You are thinking about installing your own copy of Web-CAT, but do not know what other software you must have installed to get it to run.
Web-CAT runs as a servlet in an appropriate servlet container, and it also is built on top of a few other software packages. Here is the complete list of requirements for what you have to have available on your server before installing Web-CAT:
- Java 1.5.x or newer for running Web-CAT. We recommend using Sun’s JDK. Many linux users have reported that Web-CAT will not run using gcj (see Switch To Sun Jdk).
- A servlet container for hosting servlet-based web applications. We use Apache Tomcat at Virginia Tech, but JBOSS, BEA WebLogic, WebSphere, or another appropriate J2EE application server platform should also work.
- MySQL for database support. Web-CAT’s architecture allows other JDBC-compatible databases to be used for the underlying relational database layer, but we don’t have drivers for them included in our basic distribution. If you want to adapt Web-CAT for another RDBMS, please contact our development team via our SourceForge Project–we’d love the help!
- A recent Perl distribution for supporting instructor-provided grading plug-ins written in Perl. Plug-ins can be written in virtually any language supported on your server, but most of the pre-provided plug-ins are written in Perl.
- Be sure you have the HTML::Parser module installed with your Perl distribution.
- Be sure you have the XML::Parser module installed with your Perl distribution.
We recommend that institutions dedicate a specific server for running Web-CAT, since grading student work does necessarily involve running student-provided code on a server. Although student code is appropriately sandboxed, using a separate server for Web-CAT will minimize any potential risks to other server-side applications you may also be running.
If you are planning to deploy Web-CAT on an existing web server at your institution, chances are good that you’ve already got an appropriate servlet container or application server running, and also probably have a recent version of Perl installed. You might even have a My SQL server available (it needn’t be on the same machine that Web-CAT will be on, as long as your admin can create an appropriate account with the right permissions to allow non-local access).
However, if you are starting from scratch, be aware that there are a number of tools available to help you set up your server for applications like this. If you are planning to deploy Web-CAT on a Windows XP (or 2000) server, you might want to look at http://www.devside.net/. Their Web-Developer Server Suite is a preconfigured bundle that includes Apache, Tomcat, My SQL, and Perl. It also includes PHP, optional SSL support, and a number of other features. It is a great way to get an appropriate server environment up and running quickly. There are several other distributions like this available. Generically, they are often called WAMP (for Windows Apache + My SQL + Perl distributions) or WAMPP (with PHP, too) distributions, and you can find many alternatives by googling this term.
If you are setting up your own server from scratch on a different OS, similar bundles may also be available. Search the web for LAMP (the Linux equivalent) or XAMP (the OS X equivalent).
Note: A separate Web Objects deployment license is no longer required to run Web-CAT. Older versions of Web-CAT required you to have a Web Objects deployment license in order to install and run the servlet. Due to changes in Apple’s licensing terms for WebObjects, the Web-CAT WAR distribution now includes a no-cost deployment license, allowing it to be installed for free on any platform.
Installing Perl Modules
Make sure your Perl installation includes both HTML::Parser and XML::Parser already. Read this entry in the CPAN FAQ if you want to find out what Perl modules you currently have installed: How do I find out what modules are already installed on my system?.
If you need to install these modules and you are using a linux flavor that supports rpms, you can use your package manager to install them directly. The two rpms to install are perl-HTML-parser and perl-XML-parser. Debian users can use apt-get. If you are using the Perl distribution on Windows, you can use the included Perl Package Manager (ppm) to install these modules. Otherwise, read this CPAN FAQ entry: How do I install Perl modules?.
Install Web Cat
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