Oct. 6th, 2008


ISUTC, a leading technical university based in Maputo, Mozambique, has entered into partnership with Potix Corporation to use Potix's ZK open source Ajax Framework in its in-house e-learning system "LIMEAA". The LIMEAA system was first conceived in 2003 to support ISUTC's distinctive teaching and assessment methodology. This methodology calls for continual assessment of students via a variety of mechanisms, both theoretical and practical, throughout each semester. ISUTC considers this an essential part of its goal of providing national, regional and international industries with high-quality graduates in the areas of Civil, Mechanical and Transport Engineering, Information Technology & Telecommunications and Management & Accounting.

LIMEAA, which was developed by an in-house team and went into production in 2006, supports this methodology by providing a web-based platform whereby lecturers can distribute teaching materials, practice materials and assessments online in a variety of formats, with the results of assessments being made available both to students and teaching staff. This increases the reach of materials, while reducing the administrative overhead involved in setting and marking assessments. One of the distinctive features of LIMEAA is that it completely avoids multiple-choice tests, opting for more complex "real-life" problems with dynamically-generated random parameters, so that no practical exercise or test question ever appears to a student in exactly the same way twice.

It was the increasing complexity of the screens necessary to allow lecturers to introduce such exercises which first led ISUTC to seek out an alternative framework to the "traditional" web-based frameworks it previously used. Coding these screens using "pure" HTML, Ajax and JavaScript was hampering both productivity and code reuse. Cameron Smith, Development Manager for the LIMEAA project, says "After considering several 'WEB 2.0' frameworks ISUTC selected ZK, and approached Potix to consider a partnership."

Potix responded positively, and granted ISUTC a non-transferable license for production use of ZK on its in-house servers, while it is distributed to the ISUTC intranet. “It’s indeed an honor for us to sponsor ISUTC (originally) funded by the World Bank and Ministry of Education. I believe that ZK will help the LIMEAA team to create rich user experience with high productivity. Just like thousands of companies and organizations have enjoyed the simplicity and richness of ZK,” Jim Yeh, VP of Community Development at Potix, said.

One of the advantages of ZK is that it can be easily integrated into an existing J2EE webapp, without requiring a wholesale revamp. ISUTC has taken advantage of this to introduce ZK into LIMEAA in a phased fashion, focussing first on problem areas, and only then rolling it out to all application screens. ZK is already simplifying life for the LIMEAA team. Cameron Smith says "now that LIMEAA is stable, we follow a programme of two major releases per year. We piloted ZK on certain heavily-used screens at the end of 2007 and the reaction both from programmers and users was very positive. As manager I was pleased with the productivity improvements for staff at all skill levels. Therefore in our release for first-half 2008 we used ZK for all new functionality - and for second-half 2008 we started converting existing screens to ZK. We aim to completely 'ZKify' our UI by first-half 2009".

ISUTC was formally established in 1999 by Cabinet Decree 33/99 of the Mozambique Government and since then has grown consistently to establish itself as one of the foremost universities in Mozambique for technical disciplines. It is the only university in the country which offers more engineering degrees than arts or social science. In 2008 80% of its student body is studying for an engineering degree. It graduated its fourth crop of engineers in August 2008.

Potix Corporation is a privately held software company who owns, develops and supports ZK. ZK is ranked #1 open source Ajax and mobile framework on, the world’s largest open source host. With over 800,000 downloads, ZK empowers a wide variety of companies and institutions, ranging from small to Fortune Global 500 in multiple industries, including industry leaders such as Barclays, Alcate-Lucent, Société Générale, Swiss Re and State Grid.