1st Annual EUBIROD meeting

Dasman Center for Research and Treatment of Diabetes, Kuwait City

Kuwait City, Kuwait, 2nd-4th May 2009

The BIRO Web Portal

K. Samuelsen, NOKLUS, Norway

First BIRO Academy Residential Course, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 2nd May 2009


A single point of access to the main products developed by the BIRO Consortium allows to connect developers to data contributors and users of the system. Providing quick links to the most essential aspects of quality of care and health status in diabetes can make a change by highlighting levers of improved policy through a user friendly interface. A specific, well designed mechanism may allow to directly browse outputs of selected indicators produced by the statistical engine, directly embedded in a highly customizable presentation style.

In this presentation, Kristian Samuelsen, a software programmer for NOKLUS, introduces the main technical aspects involved in the construction of the web portal that will allow users of the shared information system to navigate through the materials, methods and results obtained by the BIRO system.

The portal was developed using established open source standards e.g. the Apache webserver, Postgresql database, PHP, XML and Eclipse PHP. Drupal software has been extensively used as an open source content management framework, allowing to control content-management, security, database-connectivity and menu-system, through which web administrators can maintain and update the portal with minimal requirements for source coding. Collaborative work among members of the BIRO Consortium allowed to define a common design for the web portal, and produce its content according to own skills and expected contribution.

Kristian shows how the functionality provided by the web portal allowed solving two different complexities: (i) providing facilities and utilities for handling the texts and documents displayed, the layouts of pages, navigation menus and links; (ii) organizing indicators and other reports in a way that could be regularly updated through a particula$r programming mechanism.

Using Drupal, indicators are refreshed automatically, consistently with the reports template, without requiring the storage of separate pages on the portal web site. Each indicator is included into a block of an XML structure defining how the items displayed, (charts, tables, texts etc.), and their layout are specified, allowing direct use by the web application to configure the display. In addition, for each indicator a small HTML block has also been written, defining the form of the output that is directly deployed by the statistical engine providing the corresponding estimates for the requested report.

Kristian concludes by remarking that the structure, mechanisms and ‘open source’ nature makes the portal an easily adaptable starting point, through which the Consortium can grow a more complete interface for the continuation of the program.