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Re: [Gnumed-devel] forms component in netepi reusable for ignoble purpos

From: Tim Churches
Subject: Re: [Gnumed-devel] forms component in netepi reusable for ignoble purpose - gnumed
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 10:40:41 +1000
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20060516)

Syan Tan wrote:
> I finally got the netepi software running and its great. Well, the object 
> oriented main menu is a bit
> hard to get used to , but the form editor is great ,  with type mapping, pre 
> and 
> post text displays, range validation,
> choice/checkbox creation, a  veritable programmer's wet dream ( as one 
> lecture 
> once said of java 5 years ago).

Thanks, Syan. I've CCed Andrew McNamara (who is the author of the
majority of the code) and James Farrow, who also started working on
NetEpi projects more recently.

We hope to add Javascript-mediated client-side skips and jumps (i.e.
conditional sections) and probably client-side data validation (to
complement, not replace the server-side validation) to the form editor
before we release version 1.0 some time in the next month or two, but at
this stage we are working flat-out on a simple (but hopefully effective)
workflow facility (important because public health work is typically a
collaborative, highly distributed activity) and a simple built-in
reporting subsystem (to complement the more sophisticated but not yet
tightly integrated exploratory data analysis facilities provided by the
NetEpi Analysis sister project). The addition of the workflow (or work
queue, as we call it) facilities will probably result in some
substantial re-organisation of the main menu/home page.

The forms facility is also missing calculated fields, and the "data
roll-forward" facility (which rolls data collected with the previous
version of a data form forward to the new version, as far as possible)
needs to be more sophisticated. We'll address those too, as soon as we
can. Finally, the form editor would benefit from some AJAX and Web 2.0
stuff to reduce the number of round-trips it has to make the the Web
server, and it also needs question and section cut-and-paste. We have
ideas for how all these things can be done, just not enough time to do
them immediately, but hopefull in teh next several months. We have a lot
more to-do tickets containing various ideas in our - suc as And then
there are a whole lot of fun data visualisation ideas such as
case/contact relationship visualisation, for which there is a
proof-of-concept stub facility in te current release - in our (not
currently publicly accessible) Trac project management system. BTW, we
highly recommend Trac, and its integration with SVN is especially nice
(and it is written in and extensible with Python). In fact, NetEpi now
contains wiki mark-up facilities borrowed directly (i.e. source code)
from Trac (as permitted by Trac's BSD license).

>  What about reusing it for this project?

No problem with re-using it with GNUmed as long as the terms of the
Mozilla-based license are observed. My understanding is that you can't
readily mix source code between GPL and Mozilla-licensed projects, but
you can certainly distribute both lots of source code together and call
one from the other at run-time. Happy to advise further on specific
scenarios, but most of the licensing interoperability restrictions come
from the GPL side of the equation, and thus GNUmed could modify its
licensing if/when/where such issues were a problem. The NetEpi licensing
can't easily be changed, however, but it is pretty liberal and flexible
as it stands.

Tim C

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