Segue 2.0 – Beta 20

June 9th, 2008

Filed under: Work/Professional

Tags: ,

Another week, another Segue 2 beta. This week’s installation brings visitor registration, a few new themes from Alex, theme migration from Segue 1, and a bunch of little bug fixes.

Visitor registration brings with it a few interesting challenges. As in Segue 1, we want (and need) to be able to allow people outside of the Middlebury community to join in on public discussions hosted in Segue. As well, Middlebury users often need to give access to restricted parts of their sites to people off-campus with whom they are collaborating. Our visitor registration system therefore needs to be easy to use by registrants, keep out spammers, as well as enable searches for visitor accounts by community users.

To keep out spammers, the visitor registration form uses reCAPTCHA to try to verify that a human is sitting at the browser. There are other CAPTCHA systems out there, but I like the philosophy and approach of reCAPTCHA. Starting with words that OCR software had trouble reading seems like a good idea. After the registration form is filled out, Segue sends an email to the address entered with a unique registration code. Until the link in the email is clicked on (and hence the address verified) the account is locked.

To enable easy searching of visitor accounts, visitors are asked to enter their name. While there are a few restrictions on names, these are user-chooseble. To provide some measure of differentiation between verified institution accounts and visitor accounts visitor accounts have the user-chosen name followed by their email domain name in parenthesis, e.g.:

Adam Franco (gmail.com)

I weighed including the entire email address as that is the only verified information we have about the visitor accounts, but I’d rather not open that information up for harvesting by spammers. If abuse becomes an issue, the visitor registration system also supports both black-lists and white-lists of email domains.

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