About ECSS On-Line Project Tracking
Inspired by the Software Call Manager on Hewlett-Packard's Electronic Support Center, the ECSS Projects page allows you to submit requests for work, questions, or bug reports from any World Wide Web browser. In addition, you may add updated information and see responses from ECSS staff.
This service supports the School of Engineering at Santa Clara University. There are currently no limitations on who may register for this service, but requests from people who we do not immediately recognize as legitimate users may be responded to at a lower priority and may require us to verify that the person is authorized to make that request.
In the past, you have had to contact ECSS via E-mail, telephone, or pager. Using this on-line service offers almost all of the best features of each of these methods, plus other advantages.
- You can view instantly verify that your message has been entered in our database.
- You can view a complete history of progress on your request.
- You can display lists of your current and previous requests, as well as a count of all requests in the system.
- You can cut-and-paste or type in any relevant error messages rather than trying to read them over the phone.
- You can set up a list of other users who are authorized to view (and optionally update) request information on a per-request basis.
- You can find out the current status of your requests anywhere you have access to a web browser.
- If you have two related requests, just list the request id of one in the other's comments, and it will automatically be transformed into a hyperlink to the other request. You can link to other websites if you specify the full URL beginning with "
http://" or "
- You will receive a list of all of your current projects in email weekly.
We have done our best to design and build this system to protect your privacy. Once you are logged in with your username and password, all transactions are processed with computer-generated authorization codes. This avoids putting your login password on the screen or within the HTML code, and these authorization codes can be regenerated frequently so that even if someone else sees them, they will not be able to use them.
Other security features include:
Note: Although ECSS has made every effort to offer a high level of security, a determined hacker may be able to find security holes in the operating system, the web server software, or the ECSS Projects software that would allow him or her to gain inappropriate access. We do not expect to have any security problems, but we cannot guarantee the absolute security of any information you submit.
- You can connect to the server using a secure HTTPS connection.
- Each submitted request is only accessible to yourself, the ECSS staff, and any other people you want to make it available to. Other users will not even know that your request exists.
- User passwords are encrypted and stored in a file that cannot be read by other users on the server. Passwords are used only to initiate a connection or to verify the user's legitimacy before destructive actions.
- All request information is stored in a directory that is not accessible by other users on the server, and can only be accessed by the web server through a limited group of access functions.
- There is no error-checking done when you enter the project lead. This functionality was added quickly to help improve the functionality of the ECSS Projects system, but a major rewrite of the entire site is currently being designed.
- If you submit a new request but your submission has errors, the form you are given to correct your errors will have lost the category you entered.
- If you use the string <BR> in your comments, it will be treated as the HTML tag for a line break when you view the request. As a workaround, either include an extra space between the brackets, or use lower-case letters. We are trying to determine the best way to fix this problem.
- The amount of space available for comments is limited, but the text entry area does not enforce any limits. Try to limit your comments to fit in the text entry box unless you have many short or blank lines, and view your request after submitting a long comment to be sure all of it was received.
- Something in the comments that looks like a request ID will be turned into a link even if it isn't really an ID. It's usually pretty obvious from the context, though. We could change the format of request IDs to something more unique, but that could slow down some of our other processing, and this is more of a nuisance than a problem.
- We are in the initial stages of a major re-write of the entire site into an object-oriented, client-server (and maybe other buzzwords too) application, which should improve the speed noticeably, particularly when there are a large number of requests in the system.
- We are working on adding the ability to create custom filter, sorting, and display options for listing your requests.
- We are hoping to add an option to have email sent to you when new requests are submitted or old ones are updated.
- Multiple sort options do not work correctly.
- If there's something else you'd like to see, log in and submit a request.