Grouper? Huh, yeah? What is it good for?

… Well, quite a lot actually.

We’ve recently been trying to answer this question and we’ve identified numerous examples of where Grouper is providing value across the University.

From securing shared filestores to displaying personalised timetables within the mobile app, from controlling privileges within web applications to setting authority levels in the door access control system and from determining a user’s wireless network level of service to allowing our STEM students and teachers to download millions of pounds worth of free software through DreamSpark premium, Grouper is used in many interesting, useful and valuable ways.

Grouper uses

We know there are others, too. The flexibility and devolved privileges inherent in Grouper mean that it is quite possible that it’s also being used for all sorts of things we know nothing about. If you use Grouper in any other way or for any other purpose, please let us know. There might be a prize for the best use case.

As I’ve been writing this, it’s just struck me that a series of posts focusing in more detail on some of the use cases might be interesting. There’s something to look forward to.

Grouper UI issues and solutions

Since Grouper was upgraded at the end of last year we’ve received lots of positive feedback about the new, friendlier and easier-to-use UI.

New Grouper UI

However, there have been a few reports from IE users of issues with the new UI, where the quick links are visible but the content is not.

New Grouper UI in IE with compatibility view

It appears that this occurs when IE is running in compatibility view so, if you encounter this, there are two simple options to enable you to use the new UI:

  1. Use a different web browser.
  2. Switch off compatibility view.

Alternatively, you can click on the ‘Admin UI’ link to use the old interface.

Integration Services


In the spirit of openness and with our new principles of operation in mind, I wanted to create a space for us to showcase our services: principally the Login Gateway (built on Shibboleth), Group Management (built on Grouper) and the Institutional Data Feed Service (IDFS).

As well as extolling the benefits, we will try to leave useful tips and guidance for users of the services and share interesting stories and ideas. Readers’ contributions would be welcomed, too.

Grouper upgrade

In December 2015, we upgraded our Grouper installation to the latest stable version. (For the uninitiated, Grouper is the software at the heart of NUIT’s group management service.)

The upgrade had been a long time coming. It had been talked about many times but had never quite managed to get to the top of the priority list. This is mainly due to the rapid expansion in demand for the institutional data feed service, which has taken up a significant proportion of our time and efforts over the last couple of years, but also because the group management service has been very stable and reliable and carried out its function quietly and competently.

The new version of Grouper has a few significant differences to the version we were running: most obvious is the new dashboard-based user interface but there are also a few other nice new features.

Shortly prior to the upgrade, we held a couple of captivating and enlightening demo sessions to highlight these differences to existing Grouper users. If you were unable to attend (or if you did attend and would like to relive the joy of the invigorating presentation), it’s now available on ReCap.