Sakai Source Install (2.7)

Install Guide - Source Install (2.7)

Sakai Source Distribution Installation Guide

There are two ways to acquire Sakai source code. You can choose to download a packaged *.zip or *tar.gz file from Sakai's release page or check out the code directly from our code repository using Subversion's (SVN) source control management system.

1.0 Verify/Install Java 1.6

Oracle's Sun Java SE 6, a.k.a Java 1.6, is the preferred version to use with Sakai 2.7. Certain files, such as *.jsp and *.jws, require compilation so downloading and attempting to use only the run time environment (JRE 6.0) will not suffice.  Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) includes the full version of Java SE 6 so Mac users do not need to install Java.  If you find Sun's version and naming conventions confusing, see Sun Java SE Naming and Versions for an outline of their practices.

Oracle's Sun Java J2SE 5.0 (a.k.a Java 1.5) has completed the EOL process and is no longer supported. If are still running Java 1.5 please note that security vulnerabilities exist in JDK/JRE 5.0 updates 1.5.0_17 and earlier. Sun recommends that you install JDK/JRE 5.0 Update 18+ (the final update is JDK/JRE 5.0 Update 22).

To confirm that Java is both installed on your system and is the correct version for Sakai, run java -version from the command line:

java -version

If Java is installed, basic version and build information will be displayed:

java version "1.6.0_20"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_20-b02-279-10M3065)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 16.3-b01-279, mixed mode)

If Java is not installed or you are running the wrong version you can download the Java SE 6.0 JDK release from Oracle's Sun archive:

Install the JDK, typically in the /opt directory, i.e. /opt/java. Install the JRE in a different directory (usually the default directory, especially if running Windows) or you may experience run-time issues.

1.1 Set Java environment variables

Several environment variables and related properties must be set for Java. For UNIX operating systems one typically modifies a startup file like ~/.bash_login to set and export shell variables while Mac users typically set and export environment variables in .bash_profile. For Windows, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and set JAVA_HOME via the GUI.

Set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to point to the base directory of your Java installation and add Java's /bin directory to the PATH environment variable.

If the variable JRE_HOME is already set or if you want to use a particular JRE if you have more than one JRE installed on your machine then you'll want to set the JRE_HOME variable as well. JRE_HOME is what Apache Tomcat uses when it starts up, but it defaults to use JAVA_HOME if JRE_HOME is not set. In most cases, setting JAVA_HOME should cover both cases sufficiently.

Variable Unix Mac Windows
JAVA_HOME export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/java-current export JAVA_HOME=/Library/Java/Home JAVA_HOME=C:\jdk1.6.0_02
PATH export PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin/ export PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin/ ;C:\jdk1.6.0_02\bin

Windows: append the string to the end of the Path system variable


The default Java virtual machine (JVM) settings are insufficient for an application of Sakai's size. As a result several JVM parameters must be increased for Sakai to run, while others may need to be adjusted for optimal performance. At a minimum add the following property settings to your JAVA_OPTS environment variable.

We recommend that you define these settings in Tomcat's /bin directory in a file named (Unix/Mac) or setenv.bat (Windows). See the Tomcat section below for more details.


export JAVA_OPTS='-server -Xms512m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=128m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:NewSize=192m -XX:MaxNewSize=384m -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Dsun.lang.ClassLoader.allowArraySyntax=true'


set JAVA_OPTS=-server -Xms512m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=128m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:NewSize=192m -XX:MaxNewSize=384m -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Dsun.lang.ClassLoader.allowArraySyntax=true

Additional required settings

Certain JSF tools (chat, portfolios, test & quizzes) do not compile properly in Java 1.6. The workaround requires adding the system property allowArraySyntax in order to avoid deserialization bottlenecks in arrays (see SAK-17578). Second, Tomcat 5.5.27+ enforces strict quote escaping, a change in *.jsp handling that has yet to be addressed in certain tools such as portfolios (see SAK-15736). Finally, specify an HTTP user agent other than "Java/xxxxx" in order to resolve Google and other RSS feeds (see SAK-10159, SAK-13353 and SAK-18044).


Specify a Language and Locale (optional)

You can define the default language/locale when starting Sakai by setting the system properties -Duser.language and -Duser.region. For information on supported languages see the release notes or visit the i18N Work Group space.


Specify an HTTP Proxy (optional)

In environments where local network policy or firewalls require use of an upstream HTTP proxy/cache, Sakai needs to be configured accordingly. Otherwise components or services which use HTTP requests, such as the BasicNewsService for RSS feeds in the News tool, cannot retrieve data from the target URLs. This can be fixed with the following JAVA_OPTS arguments:


2.0 Install Subversion 1.6.5+

The Sakai Community uses Apache Subversion (SVN) as its source control management (SCM) system. We recommend SVN version 1.6.5+. You can obtain binary packages for a variety of operating systems (Mac, Windows and several flavors of Unix). If you plan on checking out Sakai source from our SVN repository you will need to install a Subversion client. For a listing see:

If no binaries are available for your platform, get the source and use the configuration options --with-ssl and --with-libs.

Extract the distribution archive into your installation directory of choice, e.g. /opt/subversion/. Confirm that you have installed the correct version of SVN by issuing svn --version from the command line.

svn --version
svn, version 1.6.9 (r901367)
compiled Jan 25 2010, 22:25:43
. . . .

2.1 Set Subversion environment variables

Set the SUBVERSION_HOME environment variable to point to the base directory of your SVN installation and Subversion's /bin directory to the PATH environment variable.

Variable Unix/Mac Windows
SUBVERSION_HOME export SUBVERSION_HOME=/opt/subversion set SUBVERSION_HOME=C:\subversion
PATH export PATH=$PATH:$SUBVERSION_HOME/bin ;C:\subversion\bin

Windows: append the string to the end of the Path system variable

3.0 Get Sakai

Packaged releases are available at

Sakai source code can also be checked out anonymously from our SVN repository. The latest development work is located in /trunk; stable releases can be found in /tags while maintenance and other work is performed in /branches.

Starting with Sakai 2.6, Sakai common services (e.g., authz, content, event, site, tool, user, etc.) have been repackaged and refactored as the Sakai Kernel (K1). In most cases, you will never have to check out the kernel manually as Sakai 2.7 kernel dependencies are managed by Maven.

2.7 release archive

You can download an archive of Sakai source code:

2.7 release tag

To checkout a stable release tag issue the following svn command from the terminal:

svn export sakai-2.7.0

2-7-x maintenance branch

The latest bug fixes for a particular release can be found in our maintenance branches. Please note that certain maintenance branch fixes require database schema changes; see the Sakai Confluence Wiki 2-7-x branch summary for more information. You can check out the maintenance branch by issuing the following command from the terminal:

svn co sakai_2-7-x

4.0 Install Maven 2.0.10+

The Apache Maven project management framework provides Sakai with "a set of build standards, artifact repository model and a software engine that manages and describes projects" (Better Builds, p. 22). As part of the installation process you will use Maven as a build tool in order to compile, test and deploy Sakai to a servlet container such as Apache Tomcat.

Maven 2.2.1 is the recommended version for performing Sakai 2.7 builds; Maven 2.0.10 is the minimum version.
Maven 3.0 is currently NOT compatible with Sakai 2.7.

You can download Maven at

Extract the distribution archive into your installation directory of choice, e.g. /opt/maven/apache-maven-2.0.10. Confirm that you have installed the correct version of Maven and can start it by issuing mvn --version from the terminal. At this point your environment is prepared to build and deploy the Sakai source code.

mvn --version
Apache Maven 2.2.1 (r801777; 2009-08-06 15:16:01-0400)
Java version: 1.6.0_20
Java home: /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Home
Default locale: en_US, platform encoding: MacRoman
OS name: "mac os x" version: "10.6.3" arch: "x86_64" Family: "mac"

4.1 Set Maven environment variables

A number of environment variables must be set for optimal Maven performance. For UNIX operating systems one typically modifies a startup file like ~/.bash_login to set and export shell variables while Mac users typically set and export environment variables in .bash_profile. For Windows, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and set your Maven environment variables via the GUI.

Set the MAVEN_HOME environment variable to point to the base directory of your Maven installation and add the Maven /bin directory to your PATH variable:

Variable Unix/Mac Windows
MAVEN_HOME export MAVEN_HOME=/opt/maven/apache-maven-2.0.10 set MAVEN_HOME=C:\apache-maven-2.0.10
PATH export PATH=$PATH:$MAVEN_HOME/bin ;C:\apache-maven-2.0.10\bin

Windows: append string to the end of the Path system variable


Maven does not read JAVA_OPTS on start up, resulting occasionally in "Out of Memory" errors when building Sakai. To assure sufficient memory allocation during builds, you should add a MAVEN_OPTS environment variable as defined below. For UNIX operating systems one typically modifies a startup file like ~/.bash_login to set and export shell variables while Mac users typically set and export environment variables in .bash_profile. For Windows, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and set JAVA_HOME via the GUI.

export MAVEN_OPTS='-Xms512m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=64m -XX:MaxPermSize=128m'

4.2 Create a local Maven repository

Create a local Maven repository (.m2) in your home directory:


cd $HOME
mkdir -p .m2/repository


mkdir %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%\.M2\repository

In Windows the default location of your home directory is C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername. Windows also establishes it through environment variables by combining your "home drive" location and your "home path" location, i.e. %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%. (The %-sign is how Windows brackets environment variables).

4.3 Create a Maven settings.xml file

Create a new XML file in your .m2 directory called settings.xml. Add the following lines, specifying the actual location of your Tomcat home directory (in this example /opt/tomcat).

Do not include trailing / or \ slashes in the directory paths.
Sakai does not use the standard appserver.home so you must include a <sakai.appserver.home> element in your settings.xml file. For Windows users, the sakai.appserver.home value must be C:\opt\tomcat.

Unix/Mac Windows
<settings xmlns=""
<settings xmlns=""

Optionally, you can specify the Tomcat home to be an environment variable:


Users who utilize a network proxy need to add a <proxies> section to settings.xml:


If you do not use a username or password for your proxy exclude the <username> and <password> elements. You only need the nonProxyHosts option if you have a local maven repo that does not require the proxy to be accessed. Maven 2.0 does not support Microsoft's NTLN authentification scheme. If you connect to a proxy like ISA you will need to use a tool such as to proxy your traffic.

5.0 Install Tomcat 5.5.30

Sakai installations should always be accompanied by a fresh install of Tomcat. It provides a clean environment that simplifies troubleshooting if problems are encountered during the startup phase.

Sakai 2.7 out-of-the box (OOTB) will not run inside Tomcat 6.0+.

The Apache Tomcat servlet container provides an ideal environment for running Sakai as a web application. Tomcat implements both the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages (JSP) specifications and can be run in standalone mode or in conjunction with a web application server such as the Apache HTTP server or JBoss. Sakai 2.7 works with the Tomcat 5.5 series.

We recommend Tomcat 5.5.33 in order to avoid certain Tomcat security vulnerabilities present in earlier releases.

Note however, that using Tomcat 5.5.27+ requires the addition of a JAVA_OPTS parameter (see below).

Tomcat can be downloaded as a binary install from

Choose the core [I used compact] distribution. Windows users have the option of downloading either a Windows Service Installer .exe or a binary *.zip archive. We recommend the *.zip archive over the installer because configuration and log viewing are easier. You can later convert the .zip install into a service install by running /bin/service.bat (see below for more details).

Unpack the Tomcat archive into your installation directory of choice, e.g. /opt/. Unix/Mac users should create a symbolic link (e.g., ln -s apache-tomcat-5.5.33) while Windows users should simply rename the base Tomcat directory to /tomcat to simplify the path.

Tomcat pathnames

Windows users should ensure that the Tomcat path includes no spaces as this causes errors with JavaServer Faces (JSF) tools in Sakai.

Good: C:\opt\tomcat\, C:\sakaistuff\installs\tomcat\ Bad: C:\program files\tomcat\, C:\opt\apache tomcat 5.5.33\

Tomcat permissions

Unix/Mac users should make sure that they have write permissions to the Tomcat servlet container files and directories before proceeding or startup permission errors may occur.

Tomcat JDK 1.4 Compatibility Package

Do not download and install the JDK 1.4 Compatibility Package. Sakai 2.7 will not run should you install it.

5.1 Set Tomcat environment variables

By convention, the base Tomcat directory (e.g. /usr/local/apache-tomcat-5.5.31) is referred to as $CATALINA_HOME. As a convenience, you should create a $CATALINA_HOME environment variable. For UNIX operating systems one typically modifies a startup file like ~/.bash_login to set and export shell variables while Mac users typically set and export environment variables in .bash_profile. For Windows, go to Start -> Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and set your Tomcat environment variables via the GUI.

Set the CATALINA_HOME environment variable to point to the base directory of your Tomcat installation and add the Tomcat /bin directory to your PATH variable:

Variable Unix/Mac Windows
PATH export PATH=$PATH:$CATALINA_HOME/bin ;C:\tomcat\bin

Windows: append string to the end of the Path system variable.

5.2 Configure Tomcat

If you want to run Tomcat on different ports than the defaults, this would also be a good time to make those changes in the server.xml file. See Tomcat's configuration documentation for more details.

If you plan to run Tomcat as a standalone web server as opposed to running it in conjunction with the Apache HTTP server then you will want to make a further minor change that may spare some confusion later. The ROOT webapp is the one served up when a request is made to Tomcat's root URL. If you want users to be re-directed automatically to the Sakai application, you must insert an index.html file into /webapps/ROOT that prompts this re-direction. The index.html file should look something like the following:

<title>Redirecting to /portal</title>
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0:URL=/portal">
<body bgcolor="#ffffff" onLoad="javascript:window.location='/portal';">
<div style="margin:18px;width:288px;background-color:#cccc99;padding:18px;border:thin solid #666600;text-align:justify">
<p style="margin-top:0px">
You are being redirected to the Sakai portal. If you are not automatically redirected, use the link below to continue:<br/>
<a href="/portal">Take me to the Sakai portal</a>

Neglecting this adjustment will force users to append /portal to the URL entered to access Sakai each time. If you intend to connect Tomcat with Apache HTTP server you can configure redirections from within Apache, an option that lies outside the scope of this document.

5.3 Tomcat memory management

You can better manage Tomcat memory usage by creating a file defining JAVA_OPTS environment variable settings in the tomcat/bin directory.

Mac/Unix: create a file called and add the following line:

export JAVA_OPTS="-server -Xms512m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=128m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:NewSize=192m -XX:MaxNewSize=384m -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Dsun.lang.ClassLoader.allowArraySyntax=true'"

Windows: create a file called setenv.bat and add the following line:

set JAVA_OPTS=-server -Xms512m -Xmx1024m -XX:PermSize=128m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:NewSize=192m -XX:MaxNewSize=384m -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Dsun.lang.ClassLoader.allowArraySyntax=true'

5.4 Set up Tomcat as a Windows service

You can convert the .zip install into a service install by running service.bat from the /bin directory:

C:\tomcat\bin> service.bat install

You can add a service name as a second argument to the above script (the default name is "Tomcat5"). You can uninstall the service by replacing "install" with "remove".

After this you need to set the default startup options:

C:\tomcat\bin> tomcat5 //US//Tomcat5 ++JvmOptions "-Xms512m;-Xmx1024m;-XX:PermSize=128m;-XX:MaxPermSize=256m;-Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false"

If you choose to do this in the GUI follow these steps: Open the configuration window, issue the following command:

C:\tomcat\bin> tomcat5w //ES//Tomcat5

Replace "Tomcat5" with whatever service name you chose for the install. You'll want to set the service to startup automatically ("Startup Type" under the General tab).

Windows users that have installed Tomcat as a service can set most Java options through the Tomcat service manager GUI, but not all of them are as straightforward as inclusion in a single environment variable. To achieve the equivalent of the "-server" option, you'll need to change the Java Virtual Machine path from ..\bin\client\jvm.dll to ..\bin\server\jvm.dll.

Java 1.6 users will you need add the system property -Dsun.lang.ClassLoader.allowArraySyntax=true. This option is not required for Java 1.5. Please see the Java section above or SAK-15874 for more details.

Be sure to put the remaining JAVA_OPTS on separate lines in the Java Options field of the GUI, e.g.:


You can add additional system properties if needed, e.g.,\tomcat\security.

Finally, clear out the Initial Memory Pool and Maximum Memory Pool values, as those might conflict with the options you're putting in the Java Options field. Then click Apply, restart the service, and double-check the service manager to verify that the values have changed.

Java 1.6 users may encounter the unhelpful system log error "The Apache Tomcat service terminated with service-specific error 0 (0x0)". This can be fixed by copying the file msvcr71.dll from the /bin directory into the server or client directory with the jvm.dll file.

To set up remote debugging, please see (Remote Debugging).

6.0 Configure Sakai

The file is a central configuration file that is typically stored in a /sakai subdirectory relative to the Tomcat home directory ($CATALINA_HOME). It is a non-XML text file containing a series of key/value pairs that is read using the load method of Settings in govern everything from setting your institution's name to configuring your database. All settings in are read on startup; any changes you make subsequently will only take effect when you restart web application server.

For a source installation the default file is located in the config module:


A sample file that documents many of the standard properties can also be found in config:


The bin package does not include a file. This is a deliberate exclusion; it eliminates the possibility of overwriting a local file if a bin package is opened over an existing Sakai installation.

If you need to override the default settings you must create your own file either from scratch or from a known working copy adding new key/value settings in order to customize your installation. As examples we recommend that you review the and/or files included in the source installation or in the appropriate maintenance branch. Since any component property can in principle be overridden by a setting, sample files will show only a small fraction of all the possible settings.

The default location for your local file is $CATALINA_HOME/sakai. This folder is not created by Maven during the build and deployment process, so you will have to create it manually or via a script. You can also store Sakai's configuration files outside of your web application server's file hierarchy. For example, in a development environment you may find yourself frequently reinstalling Tomcat and unless you create a build script to automate the Tomcat installation and configuration process avoiding having to recreate $CATALINA_HOME/sakai and each time has its advantages.

To locate your properties file outside of your web application server environment modify the Java startup command or the JAVA_OPTS environment variable and set a system property named sakai.home. Make sure your external location is readable and writable by your web application server.


6.1 Default database support (HSQLDB)

By default all Sakai distributions (demo, binary, source) are configured to use an in-memory version of HSQLDB on start up. HSQLDB is adequate for testing or local development but does not offer the same reliability and scalability as a more robust relational database. Many developers and the vast majority of Sakai installations choose to run either MySQL or Oracle in their local and production environments and the default and sample include configuration settings for both databases. Click the "Configure" tab above for instructions on setting up Sakai to use MySQL or Oracle.

You will not need to create Sakai database objects (tables, indices, etc) when setting up your database. Sakai generates its own database schema automatically during the Tomcat setup process via the autoDDL setting in

7.0 Build, deploy and start up Sakai in Tomcat

Install the Sakai master project

Sakai makes use of Maven's Project Object Model to provide an XML representation of basic project information covering dependency management, build targets, external repositories, issue tracking, mailing lists, reporting plugins, developer bios, etc. A top-level master pom.xml file located in the /master project acts as a parent for other Sakai pom.xml files. If you are building Sakai for the first time you should install the master project first by issuing the clean and install goals from the /master project folder.

cd master
mvn clean install
cd ..

Install and deploy Sakai

Once you have built the master pom, issue the following Maven goals from the top-level Sakai source directory:

-Dmaven.tomcat.home specifies Tomcat's location and can be omitted if Tomcat home is specified in Maven's settings.xml file.

mvn clean install sakai:deploy -Dmaven.tomcat.home=$CATALINA_HOME

Your first Sakai build will take some time as Maven downloads and stocks your local .m2/repository with missing dependencies while performing the build and deploying .war and .jar files to Tomcat's $CATALINA_HOME/webapps, $CATALINA_HOME/components and $CATALINA_HOME/shared/lib folders. If during this process Maven reports that the build failed read the accompanying error message carefully to troubleshoot the issue (see the [Troubleshooting] section).

You can also issue mvn clean install sakai:deploy from any sakai project module top-level folder in order to build and deploy portions of Sakai such as individual tools.

Maven Goal Options

There are a number of other ways to build and deploy Sakai using Maven:

Print debug output

mvn -X clean install sakai:deploy

Build and Deploy in offline mode

If your local repository contains all Sakai project dependencies, you can run Maven "offline" by adding the -o option:

mvn -o clean install sakai:deploy

Skip unit tests

There may be occasions when you want to build and deploy Sakai without executing the set of unit tests that accompany many of the Sakai modules. If so add -Dmaven.test.skip=true to the goals you issue:

mvn clean install -Dmaven.test.skip=true sakai:deploy

Perform a "framework" build

The framework build profile triggers a Sakai build minus it's tool set.

mvn -Pframework clean install sakai:deploy

Perform a "cafe" build

The programmers' cafe build profile is favored by many developers new to Sakai as well as those developing or testing new capabilities.

mvn -Pcafe clean install sakai:deploy

Deploy Sakai to Websphere

If using Websphere instead of Tomcat, use the -Pwas profile. It configures the build process to generate an enterprise archive (EAR) file for Websphere. See Building the Sakai Source for Websphere for more information.

mvn -Pwas clean install sakai:deploy

7.1 Start/Stop Tomcat

Start/stop Tomcat from the terminal by running the appropriate startup/shutdown script located in $CATALINA_HOME/bin:





8.0 Explore Sakai

You should at this point have a working Sakai installation. Now it's time to get started with adding users, creating work sites, and otherwise playing around with the tools. We won't try to present a full user's guide here, but we can offer some pointers to get you oriented and on your way, and link you to more exhaustive sources of information elsewhere.

The Gateway Page

Once Tomcat has started successfully, you should be able to direct your browser to its gateway page at http://localhost:8080/portal (or replace 'localhost' with the name of the server where it's installed). From the gateway page you can create new accounts or browse for public site content. You could start by creating a new account, but that can also be done as an admin, and since the admin functions are needed to allow this account the right permissions, it's just as well to start by logging in as the admin user. Sakai's out-of-the-box admin account is simply named 'admin' (with password also 'admin'), so use those credentials to log in.

My Workspace

Every user on the system - including the admin - has a private site called My Workspace. It's the landing point upon logging in, and it's the first site tab visible at the upper left. Running vertically along the left-hand side of the screen are links to the various different tool pages within a given site, and the admin's My Workspace has a different set of such options here than most (each different type of account can be configured to have a different set of tools in its My Workspace by altering a template - see below).

Other Sites

Each new (accessible) site becomes visible as a tab along the top, to the right of My Workspace. For most users, they initially only have access to one site - their My Workspace. The admin user is a little different, in that it has access to two. The second admin site (which you can enter by clicking on its tab) is entitled Administration Workspace which, strangely enough, looks exactly the same as the admin My Workspace. It is.

Why the redundancy? Because you'll likely want to make these admin tools available to a particular user who doesn't have access to the admin's My Workspace (no one has access to other people's My Workspace on the system). To allow anyone access to the admin tools, you need only add them to the list of users of the Administration Workspace, and then promote them in the site to the "admin" role.

Admin Tools

Creating Users

The first thing you may want to do is to change the admin password to something secure, and to start creating a few sample users on your system. You can do both of those tasks through the Users tool on the left. To change the admin user's password, simply click on the 'admin' username in the list of users, and edit the fields on the subsequent page. To create users, click on the New User action link at the top of the tool page.

Creating Sites

If you're itching to create your first worksite, you may be tempted to dive directly into the Sites tool. That would probably be a mistake. The Sites tool is a powerful way to construct an entire site from the ground up, with fine-grained control over its every page, tool, and configuration detail. But this flexible power comes with a price, making for an intimidating interface and epic-scale workflow. The Sites tool is therefore best used as a way to tweak an existing site after the fact, once the standard pieces have been more expediently assembled.

The best way to start creating sites, therefore, is to use the Worksite Setup tool. Click on the New link at the top of the tool page, and then, for simplicity's sake, choose the Project site type, which will allow you to avoid issues of academic term, etc., that are provoked by a "course" site - issues which are probably unnecessary if you just want to start playing with the tools. Either type of site will serve, however: both types of sites have all the tools available to them.

Step through the remaining site creation pages, making your preferred selections. Be sure to click the Create Site button at the end of the process. After doing so, you should see the site title visible as a new tab along the top of the screen.

Adding Users to Sites

Since you set this site up as an admin, the admin is technically the owner of this site, and its only member at first. If you want to add other sample users to this site in different roles, you can do so through the Site Info tool of the site itself.

Click on the tab of your new site (which should now be visible) to enter it, and then click on the Site Info link along the left hand side. Site Info has a number of site maintainer functions available as action links across the top, and Add Participants is the one that will allow you to connect other users to the site. These users will of course need to have been previously created.

As long as we're here in Site Info, it's worth pointing out that the Edit Tools link at the top will allow you to remove and add tools from the site.

Experimenting with Tools

You may have noticed an extra tool appear in your site - one which you didn't explicitly choose - labeled Help. This tool provides online documentation of the various bundle tools, and other facets of the system. This should be your companion as you learn more about the software's functionality.

This Help tool is also reached in a context-sensitive way by clicking on the question mark icons at the upper right of any particular tool frame. Clicking on those question marks will open up the precise content of the tool you happen to be in at the time.

At some later point, when you become comfortable with the standard tools, you may wish to see other, more experimental tools that are available for Sakai. The Sakai distribution includes provisional tools that are still maturing, but can already serve needs in innovative ways that the standard ones do not. These extra tools require additional steps to enable, so that system users will not stumble across them inadvertently if that's not desired, but you are encouraged to evaluate them for your own deployment.

Where to Learn More

User information has yet to be fully consolidated. Attempts are underway to gather and present this information in a more uniform way but in the interim a tourist's guide of the landmarks may be in order.

About the Project

The site offers the best background and orientation to the project and its goals, but chances are you've already seen it. For more particular information on the progress and roadmaps of certain tools or other initiatives, see the Confluence space named Management/Project Coordination. That coordinating page will also link you out to Confluence spaces for particular tools, and documentation about them.

Community Participation

The Sakai Community provide email forums on a variety of topics. The lists are open, however, they do reject all non-member email, so you need to join a list before you can post to it, though you can still access its archives.

The four main Sakai community lists are:

Announcements ( - items of community-wide interest in Sakai (receive newsletter every two weeks; learn about conferences and deadlines; follow general progress on upcoming releases; partipipate in calls for community input). A low-volume, read-only list, which everyone should join.

Building Sakai ( - designing, developing, testing, and documenting Sakai (learn about the technical details of building tools or integrating services; find guidelines for design and development of tools and services; locate technical specifications; learn about plans for future releases). For designers, programmers, developers, and quality assurance.

Using Sakai ( - teaching and learning, collaboration, and other uses of Sakai (learn about best practices; share experiences; connect with user communities with similar interests, K-12, Higher-Ed, Portfolios). For teachers, staff, students, researchers, instructional designers, instructional technologists and end-user support staff.

Deploying Sakai ( - implementing, installing, configuring, and supporting Sakai (find release documentation; learn about performance tuning; browse suggested hardware and software configurations; share examples of training, tutorial and support materials). For sysadmins, DBAs, and technical support staff.

There are also a vareity of smaller, topic-specific working groups that use email lists, which you may also find of interest as you get more involved with the community.

To join a Sakai mailing list point your browser to:

and join the lists that interest you. You will be asked to fill out a short form (username, password) and you can select whether or not to receive each list post individually (default) or batched in a daily digest. Once you have submitted your request you will be sent a confirmation email with a short set of instructions for confirming your subscription request.

About Technical Matters

Reference materials for various technical issues are best found in Sakai's subversion repository (where these installation documents are also stored) or in the project's Confluence wiki. The docs in subversion can be found in the reference module, e.g. See in particular the docs/architecture folder contained there, which contains a wide-ranging collection of technical white papers.

The Confluence wiki is a more informal source of information, but also valuable and broader in scope. New developers in particular should visit the Programmer's Cafe. You are encouraged to create an account there and participate.

But often the most incisive information comes from direct interaction with your peers. As mentioned above, the Collab Server is the place to go for this. For technical questions the best (and most active) such group is DG: Development, also commonly referred to by its alias, "sakai-dev."