Humanities Computing provides our computing infrastructure using a combination of third party/off campus services, IT Services provided solutions, and where necessary in house hardware. The following page is an overview of the software and hardware underlying the Division’s computing services. This information is intended for tech savvy users who are curious how their services are provided and as a reference for users who know what they are looking for to shop for potential services.
This document is not exhaustive and is subject to change. We routinely add new services in response to specific needs and phase out older services as better alternatives become available. If you have a computing infrastructure need that is not directly addressed by the following information, please reach out to us. We may know of someone on campus who is running such a system or may be able to consider offering it as a new service.
Our philosophy for computing infrastructure is to avoid unnecessary duplication of services if possible. We work with IT Services, the Research Computing Center, and other centralized providers of computing infrastructure to identify and support services they provide that meet the needs of the Humanities Division. In some cases we will step in as an additional layer of support for centralized services (providing user account management, setup, and troubleshooting). In cases where there are no central services that meet the needs or price points of the Division we will deploy the appropriate hardware and software infrastructure necessary to provide those services.
The Division uses Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 for most of the sites that we and our affiliates use. These sites support CNetID based authentication and are run on one of our LAMP clusters (Seamonster for Drupal 7, Tidepool for Drupal 8). More details about the Drupal hosting environment can be found on our Drupal Hosting Guide and the “About our CMS hosting” section of our Affiliate Program page. All new sites are required to be Drupal 8.
We run a WordPress network. Our WordPress install is generally kept at or near the latest software version. It uses CNetID based authentication via LDAP and is run on our Seamonster LAMP environment. More details about our WordPress & general CMS environment can be found in the “About our CMS hosting” section of our Affiliate Program page.
Custom/experimental web hosting, redirects, & misc web services
While most of the Division’s web content lives on Drupal, Lucian, or IT Services Webspace, there are a number of other projects with special hosting requirements. These include legacy systems written in languages that are not typically used for modern web application programming or older versions of languages that do not run well on modern runtimes. Additionally, there are systems that provide higher levels of security for at-risk applications as well as sandbox-type environments for evaluating and testing new software for research projects.
All of our hosting environments use Apache as their primary application server. SSI and the usual Apache configuration systems (.htaccess, .htpasswd) are available. All of them support arbitrary *.uchicago.edu DNS names, including TLS/SSL support for those names. We can set up arbitrary Apache (or load balancer) level redirects for any of the DNS names that we have hosted in the past in case you restructure, want to change the name of your site, or move to another provider.
For internal administrative applications (Tracking of academic appointments, student degree progress, course scheduling, etc) we use a mixture of FileMaker Pro applications and web applications built on Ruby on Rails & Ember.js.
Mantaray is our modern FileMaker environment. It can only host .fpm12 format files and later and requires a FileMaker 14 or later client. iOS clients are supported by this server. It is run on a virtual machine on the Humanities cluster. Authentication is provided via UChicago’s Active Directory server.