Installation Guide

PACOS is designed to provide a centralised platform for handling the relationship between programs and courses for Outcome Based Education. This installation guide provides you the information and the procedure to install PACOS on your own server.

If you are using the software in an institution other than HKUST, then after step 3 and before step 4, you have to follow the extra installation guide to make appropriate changes.

You can click on any image in this page to get a larger version of it.

1. Download the Source Code

Download the latest version of PACOS source code from the download page.

2. Install Web Server and PHP
2.1. Installation

Install a web server and PHP (must be version 5.x) and make sure that it works correctly on your system.

The PHP version MUST be 5.X. You cannot use version 4.x of PHP due to the different XML library between versions 4.X and 5.X.

You are recommended to use the XAMPP installation package.

The following installation instructions assume you are using the XAMPP installation package to install the Apache web server and PHP. If you are using a different way to install Apache and PHP then the steps may be different. For example, the location of some of the files mentioned in this page may be different.

Figure 1 - Installation of XAMPP

After the installation has completed, start the XAMPP Control Panel Application. Start the Apache server by clicking the start button.

Figure 2 - Screen shot of XAMPP Control Panel Application

Now, you can access

http://<your hostname>/
to check if the server is set up correctly. A page similar to figure 3 should be seen.

Figure 3 - Screen shot of a successfully installed XAMPP default home page

2.2. Configuration
2.2.1. Check the required libraries

If you are NOT using the XAMPP installation package, extract the PHP library file called php_curl.dll from the source code zip file to the extensions directory of your PHP (e.g. C:\PHP\extensions).

If you are using the XAMPP installation package, then the PHP library file mentioned above should be already included in the extensions directory of your PHP.

2.2.2. Enable the library in PHP

Please locate the file called php.ini in your system and open it with a text editor (e.g. notepad). Then search for the words Windows Extensions.

Figure 4 - Find the words 'Windows Extensions'

Uncomment the following line by removing the ' ; ' at the beginning of the line.


Figure 5 - What the file looks after the modifications

Search for the words SMTP and change the SMTP server to yours. If you are installing the system for use at HKUST, set it to can only be used in HKUST. If you are using the software in a different institution, a different SMTP server should be used.

Figure 6 - Find and set the SMTP server

Save and close the file.

2.2.3. Restarting the Apache server

A restart of the server is needed after changing php.ini.

That can be done by selecting

Start > All Programs > HTTP Apache Server > Control Server by Service > Apache Restart

3. Install the PACOS System
3.1. Locate your document root directory

If you are using XAMPP, the document root directory is

by default.

If you are using Apache 1.3.x, the document root directory is

C:\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache\htdocs\<sub-directory>
by default.

For Apache 2.0.x users, the document root directory is

C:\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache2\htdocs\<sub-directory>
by default.

3.2. Copying the files

Create a sub-directory in your document root directory as the root directory for your PACOS system.

In the following example, the PACOS directory inside C:\xampp\htdocs will be the root directory of the system.

Figure 7 - Creating the root directory of PACOS

Extract the files from the source code zip file. You should see two folders as shown in figure 8. Please do not change the file structures inside these two folders, otherwise the system may not work properly.

Figure 8 - Extracted content of the source code zip file

Copy the files inside the folder outcome_mapping into the root directory of the PACOS system that you just created (e.g. C:\xampp\htdocs\pacos\).

Figure 9 - Content in outcome_mapping is copied to the PACOS root directory

Copy the folder outcome_mapping_data to a location that is not publicly accessible by others (e.g. C:\pacos_data).

Figure 10 - An illustration of copying the outcome_mapping_data directory

3.3. Configuring the PACOS system
3.3.1. Setting the parameter file

Open the file ini_param.php in the root directory (e.g. C:\xampp\htdocs\pacos\) of PACOS (introduced in step 3.2) with a text editor.

Figure 11 - Open the file ini_param.php

Set the DATA_ROOT_PATH to the location where you put the outcome_mapping_data folder (in step 3.2). Remember to use two backslashes (\\) instead of only one (\) in the setting file. No backslash is needed at the end of the path.

Figure 12 - An illustration of setting the DATA_ROOT_PATH to the full path of the outcome_mapping_data directory

Save and close the file.

3.3.2. Add the Administrator account manually

Open the file users.xml in the outcome_mapping_data folder (e.g. C:\pacos_data\outcome_mapping_data\users.xml) with a text editor.

Figure 13 - Open the file users.xml

The field id must be set to your ITSC account (e.g. csoz). The field power must be set to 4 if you are the administrator of the system. You should have at least one person who has administrator power (=level 4 power).

The 'ITSC account' refers to the intranet accounts used at the institution where we created the PACOS system, which is HKUST. If you are using the software in a different institution, you should use the user account authentication system which is appropriate to your institution.

Figure 14 - Add your ITSC account and set the power to 4

Save and close the file.

4. Start the System

At this stage you have completed the installation and configuration of the system. Now you can get started by accessing

http://<your hostname>/<sub-directory>/
(e.g. http://localhost/pacos/ in the example)

If you are using the system at HKUST, you will need to use your ITSC account to login to the system.

This image illustrates the login page for HKUST. If you are using the software in a different institution, your login page will look different.

Figure 15 - Example login screen for HKUST

After successfully logging on, you should see the main PACOS interface as shown in the figure below.

Figure 16 - The PACOS first page

5. Adding Program(s)

When we say 'programs' here we mean, for example, a BEng in Computer Science, and not a software program.

Use the menu on the very top of the page to enter the administration page of PACOS for adding new program(s) to the system.

Figure 17 - The menu of PACOS.

You can now proceed to edit information of the program(s) you added previously in step 5 above, add course information, and select the mapping of course outcomes to program outcomes.

If you want, you can go through the starting guide to get a big picture on how to start using PACOS.