Expo website manual
From Cambridge University Caving Club - CUCC wiki
Editing the expo website is an adventure. Until now, there was no guide which explains the whole thing as a functioning system. Learning it by trial and error is non-trivial.
The website needs improvement, perhaps a complete overhaul. However, it is impossible to go about fixing it properly until we know how the whole thing works.
This manual is organized in a how-to sort of style. The categories, rather than referring to specific elements of the website, refer to processes that a maintainer would want to do.
How to update things on expo.survex.com
Getting a username and password
Use these credentials for access to the site: The user is 'expo', with a beery password. Ask someone if this isn't enough clue for you.
All the expo data is contained in 3 'mercurial' repositories at expo.survex.com. This is currently hosted on Julian Todd's server. Mercurial* is a distributed version control system which allows collaborative editing and keeps track of all changes so we can roll back and have branches if needed.
The site has been split into three parts:
- expoweb - the website itself, including generation scripts
- loser - the survex survey data
- tunneldata - the tunnel data and drawingss
All the scans, photos and videos have been removed for version-control and are just files. See below for details on that.
How the website works
Part of the website is static HTML, but quite a lot is generated by scripts. So anything you check in which affects cave data or descriptions won't appear on the site until the website update scripts are run. This happens automatically every 30 mins, but you can also kick off a manual update. See 'The expoweb-update script' below for details.
Also note that the website you see is its own mercurial checkout (just like your local one) so that has to be 'pulled' from the server before your changes are reflected.
If you know what you are doing here is the basic info on what's where:
- expoweb on seagrass (The Website)
hg [clone|pull|push] ssh://email@example.com/expoweb
- loser on seagrass (The survey data)
hg [clone|pull|push] ssh://firstname.lastname@example.org/loser
- tunneldata on seagrass (The Tunnel drawings)
hg [clone|pull|push] ssh://email@example.com/tunneldata
Photos, scans (logbooks, drawn-up cave segments) (This is about 3.5GB of stuff which you probably don't actually need locally) To sync the files from seagrass to local expoimages directory:
rsync -av firstname.lastname@example.org:expoimages /home/expo/fromserver
To sync the local expoimage directory back to seagrass:
rsync -av /home/expo/fromserver/expoimages email@example.com:
(do be careful not to delete piles of stuff then rsync back - as it'll all get deleted on the server too!)
Editing the website
- For Ubuntu dummies and GUI lovers, check this how to install the latest Mercurial version which is not in the usual repositories. In Ubuntu 11.04 you can just install mercurial and tortoisehg from synaptic, then restart nautilus $nautilus -q. If it works, you'll be able to see the menus of Tortoise within your Nautilus windows.
Once you've downloaded and installed a client, the first step is to create what is called a checkout of the website or section of the website which you want to work on. This creates a copy on your machine which you can edit to your heart's content. The command to initially check out ('clone') the entire expo website is
hg clone ssh://firstname.lastname@example.org/expoweb
for subsequent updates
will generally do the trick.
In TortoiseHg, merely right-click on a folder you want to check out to, choose "Mercurial checkout," and enter
After you've made a change, commit it to you local copy with
hg commit (you can specify filenames to be specific)
or right clicking on the folder and going to commit in TortoiseSVN.
That has stored the changes in your local mercurial DVCS, but it has not sent anything back to the server. To do that you need to:
If someone else is editing the same bit at the same time you may also need to
None of your changes will take effect, however, until the server checks out your changes and runs the expoweb-update script.
Using Mercurial/TortoiseHg in Windows
In Windows: install Mercurial and TortoiseHg of the relevant flavour from http://mercurial.selenic.com/downloads/ (ignoring antivirus/Windows warnings).
To start cloning a repository: start TortoiseHg Workbench, click File -> Clone repository, a dialogue box will appear. In the Source box type
or similar for the other repositories. In the Destination box type whatever destination you want your local copies to live in. Hit Clone, and it should hopefully prompt you for the usual beery password. (to be continued) --Zucca 14:25, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
The expoweb-update script
The script at the heart of the website update mechanism is a makefile that runs the various generation scripts. It (along with an update from the repository) is run every 15 minutes as a cron job (at 0,15,30 and 45 past the hour), but if you want to force an update more quickly you can run it here: [Wooknote - this is not actually happening right now - FIXME!]
The scripts are generaly under the 'noinfo' section of the site just because that has some access control.
Updating cave pages
Cave description pages are automatically generated from a comma separated values (CSV) table named CAVETAB2.CSV by a perl script called make-indxal4.pl . make-indxal4.pl is called automatically.
The first step is to check out, edit, and check in CAVETAB2.CSV, which is at
You need to be somewhat careful with the formatting; each cell needs to be only one line long (i.e. no newlines) or the script will get confused.
And then run expoweb-update as above.
Updating expo year pages
Each year's expo has a documentation index which is in the folder
, so to checkout the 2011 page, for example, you would use
hg clone ssh://email@example.com/expoweb/years/2011
Adding typed logbooks
Logbooks are typed up and put under the years/nnnn/ directory as 'logbook.txt'.
The formatting is largely freeform, but a bit of markup ('===' around header, bars separating date, <place> - <description>, and who) allows the troggle import script to read it correctly. The underlines show who wrote the entry. There is also a format for time-underground info so it can be automagically tabulated.
So the format should be
===2009-07-21|204 - Rigging entrance series| Becka Lawson, Emma Wilson, Jess Stirrups, Tony Rooke===
<Text of logbook entry>
T/U: Jess 1 hr, Emma 0.5 hr
Ticking off QMs
To be written.
Maintaining the survey status table
At  there is a table which has a list of all the surveys and whether or not they have been drawn up, and some other info.
This is generated by the script tablizebyname-csv.pl from the input file Surveys.csv
The CUCC Website was originally created by Andy Waddington in the early 1990s and was hosted by Wookey. The VCS was CVS. The whole site was just static HTML, carefully designed to be RISCOS-compatible (hence the 10-character filenames) as both Wadders and Wookey were RISCOS people then. Wadders wrote a huge amount of info collecting expo history, photos, cave data etc.
Martin Green added the SURVTAB.CSV file to contain tabulated data for many caves, and a script to generate the index pages from it. Dave Loeffler added scripts and programs to generate the prospecting maps. The server moved to Mark Shinwell's machine in the early 2000s, and the VCS was updated to subversion.
After expo 2009 the VCS was updated to hg, because a DVCS makes a great deal of sense for expo (where it goes offline for a month or two and nearly all the year's edits happen).
The site was moved to Julian Todd's seagrass server, but the change from 32-bit to 64-bit machines broke the website autogeneration code, which was only fixed in early 2011, allowing the move to complete. The data has been split into 3 separate repositories: the website, the survey data, the tunnel data.
Automation on cucc.survex.com/expo
The way things normally work, python or perl scripts turn CSV input into HTML for the website. Note that:
- The CSV files are actually tab-separated, not comma-separated despite the extension.
- The scripts can be very picky and editing the CSVs with microsoft excel has broken them in the past- not sure if this is still the case.
|Script location||Input file||Output file||Purpose|
|/svn/trunk/expoweb/noinfo/make-indxal4.pl||/svn/trunk/expoweb/noinfo/CAVETAB2.CSV||many||produces all cave description pages|
|/svn/trunk/expoweb/noinfo/make-folklist.py||/svn/trunk/expoweb/noinfo/folk.csv||http://cucc.survex.com/expo/folk/index.htm||Table of all expo members|
|/svn/trunk/surveys/Surveys.csv||Survey status page: "wall of shame" to keep track of who still needs to draw which surveys|
The following are questions for people who know the expo website well, which stumped Aaron.
- Why is there a /home/cucc/www/expo/surveys as well as a /home/cucc/www/surveys , and is there any difference?