Grouper Application Development

Updates on JAVA hooks, JMS, and grouper loader

Since the turn of the New Year, we have been testing some of the Grouper functionality that previously we have not took advantage of, including Java hooks and the Grouper Loader function.

One of the main developments recently has been with the use of Java hooks in the Grouper application. With hooks it is possible to add customised code to the application to be called on the trigger of certain events, such as adding a new member to a group. With the ability to add these hooks, we have been able to integrate the Java Message Service API into the Grouper application.

We are currently using the apache ActiveMQ message broker as part of our messaging architecture, as it provides not just support for JMS, but also for numerous cross language clients and protocols (ActiveMQ website).

By integrating JMS into the application we are able to have notification messages issued from the application to a queue or topic on the ActiveMQ message broker. This makes Grouper more interoperable, allowing it to communicate and exchange data with other University systems.

Another recent development is the use of the Grouper Loader function to automatically populate a set of groups in our Grouper API. As part of a departmental structure that has been created with Grouper, we required a number of "source groups" which were populated with all members from a particular faculty or central service department. To populate these groups we have used the grouper loader function which, at set intervals, checks for new members in the departments, and adds any new members to the source group for that tier in the departmental structure.

This has solved potential issues related to the Syllabus Plus room booking project, where it is required to allow all members of a faculty to book a particular room. Before the use of the loader function, each group within the faculty would have to be given access individually, but with the source group this is no longer the case. 

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