File Server Integration
Moodle has no direct method of integrating with a file server and accessing user’s home directories which are stored on a file server somewhere on a network. Access to users work from within Moodle is often required so that the role of a file server in the network is not duplicated. In this way users can continue to work using desktop applications on their files and yet be able to download them when they are off-campus.
Table of Contents
Here is a list of the current workarounds available to implement this facility:
- WebDAV. WebDAV is an extension of the HTTP protocol which allows users to edit and manage files on remote servers. There is currently work going on to implement WebDAV and should be available after Moodle 1.9.
- SMB Web client. There is also available the [Windows Share Web Client block which uses the smbwebclient program. The limitation of this block is that the Moodle server cannot be a Windows server.
- WebExplorer. This is a ASP-based script which provides access to the file server from the Moodle server.
Using the WebExplorer script
The WebExplorer script allows users to access their home directories where the directories are stored on a Windows server (or on a Linux server running Samba). The method uses an ASP script which executes on a Windows server.
1. Identify the script server that is going to run the script to access the directories. The script is written in ASP, so the server has to be a Windows server.
2. Login to the file server and check the format of the user’s home directory shares on the file server. They should be in the format \\servername\path\username, e.g. \\filesvr\studenthomes$\username, \\filesvr2\staffhomes$\username, or just \\filesvr\username.
3. Install the required server software on the script server: IIS, Microsoft Windows Script 5.1+, MDAC.
4. Download WebExplorer Lite from this site (http://www.gleamtech.com/products/wexlite.asp). If you want a more sophisticated solution, use the paid-for options which are also available on the same website.
5. Extract the files to the Inetpub/wwwroot folder on the script server.
6. Configure WebExplorer Lite by editing the file config.asp and changing the following:
- - Set wexPassword as blank.
- - Change the line starting Const wexRoot=”/” to the following:
Const wexRoot = \\servername\ & request.servervariables("REMOTE_USER")
- where servername is the string that is used to access the user’s directories from Step 2.
7. Setup authentication on the script server. Use IIS Manager, Websites, Default Website, Right-click Properties, Directory Security, Click Edit button in Authentication and Access Control section. Choose the authenticated access scheme which best matches your installation, e.g. most people choose Basic Authentication or Integrated Authentication.
8. Setup Moodle NTLM authentication on your Moodle server. This is optional.
9. Test the installation by running the default.asp script from your browser, e.g. http://scriptserver/default.asp. You should see the WebExplorer screen with your files displayed.
10. Allow users to access the script by creating an HTML block on your main Moodle front page. Add the text “MyDocuments” (or whatever you prefer to call it) and link to http://scriptserver/default.asp. Save the changes and test.