Methods and Technologies for Enabling Virtual Research Communities 18/06/2007

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Methods and Technologies for
Enabling Virtual
Research Communities
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
The Agora Online Meeting
Tool
http://agora.lancs.ac.uk
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Introduction
Agora:
• Is an ancient Greek work meaning
‘meeting place’
• Means ‘now’ in Asturiano and
Portuguese
• Is an online meeting tool, developed by
Lancaster University intially using JISC
money and is now funded by the ESRC
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora Overview
• Agora is a online meeting tool aimed at the
office or home user.
• It was designed to help researchers make
online collaboration an integrated part of their
daily office routine
• It has been designed with ease of use as the
main target
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Sakai Overview
• Sakai is a web-based collaboration
environment.
• Open source, backed by a large
community of developers, researchers
and teachers. Scalable and modular.
• Is an excellent complement for Agora’s
features
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora is Easy
• Agora has been designed from the ground
up to be simple to use.
• The user interface is consistent and intuitive.
• Installation is transparent to the user. The
Agora software is installed in the background
when the user first joins a meeting by clicking
a webpage link.
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora is Useful
• Multi-way video conferencing with no
limit on participants
• Desktop sharing
• Shared whiteboard
• Movie-casting
• Chat
• Portal Integration (Sakai and Moodle)
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora is Cheap to Run
• The Agora server can be run on cheap
hardware and free software
• A server with 2 GB of memory and 1.5 TB of
resilient storage costs approximately £1,600
• Such a server on a standard network
connection will handle around 100 concurrent
Agora conferences
• Each Agora user needs a Java Runtime
Environment (free) and a £20 webcam and
headset. That’s all.
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Architecture
• Agora service: a web application, deployable in any
servlet container, that actually holds the meetings.
• Agora Console: another web application that serves
up the meeting setup user interface
• Agora Portal Plugin: These plugins form the
integration points with portal frameworks. We
currently have plugins for Sakai and Moodle
• Agora Desktop: Using the Agora Desktop you can
create meetings, manage contacts and get popup
notifications of interesting events.
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
SAKAI
Plugin
Alerts
Agora
Desktop
Console
Launches
Launches
Agora
Client
Service
18/06/2007
Service
VoIP / RTP Traffic
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora Service
• The Agora service is responsible for
maintaining information about meetings in
progress
• The service provides the software multicasting
functionality for routing video, audio and
message data between participants
• Can be installed in a Tomcat server by just
copying a file and setting up a simple
properties file
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora Console
• The Agora console is the area where
users create meetings. The console
interface is rendered in the portal plugin
• The console is deployed into a webapp
container as a standard WAR file.
• A simple properties file, similar to
Sakai’s, is used to wire the console to
the service.
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora Plugins
• The Agora console is surfaced in portal tools
using a plugin.
• In the case of Sakai, this is a standard Sakai
Tool, in the case of Moodle, this is a module.
• The plugin passes user lists through to the
console so the meeting initiator can pick from
a list of their group members
• The plugin also provides authentication
services to the console
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Agora Desktop
• Works in a similar fashion to Microsoft Messenger
• Runs in the Windows taskbar
• Pops up a message when one of your contacts comes
online, or when you are invited to a meeting.
• Gives access to your portal group members. Just
select and click one button to setup a meeting
• Invite people who are not users of your portal system.
Invitee just clicks a link to join, no login required
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Open Source Timeline
• 27/06/2007 - Re-architecture complete. V1
Feature set finalised. Apache 2.0 license
applied. New binary release on Agora
website.
• 06/07/2007 - Agora CVS opened up, JIRA
setup. Agora developers worksite setup at
Lancaster
• Sakai 2.5 integration
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
Current Work
•
•
•
•
Portal plugin architecture
Windows taskbar popups
Standalone version
Improved codecs for Mac. Wrapping of
libavcodec libraries in JMF codec
classes
• Improved Linux support, V4L 2 support
will open up many more cameras
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
About us
Adrian Fish:
[email protected]
Miguel Gonzalez:
[email protected]
18/06/2007
Adrian Fish, Miguel Gonzalez Losa - NeSC
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