Friday, April 28, 2017

(4/9) Hiccups in the experiment

This is the third in a series of backdated blog entries.

As Eugene has mentioned already, the experiment schedule is being pushed back a week.

Before Monday, the intended first day of the experiment, Hugo, Eugene and I worked hard to finalize the application. We generated user accounts, finalized the communication protocol between the client and server, and simplified the instructor's web application. However, I had relied on behavior that was previously in our communication protocol to determine the course that the user was in, and because I tested the login and attendance submission process using a REST client, was unaware that the application was not sending the course number that the students were in. As such, on Monday, no students were able to log in. The fix was relatively simple-- we could just look up the student's course number in the database, as intended.

On Wednesday, we encountered another bug. The client expected that the position of a student's course in the list sent  would also be the course's ID number, but this was true only for accounts enrolled in our test session. This caused everything to look like it was working as we were testing our changes, but when students enrolled in the actual classes logged in, they could not submit attendance to the correct class because it was greyed out.

We fixed these issues before Friday and conducted a successful test in one class's lab session, which was a welcome relief.

We also enabled TLS for both the client and server before Wednesday, which was a difficult process for Hugo and I. The solution on my end was to stop attempting to enable TLS using Tomcat, which is needlessly complex, and to instead use an NGINX reverse-proxy.

In all, both setbacks were frustrating and time-consuming to resolve, but didn't affect our experiment too much.


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