The Providence installer uses "profiles" to configure a newly installed system. The profiles specify:
- Supported locales
- Drop-down lists and vocabularies used; this includes both system lists (lists used for system functions) and user-specified lists.
- Metadata element sets and how they are bound to various items in the database (eg. specification of what sort of attributes are allowed for various object types, place types, collection types, etc.)
- Editor user interface specifications for objects and authorities; you can have more than one interface specified for each type of item. (Note that while it will be possible to specify user interfaces that are only available to a specific user or group of users the installer only creates interfaces accessible to all users - "system interfaces")
- Relationship types between objects, entities, places, etc.
- Displays (ordered lists of data elements used for display of catalogued items) to create at installation-time. (Others can be created by users at any time)
- Search forms to create at installation time. (Others can be created by users at any time)
- Login to create at installation-time. (Others can be created by users at any time)
Creating a Profile
Profiles are written using the an xml-based syntax.
Installation profiles are often long and complex text documents. It's easy to make mistakes that cause the installation process to fail or deviate from requirements. You can make errors much less likely by validating your profile against the profile syntax XML schema. The schema is located in install/profiles/xml/profile.xsd'. Simply copy the schema to the same directory as the profile you are editing and use a validating XML editor such as OxygenXML. The editor will highlight mistakes as you type and point you to the location of the errors.
The CollectiveAccess installer will validate your profile against the schema before proceeding with installation, so if a profile doesn't validate during editing it won't be accepted by the installer. The bottom line: always make sure your profile validates!
Changing the installation profile of an existing system
An oft-asked question is "I installed my system using installation profile X. How can I now change it to Y?" The answer is you can't. Installation profiles are simply collections of rules (or templates, if you prefer) for the installer to follow when setting up a new system. Once the installation process is complete the profile ceases to play a role. You can continue to modify the configuration of your system using the web-based configuration tools, creating an installation different from the profile that originally created it. If you really need to change an existing system to conform to a new profile you have two choices: (1) modify the existing system by hand using the web-based configuration tools to match or (2) reinstall from scratch with the desired profile. In the latter case you will lose all existing data, of course.