Developer meeting November 2008

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Developer meetings > November 2008 meeting


The meeting was at 23:00 UTC on Monday, 24 November 2008. We had 36 participants and we covered everything in around two and a quarter hours.

Moodle 2.0

  • Overview
Martin D said that progress was continuing with Moodle 2.0, plus lots of 1.9 fixes. Moodle 1.9.4 will probably be released soon. Moodle 2.0 development includes roles interface improvements, repository stuff, portfolio API, web services, databases and a privacy project.
Tim demonstrated many improvements to roles administration in Moodle 2.0. The manage roles page includes a setting defining where you can assign the role (e.g. student to course and activity only), a filter, and a show/hide advanced settings button; it's no longer possible to unassign the role of admin; on the assign roles page the options for enrolling users are tidier, (uses JavaScript, groups page uses same widget) and there are various search options (collapsed by default); when assigning roles in a new course there's a link to the course page (usability suggestion implemented); there's a new "Check permissions" tab with explanations; the roles tab in the user profile page includes a link to the user's role assignments. Suggestions and comments for further polishing are welcome, plus usability testing on real users.
Tim asked people to look at the enrolment plugins proposal, in particular the use cases - please check and point out things which are missing. Martin D said he was not sure whether we need to refactor enrolment.
  • Database-related changes
Petr talked about DML, DDL, DTL and the new native database drivers. He mentioned that the GSOC project SQLite by Andrei Bautu will be in Moodle 2.0, though it still needs a nice interface.
Petr described various privacy/security improvements, such as reports of potential problems, and default admin settings, which may be included in 1.9.4 or 2.0.
Jerome talked about the development of web services, how the dfwiki team created a web services API http://cvs.moodle.org/contrib/patches/dfws/webservice/apis/ with support for different protocols. The plan is to implement all of the Moodle API. Suggestions and comments welcome! Martin D mentioned that the API would not only be for implementing web services but also for PHP code, and can be expanded in future.
Martin D demonstrated the latest repository plugins, which Dongsheng has been working on. There are two Flickr plugins, the Youtube repository plugin, which is different to the others because it returns the link to a video rather than downloading it (needs filter to turn link into embedded video), the SMB repository, which is a bit slow due to limitations of samba libraries, and the WebDAV repository plugin, which works well. Donsheng is also working on an Alfresco plugin, and there are more to come, such as MySpace and Amazon cloud. Jerome has developed a repository plugin to connect to remote Moodle sites. Martin said that he liked the Ajax approach taken with the file picker. The file picker is accessible, though it still needs a non-Ajax version.
  • Chat module in 2.0
Martin described how Dongsheng has developed an Ajax chat room. It doesn't do anything new but is a good base to add features to.
Jeff Forssell talked about his ideas for a new feature in Moodle - enabling users to give feedback on course elements such as questions. Please see Feedback link for all elements for an initial spec. Suggestions and comments welcome! Martin D replied that he liked the idea, though it would need a different name to avoid confusion with the Feedback module in 2.0.
Martin D explained that most tags issues were assigned to Mathieu Petit-Clair, who is currently on holiday and then off to Canada. A GSOC project blog improvements, by Joey Morwick, is due to be merged into 2.0, but other tags issues are lower priority for inclusion in 2.0. Tim mentioned that in 1.9 we got a new central tagging library, and the roadmap for 2.0 included using the tagging library in different places, such as courses and questions in the question bank.

Other news

Helen talked about GHOP, a contest funded by Google which gives students aged 13-18 the chance to learn more about and contribute to different aspects of open source software development. Last year, our participation in GHOP was very successful, with approx. 100 tasks being completed by around 50 students. There was a wide variety of tasks including video tutorials explaining 1.9 features, new language pack (Latin), selenium scripts, XMLDB developer documentation, database presets - see GHOP/2008 for the full list. Last year the contest opened on 27 November 2007. We're still waiting for an announcement this year. We'll have a task ideas page in the wiki for everyone to suggest tasks they'd like to see completed.
  • Encouraging new developers
Helen gave a brief update on the initiatives for encouraging new developers which were mentioned in the September developer meeting. We now have a tracker field for identifying easy-to-fix bugs, dev.moodle.org is set up, just waiting for content ;-) and we also have Planet Moodle for aggregating Moodle developer blogs. Please contact Helen or Martin if you'd like your blog feed to be added.
Mike C talked about the concept of events subscriptions and asked for comments. Martin D replied that Mike should take a look at the GSOC 2008 project Messaging improvements, by Luis Filipe Romão Rodrigue, which just needs a little tidying up.
Sam described the forum rewrite being considered by the OU to improve usability and performance. Initially it would be developed as a contrib module for 1.9. Hopefully it would be added to core in a later version, perhaps 2.1.
  • GSOC Mentor Summit
Dan P talked about his visit to Google HQ for the GSOC Mentor Summit together with Anthony and David Horat. People were very eager to talk to Dan in his Moodle T-shirt, and he had good conversations with people from Sakai and the DSpace foundation. Dan described the summit as a great thing to be a part of.
  • Any other business
Martin D mentioned the coding draft that he was writing, and asked for volunteers to maintain the workshop and lesson modules. Helen mentioned that we're looking into an alternative solution for the modules and plugins database to provide additional functionality, such as an improved rating system. Comments and suggestions welcome here: MDLSITE-571.