Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.7. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Community hubs.
|Note: In Moodle 3.4 onwards, registration with custom community hubs has been removed from Moodle core. Custom hubs can still be created using the local_hub plugin and Moodle 3.4 sites wanting to register with a custom community hub need to install additional plugins.|
- 1 Running a custom community hub
- 2 Registering with a custom community hub
- 3 Community hubs FAQ
- 3.1 What is a hub server?
- 3.2 Can I use a hub server as a normal Moodle site?
- 3.3 Is the hub server plugin code maintained by Moodle HQ?
- 3.4 Should I update the Moodle code hosting a hub server plugin when I update this plugin?
- 3.5 Should the registered sites be updated when I update my hub server plugin?
- 3.6 Where can I download hub server plugin?
- 3.7 Can anybody register with my hub?
- 3.8 Can I share a course with a specific theme?
- 3.9 Can I share a course using a contributed module/block?
- 3.10 Can I share a course using a contributed local plugin?
- 3.11 Can I share Moodle 1.9 courses?
- 3.12 I get an error when attempting to publish a course
Running a custom community hub
Running a hub server is not something you should undertake lightly.
As the hub administrator you are responsible for the content in the hub, and you need to put in place processes to:
- manage registered sites and their status
- maintain the quality of the listings through editing
Below is a list of Minimal requirements for running a custom community hub.
- MySQL - minimum version 5.0.25
- PHP 5.3.2
- ensure that the site you will be registering does not use any upper case letters (even though those are perfectly valid). EG: moodle.org/2012-Spring will not work!
- ensure that the following php.ini variables are set to "On"
- mod_security in Apache version 1 and mod_security2 in Apache version 2 will return a 403 forbidden error when a URL that is not the local domain is passed as a get variable. mod_security on either the hub or client servers will block the completion of the client/hub registration process, even to Moodle.net, as within the registration process URL's are passed as get variables a number of times. An exception can be added to mod_security in Apache version 1 via a local .htacess file. However, this ability was removed in mod_security2. In mod_security2 the exception must be added to mod_security.conf of /conf.d. Related forum discussion: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=188933
How the hub software works
The hub software is implemented as a separate "local" plugin designed to be added to a standard install of Moodle 2.x. In this way the hub gets to use on all the features in the Moodle core API and benefits from maintenance of the core code. This plugin is no longer supported by Moodle HQ and is not compatible with Moodle 3.4 or later.
Once installed the whole site gets a new frontpage with a simple search box.
Please don't add the hub capabilities to an existing Moodle site with real courses. Although it may work, there are some opportunities for GUI confusion and some unknowns when it comes to security, so please just avoid it. Moodle is free, so it's trivial to install another clean copy to build your hub with.
How to set up a custom community hub server
- Install Moodle 3.3 or earlier somewhere on a web server with a nice URL.
- Download the latest hub plugin from https://github.com/moodlehq/moodle-local_hub (this plugin is no longer supported, you may need to modify it locally yourself)
- Save the zip into the /local directory of Moodle and unzip, producing /local/hub
- Visit the "Notifications" page in Moodle (/admin) to complete the upgrade and install the hub software.
- Uncheck password policy (search 'passwordpolicy' in admin search)
- Allow extended characters in usernames (search 'extendedusernamechars' in admin search)
- Enable web services for the hub (Administration > Site Administration > Advanced features)
- Enable the XML-RPC protocol (Administration > Site Administration > Plugins > Web services > Manage protocols)
- Set up the SMTP (Administration > Site Administration > Plugins > Message outputs > Email)
- Set up the recaptcha (Administration > Site Administration > Plugins > Authentication > Manage authentication)
- Set up your hub (Administration > Site Administration > Hub > Settings) Supply a description, enable the hub, supply a hub password.
- You will also need to set up mailing list using software that can be downloaded from https://sendy.co/
Congratulations! You now have a working hub with no content!
Only sites that are registered with the hub are allowed to publish content there.
Sites register on the hub via Site administration > Server > Hubs.
In Site administration > Hub > Manage sites, you can:
- Prioritise a site, so that it is listed higher than unprioritised sites on the hub. By default, sites are listed in alphabetical order. A prioritised site is always trusted.
- Trust a site: when a site is trusted, any published course is immediately available
- Delete a site: delete a site from the database. A message will be sent to the site administrator.
- Settings: you can change some information as the name, the description, the language...
- Make a site visible: only sites declared as visible appear on the the site list (currently the site list hasn't been implemented)
In Site administration > Hub > Manage courses, you can:
- Delete a course: delete a course from the database.
- Settings: you can change some information as the name, the description, the language...
- Make a course visible: decide if the course is displayed on search result
Important things about roles, users and web services
A hub server uses Web services a lot. For this reason it is important to understand the web services administration, and what happens if you change some roles/users/services.
The hub server creates on the fly some roles that you should never delete/modify:
- one role for the hub directory
- one role for registered sites
- one role for public sites
The hub server creates on the fly some users that you should never delete/modify:
- one user for the hub directory
- one user for public access
- as many users as registered sites
The hub creates during installation some web services that you should never delete/modify:
- one service for Hub directory
- one service for Registered sites
- one service for Public sites
It also creates tokens on the fly. These tokens are not displayed on the token management list, so you cannot accidentally delete them.
Registering with a custom community hub
In Moodle 3.4 onwards, registration with custom community hubs has been removed from Moodle core. Moodle 3.4 sites wanting to register with a custom community hub need to install the following plugins:
- tool_customhub for registration and course publishing
- block_customhub for searching courses published on custom hubs
Community hubs FAQ
What is a hub server?
A hub server is a Moodle plugin. It transforms a freshly installed Moodle site into a hub server. A hub server is used to store course backups that have been shared by registered Moodle sites.
Can I use a hub server as a normal Moodle site?
For security reasons it is better not to do so.
Is the hub server plugin code maintained by Moodle HQ?
Not any longer. It is also known that the current code is not compatible with Moodle 3.4 or later.
Should I update the Moodle code hosting a hub server plugin when I update this plugin?
Yes, but no do update to Moodle 3.4 or later.
Should the registered sites be updated when I update my hub server plugin?
No, they don't have to be updated as the plugin is backwards compatible. However sometimes new functionalities require changes in both Moodle and plugin code. In these cases, the new functionalities will not be operational until the plugin and the registered sites are updated.
Where can I download hub server plugin?
The hub server plugin is available for download from the modules and plugins database http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=local_hub
Can anybody register with my hub?
For sites running Moodle 3.3 or earlier the registration and course publishing is included in standard Moodle distribution. For sites running Moodle 3.4 or later, as mentioned above, additional plugins are required.
Yes you can. However it is better to indicate in the publication creator notes that the theme will only be activated if:
- The theme is installed
- Course themes are enabled for the site
Yes. If this module/block is Moodle 2.0 compatible (with support for backup and restore in 2.0), the module and its data will be added to the shared course backup.
The local plugin would need to be already installed on the destination Moodle site. Then this local plugin would need to be set up. Use publication creator notes to explain it. Note that sharing does not save information related to a local plugin (i.e. the local plugin database is not backed up).
It is not possible to share courses directly from a Moodle 1.9 site. However it is possible as follows:
- Backup your course
- Restore your course into a Moodle 2.2 site or later.
- Share your course
I get an error when attempting to publish a course
The most likely cause of the error "An error occurred during the course publication (Access control exception | DEBUG INFO: Invalid token - token not found). Please try again later." is that the token is shared by multiple sites.
The solution is to unregister your Moodle site in Administration > Site administration > Server > Hubs then re-register it.