Some bits and pieces about CATS and the AssurerChallenge

About Assurer Certificate

Currently the Assurer Certificates will be issued with only the assured name identifying the owner.
This has been a conclusion from discussion on the Education mailing list and a little survey on users asking for a certificate.

It has not been formally decided and may be changed later to include more information specifying the owner more precisely, discussion was about eMail address or Date of Birth.

Working with CATS

Questions are edited at the development system (, translators and contributors should get an admin account for the web application there.

The production system ( should be managed by one or two persons (typically education officer and a deputy). Those people need user accounts on the machines to dump and reload the databases and use mysql to set the admin-flag.

Editing with the web application on the production system should be restricted to fixing typos and disabling questions in emergencys.

Syncing the production database

  • First make sure that all topics not ready for the production system are (temporarily) disabled on the development system.
  • Start the script export_database from the tools-directory on the development system. It creates a database dump containing only the tables relevant for questions/answers/tests.
  • Transfer the export file to the production system
  • Still ToDo: Switch CATS to maintenance mode and wait some minutes to give people a chance to complete the tests they just started.
  • If you are a cautious person (surly you are!) make a backup of the production database
  • Execute zcat <ExportFile> | mysql -u cats_cats --password=<The Password> cats_cats to load the data into the database
  • Scheduled backups

    The development database is backed using a cron job up once per day, the 10 most recent backups are stored in the dumps-directory.

    Additionally the backup script copies the current bachup to the web server directory. The production system uses wget to fetch this file once per day so there is an off-site backup (but no history).

    The database of the production system is backed up once per day by a cron job, the backup file is encrypted by GPG to the target keys 0x7AFB8D26 ( and 0xED30077A ( More keys should be added...
    As on the development system, a history of the 10 most recent backup files is stored.