Recent and forthcoming improvements (October 2022)

Photograph of excavations at Sheffield Castle, 1958

Foundations shafts dug in August 1958 at the site of Sheffield Castle. John Moreland, Dawn Hadley (2020) Sheffield Castle 1927-2018 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Recent updates

  1. Improvement: research framework questions, from the new generation of frameworks, have been loaded into the system. Links to the new home for research frameworks are also in the form, Additional guidance is being created to help users on this part of the form.
  2. Improvement: on the admin page – the drop down list of people now shows their full affiliation and role (i.e. ADMIN or STANDARD).
  3. Improvement: OASIS emails – emails for single records (i.e. not bulk updates) now have the OASIS ID in the email header.
  4. Bug: Archive notes function – after the June 2022 update there were still sporadic reports of the drop-down function not populating with appropriate lists. This has been fixed, and as with the above, should show affiliation and role.
  5. Bug: Activity page – after the June 2022 update a new issue whereby the warning that the development type had not been completed was not appearing. This has now been fully resolved.
  6. Bug: Standard vs Buildings records. Some users have reported Buildings records switching to Standard mode, and vice versa. The decision on what flavour of OASIS record is set by the user when they choose their role and country. In some cases a user going back into a Buildings record in normal mode changed the type! This should now be resolved.

Forthcoming updates

The following issues have been marked as priorities due to their nature, or frequency of request from OASIS users. These are in progress, they all need further testing or diagnosis but are scheduled for release in a later version of the form:

  1. Bug: “Sort by” is broken on the Search results page. This is being fixed.
  2. Bug: an infrequent but annoying 500 error on the report page is being investigated.
  3. Bug: an other infrequent but annoying 500 error on the location page, when changing coordinates, is being investigated.
  4. Improvement: the “search again” button will be duplicated in the top tool bar to reduce the amount of clicks to navigate back to the search page.
  5. Improvement: more options on the search page
    1. Record first created date (two date fields so users can select a period they’re interested in)
    2. Core fields completed date (two date fields so users can select a period they’re interested in)
    3. Core fields completed date (two date fields so users can select a period they’re interested in)
    4. A filter for O2 users to see all records that have gone through the system as unreviewed (i.e. the review window has passed)
  6. Improvement: The work undertaken date field currently uses a calendar widget. Users have requested being able to enter their own dates. We have a replacement widget which allows both which can be added in.
  7. Improvement: we’re looking at options to make the PDF export look more authoritative!
  8. Bug/improvement: a few cases where recording lots (50+) points for a record location has significantly . We will be looking at ways to rationalise the way the app deals with lots of points in the same locale so as to simplify the spatial query.
  9. Improvement: When a user uploads a corrupt file the message is less than helpful! This will be improved.

Improvements under review

There are several items Items that have been reported by users but represent significant change requests that need further investigation, and advice from the OASIS Management Board:

  • Major cosmetic/labeling changes to Archives page
  • Changes to have elements of the Archive page mandatory i.e. part of the core fields check
  • Further functionality for HERs to set “not to be reviewed” on records

As these represent significant changes to how users interact with the form these will be evaluated with the user community and signposted well in advance.

App crashing/slowing

Finally, over recent weeks we have been aware of three episodes where the load on OASIS caused the application to slow down and become unresponsive.

The first two were related to external web bots crawling and making extremely large number of requests to download files and information from the public facing pages (note: not the internal form pages or reports held behind the main login). Normally web crawlers/bots have no significant impact on OASIS load, but these were very very persistent bots sending thousands of requests per second. These bots were registered to a known ‘big data’ company and were not malicious. The various IP addresses associated have been blocked, and the load has returned to normal.

The final issue was caused by a recent update of the OASIS HTTPS certificate. As part of this update the app and virtual machine(s) associated with OASIS have to undergo penetration testing. Unfortunately, and despite requests not to, this was carried out during work hours. A request was made to pause pen testing until out of working hours. This has now been resolved and the new HTTPS certificate was deployed overnight on the 10th October.

Our apologies to any user that experienced problems over these periods.

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