HMIS, R, and SQL -- Basics

Hacker Introduction

I’m a hacker.  If you find errors, please leave comments below.  If you have an opinion I’ll hear it, but I’m often not likely to agree without some argument.

Joins (Merging Data)

Probably the best part of R and SQL is their ability to quickly combine data around a key.  For example, in HMIS CSVs the Client.csv contains a lot of demographic information and the Enrollment.csv contains a lot of assessment information.  This makes it difficult when needing a count of the total participants who are veterans and disabled, since the veteran information is in Client.csv and disability information is in the Enrollment.csv.  However, both R and SQL contain the join functions.  

Joins are a hughely expansive topic; I’m not going to try to cover all their quirks, but here’s some videos I found helpful:

The two useful joins for HMIS data are LEFT JOIN and INNER JOIN.  The left join keeps all the data in the left table and data matching from the right table and the inner join keeps only data which matches.

Here’s an example in the context of the Client.csv and Enrollment.csv:

Client.csv

PersonalID FirstName VeteranStatus
12345 Jane Yes
54321 Joe No

Enrollment.csv

PersonalID FirstName DisablingCondition
12345 Jane Yes
54321 Joe No
45321 Sven Yes

Here are the two join statements and their results for the data above

SELECT * 
   FROM client a 
   LEFT JOIN enrollment b ON a.Personal=b.PersonalID

This join should result in the following:

PersonalID FirstName VeteranStatus DisablingCondition
12345 Jane Yes Yes
54321 Joe No No
45321 Sven NULL Yes

Notice Sven was kept, even though he had no entry the Client.csv.  After the join, since he had no 
And the inner join would look like this:

SELECT * 
       FROM client a 
       INNER JOIN enrollment b ON a.Personal=b.PersonalID

This join should result in the following:

PersonalID FirstName VeteranStatus DisablingCondition
12345 Jane Yes Yes
54321 Joe No No

Counts

PersonalID <- sqldf("SELECT DISTINCT PersonalID FROM client")

Method above creates a vector of all the PersonalIDs in the client data-frame, which came from the Client.csv.  The DISTINCT command takes only one ID if there are more than two which are identical.  In short, it create a de-duplicaed list of participants.

For example,

PersonalID  OtherData
12345 xxxxxxxxx
56839 xxxxxxxxx
12345 xxxxxxxxx
32453 xxxxxxxxx

Should result in the following,

PersonalID
12345
56839
32453

This is useful in creating a key vector, given other CSVs have a one-to-many relationship for the PersonalID.  For example,

The Enrollment.csv looks something like this

PersonalID ProjectEntryID  EntryDate
12345 34523 2016-12-01
56839 24523 2015-09-23
12345 23443 2014-01-10
32453 32454 2015-12-30

This reflects a client (i.e., 12345) entering a project twice, once on 2014-01-10 and the other 2016-12-01.

Count of Total Participants:

SELECT COUNT(PersonalID) as 'Total Participants' FROM client

This query should give a on row output, counting the number of clients in the data-frame.

Total Participants
1 1609

However, if there are duplicate PersonalIDs it’ll count each entry as an ID.  To get a count of unique clients in a data-frame add the DISTINCT command.

SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT(PersonalID)) as 'Unique Total Participants' FROM client

Conditional Data

Often in HMIS data it is necessary to find a collection of participants which meet a specific requirement.  For example, “How many people in this data-set are disabled?”  This is where the WHERE statement helps a lot.

SELECT PersonlID FROM clientAndEnrollment WHERE disability = 'Yes'

This statement will return a vector of all the PersonalID’s of participants who stated they were disabled.  The total participant query could be used, but there is an alternative method.

SELECT SUM(CASE WHEN 
               disability = 'Yes' THEN 1 ELSE 0 
           END) as DisabledCount

The above statement uses the CASE WHEN END statement, which I understand as SQL’s version of the IF statement.  Here’s C equivalent:

for(int i = 0; i < total_participants; i++)
    if(disability == true){
       disabilityCounter++;
    }
}

BOOL!

Boolean operaters can be used to get more complex conditional data:

SELECT PersonalID FROM clientAndEnrollment 
       WHERE disability = 'Yes' 
       AND gender = 'Female'

This statement will provide a vector of all the PersonalID’s for clients who are disabled and female.

Ok, good stopping point for now.

HMIS, R, and SQL -- Introduction

“I love ETO, I love ETO.”

I’m a HMIS Database Manager for a living.  It’s a dream job–all the nerdy stuff, plus, there is a possibility I’m helping people.  Currently, we are using Efforts to Outcomes software as our HMIS solutions.  One of there areas the software really lacks is its ability to quick generate complex reports. It has the ability, but the servers are laggy, it crashes constantly, and a project which should take 20 minutes will take 50 minutes to 40 hours depending on the “report weather.”  These issues are probably caused by the reporting platform being webbased and calculations done server-side.  Regardless, given the amount of time the staff are wasting on “simple” report projects I’ve decided to explore alternative systems for generating some of our needed reports. 

Luckily, HUD has dictated a HMIS data format.  This is often known as the “CSV version.”  The specification of these data sets are outlined in HUD’s document:

These data standards are currently on version 5.1, however, HUD issues tweaks to these standards every October 1st.  Point is, if the data is standardized it should make it easy to manipulate using local tools.

Here are a few pros to explore local reporting tools:

  • Software vendor ambivalent
  • No bottleneck due to routing issues (ETO servers are on the easy coast)
  • Greater flexibility of reporting
  • No outage concerns
  • More control on optimization of queries

And the cons:

  • Somewhat more difficult to deploy to end-users (integration would probably be through batch files or Excel-VB)

Before jumping in to the alternatives it is important to point out HUD requires all HMIS software vendors have the ability to export a set of CSV files which contain all the HUD manadated data elements (also known as universal data elements).  This export process is reliable, fast, and predictable–at least, from my experience.  As the alternative tools are explored the data sets being used will most often be these HMIS CSVs, however, there will probably be other data our COC reports locally which will be joined to these CSVs using each participant’s unique ID.

Ok! Let’s take a look.

R

R gets me excited.  It is programming language for data miners.  It is primarily C under the hood, which potentially makes it blazingly fast. R is meant to be a command-line interface, but I’m using RStudio as convenient overaly.  R studio has a few limitations, for example only 15 columns may be view inside the IDE, but nothing show stopping.

This entry is not meant to be a course in R, however, I’ll add some of my favorite links:

  1. Coursera’s R Courses
  2. John Hopkins – R Programming

Here’s the toolchains:

  1. Mirror List for R Download (the CLI)
  2. RStudio (the R IDE used)

Alright, now we’ve got R going!

Ok, let’s dig into some code.

First it is important to be able to read in CSV and Excel files.  The ability to read in CSVs is built into R.  To start loading Excel documents the read_excel package will need to be installed. R has a package manager, allowing method libraries to be easily added.  Pretty much any package can be installed from the CLI using install.package(“name_of_package”).  For example:

    # Installs the readxl package, which allows Excel files to be
    # read in as data-frames
    install.package("readxl")
    

A package only needs to be installed once, however, every R session will need to refer to the library before making calls to its methods.  For example,

    # Adds the readxl methods to this session.
    library("readxl")

 After this package has been installed and added to the session, then we should be able to import all sorts of data into R using the following:

    # Load data
    read.csv( <- read_excel("DRC PoS Check In for October 2016.xlsx")
    csvData <- read.csv("My_CSV_file.csv")

 This creates two data-frames.  One thing action I found to be necessary for later functions the ability to rename column headers.  This can be done using the following:

    # Make the disability column easier to work with.
    colnames(data_frame)[col_number_to_rename] <- "new_name"

    # For example, renames the header of column 8 to "ethnicity"
    colnames(client)[8] <- "ethnicity"

This is important later when SQL functions are used inside of R, as speciali characters SQLite doesn’t like and workarounds make the SQL code verbose.

The most important thing which can be done by data people is merging datasets.  I’ve only started on this journey, but it looks to be an art which requires mastery to be effective.  But to get us going, here’s how to perform a left join in R.

    # Join data_frame_2 to data_frame_1 where the "key" column matches.
    # Do not keep any data which doesn't match the keys in data_frame_1
    combined_data_frames <- merge(data_frame_1, data_frame_2, by="key")

    # Here's a real example, using HUD HMIS CSVs
    client <- read.csv("Client.csv")
    enrollments <- read.csv("Enrollments.csv")
    client_and_hud_assessments <- merge(client, enrollments, by="PersonalID")

If you’re pretty sharp–or a data scientist–you might notice the flaw in the in the merger above.  The HMIS Client.csv should only have one record per participant, but the relationship from Client.csv to Enrollments.csv is one-to-many.  Meaning, each client could have mutiple project enrollments.  This makes the above code somewhat unpredictable–and I’ve no time to explore the results.  Instead, I’ve focused on taking the most recent entry from Enrollments.csv.  This can be done using some SQL code.

The SQL to R

Professional data folk may wonder why I’ve chosen to mix R and SQL.  Well, it may not be the best reason or explanation, but here goes.  R is a powerful tool, but often, the syntax is boggish.  It is hard to read and figure out what’s going on.  SQL on the other hand, it’s pretty intuitive.  For me, I’m looking to solve problems as quickly as possible and I’ve found by mixing the two I get to solutions much more quickly.  Often, it is a trade off, if a SQL query is running too slow, I look for an R solution.  And if I’ve re-read an R statement twenty times without being able to spot a bug, then I find a SQL solution.  For me, it’s about getting to the result as quickly as possible

A second reason to mix SQL is about respect and marketability.  R seems to be gaining ground in a lot of data sciences, and seems to be the tool when it comes to economics and statistics, however, most data exchanges have SQL at their heart.  Therefore, when I can use my work as an excuse to develop a marketable skill, I’m going to do it.  

If someone still has problems with those assertions, feel free to hate away in the comments below.

Alright, how does one mix SQL into R?  It centers around the package sqldf.  This package can be installed and added to a session with the following:

    # Install SQLdf package (run once)
    install.package("sqldf")

    # Adds sqldf to the current R session
    library("sqldf")

Underneath the hood of sqldf is SQLite, this important to note when it comes to debugging SQL queries in R–as we will see in a moment.

But, to get us kicked off, let’s look at how sqldf works in R.

    result_df <- sqldf("YOUR SQL QUERY HERE")

This is a sample of how sqldf works.  Basically, the sqldf() makes a SQLite query call and returns the results.  Here, all of the vector for PersonalIDs was taken from the Client.csv and put into a dataframe called personalIDs.  And that’s pretty much it.

Here’s an example in the context of HMIS CSV data.

    # Add the SQLdf library
    library("sqldf)
    # Load Client CSV data
    client <- read.csv("Client.csv")
    # Get a vector of the client IDs from the Client.csv
    personalIDs <- sqldf("SELECT DISTINCT PersonalID FROM client")

Alright, from here on in I’m going to outline SQL queries seperately, just know, the SQL query will need to be insert into the sqldf(“”) call.

    SELECT DISTINCT PersonalID FROM client

Ok – I’m going to stop this article here, since it seems to have gotten us going.  However, I’ll continue adding to this series as I write useful queries for HMIS data.

ETO REST API in Swift -- Enterprise, Site, and Program Select

  1. Unwrap SSOAuthToken.  Else, handle error.
  2. Create request from webservice and SSOAuthToken.
  3. Make a GET request.
  4. Async-wait for response
  5. Unwrap response data.
  6. If GET request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  7. When successful, convert the return JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  8. Get Enterprise Names and enterpriseGUUID string from JSON data.
  9. Add the enterpriseGUUID string to a Dictionary using the Enterprise Names as the Key
  10. Call completion callback meothd with parameter “Success”
public func getListOfEnterprisesAvailable(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithDictionary) -> Void){

    let SSOAuthToken = currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken!

    var returnInfo = ReturnInfoWithDictionary()
    var enterpriseDictionary = Dictionary<String, String>()

    let GetSSOEnterprisesService = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Security.svc/GetSSOEnterprises/\(SSOAuthToken)"

    let request = Alamofire.request(GetSSOEnterprisesService, method: .get, parameters: nil, encoding: URLEncoding.default).validate().responseJSON { response in

        switch(response.result){
            case .success:
                if let jsonData = response.data {
                    let enterprisesList = JSON(data: jsonData)
                    for i in 0..<enterprisesList.count {
                        let key = enterprisesList[i]["Key"].string!
                        let value = enterprisesList[i]["Value"].string!
                        enterpriseDictionary.updateValue(key, forKey: value)
                    }
                    returnInfo.dictionary = enterpriseDictionary
                    returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                    completion(returnInfo)
                } else {
                    returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .FailedToGetEnterpriseList)
                    completion(returnInfo)
                }
                break;
            case .failure:
                returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
                completion(returnInfo)
                break;
        }
    }
    if(DebugMode){
        debugPrint(request)
    }
}

public func setEnterprise(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, selectedEnterprise: String){
    let etoUserDefaults = ETOUserDefaults()
    etoUserDefaults.setUserDefault(key: .enterpriseID, value: selectedEnterprise)
    currentSessionInfo.setEnterprise(chosenEnterprise: selectedEnterprise)
}
  1. Unwrap SSOAuthToken.  Else, handle error.
  2. Unwrap selectedEnterpriseGuuid.  Else, handle error.
  3. Create request from  webservice URL, SSOAuthToken, Enterprise GUUID.
  4. Make a GET request.
  5. Async-wait for response
  6. Unwrap response data.
  7. If GET request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  8. When successful, convert the return JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  9. Get Site Name and Site Number from JSON data.
  10. Add the Site Number to a Dictionary using the Site Name as the Key
  11. Call completion callback meothd with parameter “Success”
public func getListOfSites(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithDictionary) -> Void){

    var returnInfo = ReturnInfoWithDictionary()

    let SSOAuthToken = currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken ?? ""
    let selectedEnterpriseGuuid = currentSessionInfo.selectedEnterprise()

    if "" == SSOAuthToken {
        returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSSOAuthToken)
        completion(returnInfo)
    } else if "" == selectedEnterpriseGuuid {
        returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoEnterpriseIDSelected)
        completion(returnInfo)
    } else {

        let GetSSOSitesService = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Security.svc/GetSSOSites/\(SSOAuthToken)/\(selectedEnterpriseGuuid)"

        let request = Alamofire.request(GetSSOSitesService, method: .get, parameters: nil, encoding: URLEncoding.default).validate().responseJSON { response in

            switch(response.result){
            case .success:
                if let jsonData = response.data {
                    let siteList = JSON(data: jsonData)
                    for i in 0..<siteList.count {
                        let keyInt = siteList[i]["Key"].int!
                        let key = String(keyInt)
                        let value = siteList[i]["Value"].string!
                        returnInfo.dictionary.updateValue(key, forKey: value)
                    }
                    returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                    completion(returnInfo)
                } else {
                    returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .FailedToGetSiteList)
                    completion(returnInfo)
                }
                break;
            case .failure:
                returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
                completion(returnInfo)
                break;
            }
        }
        if(DebugMode){
            debugPrint(request)
        }
    }       
}
  1. Unwrap SSOAuthToken.  Else, handle error.
  2. Unwrap selectedEnterpriseGuuid.  Else, handle error.
  3. Create request from webservice, SSOAuthToken, and Enterprise GUUID.
  4. Make a GET request.
  5. Async-wait for response
  6. Unwrap response data.
  7. If GET request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  8. When successful, convert the returned JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  9. Assign the Site sessionSecurityToken from the token in JSON data.
  10. Call completion callback method with parameter “Success”
public func setSelectedSite(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithString)-> Void){

  let etoUserDefault = ETOUserDefaults()
  var returnInfo = ReturnInfoWithString()

  let SSOAuthToken = currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken ?? ""
  let selectedEnterpriseGuuid = currentSessionInfo.selectedEnterprise()
  let selectedSite = currentSessionInfo.selectedSite()

  etoUserDefault.setUserDefault(key: .siteID, value: selectedSite)

  var secondsFromGMT: Int { return NSTimeZone.local.secondsFromGMT() }
  let utcOffsetInHours = String(secondsFromGMT / 60)

  if "" == SSOAuthToken {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSSOAuthToken)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else if "" == selectedEnterpriseGuuid {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoEnterpriseIDSelected)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else if "" == utcOffsetInHours {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .InvalidUTC)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else {
      let body = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Security.svc/SSOSiteLogin/\(selectedSite)/\(selectedEnterpriseGuuid)/\(SSOAuthToken)/"
          + utcOffsetInHours
      let request = Alamofire.request(body, method: .get, encoding: URLEncoding.default).validate().responseJSON { response in

          switch(response.result){
          case .success:
              if let jsonData = response.data {
                  let sessionSecurityToken = JSON(data: jsonData)
                  currentSessionInfo.sessionSecurityToken = sessionSecurityToken.string!
                  returnInfo.value = sessionSecurityToken.string!
                  returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                  completion(returnInfo)
              } else {
                  returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .FailedToGetSiteList)
                  completion(returnInfo)
              }
              break;
          case .failure:
              returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
              completion(returnInfo)
              break;
          }
      }
      if(DebugMode){
          debugPrint(request)
      }
  }
}
  1. Unwrap selectedEnterpriseGuuid.  Else, handle error.
  2. Create request from webservice URL, sessionSecurityToken, and EnterpriseGUUID
  3. Make a GET request.
  4. Async-wait for response
  5. Unwrap response data.
  6. If GET request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  7. When successful, convert the return JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  8. Get Program Name and Program Number from JSON data.
  9. Add the Program Number to a Dictionary using the Program Name as the Key
  10. Call completion callback meothd with parameter “Success”
public func getListOfPrograms(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithDictionary)  -> Void){

     var returnInfo = ReturnInfoWithDictionary()

     let headers = headersWithEnterpriseIDAndSecurityToken(currentSessionInfo: sessionInfo)

     let selectedSite = currentSessionInfo.selectedSite()

     if "" == currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken {
         returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSSOAuthToken)
         completion(returnInfo)
     } else if "" == currentSessionInfo.selectedEnterprise() {
         returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoEnterpriseIDSelected)
         completion(returnInfo)
     } else if "" == selectedSite {
         returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSiteIDSelected)
         completion(returnInfo)
     } else {
         let body = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Form.svc/Forms/Program/GetPrograms/" + selectedSite

         let request = Alamofire.request(body, method: .get, encoding: URLEncoding.default, headers: headers).validate().responseJSON { response in

             switch(response.result){
             case .success:
                 if let jsonData = response.data {
                     let programList = JSON(data: jsonData).arrayValue
                     for i in 0..<programList.count {
                         let programIDInt = programList[i]["ID"].int
                         let disabled = programList[i]["Disabled"].boolValue //TODO: Make an option.
                         if !disabled {
                             if let programIDInt = programIDInt {
                                 returnInfo.dictionary.updateValue(String(programIDInt), forKey: programList[i]["Name"].string!)
                             }
                         }
                     }
                     currentSessionInfo.programsDictionary = returnInfo.dictionary
                     returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                     completion(returnInfo)
                 } else {
                     returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .FailedToGetSiteList)
                 }
                 break;
             case .failure:
                 returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
                 completion(returnInfo)
                 break;
             }
         }
         if(DebugMode){
             debugPrint(request)
         }
     }
}
  1. Unwrap selectedProgram.  Else, handle error.
  2. Unwrap selectedEnterpriseGuuid.  Else, handle error.
  3. Create request from webservice, selectedProgram, SSOAuthToken, and Enterprise GUUID.
  4. Make a GET request.
  5. Async-wait for response
  6. Unwrap response data.
  7. If GET request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  8. When successful, convert the returned JSON data.  If failed, handle.

  9. Call completion callback method with parameter “Success”
public func setSelectedProgram(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, setToProgramID: String,completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithJSON) -> Void){

  var etoUserDefaults = ETOUserDefaults()
  var returnInfo: ReturnInfoWithJSON = ReturnInfoWithJSON()

  etoUserDefaults.setUserDefault(key: .programID, value: setToProgramID)

  if "" == currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSSOAuthToken)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else if "" == currentSessionInfo.selectedEnterprise() {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoEnterpriseIDSelected)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else if "" == setToProgramID {
      returnInfo.callback = prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoProgramIDSelected)
      completion(returnInfo)
  } else {
      let parameters: Parameters = [
          "ProgramID": setToProgramID
      ];

      let headers = headersWithEnterpriseIDAndSecurityToken(currentSessionInfo: currentSessionInfo)

      let body = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Security.svc/UpdateCurrentProgram/"

      let request = Alamofire.request(body, method: .post, parameters: parameters, encoding: JSONEncoding.default, headers: headers).validate().responseJSON { response in

          switch(response.result){
          case .success:
              if let responseData = response.data {
                  let jsonData = JSON(data: responseData)
                  currentSessionInfo.selectedProgramInfo = jsonData
                  currentSessionInfo.setProgram(chosenProgram: setToProgramID)
                  returnInfo.json = jsonData
                  returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                  completion(returnInfo)
              } else {
                  returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .FailedToGetSiteList)
              }
              break;
          case .failure:
              returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
              completion(returnInfo)
              break;
          }
      }
      if(DebugMode){
          debugPrint(request)
      }
  }
}
public func headersWithEnterpriseIDAndSecurityToken(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo) -> HTTPHeaders{
    let selectedEnterpriseGuuid = currentSessionInfo.selectedEnterprise()
    let sessionSecurityToken = currentSessionInfo.sessionSecurityToken

    let headers: HTTPHeaders = [
        "Content-Type": "application/json",
        "Accept": "application/json",
        "enterpriseGuid": selectedEnterpriseGuuid,
        "securityToken": sessionSecurityToken,
        ]

    return headers
}

public func sortDictionary(dictionaryToSort: Dictionary<String, String>) -> Dictionary<String, String>{
    var dictionaryToReturn = Dictionary<String, String>()

    let sortedKeys = Array(dictionaryToSort.keys).sorted()

    for key in sortedKeys {
        if let valueForThisKey = dictionaryToSort[key] {
            dictionaryToReturn.updateValue(valueForThisKey, forKey: key)
        }
    }

    return dictionaryToReturn
}

private func prepareResponse(targetResponse: AuthenticationServiceResponseTypes) -> AuthenticationServiceResponse {
    var candidateResponse: AuthenticationServiceResponse = AuthenticationServiceResponse()
    candidateResponse.responseType = targetResponse
    candidateResponse.responseMessage = AuthenticationServiceResponseMessages[targetResponse]!
    return candidateResponse
}

public struct AuthenticationServiceResponse {
  var responseType: AuthenticationServiceResponseTypes
  var responseMessage: String

  init(){
      self.responseType = .UnknownFailure
      self.responseMessage = AuthenticationServiceResponseMessages[.UnknownFailure]!
  }
}
public struct ReturnInfoWithString {
    var value: String
    var callback: AuthenticationServiceResponse

    init(){
        self.value = ""
        self.callback = AuthenticationServiceResponse()
    }
}

public struct ReturnInfoWithDictionary {
    var dictionary: Dictionary<String, String> = Dictionary<String, String>()
    var callback: AuthenticationServiceResponse

    init(){
        self.dictionary = Dictionary<String, String>()
        self.callback = AuthenticationServiceResponse()
    }
}

public struct ReturnInfoWithJSON {
    var json: JSON?
    var callback: AuthenticationServiceResponse

    init(){
        self.json = JSON(["":""])
        self.callback = AuthenticationServiceResponse()
    }
}

public enum AuthenticationServiceResponseTypes {
    case
    Success,
    NoSSOAuthToken,
    HTTPRequestFail,
    FailedToGetEnterpriseList,
    FailedToGetSiteList,
    InvalidUTC,
    NoEnterpriseIDSelected,
    UnknownFailure,
    NoSiteIDSelected,
    NoProgramIDSelected,
    failedToConnectToServer

    init(){
        self = .UnknownFailure
    }
}

public let AuthenticationServiceResponseMessages: Dictionary<AuthenticationServiceResponseTypes, String> = [
    .Success : "Success",
    .NoSSOAuthToken : "Authorization denied.",
    .HTTPRequestFail : "Failed to get information from server.",
    .FailedToGetEnterpriseList : "Failed to get enterprise list.",
    .FailedToGetSiteList : "Failed to get site list.",
    .InvalidUTC : "UTC Offset invalid.",
    .NoEnterpriseIDSelected : "No enterprise selected.",
    .UnknownFailure : "An unknown failure has occurred.",
    .NoSiteIDSelected: "No site selected.",
    .NoProgramIDSelected: "No program selected.",
    .failedToConnectToServer : "Failled to connect to server."
]
ETO REST API in Swift

Logging in to ETO

This code base has become a bit of a pet project.  It uses Alamofire to create GET and POST requests against Efforts to Outcomes REST API.  This enables native applications to interact with our Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database.  I’ve been coding it to practice the craft.  Also, there are a few operations in our continuum of care which could be improved by creating native applications, as opposed to using webapplications.  For example, street outreach teams are often without their computer, given the bulk.  But rarely is a street outreach specialist without a mobile device.  This would allow the outreach specialist to access all data regardless of physical settings.

Identified benefits from native applications:

  • Self check in at shelters
  • Using TouchPoint responses instead of Points-of-Service for data activities, such as shelter check-in.
  • Street outreach
  • Leveraging existing hardware (most staff have smartphones)
  • User friendly UIs
  • Data aggregation through automated queries
  • Point-in-Time Count mobile-device survey
  • Collecting GPS coordinates of street outreach and point-and-time activities

This will be a documentation journal, given the project will most likely evolve to be bigger than my organic memory could manage.

Login()

Setting up a session which is authorized to request information from an ETO databse has several steps.  The first, being the user has an actual account with the database 

  1. Take username, password, and webservice URL and make POST request.
  2. Async-wait for response
  3. Unwrap response data.
  4. If POST request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  5. When successful, convert the return JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  6. Pull SSOAuthToken from JSON data.
  7. If it was found in JSON data, call GetListOfEntperises() passing SSOAuthToken
  8. Async-wait returned list of Enterprises.
  9. Call completion callback meothd with parameter “Success”
//
//  ETOWebServiceLogin.swift
//  ETO-TouchPoint-Test
//
//  Created by Thomas Ladvien on 10/13/16.
//  Copyright © 2016 Honeysuckle Hardware. All rights reserved.
//

import Foundation
import Alamofire
import SwiftyJSON

public func login(currentSessionInfo: SessionInfo, username: String, password: String, completion: @escaping (_ response: ReturnInfoWithString) -> Void){

        // ETO Authentication Web Service.
        let SSOAuthenticateService = "https://services.etosoftware.com/API/Security.svc/SSOAuthenticate/"

        let parameters: Parameters = [
            "security": [
                "Email": username,
                "Password": password,
            ]
        ];

        var returnInfo = ReturnInfoWithString()

        // TODO: Check for HTTP response code.
        let request = Alamofire.request(SSOAuthenticateService, method: .post, parameters: parameters, encoding: JSONEncoding.default).validate().responseData { response in
            if let data = response.data {

                switch response.result {
                case .success:
                    let json = JSON(data: data)
                    returnInfo.value = json["SSOAuthenticateResult"]["SSOAuthToken"].stringValue
                    if ("00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000" != returnInfo.value) {
                        returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .Success)
                        currentSessionInfo.SSOAuthToken = returnInfo.value
                        completion(returnInfo)
                    } else {
                        returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .NoSSOAuthToken)
                        completion(returnInfo)
                    }
                case .failure:
                    returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .HTTPRequestFail)
                    completion(returnInfo)
                }

            } else {
                returnInfo.callback = self.prepareResponse(targetResponse: .UnknownFailure)
                completion(returnInfo)
            }
        }
        if(DebugMode){
            debugPrint(request)
        }
    }

Ok, let me break down steps in this function.

  1. Take username, password, and webservice URL and make POST request.
  2. Async-wait for response
  3. Unwrap response data.
  4. If POST request returned 200-299, request was success. If failed, handle.
  5. When successful, convert the return JSON data.  If failed, handle.
  6. Pull SSOAuthToken from JSON data.
  7. If it was found in JSON data, call GetListOfEntperises() passing SSOAuthToken
  8. Async-wait returned list of Enterprises.
  9. Call completion callback meothd with parameter “Success”
How to Build a Robotics Digital-Hackerspace

Some HTML

Why the Hell?

LeavingLMR.jpgWow, it’s been awhile since I’ve actually written anything in Drupal based text editor.  Feels like home.

Honestly, I’m not going to go into the “Why” of building this site.  Maybe I’ll do that later.  Let’s just say, there was an impetus to recreate the home we were forced to leave.

How the Blink?

Spinning Up a Server:

The first thing was deciding on a server.  I didn’t have much (um, any) experiencing in spinning up a server.  But after a bit of reading, checking the bank account, and finding what would work for Drupal site, I chose Linode

Definitely happy so far.  Their business model seems to be no frills Linux servers which are fast to spin up–if you know what you are doing.  Of course, I didn’t.  Still, they had a lot of fairly up to date walkthroughs.

Here are the walkthroughs I used (in order) to spin up this server:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Securing your Server
  3. Hosting a Website
  4. Installing Drupal 7

This almost all the information needed to create this site’s based.  A couple of caveats:

sudo apt-get install php5 php-pear sudo apt-get install php5-mysql

Needs to be replaced with:

sudo apt-get install php php-pear sudo apt-get install php-mysql

This will install the latest version of PHP, for me, that was PHP7.

Also, the install directory is different for PHP7.  This is important, since the php.ini file needs to be edited.  In 7 it may be found:

/etc/php/7.0/cli

The last thing to do was relocate the Drupal 7 files to the directory where Apache can serve them up.

cd /var/www/html sudo wget https://ftp.drupal.org/files/projects/drupal-7.50.zip

If all the script-blogs are followed correctly, then when entering the web IP of the site in the browser you should see the following:

Drupal_On_Linode.PNG

Design Goals:

Goals.  It’s good to have them.  Thinking through what I’d like out of a new robot-home here are some of the concepts which seemed critical and important:

  1. An open place for anyone to express ideas, with minimum viable censorship.
  2. Responsive.  Not just mobile friendly, but optimized for quick viewing of information.
  3. Shoutbox.  Gots to have one.
  4. WYSIWYG and rich content editors:
    • Iframes
    • Image boxes
    • Image storage system
    • Code-highlighting including our favorite languages (and Ada for Mr. Bdk6)
  5. The primary features of our old home:
    • Collect
    • Chill-out Zone
    • Forums
    • Shoutbox, oh wait, already stated that.
  6. New features requested by members:
    • Content rating
    • Member points
    • Wiki
    • Anything we could dream of

Theme:

There are three layers to the theme: 

  1. AdaptiveThemes was selected as the main
  2. Corolla over it
  3. FooTheme went over it.

In the /var/www/html/sites/all/themes/corolla/ directory there is a file called corolla.info inside a referenced was added for css/corolla_overrides.css.
Screenshot 2016-10-10 18.59.30.png
Then, in the /var/www/html/sites/all/themes/corolla/css directory the corolla_override.css file was made which includes several hackish css snippets:

    /* The title was originally set to -5px (weird) */
    #site-name a {
      letter-spacing: 0px;
    }

    .wrap-code {
      overflow-x: scroll;
    }

    /* These hide some uncessary shoutbox labels. */
    .shoutbox-interval-msg {
      visibility: hidden;
      display: none;
    }
    #edit-nick{
      visibility: hidden;
      display:none;
    }

Regarding the color scheme.  The palettee can be edited in the Footheme “Color” section.  This requires th Color (Drupal Core) module be enabled.  The palettee was selected by using Pictaculous taking an image of Russian revolutionary art.  This was meant to capture the feeling palette selected by an artist with a better understanding of color-emotion connections.

Fonts
Logo selection

Modules:

Admin Tools:

“Admin Tools is an addon module for the Admin module, which provides a sidebar navigation for selected roles. The Admin Tools module adds functionality and quick access for clearing caches, running cron and updates much like Admin Menu.”

hate cache errors.  Mother-blinking cache!

Administration Menu:

Admin tools sped up development a lot.  It basically simplifies the admin menu so 4th level items are exposed to one click.

Blog (core)

Allows the Drupal site act like a good old blog–for us, this allows multi-authoring content and management.

Block (core)

Allows a block design of the UI.

Chaos Tools

This is a dependency for other modules (a lot of others).

CKEditorScreenshot 2016-09-24 20.49.03.png

The CKEditor is the core of the Drupal blogging package.  It is the editor used to create this post.  However, it put up the most fight when trying to install.  Actually, that’s not fair.  It wasn’t the CKEditor it was the code highlighting which was such a pain.  The code highlighting allows this:

    for(int i = 0; i < marioTouchesRobots; i++){
        aHackerSpiritDies();
    }

I’m going to list out the steps used to setup the CKEditor used for this article, but then discuss some of the pitfalls, which ended up costing a lot of development time.

Steps to Setup CKEditor with CodeSnippets and HighlightingJS:

  1. Download the CKEditor - WYSIWYG HTML editor module.
  2. Enable the CKEditor module.
  3. Go to Configuration–>CKEditor–>Edit CKEditor Global Profile
  4. Set the “Path to CKEditor” to //cdn.ckeditor.com/4.5.4/full-all. This will use the content delivery network to serve up the CKEditor JavaScript.  It also lets you access a lot of plugins without having to manage them.  The other option is to pull a copy on the local server–it’s a lot more hassle managing.
  5. Go to Configuration–>CKEditor–>Profile X–>Edit (note, X = Text Editing profiles users will be able to select when blogging.  These can be managed under content Content Authoring –> Text Formats).
  6. Go to Basic Setup.  Here, add all the Text Formats this particular CKEditor profile should affect.Screenshot 2016-10-02 10.43.11.png
  7. Under Security make sure “Always run security filters for CKEditor” is Enabled (should default).
  8. Under Editor Appearance go straight to the check-box title “Plugin for inserting Code Snippets” and enable it.
  9. Also, enable what other CKEditor Plugins needed.  Note, there are more plugins then this, but these are the ones provided through the Content Delivery Network.
  10. Scroll to the end and hit Save.  Now, go back to Configuration–>CKEditor–>Profile X–>Edit.  Go straight to Editor Appearance.  There should be a new button available
  11. Add the Code Snippet button to the “Current Toolbar”
  12. This should enable the CKEditor and provide the Code Snippet button.
  13. Download the highlight js Drupal module.  This should be installed in the modules directory
  14. Navigate to var/www/html/sites/all/libraries folder and make a directory called ‘highlightjs’, switch to it.
  15. The highlight js module is dependent on the actual highlightjs css libaries though.  Download a package in the /var/www/html/sites/all/libraries/highlightjs folder.
  16. Unzip highlightjs here.
  17. Issue the command ‘sudo mv higlight.pack.js highlightjs’.  This is required or the highlight module can’t find the libraries.
  18. And the command ‘sudo chmod 666 highlightjs’.
  19. Go to the modules dashboard and enable Highlight JS Syntax.  DO NOT enable Highlight JS Filtetr.
  20. Open the modules /var/www/html/sites/all/modules/ckeditor$
  21. Type sudo nano ckeditor.config.js
  22. Add each HighlightJS language you would like to show in the dropdown box in the CKEditor.  The part on the left of the colon is should match the HighlighJS language code.  The part between the ‘ ‘s will be what is displayed in the CKEditor dropdown.  When adding supported languages, here’s a good reference – Supported HighlightJS languages (but it doesn’t include custom languages, like Arduino).  Don’t forget to save when done.
        config.codeSnippet_languages = {
            php: 'PHP',
            python: 'Python',
            arduino: 'Arduino',
            c: 'C'
        };
  1. Overflow.pngThere is an issue with the HighlightJS module where the text escapes the divs.  It took a long time to find the culprit.  Apparently, the HighlightJS modules causes this whenever it renders HTML produced by CKEditor.  
  2. Go to /var/www/html/sites/all/modules/highlightjs
  3. Type sudo nano highlight_js.css
  4. Enter the following style and save:

    .field-items { width: 100%; }

And that should be it.  A couple words of warning.  Make sure you don’t enable the HighlightJS Filter.  This will essentially double encode the HTML entities inside the block.  This causes >, <, and & to show as ">, &lt, &" respectively.  This simple little issue took a lot of development time to solve--given the manual was lacking.

Color Comment Contextual Links Dashboard Database Logging Entity API Field Field SQL Storage Field UI File Filter Five Star Forum Help Highlighter JS Filter Highlighter JS Syntax Highlighter Image IMCE Libraries List Menu Module Filter Node (core) Number Options Overlay Path Poll RDF Search Shoutbox Shoutbox Patch Statistics Statistics Counter SysLog System (core) Taxnomy Text (core) Update Manager User Userpoints Userpoints Service Views Views Content Panes Views UI Voting API