Corners of Sakai 1 – the access servlet

Sakai has some functionality that may be of interest to solve particular problems but is not well known because:

  • it has not been fully tested or
  • was addressing very specific needs or
  • is not well documented or
  • has simply been forgotten

One of these is the Access Servlet. Have you wanted to point your group (define this as you will) to a specific slice of a Resource collection? Without all the Resource management paraphernalia of the Resource Tool? But will all the permissions in full operation? The Access Servlet is there to help.

1 – Choose “Edit Details” of the folder you want to share.

2 – Then click on the “Open” link

3 – The link will open a new window with the contents of the folder – but using the access servlet – looking like this:

All of the “file management” stuff is gone. Also the descriptions are available in the list itself (displayed by default – here toggled closed for the screen shot), which they are not in the OOTB Resources tool. The markup has been been pared down to the bone (an actual list with list items) and the scripting reduced to a nothing. More importantly – all of the access control settings for the whole selected hierarchy are intact – if Folder 2 contents is only available to members of a specific group only members of that specific group will see a link to it. Same obtains for all the other conditional disclosure settings of the folder.

Note and caveat: the functionality is available in Sakai 2.4 onwards, not sure who provided it – but the above screenshots are taken from a trunk build plus 2 patches  available at SAK-13694 and SAK-3804. Please read the comments to both for the caveats and gaps.

An enterprising developer could add an action to a Resource folder to automate this – perhaps adding a tool link targeting the slice to the tool navigation menu. Some institutions, like Oxford seem to be planning to use the access servlet as the main and only public face of the Resources tool it seems, not sure how they are going about that.

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One Response to Corners of Sakai 1 – the access servlet

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