Getting Started with Mediaflux - for QCIF eRAs.

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Caveat:

These instructions are preliminary, and a bit "rough and ready".

Connecting to your QRISdata Mediaflux Desktop

Your QRISData Mediaflux Desktop is accessed using the Arcitecta Desktop tool (also known as "Hydrogen") running in your web browser.  The recommended procedure for connecting to the QRISdata Mediaflux installation is as follows:

  1. Start a supported web browser.  See below for requirements, and note that Javascript must be enabled.
  2. Visit https://mediaflux.qriscloud.org.au/desktop/?dti=no
  3. Login as follows:
    • Domain: "qrisdata"   (this could change)
    • User: QSAC username
    • Password: QSAC password
  4. If the login succeeds, the user will be presented with their Desktop. 

The left sidebar of the Mediaflux Desktop has the main Desktop tools.  The top one allows you to read and search the Mediaflux manuals.

Note: the URL above runs the Desktop with DTI disabled.  This is recommended for end users, unless they specifically need the DTI functionality.  The reason is that DTI requires a Java install and Java plugin.  Installing these things, and configuring the user's browsers is daunting, and not recommended unless the user is capable of providing their own Tier 0 / 1 support.

Limitations / Bugs

The following are known limitations / features / bugs of Mediaflux Desktop (DTI=no):

  • Importing by dragging an entire directory tree only works on Chrome.  For other browsers, the import stalls.  (Apparently, it is a limitation of the HTML5 File API.)

Installing aterm

Aterm is the preferred Mediaflux tool for doing Mediaflux system management tasks.  It can also be used by collection owners and end-users who have QSAC credentials and have been granted collection access.

The aterm tool is a Java application that is distributed as a JAR file which you can download from the Mediaflux server.  The prerequisites are:

  • A Java JDK or JRE installation. Java 6 or later is sufficient, but we recommend that you use a recent release, and ensure that it is patched with the latest security patches.  (You do not require a Java plugin for your web browser to run aterm.)
  • An X11 installation.  X11 is a standard part of current Linux desktop distros, and is available in the Utiliities folder on Mac OSX.  Free 3rd party X11 software is available for Windows.

To install aterm:

  1. Open a web browser.
  2. Enter https://mediaflux.qriscloud.org.au/mflux/aterm.jar
  3. Save the file; e.g. on Linux your ~/bin directory might be a good place.

Starting aterm

  1. At a command prompt, run "java -jar ~/bin/aterm.jar" ... or wherever you saved the JAR, and a window will launch, showing a "Login" popup.
  2. Enter the following in the "Login > Login" panel:
    • Server: "mediaflux.qriscloud.org.au"
    • Transport: "HTTPS"
    • Port: "443"
    • Domain, User and Password as above.
  3. Click the "Login" button.

Using aterm is outside of the scope of this document.  However help information is available in the following places:

  • Typing "help" at the aterm command prompt will list all commands that the server makes available to you.
  • Typing "help <command.name>" will print the command's self-documentation.  The same information can be seen on the Mediaflux server's web portal:
    1. Visit https://mediaflux.qriscloud.org.au/mflux.
    2. Click on the Help link.
  • The aterm command prompt supports completion of command names and command options.
  • There is more information on aterm in Chapter 3 of the Mediaflux Administration Guide, which you can access from the Desktop.

What is DTI?

DTI stands for desktop tool integration (or something like that). If you run the Mediaflux Desktop with DTI enabled you get a number of advanced features including:

  • drag and drop files between your local machine and Mediaflux filespaces,
  • bulk file upload via the desktop, and
  • use of Arcitecta's high performance file transfer protocol.

The downside is that DTI is implemented as a Java application that your web browser needs to be able to launch.  This requires that the user has a Java installation on their desktop / laptop, and that the Java plugin is properly enabled ans authorized.

Using DTI

Assuming that you have installed Java and enabled the Java plugin, then you can connect to the Mediaflux using the URL https://mediaflux.qriscloud.org.au/desktop/ - note that the "?dti=no" query is no longer required.

If DTI is working properly, the Desktop will display "DTI:active" or "DTI:active (unverified version)".

If DTI is not working, there may be clues in the "DTI:..." field.  Some of the things to consider:

  • Is Java installed on the user's machine properly?  Is it a recent version?  Has it changed recently; e.g. via an automated system update?
  • Is the Java plugin installed?
  • Is the Java plugin enabled for this browser session?
  • Is SELinux in "enforcing" mode?  (This stops the DTI application talking to the local file system. The workaround is to switch to "permissive" mode for the duration of the Mediaflux session!)

Supported Platforms

According to the current documentation:

  • The Arcitecta Desktop requires a contemporary HTML5 compliant browser (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, IE 10 or later). JavaScript must be enabled.
  • If you want to use DTI, you need an up-to-date Java 7 or Java 8 installation.  (Indeed, if you are using Firefox as your browser, you typically need the very latest patch release, as Firefox aggressively disables Java plugins with known security issues.)
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Comments

  • Avatar
    Belinda Weaver

    i think it would be good to have an explanation of what QSAC is and what the QSAC password is as it is called 'credential' on the dashboard.

  • Avatar
    Belinda Weaver

    The aterm stuff is really confusing. Do we need it or not? And what do we do if we are on Windows?

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