On a (en)roll

July 4, 2006

Just coming up for air after a lengthy session finalising the process for online re-enrolment. I think we’re just about there now, and several staff have been through testing it to make sure the right buttons link to the right places. Last year, we enrolled new full-time undergrads online and it went surprisingly well. This year we’re intending to do everyone, new and returning, postgrad and undergrad, part-time and full-time. I’m just hoping the systems will take the (potential) load!

Over the last couple of days I’ve been checking through the process using various browsers and I’m still surprised by how differently a fairly simple page like the ones we are using gets rendered.

I did the initial development with Firefox, tweaking the style sheet as I went, and when everything was ok in there, tried it out in IE6. That led to another day’s work tweaking the style sheet again (and some of the code) to get that looking similar, whilst simultaneously testing back in Firefox to make sure nothing was broken in the process. After that I tried Safari on the Mac, and although that worked well, it pointed up a couple of errors in the style sheet that the others had glossed over.

By the time I got round to Opera, everything was pretty much done, so it didn’t throw up anything new, but boy it was hard work to get that far. And I’m only testing on the latest versions, never mind the crud that’s gone on in the past.

One thing I must do is check out how the e:Vision portal works with the HTML standards. I’ve a strong hunch that all these browsers are going to be working in “quirks” mode because we’re not hinting them with the right HTML version headers. That could explain some (just some!) of the differences. I saw Dave Winer and Blake Ross were having a little misunderstanding about this just recently, but they love each other again now.

Any road up, the next job (once the testing is signed off) is to copy the process over to the Live system. This is not a job I’m looking forward to, as last year it involved copying bits from something like twenty-four different tables, and there’s nothing to tell you where all the bits are! If any other SITS:Vision users read this let’s throw in a few acronyms: TKT, TTE, TTQ, TEC, TCR, POG, POD, SRL, SLP, LSK, SLV, TTU, TUD, and that’s just off the top of my head. Ugh.

And it’s hot. In fact the only time it’s rained in the last couple of weeks is when I went out a lunchtime today. Bah!


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