SEB loading the default config page when using start exam seb file

SEB 2.0
2014-03-06
2014-03-07
  • Jarle Presttun
    Jarle Presttun
    2014-03-06

    Guess this is an improvement that one can disagree on, but when testing the latest RC some users have reacted on the default page being loaded in the under the dialog box for the settings password.
    I also think it would be better to show this dialog box over the blue load screen that is there now.
    It might work like this on organizations where SEB has been configured to show the university start page, but for BYOD users that download the browser and only use if for running exams with .seb files, the safeexambrowser.org page is shown and this is confusing.

     
  • I'm not sure if I understood this right, is the default page loaded in the browser window and this covering the dialog box for the settings password? This should not happen, the settings password dialog box should be front most in any case. Unfortunately currently this depends on timings, as XULRunner is starting up and more or less at the same time the password dialog box is displayed, but this is happening in another thread/process. I think it depends on Windows version and speed of a machine, hard drive etc. if the XULRunner window covers the password dialog box or not. I will try to improve this behavior.

    Even starting SEB by opening a .seb file works in a dual step process, first SEB starts up and opens the default page, not being aware if in a separate thread with some delay a .seb file will get opened or not. So it's not easy to implement not to load the default page in the case SEB is started up with a .seb file, this would always cause a delay as SEB would need to wait for a timeout for loading the .seb file first before continuing loading the default page.

    This is why I favor the deployment scenario with an exam portal page being configured after installing SEB as the default start page and starting exams over this exam portal page. This is shortly described here: http://www.safeexambrowser.org/eduhubdays/
    and here is a more in-deep description what the exam administrator should do:
    http://www.safeexambrowser.org/presentations/HowTo_SEB2.0.pdf
    I am currently working on the general documentation, which will partly be an improved and better structured version of this presentation.

     
  • Jarle Presttun
    Jarle Presttun
    2014-03-07

    Sorry for being unclear, the problem was not that the dialog was loaded under the default page, but (as you wrote in the second paragraph) that the default page was loaded and shown under the password dialog.

    Have read the pdf (thanks for that) and there you wrote what occurred to us too that in order to get this working fine, the BYOD clients should be configured up with different default page by giving them a config seb file in addition to the installer

    I was basically asking if this could be avoided so that the student has to do as little as possible to get seb up and running.

     
    Last edit: Jarle Presttun 2014-03-07
  • Ok, I got the thing with the password dialog box now. I also understand that your students should always start up SEB by double clicking a .seb file with the exam settings. But what I tried to explain is that SEB also has to deal with the case when it's started directly, clicking the shortcut or SafeExamBrowser.exe. Then it has to display some default webpage, it would confuse people if it just starts up and doesn't show anything. I was nevertheless thinking of displaying another page as the start page, maybe a page with some general information, what SEB is. This page could theoretically even be stored locally in SEB, so no internet connection would be necessary to show this html file.

    We can try to find a technical solution so that no default page is loaded when SEB is started up by clicking a .seb file, even though this won't really be a perfect solution for the reasons I tried to explain: Waiting for a timeout seems to be the only possible solution right now, considering the way how documents are opened by applications (it’s similar both in Windows and Mac OS X) when double clicking a file with their file type. This would slow up starting SEB directly (instead of double clicking a .seb file) in any case, and then the timeout needs to be long enough so on slow systems SEB doesn’t again start loading the default page before the handler method for opening the double clicked .seb file gets called by the system.

    But the more general question is: How are you distributing the .seb files for starting the exam to the students?

    For the exam scenarios we are conducting ourselves (centralized, simultaneous exams, in examination computer rooms) all students should get access to the .seb file at the same time, just before the exam starts (when they are sitting in the examination rooms). So we put the link on the .seb file for starting the exam on that exam portal page (a simple html page in our case).

    Are you emailing the .seb file to your students and they can conduct the exam whenever they want? This seems for me one of the few scenarios where it makes sense to start an exam directly with double clicking a .seb file. Another would be if exam clients in a computer class room are used, that the .seb file shows up on the desktop or another folder on all of these computers, probably because they all mount some network drive where the .seb file is placed on.

    If students should use some other regular web browser to go on a exam portal page and load the .seb file there, this is always less smooth than in SEB itself, because the browser will ask questions like if it’s secure to open the link (if a seb:// link is used) or the user will have to find out where the downloaded .seb file got saved to double click it or have again to confirm to really open the file etc.

    So I still think the exam portal page is the best solution in most cases.

     
  • Jarle Presttun
    Jarle Presttun
    2014-03-07

    Thanks again, we were thinking of using the seb:// link to start seb from within a student portal we're currently developing. There will be a .seb file per exam.

    Its a good point what you write opening with the seb:// from within SEB to avoid the browser asking a question if you want to proceed. Works really well within SEB, so that is great!!! We should really consider encouraging the universities/colleges, that the BYOD students gets the .seb file using SEB and not in another browser. And then my initial problem goes away
    I haven't tried this with our own exam solution yet, just tested www.safeexambrowser.org/exams.

    As we don't have the email of most of the students, we have either this option or the download option.

    For controlled exams there are more options as I see in the pdf above, like having a seb file in the ProgramData/* folder.

    So my concern was just the extra .seb file that the students has to install, but I think it has many advantages. Specially the seb:// in SEB combination. Guessing this will work on Mac too.