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University of Bristol
About the Faculty of Engineering Intranet

About This Site

The intention is to support the administrative data and processes of the faculty, particularly student-related ones.

Construction of this site began in the summer of 2008. The intention is that, eventually, this site will incorporate upgrades of all the features on the older intranet site. At present, it supports just two applications: undergraduate admissions, and marks entry.

Access

Some of the pages on the site are public, e.g. ones which display public information derived from the faculty database, which can't easily be kept up to date on the public web site.

Most of the site is password protected, using the university's single signon system. This means that anyone with a UOB username and password can visit the protected pages. There is a mechanism for non-university people to visit the site securely, if required.

Much of the site is further protected, according to a system of roles. For example, the admissions role is required to access a department's admissions pages. In each department, there is a departmental role manager (with the staff-exec role) so that each department can manage their own roles.

Continual Maintenance

This site is under continual maintenance. Additions, uprades and problem fixes are carried out all the time, while the site remains live. This involves restarting the site at intervals. A restart involves a minute or so during which the site does not respond. Where reasonable, restarts are delayed until a lunchtime, an evening or a weekend.

Browsers

The intention is to support all common browsers. However, it is not possible to test the site on every common browser. Instead, the site uses the latest standard, XHTML, which suits modern browsers and supports automated processing. In addition, the site adheres to the backward compatibility conventions which help support older browsers, and has specific fixes for known problems with individual browers. We can't promise that the site adheres to these rules all the time, because of the continual maintenance. Instead, we promise to react as swiftly as we can to any reported problems.

Recommended browsers are the most recent versions of Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer. There is an unsolved problem with Firefox 2 concerning table sorting, so it is recommended that you upgrade to version 3.

URLs

URLs on the site start with http://wwwa.fen.bris.ac.uk or https://wwwa.fen.bris.ac.uk Any access to a secure page using http: will automatically be redirected to https:. The wwwa computer name is unusual, compared to the more usual www. This is because www is in use by the older intranet site for the time being. This site may take over the www name eventually.

URLs on the site are lower case, for accessibility reasons. The only exceptions are file storage areas containing uploaded files.

URLs on the site begin with an academic year, e.g. /2008-9/efac/people/. If the year is omitted, e.g. /efac/people/ the current year is assumed. Pages or documents which change from one year to the next have the same URL, apart from the year prefix. Use the full form of the URL in links and bookmarks if you want to refer to a fixed version in future years. Use the abbreviated form if you always want to refer to the most up-to-date version in future years.

The component of a URL after the year, if any, is often a department abbreviation or an upper or lower case unit code, e.g. /aeng/... or /AENG10001/... or /aeng10001/.... Department abbreviations are the same ones as used in unit codes, i.e. aeng, ceng, coms, eeng, emat, meng, plus efac for central faculty administration.

Updating Pages

Anyone visiting this site may update pages, depending on their roles, e.g. in forum or wiki areas of the site, or to update departmental letters, etc. A system called Swat is used for "casual" updating of pages on this site:

The Swat System

The purpose of Swat is to help solve the problems of supporting multiple authors with different levels of skill and responsibility, while dealing automatically with standard site headers, footers and styles.

Acknowledgements