ALA Annual 2015 schedule, with bonus mod_proxy hackery

My ALA Annual this year is going to focus on five hashtags: #mashcat, #privacy, #nisoprivacy, #kohails, and #evgils.

#mashcat is for Mashcat, which an effort to build links between library systems and library metadata folks. We’ve had some recent success with Twitter chats, and I’ve made up some badge ribbons. If you’d like one, tweet at me (@gmcharlt)!

#privacy and #nisoprivacy are for patron privacy. My particular interest in using our technology to better protect it. I’ll be running the LITA Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group meeting on Saturday, (where I look forward to Alison Macrina’s update on Let’s Encrypt). I’ll also be participating in the face-to-face meeting on Monday and Tuesday for the NISO project to create a consensus framework for patron privacy in digital library and information systems.

#kohails and #evgils are for Koha and Evergreen, both of which I hack on and which MPOW supports – so one of the things I’ll also be doing is wearing my vendor hat while boothing and meeting.

Here’s my conference schedule so far, although I hope to squeeze in a Linked Data program as well:

In the title of the post, I promised mod_proxy hackery. Not typical for an ALA schedule post? Well, the ALA scheduler website allows you to choose you make your schedule public. If you do that, you can embed the schedule in a blog post using an iframe.

Here’s the HTML that the scheduler suggests:

There’s a little problem with that suggestion, though: my blog is HTTPS-only. As a consequence, an HTTP iframe won’t be rendered by the browser.

What if I change the embedded URL to “”? Still doesn’t work, as the SSL certificate returned is for, which doesn’t match *cough*

Rather than do something simple, such as using copy-and-paste, I ended up configuring Apache to set up a reverse proxy. That way, my webserver can request my schedule from ALA’s webserver (as well as associated CSS), then present it to the web browser over HTTPS. Here’s the configuration I ended up with, with a bit of help from Stack Overflow:

    # ALA scheduler needs SSL with a cert that matches badly
    ProxyPass /alaac15/
    ProxyPassReverse /alaac15/
    ProxyHTMLURLMap /alaac15/

       ProxyPassReverse /
       SetOutputFilter  proxy-html
       ProxyHTMLURLMap /alaac15/
       ProxyHTMLURLMap / /alaac15/
       ProxyHTMLURLMap  /alaac15/ /alaac15/
       RequestHeader    unset  Accept-Encoding

This is a bit ugly (and I’ll be disabling the reverse proxy after the conference is over)… but it works for the moment, and also demonstrates how one might make a resolutely HTTP-only service on your intranet accessible over HTTPS publicly.

Onward! I look forward to meeting friends old and new in San Francisco!

CC BY-SA 4.0 ALA Annual 2015 schedule, with bonus mod_proxy hackery by Galen Charlton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.