uSignIn User's Guide

Version 1.1
Copyright (c) 1999 - 2004; Microburst Technologies, Inc.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Features
  3. System Requirements
  4. CGI Script Configuration & Installation
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. Using uSignIn
  7. Getting to Know the Message Board
  8. Advanced Administration


uSignInTM is a complete web based in/out board and personnel tracking solution that provides all you need to help organize and keep track of your office personnel. No more wasting time trying to locate people. No more holding up progress because you can't contact someone. Easily track in-out status of employees. With uSignInTM, your whole team will stay connected!

uSignInTM allows members in your organization to utilize the Web in order to determine if someone is in, out, at lunch or on vacation. It also provides a centralized place where members can lookup phone numbers, email addresses and other contact information. An Integrated Message Center feature allows members to leave and read messages without use of any email accounts/servers. Easily communicate with and track employees!

uSignInTM is the perfect web office tool for tracking the availability of all members in your organization. Used as an employee Check-In/Check-Out Board, a Sign In board or a Sign Out board members can easily Sign In or Sign Out. And with uSignIn's user friendly interface, you'll have your entire office running more efficiently in no time!


The Features of uSignInTM electronic In Out Board include:

System Requirements

uSignInTM consists of one Perl CGI script. System requirements are:

Configuration & Installation

  1. Transfer all the image files included with the package to an images directory on your server. Note the location of the image directory. The URL to the DIRECTORY is needed when setting up the script. Make sure you use BINARY or RAW mode to transfer images with an FTP program.
  2. Edit usignin.cgi with a standard TEXT editor and answer questions 1-13 according to your servers configuration.
  3. Transfer usignin.cgi to your server's cgi-bin directory. Make sure the file transfer in done in ASCII or TEXT mode as some Unix servers do not like DOS formatted text files
  4. Check file permissions on usignin.cgi and make sure it can be executed by the web server. Also, uSignIn needs to create two text files so make sure the directory uSignIn is installed in has the correct permissions for a file to be created. On Unix machines, mode 755 (rwxr-xr-x) should work. If there are still problems, change mode to 777 to TEST that permissions are the issue.
  5. Access the URL configured in question 2 of the cgi script by typing the full URL into your web browser. You should see an empty usignin message board. If there are any problems creating the two required csv files, you will see an error message (see the troubleshooting section; permissions problems).

NOTE ** NT/IIS users, you may need to map .cgi to your PERL executable if it is not already done. see your IIS documentation on running Perl scripts.


In order to keep the troubleshooting information as up-to-date as possible, we have moved this Troubleshooting section to the uSignInTM online reference site at:

Using uSignIn

Getting to Know the Message Board

Below is a screen shot of a typical uSignIn message board with six users.

Overview of message board functions

  1. The Push Pin. This is used to leave a message for a user. Clicking on the icon will bring up the 'Leave a message' dialog box:
  2. The Post It Note. This icon will appear next to the users who have messages waiting for them. Clicking on this icon will bring up a password protected list of messages. From this list, you can read and delete messages.
  3. Sorting Tools. Use these links to sort the current list by last or first name. The default is last name. Clicking on a sorting tools twice will invert the list. To sort by reverse last name, click on the last link. Click on the last link again to invert the order back to the original list.
  4. Additional User Info. Use the user's first name link to bring up more detailed information on the user. Click on your own name then follow the EDIT link to edit your user information.
  5. Useful Info. These two columns under Contact display the most used information.... phone number or extension and a link to send an email.
  6. Status Markers. This section shows who's in and who's out. A green 'puck' gives you a visual indication that the user is in and a red 'puck' shows a user who is not currently in. There are five possible columns describing why a user is not in. You can click on your own puck to modify your status (move in or out). This is password protected.
  7. Status Grouping. The status link in the title performs 'Grouping'. By pressing this link, the message board will group all users who are in and all users who are out. When the grouping link is activated, users who are in will be displayed first based on the selected ordering (see #3). Sorting the list when grouping is activated will sort "within" the status group. Click again on the status link to return to a sorted only message board.
  8. Message Board. The Back and Message columns allow a user to leave valuable information to other team members as to when they will be back, where they are, and how to reach them if needed.
  9. Admin Links. Use the Add and Delete links to add and delete users from the system. Use the "List By Department" link to filter the message board to view only users belonging to a specific department.

uSignIn Admin Functions

Adding a User

Click on the Admin link (see image above) for Add new user. The following will appear.

Enter all the information for the new user. If the user will have a personal web site, enter the full URL including the http://. The Home page title will be the text displayed to link to the users home page. Press update and the user is added. Use unique login's for each user.

Editing User Information

To modify an existing user, click on the users first name on the message board. A table will appear with the existing data displayed and a link called Edit Data. Press the Edit Data link and supply the required password along with the desired changes.

Deleting a User

Click on the Admin Link for Delete a user. Select a user from the resulting list. Each valid user will be listed for you to select from. Once a user is selected, you will be prompted for a password. Enter the user's password or the administrative password that was entered during initial setup. The user will be removed from the system.

All Users - Viewing the Message Board

Who's in, who's out?

Each user has a single row where all information pertaining to that user is displayed. A green or red marker is displayed in the column corresponding the current status of the user. Green means the user in currently IN and red means the user is currently out. There a five possible reasons for a user to be listed out. Check the column heading for the marker's position to determine why the user is out.

When will they be back and did they leave a message?

The last two columns address these questions. The BACK column shows the estimated time of return the user entered when they 'moved' their marker from IN to OUT. The MESSAGE column displays any message the user wanted to leave.

Sorting the Personnel List

The last and first links in the NAME control the sorting of the message board. The last link sorts by last name and the first link sorts by first name. Clicking on one of the sorting links twice will invert the order. The displayed order also depends on the 'grouping' flag controlled by the Status link. When grouping is off, the message board will be sorted by the active sorting link. When grouping is on, the message board will FIRST be grouped by IN status and OUT status and then be sorted by the active link.

Viewing by Department

If you only wish to view members of your department, click on the Admin Link List By Department and select the department you wish to view from the resulting list.

User Status and Messages

Editing user status (moving IN and OUT)

To change your current status, click on your marker. The following dialog box will appear:

Enter your password and select your new status from the list. If you are moving from IN to OUT, leave a message and when you expect to be back. If you are moving from OUT to IN, erase your message and time back. Press update to change your status.

Leaving a message for someone

To leave someone a message, click on the Push Pin in the first column. This will bring up the following:

Fill out who the message is from. Also enter any phone, fax or email where the recipient should try to reach you when they return or view their messages.

Viewing your messages

When someone has left you a message, a Post-it Note will appear in your row. You can view your messages in two ways. The first is to simply click on the yellow Post-it Note. The second is automatic when you change your status from OUT to IN. Whenever you successfully change your current status to IN, your existing message list will be displayed. Click on any single message link to view the message or delete it. Clicking on a message link will display a note similar to this:

Click on the back button to save this message and return to your message list. Click on the delete button to remove this message and return to your message list.

Advanced Administration

All information is kept in a text file called usignin.csv. This file contains one record for each user. Included in this file is the current status of the user, their login name and password. This file should only be readable and writable by the user in which cgi programs are run on your server. This is normally the user nobody on Unix web servers.

You may manually edit this file. It is a good idea to also keep a backup in case this file gets lost or corrupted.

When making many changes at once, it may be more efficient to import a copy of the usignin.csv database into a spread sheet. The database is in "PLAIN CSV" format so do not use a comma in any field. Quoted comma's will be interpreted as separated fields. When using ftp to transport the file, make sure the transfer is done in ASCII mode to maintain the proper line ending sequence.

This file should not be manually edited while on a working server because changes that a user makes will not be saved once you save the copy you have open. Instead, make a copy, edit that copy, then replace the original.

There is an administration password that can be used to delete or edit any user. Give this password to the person that will administer this system. They will be able to delete/edit any user from the system without knowing their password. Otherwise, a privileged user can manually edit the database to remove or edit a record. The default password for the administrator is "abcd".

The second file created and used by uSignIn is the message.csv file. This file holds all saved messages and uses the same 'simple csv' format as described above and may be manually edited in the same way.

If you have a large amount of listings in the main table, you might want to create links from a main page to individual departments so that employees can view only listings in a certain department. To do this, you can create an HTML page on your site that has links to the usignin script in the following format:

where DEPT is the department you want to list. Example, from a main html page on your site, you can have two listings:


To provide a link to a table listing of departments:


(This link is also available from the main table.)