Dock Manifests

The central player in the UcompOS Rich Productivity Framework is the UcompOS Portal.

The UcompOS Portal is a Flex 4 application that can be thought of as the “main container” for UcompOS Rich Portal Application implementations.

The UcompOS Portal is furnished with a set of visual features that are parallel to common Operating System implementations.

One such feature is an Application Dock.  I have modeled the Application Dock after Mac OS X’s dock implementation.  The dock can be aligned horizontally or vertically and there is a genie effect.

UcompOS Application Dock

UcompOS Application Dock

The Application Dock in the UcompOS Portal represents the UcompOS Applications that have been installed in the particular implementation.

The Dock Manifest is a simple XML file that serves as a list of the applications that a particular user has installed.

The UcompOS Portal is designed with the intention that the developer creates their own simple authentication to the Portal using the UcompOS SDK.  One of the requirements of the authentication is that a cookie must be set with a value of ‘dockManifestURL’ on the same domain that the portal is served from.

The dockManifestURL cookie value must be the network address of the Dock Manifest for the particular user and it must return an XML string in the specific format the Dock Manifest requires.

Below is an example of a Dock Manifest file.  It is the Dock Manifest used in the current UcompOS RPF Demo implementation:

A sample dock manifest file

A sample dock manifest file

Click the image above for a closer look.

Each application is represented in an <application/> element whose child text node points to the URL of the Application Manifest file for that particular UcompOS Application.

In practical implementations of the UcompOS RPF, such as the one I am building for Educator 2, the Dock Manifest URL is actually a server-side script with dynamic parameters passed to it, for instance:

http://educator2.ucompass.com/apps/dockManifest?userId=USER_ID

where USER_ID is the authenticated user’s unique identifier.

The server-side script would then invoke its own custom logic to return a list of UcompOS applications in the form a Dock Manifest to the UcompOS Portal.

In my next post I’ll talk about the file format for UcompOS RPF Application Manifest files.