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ALMA Software Engineering

ALMA SW Engineering

System Snapshot





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The SPR System is meant to be used by internal or external users of the ALMA software. Whenever an error in some code or in the documentation is found or a change to improve the behaviour of an existing software seems needed, you can submit a Software Problem Report (SPR) as explained below. To make easier, the software code is grouped in packages, containing related software modules. Each SPR must refer to the proper package.

For latest information on automatic SPR Board call up messages and similar info please see the SE TWiki page AlmaSoftwareBoard

Basic workflow of the system

Problem submitted by a user

Assigned to almasccm (alma software configuration control manager: he/she is the responsible person for collecting all the SPRs and maintening the system. He/she can create/modify packages and users)

Notification to all relevant people

Comments added by any user known to the system

The SPR is discussed in the SCCB (Software Configuration Control Board) meeting and a Responsible Person is appointed for the problem. The SCCB Meetings are called by almasccm and the responsible persons for each package are invited. During the meetings, it is decided whether to accept or not the SPR, the person to assign the SPR to and the deadline for solving the SPR.

Responsible works on the problem

Responsible can close the SPR ( must add a final remark on it ) whenever he solves the problem.

When a SPR is submitted, the almasccm, a list of people defined by the pakage and any names/addresses in the 'cc' field will be notified with all details of the problem. After this point, any change in 'status' will result in all the listed people above and the 'Responsible' being notified of the changes on all problem details.

Upon closing, a 'closed status' value must be set and a remark must be added on the Workflow field. If those fields are not filled, an error is generated and the problem is not closed. Once those fields are completed the problem can be successfully closed.

REMARK: when a problem is submitted to the Problem Reporting Tool, it is assigned to the almasccm. This user is the only one who can progress the 'status' of the report from 'open' to 'assigned' and therefore initiate the continuance of the workflow. After this point, the 'Responsible' user as well as the almasccm can progress the 'status' of a problem.

REMARK: (Urgent SPRs) There may be special circumstances, such as problems found while commissioning, that require immediate attention. Under these circumstances the originator is allowed to prompt the relevant person(s) to provide to fix to without waiting for a decision from the SPR board. It has to be noticed though that:

  • an SPR must be filed, nevertheless, and the originator must outline the urgency of the matter. These SPR's should be explicitly labeled as "URGENT"
  • common sense and use with restraint must be exercised.
  • urgent SPRs shall be subject to special scrutiny.
Disputes between the originator and the respondent of an urgent SPR shall be brought to the immediate attention of ALMA software management.

Fields on Submit page:

Originator This field is automatically filled by the system using the login name
Package This field specify to which Package the SPR is related. If the SPR doesn't fit in any package select . The list of people defined on the Package name will be notified with all details of the problem.
Module Name This Field should be filled with the name of the module to which the Software problem is related. This name is the one used in the CMM Archive
Module Version This Field should be filled with the version of the module to which the Software problem is related. This version number is the one used in the CMM Archive
cc This Field should be filled with all the people not included on the Package list that need to be notified by e-mail about the SPR progress
Synopsis is a brief description to quickly identify the SPR. Remember that will be used later on when selecting SPRs by keyword. Choose meaningful words!
Description the complete statement of the problem (as long as you need) Priority the initial assessment of the urgency of this SPR, as perceived by the originator. (1 highest, 5 lowest). Priority is liable to be changed during SCCB meetings.

Additional Fields on Query Page:

Status The status values of the problem report:
open The SPR has been entered into the database
assigned This is an intermediate status which automatically progresses
progress The SPR has been assigned and work is in progress.
suspended The SPR has been discussed and suspended. To be discussed again.
closed The SPR is not being worked on and no further work is envisaged.
Closed Status This field is associated with the closed state and indicates the circumstances under which the SPR was closed. The values for this field are:
deleted The problem is incorrectly submitted or duplicated.
solved Action has been taken and the problem has been solved.
clarified Problems that are user error or already fixed.
rejected The problems is acknowledged, but no work will be undertaken
Responsible Is the person assigned by the SCCB ( SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION CONTROL BOARD ) to work on the problem. He can modify the status of the SPR after it as been assigned to him by the almasccm. The responsible is asked to provide the evidences that the SPR can be closed. Before closing it, he must add a r`emark explaining how and why the SPR is closed.
Originator The one who submitted the problems via web access
Worklog In this field any user can add a remark on the SPR. (as long as needed) Must be filled any time the status of the SPR is changed.


  1. Remember that the Back and Forward buttons on the Netscape menu can be used to move around on the different System pages. In particular when a submit or query action is not successful you can go back to the starting page (for modifying some fields) using the Back button.

Please report to: < alma-sw-semgr@eso.org > any major problem you encounter using the system.

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