Today’s PAGS tweak

Today I fixed the latest crop of users with portal-access issues: Previous students who took a semester off, or never completed a degree, who want to use myUMBC to register or retrieve a transcript. These students do not have a student affiliation in LDAP, because they’re not “current” students. They also lack an alumni attribute as they never completed degrees. As such, they don’t see the “Academics” tab because we limit display of this tab to users with student or alumni affiliations (well, and a few others as well, but that’s beside the point right now).

Our LDAP directory does not have an affiliation for “past-student-who-never-graduated”. However, we have an attribute for the last term a user was registered for classes. In theory, if a user possesses this attribute, that indicates that they were a student at some time in the past. We can give them the “Academics” tab by expanding the UMBC Student PAGS group to include people with this attribute.


Laundry list for doing this:

  1. Make sure the LDAP attribute in question is available in uPortal as a Person Attribute. If not, add the attribute to PersonDirs.xml.
  2. Edit PAGSGroupStoreConfig.xml and add any new groups (or edit existing ones) to incorporate the new attribute.
  3. Redeploy, restart and hope it doesn’t bomb.

In our case, I added an additional clause to check for presence of the umbclasttermreg attribute using the PAGS “Value Exists Tester”, org.jasig.portal.groups.pags.testers.ValueExistsTester.

The PAGS entry on the JA-SIG Wiki has improved quite a bit since I last visited it. Caveat emptor: It references ValueExistsTester and ValueMissingTester. Initially I blindly followed the docs and tried to use ValueExistsTester, and things didn’t work. It turns out these two testers are not present in uPortal 2.4.3.. I had to add ValueExistsTester manually. It’s only around 10 lines of Java, but the Wiki ought to mention that it’s not in 2.4.3.