Sep 12, 2007
CERN Alerter is now based on RSS
In July a new version of the CERN Alerter was installed on all centrally managed NICE computers. Since then it has been used by central IT services to send urgent messages.
This latest version is based on Internet Explorer 7.0. All alerts are now displayed on the screen in the form of the Internet Explorer window (figure 1). To print the message it is necessary to right-click on the background of the alert window and select the Print option from the menu.
When a message is not urgent the alert may not pop up on the screen immediately. In such cases, before an alert window is shown (which normally takes place at 6 a.m. the next morning or at the next log-on) users are notified by the balloon shown in figure 2. When the balloon is clicked, the alert will pop up immediately.
Users can access the history of a message at any time. Simply right-click on the CMF icon in the Windows system tray, select the CERN Alerter option and click on History (figure 3). This will again open the Internet Explorer window, with a list of all the alerts that have been sent to the user in the past.
Non-Windows operating systems
The new system is based on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) as a transport protocol that makes the system accessible from other platforms, not only NICE computers. Any RSS reader can be installed (all recent web browsers can act as RSS readers, including Firefox and Safari). Users can then subscribe to the RSS feed to see all of the messages ever sent by the central services. A user name and a computer name can be added to the URL to filter messages and see only those that concern a specified user and computer.
The only authority allowed to transmit messages is the IT manager on duty (MOD). If another authority at CERN wishes to send a message using CERN Alerter, he/she should send an e-mail to email@example.com. The IT MOD can then decide whether or not to send the message.
User documentation for the CERN Alerter is available at https://cern.ch/winservices/Help/?kbid=060810. Documentation on how to read RSS feeds from an SLC computer is available at http://cern.ch/linux/documentation/rss.shtml.
About the author
Rafal Otto, IT/IS