MarkUs Blog

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Archive for March, 2014

Status Reports for Mar 27

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This week: Started working on #1379 and found a bug and created issue #1402. Began working on this issue as well. Met with Andrew and Sheng and began writing specs for the tagging system

Roadblocks: Everything was cleared up in the meeting, no current roadblocks

Next week: Meet with Sheng and Andrew again to finish up the specs and post them to the blog. If time permits (exams are close), continue work on the issues above.


This week: 

– Fixed issue #1340, escaping characters that get interpreted in HTML when viewing the content of student submissions on the browser.

– Logged issue #1404,


– In Master, the Submissions File Manager displays an empty list when there are submitted files (issue #1404), so I spent some time trying to get around that and doublechecking that it was not an error on my part before going to 1.0.x where it did work.

Next week:

– Will work on fixing issue #1404


This week: Discussed implementation for the tagging system further and started writing a functional specification document to use for implementation.

Next week: Continue working on document and work out design issues that arise


This Week: Create mock up ui to display a view of all of an individual student’s work.

Roadblocks: It took quite a lot of time finding files/objects/methods relevant to a page.

Next Week: Crate a stedent’s work view


This Week: Resolved previous confusion regarding open and close methods for Repositories and the git implementation (no real change in the implementation) as well as figured out the time-based methods that were causing issue for the previous term students

Roadblocks: Last week(s) of school are causing a fair amount of other-course-work that has detracted not only from available time but also quality of time spent.


Next week: Catch up on this week’s work before the official “end of term”

This summer: Continue working with Rafael and Tiago on the git backend


This week:

-This report

-Fixed lag and animation bugs (issue #1405)


-I have a lot of assignments and tests from other courses, so it is hard to find enough time to work

Cornell Team:

Next week:

Cornell is on Spring break next week, so we will not be working on MarkUs and will continue the week of April 7th.

Current Week:


– Worked on the help system: Updated the javascript to recognize help text within the same section. This now allows the help text for fields in an entire section to be toggled when the user clicks on a particular help icon. Completed help functionality using this approach for a couple sections in the Assignment form, displaying placeholder text created in the en.yml file.


– Had significant trouble running MarkUs after the latest pull. Had to manually install some gems, modify my gem file and migrate the database changes.

– It may be helpful for people to communicate any major changes and potential impacts to others


– Worked on the help system by creating a new JavaScript file which the help system will use. It now has the ability to click on the icon and display many or just one  help text box on the screen.


– Had a little trouble with pulling the latest version of Markus, but was able to fix it by re creating the database.

– Trouble understanding prototype and how jquery is integrated into Ruby on Rails but was able to get it working.


– Try to run the newly pulled Markus. (Still failed).

– Reinstall Ruby Gem and still failed.

– Help working on the help system together on Ope’s or Alex’s computer.

– Finally able to run Markus after reinstall everything.


– Unable to run MarkUs after pull the latest version from GIT. After pulling, we need to do bundle update / bundle install that always fail with an exception.



Written by David Das

March 30th, 2014 at 9:36 am

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Help System update

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We have updated the Help System based on some of the comments we received last week. We changed the code to now use JQuery for the system. Clicking on the “?” icon can now display  one or multiple text boxes. We have made it easy to add text boxes in the code and the JavaScript will take care of hiding and showing the text boxes when they are clicked.

Here is a sample page with the current implementation:

Screenshot from 2014-03-28 11:44:21 Screenshot from 2014-03-28 11:43:47


The first picture shows when the help button in the properties section has not been clicked, then when it is clicked it will display text boxes next to the fields that need them. Please let us know what you think and what we should change. Also any ideas for color/style of these text boxes.

Written by Alexander Kittelberger

March 28th, 2014 at 11:51 am

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Help System Sample Page

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Hi guys,

Here are sample images for the Help System on the Create Assignment page:

1. Normal Page:


Note: We put a question mark on each section that will display the message when a mouse hovers over it.

2. On Hover:


Note: The message will be displayed to the left of the icon.


Please feel free to give us feedback. Thank you.

Written by Christopher Jonathan

March 21st, 2014 at 1:03 pm

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Status report March 21

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Since I managed to miss a week, you can add your status reports below (in no particular order).  You might want to prepare it first so that you don’t spend a long time editing in case that ends up stomping on someone else.

This Week: Stamping out small bugs in testing the git-related functions. There are small differences between how the gems for interfacing with git and svn and since the initial base for the git_repository was a copy+paste of subversion_repository they are hard to find.

Roadblocks: Unclear documentation

Next Week: Continue on this path.

This Week: Working on a view of all of an individual student’s work. I created a link from the view that shows a table of marks for each assignment and display a new page.

Roadblocks: none.

Next Week: Display the view of student’s work.


This week: Finished, and submitted a pull request for #1310. Updated the wiki for setting markus up on linux, to include a step I found that was missing and submitted a pull request for that as well. Worked Together with Andrew and Sheng to further discuss the design of the tagging system as well as watch a railcast video on tagging.

Roadblocks: None

Next week: Continue work with Andrew and Shenglong. Look into some bug fixes, if time permits.


This week: I have been working mainly on the tagging system with Jeremy and Sheng. We’ve watched a railscast about tagging and have been brainstorming the best ways to get this system implemented.

Roadblocks: I have only had time to work on the tagging system due to 4 of my courses having presentations due for the next two weeks. This requires a lot of preparation as they are group presentations so I find myself running around campus all day.

Next Week: Continue work on tagging system and hopefully finish up the duplicate annotation issue.


This week: Met with team and watched a railscast video on tagging. We’re in our design process now, and have been figuring out how to get this implemented.

Roadblocks: Time, mostly. Crunch time is about to end though.

Next week: Continue design and formalize more details


This week: Fixed two issues for #1343 where use couldn’t enter grades after moving through pages and when pressing tab would raise an alert. Raised a usability issue where pressing Enter would release grades.

Roadblocks: Time since this is a very busy week for me and needing to understand JS functionality to fix some errors

Next week: Fix the bug I raised or fix another bug, if I can find the time.


This week: Installed Linux Ubuntu on Macbook to dual boot to have an easier time testing MarkUs. Finished solving issue 1375, but thinking it was already assigned to David, did not post a comment. It was taken and solved by Ope while I was waiting to conduct more tests to make sure nothing else was wrong with Download on spreadsheets.

Roadblocks: Lost a bit of time in the MarkUs installation due to running into the usual issues with svn core, which David found how to fix in 3 steps, however the link for subversion.1.8.5.tar.gz that we had was not up anymore. After this, had issues due to variables JAVA_HOME and PATH not being configured.

Lesson learned: Always make sure other developers know if you are working on a specific issue.

Next week: Fix spreadsheet bugs raised by David and I during the last few weeks.


This week I worked on the Help System with Ope and Chris. We worked on getting the create assignment page working, which will be a sample of how the system will work.

Next week we will continue working on the help system and hope to get feedback from the blog post.


Reviewed the fix made for issue-1032 and came up with a better solution that did not require a page refresh. Updated the pull request and the changes were merged successfully. Fixed issue-1375 which is a minor change. Worked with Alex and Christopher on the help system for the Assignment> Add Assignment page as an example.

Next week:

We’ll be working on the help system.


This week we worked on the help system and we have a sample page up on the blog. We hope to get some feedback for the Add Assignment page.

Next week:

We’ll continue on working on the help system with more sample pages up.


This week I worked on some issues:

  • issue #1388: the problem was solved, tests created. However, new bugs were discovered. I’m still studying was this happens.
  • Issue #1324: The use of vendors/plugins is depreciated, I was working on 3 plugins. Calendar, ssl_requirement, auto_complete.
  • Calendar: solved
  • SSL_requirement: I solved it, but I discovered that there was no functions being called. So this plugin was removed.
  • Auto_complete: I didn’t manage to make it work and I believe the one that we have in our code is not working too. Removing it could be the best solution, if it is not useful.
  • I was studing issue #765, I lost 3 hours making the upgrade, but in the end, I discovered that the new version is not working as it should and the repository is dead. So, talking with bejamin we decided to close the issue, but he has his branch with a few tests not working.

Next week: talking to Karen about the project I’ll be working on during my term and work on the bugs found after issue 1388


This week I have finished my revision on the portuguese translation and I’m stuck on a bug involving the behavior of hiding assignments from students (issue #1357).

My next steps are fixing this bug and either getting another issue to work on or talking to Karen about the project I’ll be working on during my term.

Written by Markus

March 20th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

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MarkUs Assignment Tagging

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Andrew Hernandez, Shenglong Gao and myself have started the design stage of tagging assignments.

On a project of this scale, many assignments get submitted; often, the administrators are in need of additional organizational options. Thus, we are starting a project with the intended goal of providing administrators with the ability to tag assignments with one or more tags in order to keep assignments more organized when it comes to searching for them. We are currently thinking that tags should be chosen from a list that the admin makes, as this would result in less errors compared to typing the tags manually.

For example, if an administrator wanted to search for all assignments that are related to Java and Arrays, the administrator could simply run a search and look for all assignments with the tags Java and Arrays. The search would then produce any and all assignments meeting with both of those tags present. This would improve organization, and allow for faster usage and a better over all user experience – something that is severely lacking in traditional marking systems.

This type of addition would instantiate a higher sense of organization to the MarkUs assignment structure. This system is in a very early stage of planning, and we are currently still deciding on how to begin the development as well as how the system will work in its entirety. If there are any suggestions on how to proceed, please feel free to comment!

Here is a video we found that we watched to gain a background in how tagging may be done:

Written by Jeremy Winter

March 18th, 2014 at 4:37 pm

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Status Update: March 16, 2014

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Zach Munro-Cape

This week:

– created test files to test the git_repository.rb progress
-implemented some time-based functions for fetching commits for the git branch
Before successfully running `rake test git_repository_test.rb` will be successful, minimum functionality is required for the git_repository.rb file. This is less than ideal given I was hoping to follow test driven development for this project.
Next week:
-determine what the close() repository function is for and map it over to git
– hopefully get the git_repository functionality to a level where the unit tests can be run
Shenglong Gao
Still working on last week’s stuff!
Cornell team

Next week:

Continue on help system implementation. We will have a couple sample pages by next week for people to look at a critique the system.

Current Week:


– Worked on issue #1032 with the team (Chris and Alex), and submitted a Pull Request for the fix we came up with. The request is pending review.

– Worked on issue #1219 with the team. Pull request was created and merged

– Started working on the help system

– Starting worked on issue #1378.


– none


– Worked on issue #1219, where the sections were not ordered correctly under Assignments > Edit. Now the sections are ordered by due date and if due date is assigned the sections will be sorted by the title.

– Worked on #1032 and reviewing a fix for issue #1378

– We also started working on the help system


– none


– Worked on issue #1032 and submitted a pull request..

– Worked on issue #1219 and submitted a pull request.

– Worked on issue #1378, where the sorting (by last name, first name, etc.) on Mark Spreadsheet Grade pages doesn’t work.

– Started working on the help system.


– none

David Das and Gillian Chesnais

This week:

-Fixed problem that prevented us from running tests

-Added functional tests to our fix for #1376

-Worked on #1375 and figured out where the error is, but not how to fix it yet


-Figuring out functional testing syntax for Rails

-Figuring out the exact fix for #1375

-Ton of work from other classes

Next week:

-Going to fix #1375

-Do regression tests on rc1

-Fix more bugs than usual to make up for lack of bug fixing last week

Jeremy Winter

This week: Fixed problem that was occurring with git pull upstream master.

Roadblocks: The solutions I found never ended up working and I had to reinstall my virtual machine. I was able to get the more recent bundler version doing this, and now everything works.

Next week: Submit pull request for #1310, Submit pull request for wiki set up page, and work with Andrew and Sheng more on implementing a tagging system.


Tiago Silva

This week: working on issue #1324

Roadblocks: Autocomplete plugin does not work as it should on markus, I still confused if it is really working.

Next week: solving some bugs and commit fix to #1324


Written by Jeremy Winter

March 16th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

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Status Update: March 10th, 2014

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Rafael Padilha

This week I was travelling, as I’ve told Karen, so I haven’t worked a lot. I’m going to finish the Portuguese translation and get one of the issues I’d worked at the Facebook weekend ready to be merged to the repository.

Zach Munro-Cape

This Week

– Resolved issue
– successfully ran the git branch and created setup instructions
– Contributed to wiki instructions for rvm
 – messed up my ruby installation. took an evening to resolve.
Next Week
– continue work on mapping subversion repo file into rugged git-repo file
Andrew Hernandez
This week:

  • Worked on issue with duplicate annotations
  • Worked on reproducing a bug I noticed
  • Really busy week since a lot of deadlines are incoming in all my courses
Next Week:
  • Decide which project I will work on with Shenglong and Jeremy
  • Continue work on issue
  • Send in bug report if I can reproduce the bug

Jeremy Winter

This week: Finished issue #1310, continued doing rails tutorials online as well as reading a rails book.
Roadblocks: When I used git pull upstream master to make sure my code could easily be merged, the version of markus wouldn’t run. Looking into a solution for this.
Next week: Continue working on issues I find, as well as consult with Andrew about writing code for being able to tag assignments.
Shenglong Gao
This week: Finalized project with Western team
Roadblocks: Been extremely busy with startup
Next Week: Finish issue, start working on project

Cornell Team

Next week:


We will try to finish issue #1032 but this issue is much trickier than it seems at the first glance. We will start working on the help system.

Current Week:




– Created an issue (#1380) identified while on the User’s tab

– Fixed the issue and created a pull request (#1384) that was merged successfully

– With Tiago’s assistance, installed MarkUs on a Linux machine running Ruby 2.0 in order to validate changes he made. I will assist him at a later time in updating the Installation Steps

– Reviewed issue #1032 with the team (Chris and Alex), and identified the cause of the error not being displayed. We came up with a temporary workaround. We will work on a permanent fix.


-Roadblocks: None


– Helped work on issue #1032 with Ope and Chris.

– Started looking into issue #1301 and was finding possible other errors related to it.



-Was having trouble replicating the exact situation of issue #1301




– Mostly work on issue #1032. We manage to find out the cause of the problem and found some other bugs while fixing this issue. Now we are able to show the error message but not in the right way. One of the problem is because they call a method that has been deprecated and we finally figure that out.

– Start looking into issue #1301



– There is a method call that doesn’t exist anywhere. After working on it, we finally figure out that the method has been deprecated but still being called.


This Week:
– I worked on issue #1367,#1373 and on the portuguese translation of MarkUs.

Roadblocks: None

Next Week: Continue to make markus work with ruby 2.0

Written by Shenglong Gao

March 10th, 2014 at 8:15 pm

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Git Project

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I plan to work on the git backend branch for the month of March (and beyond).

I’ve created a branch of the wiki ( in the hopes of having a more concise and detailed set-up guide for future developers as I personally unlinked/mixed up my symbolic links for ruby and it required a fresh virtual box. Oops!

Written by Zach Munro-Cape

March 7th, 2014 at 12:19 am

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