had a lot to do with the creation of eForms in this system to-date, that was really the domain of my supervisor who has a great deal of experience in this system, but he decided to delegate to me unusually. It was a little flying blindly as this system is a tad “all over the place” to say the least:

  • Create the eForm as a Tab
  • Publish it
  • Associate it with a Set
  • Add to PD Display Screen
  • Test

I’d spent most of the week doing these set of tasks and making improvements to language and figuring out how to restyle it as they try hard to prevent your doing so, but not hard enough as I got there in the end. Today I worked on a second version that takes advantage of the new v15 functionality allowing us to enter personnel directly, eliminating the re-entry problem we’ve always had. This took me 45 minutes to work out as I couldn’t get the other template types to display, that was until I associated ‘Default Sponsor’ with them, upon which they then listed in our drop list.

It was a satisfying week, got to learn a lot more about the system and become more comfortable with how certain things work. Next week I’m getting in there and modding those templates to replace the ugly default buttons with far better styled HTML ones, the icons this system uses are just so 1990s.

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