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Online collaboration such as Yahoo! Groups and file sharing are becoming more and more popular. As software projects become more sophisticated, increased interaction among users is becoming more important to system owners. Developers are not only developing collaboration functionality for clients, they are also relying on the same functionality for different tasks, for example, bug tracking and sharing of requirements documentation.
Coefficient is an extensible Java platform for online collaboration software. It comes with a set of built-in functionalities that allow you to create projects immediately. Coefficient uses the term projects, but in other contexts, projects are also called groups, workspaces, or share spaces.
Coefficient is open source (released under the Lesser General Public License, or LGPL). This allows you to freely modify and distribute the platform as part of your business.
Coefficient can be run either in an EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) server or as a standalone servlet. In this article, I concentrate on the EJB version, but you can refer to the Coefficient documentation for the servlet version. Coefficient has been tested with JBoss and Tomcat, but it should be able to run in most EJB containers.
Prepare JBoss for Coefficient by creating a new datasource. The datasource should be called CoefficientDS and should point to an existing database. You need not create any tables in the database—Coefficient will do that for you.
To install Coefficient, download and extract the archive to a directory of your choice. Copy the
coefficient.ear file to your JBoss deployment directory to deploy the core Coefficient runtime. To deploy the different modules, copy the
.ear files from the modules directory to your JBoss deployment directory.
Assuming you use a default JBoss setup, point your browser to http://localhost:8080/index.html and Coefficient will load. The first screen should prompt you for some configuration details. The SMTP Server setting is the only important setting at this stage. It tells Coefficient which Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server to use for account confirmation email. For the rest of the configuration, defaults will do. Refer to INSTALL.txt for more installation details.
Now you are ready to start with Coefficient!
First things first: log in as the Admin User (password is "admin"), click on Edit Details, and then on Change Password. Select a sensible password for the administrator.
Each project in Coefficient can have numerous attributes. These attributes are used by users to search for specific projects and prove handy if you have many projects. Click on Attribute Search to see how the search interface works. As an administrator, you can define the attributes assigned to projects.
Click on Attributes to manage project attributes. The default Coefficient attributes are based on the attributes used on SourceForge.net and will probably not meet your requirements. Delete the attributes you don't need and add the ones you do. Choose attributes that will help users search for projects.
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