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openFIRST Portal System

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What is openFIRST?

The openFIRST Portal System is an integrated set of modules which may be used together to create or enhance a web site. It is directed towards teams participating in the FIRST robotics competition. The openFIRST Portal System is a completely student-developed project that has had contributions from a wide variety of teams from Brasil, Canada and the United States.

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Developers?

openFIRST is developed by a number of students from the FIRST Robotics competition teams #1006, #1049, #781, #1075, #1501, #1227, and #1257. You may read more about the developers here. To learn how to contribute to the project, and for a technical reference about writing modifications / patches / enhancements for the openFIRST system, read the openFIRST Contributor's HOWTO. New contributors are always welcome.

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USFIRST Robotics

USFIRST is the largest North American robotics competition that has over 800 teams and many competitions yearly. Read more.

USFIRST Logo

openFIRST was developed with:



XHTML 1.0
Apache
Microsoft IIS
Sambar
PHP
MySQL
(Other databases are also supported)

FIRST Top Site

Bugzilla Stats

The Technologies

E-mail

Applies to: All

The openFIRST project maintains the openfirst.org e-mail addresses (eg. tim [at] openfirst.org). These addresses are most often set to forward to a contributors personal e-mai l account by an administrator. E-mail addresses are assigned as firstname [at] openfirst.org. If you did not get an e-mail address assigned to you when you joined, or would like to change the address that mail is forwarded to, contact an administrator.

A series of mailing lists is also maintained. See the Mailing lists heading of the Information and Resources section for more information about these mailing lists.

The web browser

Applies to: All

Since the openFIRST project is inherently web-based it is expected that contributors have at least a basic understanding of the usage of a web browser. It is recommended especially for those working with code/html to make use of the Firefox web browser. There are a wide variety of plugins which are of use to website developers and general users (in Firefox, see Tools - Extensions - Get More Extensions for a catalogue of the available Firefox extensions).

Applies to: Developer, Patch Writer, Webmaster, Documentation Writer

Plugins that are of particular note for Firefox include these:

HTML

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Patch Writer, Webmaster, Documentation Writer

The openFIRST project tries when possible to produce valid HTML (matching the particular doctype of any given document). In most cases, the standard currently used is HTML 4. Pages should have valid HTML and should be checked with the W3C HTML Valid ator at http://validator.w3.org/ or a similar tool. It is suggested that you be familiar with HTML, and the HTML standard itself available at http://w3.org/MarkUp/ rather than jus t blindly following a validator.

The openFIRST project site, and the software created by the project should be as accessible as possible. More information about making web pages accessible is available from the Web Accessibility Initiative at http://w3.o rg/WAI/. An Accessibility testing tool called Bobby™ is available at http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp.

CSS

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Patch Writer, Webmaster

The openFIRST project tries when possible to sue valid CSS when possible. The current version of the Cascading Style Sheets standard that is used is CSS 2. It is recommended that stylesheets and pages be checked using the CSS validator at http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ or a similar tool. It is suggested that you use the CSS standard for reference; the standard is available at http://w3.org/Style/CSS/.

Where possible, CSS should be used to make web pages more accessible. More information about making web pages accessible is available from the Web Accessibility Initiative at http://w3.org/WAI/. An Accessibility test ing tool called Bobby™ is available at http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp.

Bugzilla

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Documentation Writer, Patch Writer, Webmaster

Bugzilla (http://bugzilla.openfirst.org/) keeps track of bug reports and feature requests for both source code and documentation. Issues of an administrative nature may also be posted on Bugzilla. As a co ntributor to the openFIRST project you should register for a Bugzilla account using your @openfirst.org e-mail address. Only e-mail addresses that are @openfirst.org show up in the bug crusher statistics on the openfirst.org site and installations of the openFIRST System. To be credited as having crushed a bug, the bug must be finished (eg marked CLOSED, FIXED, etc.) but not DUPLICATE and the bug must be assigned to you at the time it is closed.

Jobs which are suitable for those people with only an entry level of experience with the openFIRST project are (or should be) marked with the [JJ] tag. Junior Jobs are typically expected to take under an hour to research/isolate (if required) and implement.

Automated bug reports are filed by openFIRST installations and are clearly marked as such. You, as one who browses Bugzilla should change the subject of Automated bug reports to better reflect their content and/or mark them as DUPLICATE if applicable . Automated bug reports are reported through http://bugzilla.openfirst.org/openfirst/ and bug crusher statistics are available at htt p://bugzilla.openfirst.org/openfirst/bugcrushers.php. The style sheet and design information for the Bugzilla site is present within the Subversion repository in trunk/www/bugzilla. Upgrades to Bugzilla may requir e remaking these templates in order for the Bugzilla site to function as expected.

openFIRST Update System

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Patch Writer, Webmaster

The openFIRST Update System is currently under development at http://update.openfirst.org/test/. The goal of the system is to create a simple interface for end users to remotely install and manage any n umber of openFIRST installations. The system will be able to automate installation of updates and security patches, and communicates directly with the end-user's web server, preventing users on slow connections from having to undergo the lengthy download process to get the full openFIRST system. Third parties will be able to submit packages to be managed by the openFIRST Update System, and can mark security updates, new versions, etc. which will notify end users who have set their preferences as such.

The openFIRST Update System resides in the update module of the openFIRST CVS repository but will be moved to Subversion in the future.

Shell Access

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Webmaster

All developers, webmasters, and administrators are able to access the SourceForge.net Project Shell Server via SSH at shell.sourceforge.net. A suitable SSH client for Windows is PuTTY, and is available at http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html; many other operating systems already include an SSH client, on UNIX or Linux consult man ssh for more information. To login, you should use your SourceForge.net username and passsword. It is recommended, for the sake of convenience, that upon logging into the system for the first time, you perform these command:

ln -s /home/groups/o/op/openfirst openfirst

Doing so will create a symbolic link in your home directory to the openFIRST project directory on the shell server. Certain instructions throughout this document will assume that the symbolic link exists.

Administrators and webmasters of other openFIRST sites may be able to access them via SSH using a different login name and password. If you require shell access to one of these other sites, or to the SF.net Project Shell Server, contact an administra tor.

Some people may be used to updating the project web space through the Shell server. For the openFIRST project you should not do this; you should instead make your changes in Subversion in trunk/www/htdocs/. The project web space is automatically updated from Subversion ever hour.

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PHP

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Patch Writer, Release Technician, Webmaster

PHP is the language used to write the vast majority of the code that openFIRST uses/distributes. When writing/patching openFIRST software it may be assumed that the user is using at least PHP version 4.3 (released December, 2002). PHP 3 and versions of PHP prior to 4.3.0 are no longer officially supported by the openFIRST project. Some of the openFIRST servers run PHP4 versions and others run PHP5; when writing code, you should make sure it is tested with both PHP4 and PHP5 before being released.

ASP

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Patch Writer, Release Technician, Webmaster

Very little of the project is written in ASP at the moment, and the ASP versions have been unmaintained for many years now. The original creator of the ASP modules graduated before the project had any real plan for replacing graduated developers. There are no plans to continue development in ASP.

MySQL/Database Software

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Webmaster

When programming, use the openFIRST database wrappers rather than directly using any database-specific functions.

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CVS

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Documentation Writer, Release Technician, Webmaster

CVS was used by the openFIRST project for version control. It is being phased out in favour of Subversion. You may refer to the About CVS documentation on the Source Forge Project page.

Subversion

Applies to: Administrator, Developer, Documentation Writer, Release Technician, Webmaster

Subversion is the tool used by the openFIRST project for version control. You may refer to the About Subversion documentation on the Source Forge Project page.

Volunteer Profiles

Applies to: All

Those wishing to create a volunteer profile (previously called developer profile) must check out the www module from CVS and add their profile to the www/htdocs/developer directory then edit index.php of that directory in order to have their profile listed. Alternatively, contact a developer/administrator to have them do this on your behalf. Information about the "Hackergotchi" section of the Volunteer Profiles follows.

Hackergotchi

Applies to: All

Those wishing to create a "Hackergotchi" character may do so. The dimensions recommended are 80 pixels by 80 pixels. To have the Hackergotchi used for news postings, etc. on the main site, using CVS add it to the www/htdocs/image/hackergo tchi directory. The Hackergotchi image should be named using your SourceForge.net username and should be of type PNG, JPEG or GIF; the filename must be all lowercase letters. A tutorial on how to create Hackergotchi images is available at http://www.livejournal.com/users/wouterverhelst/21322.html.

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