Forum OpenACS Development: Extending User Properties

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Posted by Randy O'Meara on
What is the best, most elegant, way to extend user information? I would like to associate multiple additional properties with a user (a person). For example, I want to associate pager and wireless device identifiers and access methods. There may be multiple pagers, multiple cell phones, PDAs, etc and each of these may be a phone number, email address, etc. Possibly even multiple identifiers with associated access methods for each device.

Thanks,

Randy

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Posted by Talli Somekh on
I was actually just thinking about this question in terms of OACS.org. I think we should add items to the default "your workspace" like instant message IDs. The items that Randy mentions should be added as well.

talli

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Posted by Robert Locke on
Hi Randy,

It's certainly not the most elegant solution, but we add an extra table which we link to the user table.

I think the idea with the most promise is to use the acs_attributes system to manage attributes and automagically generate forms, etc.  This would require alot of work, but I hope it will find its way into a future OACS release.  Please see this thread for further info:

http://openacs.org/forums/message-view?message_id=28086

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Posted by Iuri Sampaio on
Does the latest OACS release have support to new user properties ?

What would be the best solution to extend users info?
Would plsql acs_attribute__create_attribute be useful in this case?

Best wishes,
I

Example:
select acs_attribute__create_attribute(
'user',
'purchased_plan',
'text',
'Purchased Plan',
'Purchased Plans',
'users',
'purchased_plans',
null,
1,
1,
null,
null,
'f'
);

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Posted by Gustaf Neumann on
There are several approaches for this
- ams: https://openacs.org/xowiki/ams
- dynamic types: https://openacs.org/xowiki/dynamic-types
- dynfields (in PO)
- xo dynfields https://gitlab.com/sussdorff/intranet-xotcl-dynfield

i have not used any of these, so i can't say, what's the best for your situation.

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Posted by Michael Aram on
In addition to that, you might also want to have a look at ACS Object Management. I have had a look at ams and acs-object-management some months ago. What I remember is, that I wondered why acs-object-management never made it into the core, as its approach seemed to be relatively "OpenACS-native".

Note as well, that XOTcl Core provides automatically created procs for db functions, e.g. ::xo::db::sql::acs_attribute proc create_attribute...

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Posted by Iuri Sampaio on
Thanks.

I resusciated this thread wondering if there would be a similar and neat solution as cr_item's.

function content_type__create_attribute

After a quick search in the api-doc, I found
api-doc/plsql-subprogram-one?name=acs_attribute__create_attribute&type=FUNCTION

That got me wonder if there would be any acs_object_type__create_attribute ... :)

Thanks Gustaf, for the references of the packages. im_dynfields is indeed a nice and potential solution to my case. It needs a bit testing to get only intranet-core and intranet-dynfields only. I don't want to fork too much of OACS core.

Best wishes,
I

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Posted by Dave Bauer on
Actually acs_attribute__create_attribute does do what you expect. It is a lower level api, and acs-object-management was partially created as a Tcl API to those lower level functions. It also allows you to manage forms associated with groupings of attributes.
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Posted by Iuri Sampaio on
Hi Dave,

If it does the expected, the new column in the table user_preferences should be created, shouldn't it?

I explicity added the argument in the plsql function,

Example:
select acs_attribute__create_attribute(
'user',
'purchased_plan',
'text',
'Purchased Plan',
'Purchased Plans',
'user_preferences',
'purchased_plan',
null,
1,
1,
null,
null,
'f'
);

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Posted by Iuri Sampaio on
I know it wasn't designed to do so. That has been clearly written in the plsql implementation.

https://openacs.org/api-doc/plsql-subprogram-one?name=acs_attribute__create_attribute&type=FUNCTION

But why not?

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Posted by Dave Bauer on
I believe this is a bug or design oversight from back in the ACS 4.2 days.

The pl/sql functions accept a table_name parameter, but it clearly throws an error if table_name is not null. That does not make sense.

I have a set of changes that allow passing in table name to the function to allow passing in the table name. I can find those and make them available somewhere, if anyone in interested in trying to add that back into OpenACS core.

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Posted by Iuri Sampaio on
Hi Dave,
I'm interested in trying to add them. Let me know where they are available, so I'll grab those.
Best wishes,
I