This past weekend I visited a farm in Central Washington and was able to see the full life cycle of crop production. In one area, closed and light controlled, seeds germinate into small seedlings. When large enough, the seedlings are tempered and prepared for movement out to the greenhouse. In the greenhouse, the plants are carefully monitored and cultivated as they grow. The last phase is moving the plants, now hardy and larger, out into the open air where, under the sun, they grow and fully develop for harvest. My visit to the farm came at just the right time—there were fully grown plants ready for harvesting within the next few weeks and new seedlings, which will become next year’s crop, were just starting to grow. While taking in this cyclical process of growth and harvest I couldn’t help but think about the growth of Evergreen over the years.
2014 is the year that saw the first seeds planted for the next generation of Evergreen. While we all know and love the XUL staff client, the power and flexibility of newer technologies, such as AngularJS, was leading the Evergreen community to explore new options for a web based staff interface. In January 2014, a prototype for the web client was released to the Evergreen community, thanks to the research and work of Bill Erickson and the rest Equinox development team. Bill planted those first seeds and gave the community something to cultivate. After evaluating the prototype, the community came together to move forward with the project. With the support of many development partners (BC Libraries Cooperative, Bibliomation, C/W MARS, GPLS, Grand Rapids Public Library, Howe Library, Kenton County Public Library, MassLNC, NC Cardinal, OhioNET, PaILS, Pioneer Library System, and SC LENDS), the web client project became a reality. And with that, the project moved into the greenhouse, where real growth and careful cultivation could occur.
Like staging the crop on the farm, the development for the web client was broken up into sprints to tackle the modules individually to allocate proper time for each stage of growth and development. Since 2014, Equinox has continued steady development on the web client sprints. The goal of the web client was to maintain feature parity with the old client by porting over newer HTML interfaces and re-writing the older XUL interfaces. Happily, and with much input from the users, many improvements to use and usability have been incorporated throughout the process. In order to allow the web client to grow, the community decided to stop accepting new features into the XUL client, but development did not cease. New features have been developed alongside the web client and upon implementation there will some new features such as customizable copy alerts and statistical popularity badges along with the new browser based interface.
The web client is currently in the last stages of the greenhouse phase of development. Sprints 1, 2, and 3, Circulation, Cataloging, and Administration/Reports, respectively, are complete. Sprint 4, Acquisitions and Serials, is currently in development and will be completed this fall. Sprints 5 (Booking, Offline Mode, etc.) and 6 (Bug Fixing) will round out the development phase and, upon completion, the Evergreen web client will move out of the greenhouse and into the community for use where it will continue to grow organically to meet the needs of the community.
As a trainer, I introduce new libraries to Evergreen and the Evergreen community and help translate their workflows to a new interface and ILS. Evergreen feels like home to me and I hope that I have been able to help other libraries feel at home with Evergreen as well. Through community support and development, Evergreen has undergone tremendous growth in the past 10 years. It is constantly evolving and becoming a stronger ILS that meets the needs of its users. The web client is the next phase of this evolution and it is a big step forward. I’m looking forward to getting to know “Webby” and seeing what the harvest will bring in the next 10 years.
–Angela Kilsdonk, Education Manager
This is the ninth in our series of posts leading up to Evergreen’s Tenth birthday.