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SylSpace

Course management software on syllabus.space

Installation

Due to the outdated three-year-old 5.18.2 version of perl still running on MacOS, we do not recommend it. If you need to install syllabus.space on osx, first learn brew and install a newer perl.

Basic Steps:

These steps are for a plain ubuntu server. (The non-apt steps are applicable everywhere, though)

  • $ sudo apt install git cpanminus make gcc libssl-dev carton

      to download, you need git.  to install mojolicious, you
      need cpanminus, make, and gcc. we use carton to manage
      dependencies
    
  • $ mkdir mysylspacedir ; cd mysylspacedir

      in this example, mysylspacedir is the directory in which
      the webapp will be installed.  you can change this to anything you
      like.  because all of sylspace will be cloned into its own
      subdirectory, you could even omit this step altogether.
    
  • $ git clone https://github.com/iwelch/sylspace ; cd sylspace

    you now should have a lot of files in the mysylspacedir/sylspace directory, which you can inspect with $ ls.

  • carton install

      this instructs perl to install all the cpan modules that
      sylspace needs.  make sure that there are no errors in this step.
      if there are, you will suffer endless pain later on.  warning:
      this step may take 10 minutes.
    
      This makes a local environment where the expected versions
      of the cpan modules used are installed, regardless of other
      things you've installed. In order to run scripts in this
      project, prefix them with `carton exec`, or add `local/lib/perl5`
      to your PERL5LIB environment variable. (for more info, see
      `perldoc Carton`)
    
  • carton exec perl initsylspace.pl -f

      this builds the basic storage hierarchy in the
      filesystem located at $ENV{SYLSPACE_PATH} (/var/sylspace/ by default)
      such as $ENV{SYLSPACE_PATH}/courses, $ENV{SYLSPACE_PATH}/users,
      $ENV{SYLSPACE_PATH}/templates/, etc.
    
  • carton exec perl bin/load_site startersite

      this builds a nice starter site for test purposes.  for
      example, it creates a corpfin website (in
      /var/sylspace/courses/corpfin/) that the webapp will recognize as
      a corporate finance website.
    
  • sudo updatedb

      runserver.pl uses `locate sylspace/SylSpace` to detect where it is installed, so it needs you to run updatedb at least once.
    
  • carton exec perl runserver.pl

      runserver.pl is smart enough to figure out whether it
      is running on http://*.syllabus.space domain (where it should use
      hypnotoad) or on another computer (where there is only local test
      user authentication and the tester wants to see what URLs are
      being requested on the terminal).
    

now open your browser and point it to http://lvh.me. when you are done, click back on your terminal window and ^C out of runserver.pl.

If you aren't comfortable letting sylspace play around with your filesystem, then you can still test by using the included docker image. To pull the latest dev version built from the master branch, just use the supplied run_docker script, it will load your local copy of the repo into the container, and prefix all your commands to use carton. If no command is passed, then it will run morbo on port 3000.

Real Operation

Real operation means a system that works (for now only) on http://*.syllabus.space and that has Google etc. authentication of remote Internet users enabled.

To enable remote authentication, create a file containing the proper set of secrets that the Google, Facebook, and Paypal Authentications need. This can be a headache. The SylSpace-Secrets.template file tries to give some guidance. You need a file

SylSpace-Secrets.conf

which contains your private authentication secrets (for oauth, google, paypal, gmail, etc).

Again, the contents of the SylSpace-Secrets.conf file are illustrated in SylSpace-Secrets.template. You can edit and rename the template!

The app won't work without at least one OAuth provider configured. In addition, you must set the site_name so that cookies can work as expected across subdomains.

If you see an error

   Warning: 'message must be a string at (eval 253) line 63

it probably means that your login credentials for email sending are off.

Running from the docker container

To run the latest version of sylspace, simply do

docker run -p 8080:8080 \
  --mount type=bind,source=$YOUR_CONFIG_FILE,target=/usr/src/app/SylSpace-Secrets.conf \
  sylspace/sylspace:latest

A quick word of explanation: In order to run, SylSpace needs a config file which provides at least one OAuth provider and a site_name. In the command above, replace $YOUR_CONFIG_FILE with the full path to your config file, and then it will be made available to the container.

Another word is the -p switch above maps a port on your machine (the first number) to the one on the container (the second). By default hypnotoad listens on 8080, so the above command is a safe bet. Of course, if you have a different listen location in your config file, or wish to listen on a different port (docker always runs as root, so you can map straight to port 80 or 443 if you want).

Also, you may want to add a volume to store the data directories, which are in /var/sylspace inside the container. An example switch to do this would be

--mount source=my-volume-name,target=/var/syslspace

where it would then persist the data in the volume my-volume-name, and then you can load that in any container and stuff.

If you plan on running it behind a reverse proxy (which is faaaar beyond the scope of this text), make sure to set the MOJO_REVERSE_PROXY environment variable for the container, via the following option to docker run

-e MOJO_REVERSE_PROXY=1

Automatic (Re-) Start

We provide a systemd service file that you can use for running a production server. Look at the files in the systemd folder, and edit them to include the locations of your paths, and then copy them over to one of your systems systemd directories (/lib/systemd/system or /etc/systemd/system), the run systemctl daemon-reload, then systemctl start SylSpace. You can also run systemctl enable SylSpace to have it always turn on on startup.

Developing

SylSpace is written in perl with the Mojolicious web framework.

The SylSpace top-level executable initializes a variety of global features and then starts the app loop.

Each webpage ("controller") sits in its own Controller/*.pm file, which you can deduce by looking at the URL in the browser.

Almost every controller uses functionality that is in the model, which is in Model/*.pm.

The equiz evaluator is completely separate and laid out into Model/eqbackend.

All equizzes that come with the system are in templates/equiz/

All default quizzes that course instructors can copy into their own home directories are in templates/equiz/ .

File Itinerary

The Top Level

  • initsylspace.pl : the most important file. initializes the /var/sylspace hierarchy

  • SylSpace : The Main Executable

  • runserver.pl : smartly starts the server, depending on the hostname, with hypnotoad or morbo

The rest are also useful.

  • cpanfile : describes all required perl modules. Used only once during installation as carton install

  • SylSpace-Secrets.conf@ : A symlink to outside the hierarchy to keep secrets

  • SylSpace-Secrets.template : Illustrates how the secret file should look like

  • SylSpace.service : The systemd service file, to be copied into /lib/systemd/system/ for automatic (re-)start

  • start-hypnotoad.sh : just a link to runserver.pl

  • stop-hypnotoad.sh : reminder how to stop hypnotoad

  • FUTURE.md : plans

  • README.md : this file

./lib/SylSpace: Testing tools

  • Test.pm - testing helpers. See perldoc ./lib/SylSpace/Test.pm for more info
  • Test/App.pm - an object to load the App into Test2::MojoX, with some special helper functions
  • Test/Utils.pm - shared testing functions (not toooooo heavily used... yet)

./lib/SylSpace/Controller: The URLs

Each file corresponds to a URL. Typically, a file such as AuthGoclass (note capitalization) is /auth/goclass.

  • Aboutus.pm
  • AuthAuthenticator.pm
  • AuthBioform.pm
  • AuthBiosave.pm
  • AuthGoclass.pm
  • AuthIndex.pm
  • AuthLocalverify.pm
  • AuthMagic.pm
  • AuthSendmail.pm
  • AuthSettimeout.pm
  • AuthTestsetuser.pm
  • AuthUserdisroll.pm
  • AuthUserenrollform.pm
  • AuthUserenrollsave.pm
  • Enter.pm
  • Equizcenter.pm
  • Equizgrade.pm
  • Equizrate.pm
  • Equizrender.pm
  • Faq.pm
  • Filecenter.pm
  • Hwcenter.pm
  • Index.pm
  • InstructorCiobuttonsave.pm
  • InstructorCioform.pm
  • InstructorCiosave.pm
  • InstructorCollectstudentanswers.pm
  • InstructorCptemplate.pm
  • InstructorDesign.pm
  • InstructorDownload.pm
  • InstructorEdit.pm
  • InstructorEditsave.pm
  • InstructorEquizcenter.pm
  • InstructorEquizmore.pm
  • InstructorFaq.pm
  • InstructorFilecenter.pm
  • InstructorFiledelete.pm
  • InstructorFilemore.pm
  • InstructorFilesetdue.pm
  • InstructorGradecenter.pm
  • InstructorGradedownload.pm
  • InstructorGradeform.pm
  • InstructorGradesave.pm
  • InstructorGradesave1.pm
  • InstructorGradetaskadd.pm
  • InstructorHwcenter.pm
  • InstructorHwmore.pm
  • InstructorIndex.pm
  • InstructorInstructor2student.pm
  • InstructorInstructoradd.pm
  • InstructorInstructordel.pm
  • InstructorInstructorlist.pm
  • InstructorMsgcenter.pm
  • InstructorMsgdelete.pm
  • InstructorMsgsave.pm
  • InstructorRmtemplates.pm
  • InstructorSilentdownload.pm
  • InstructorSitebackup.pm
  • InstructorStudentdetailedlist.pm
  • InstructorUserenroll.pm
  • InstructorView.pm
  • Login.pm
  • Logout.pm
  • Msgcenter.pm
  • Msgmarkasread.pm
  • PaypalHandler.pm
  • Showseclog.pm
  • Showtweets.pm
  • StudentEquizcenter.pm
  • StudentFaq.pm
  • StudentFilecenter.pm
  • StudentFileview.pm
  • StudentGradecenter.pm
  • StudentHwcenter.pm
  • StudentIndex.pm
  • StudentMsgcenter.pm
  • StudentOwnfileview.pm
  • StudentQuickinfo.pm
  • StudentStudent2instructor.pm
  • Testquestion.pm
  • Testquestion.pm.save
  • Uploadform.pm
  • Uploadsave.pm

./bin: support scripts

  • addsite.pl : CLI to add a new site with instructor
  • load_site : deploys a site layout based on configuration files in share/fixtures

./share/fixtures: site layouts

These are testing fixtures that are used in the test suite, and also can be deployed on your live version of the app for live testing purposes.

The format is basically self explanatory YAML (once you know what fields are expected by SylSpace)

  • startersite.yml : contains the setup of a corpfin course with 2 users
  • messysite.yml : contains a setup of four different courses and many users

./lib/SylSpace/Model: The Workhorse.

  • Controller.pm : all html-output related utility routines that are used many times over.

  • Model.pm : many of the main model functions, excepting Files, and Grades. For example, user management, sitebackup, bio, messages, tweeting, equiz interface

  • Files.pm : storing and retrieving homeworks, equizzes, and files

  • Grades.pm : storing and retrieving grades

  • Utils.pm : many common routines (e.g., globbing, file reading, etc.)

  • Webcourse.pm : creating and removing a new course, used in addsite.pl

  • csettings-schema.yml : what course information is required and what it must satisfy

  • usettings-schema.yml : what biographical information is required and what it must satisfy

./lib/SylSpace/Model/eqbackend:

  • eqbackend.pl* : the main quiz evaluation program.

    • solo = feed question from stdin
    • syntax = check an equiz
  • EvalOneQuestion.pm

  • EvalStudentAnswers.pm

  • ParseTemplate.pm

  • RenderEquiz.pm

this directory also contains some example equizzes for quicker testing

  • 1simple.equiz
  • tester.equiz
  • testsolo.equiz

Static Files

./public/css , ./public/html , ./public/images , ./public/js

primarily lots of decorative image files, and some other browser support files.

./public/html/ifaq:

  • syllabus-sophisticated.html
  • syllabus-sophisticated.png
  • syllabus.html

./templates/layouts:

  • sylspace.html.ep : the key look of the website. other ep files inherit it, and only change it a little
  • auth.html.ep
  • both.html.ep@
  • instructor.html.ep
  • student.html.ep

./templates/equiz : Quizzes

./templates/equiz/tutorials:

  • 1simple.equiz
  • 2medium.equiz
  • 3advanced.equiz
  • 4final-mba-2015.equiz --- needs checking

./templates/equiz/starters:

  • blackscholes.equiz
  • bs-sample-answer.png
  • bs-sample-render.png
  • finance.equiz
  • headerinfo.equiz
  • math.equiz
  • message.equiz
  • multchoice.equiz
  • plain.equiz
  • statistics.equiz
  • various.eqz

./templates/equiz/corpfinintro:

  • 02a-tvm.equiz
  • 02b-tvm.equiz
  • 03-perpann.equiz
  • 04a-capbudgrules.equiz
  • 04b-capbudgrules.equiz
  • 05a-yieldcurve.equiz
  • 05b-yieldcurve.equiz
  • 06a-uncertainty.equiz
  • 06b-uncertainty.equiz
  • 07-invintro.equiz
  • 08-invest.equiz
  • 09-benchmarking.equiz
  • 10-capm.equiz
  • 11-imperfect.equiz
  • 12-effmkts.equiz
  • 13-npvapplications.equiz
  • 14-valuation.equiz
  • 15-comparables.equiz
  • 16-capstruct-intro.equiz
  • 17-capstruct-more.equiz

the following were for playing around:

  • eqformat.pl
  • final-mba-2015.equiuiz --- needs fixing
  • guidelines.txt

./templates/equiz/options:

  • 232andrei01.equiz
  • 232andrei02.equiz
  • 232andrei03.equiz
  • 232andrei04.equiz
  • 232andrei05.equiz
  • 232andrei06.equiz

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