Difference between revisions of "Talk:Repository API"

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(Hierarchy in tables ?)
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  Great idea.  [[User:Martin Dougiamas|Martin Dougiamas]] 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)
 
  Great idea.  [[User:Martin Dougiamas|Martin Dougiamas]] 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)
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== Hierarchy in tables ? ==
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It's possible that I don't undertand a key piece of the concept, but I wonder why there is no reference to any "parent id" in the file or file_instance table ?
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In other words, how the hierarchical structure is supposed to be "imported" from repository to Moodle ?
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If the hierarchy is reserved to the course context, and not to the repository context, it seems difficult to allow students to access
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to a complete directory, for example.
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On the other hand, maybe it's only a question for the "local" repository type, and not to the "generic" repository API ?
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[[User:Allegre Guillaume|Allegre Guillaume]] 16:43, 5 March 2008 (CST)

Revision as of 22:43, 5 March 2008

(Ideas will be deleted from the comments section as they are resolved or merged into the main spec)

Missing concept of trusted files

Files are not created equal, some of them are to be trusted, some can not be trusted at all. Web browsers trust everything received from the server, files from server may access cookie information and thus scripting technologies may allow them to do anything user can do. We do have to trust our teachers because they are supposed to create the learning content, but we definitely can not trust all students.

Imagine if students were allowed to upload arbitrary files to server, like html file loaded with javascript and the server would happily serve them to all Moodle users. Our solution is to use html cleaning filters for submitted texts and force downloads of student uploaded files. To do this we must know if we trust the files or not. Unfortunately the forced downloads of student uploaded files and cleaning of html texts does not solve all problems, because bugs in browsers and especially browser plug-ins may sometimes be used to work around our protections.

The best solution would be to use separate web addresses for trusted and not trusted files (two wwwroots in config.php), not all sites may afford two different addresses but we should be imo prepared for this. Petr Škoda (škoďák) 16:42, 28 February 2008 (CST)

Great idea, yes.  In fact couldn't all the files be served via $CFG->fileroot all the time?  
Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

userid field could be used for this, but separate flag might be better in order to allow teachers to upload untrusted files (teacher uploads assignment submission for the student).

Relative file links

Flash, Java and SCORM require relative links and directory hierarchy in general - we must support it. Some SCORM packages load hundreds of files per page which means the file serving must be very fast with minimum of db access.

Reading the proposal above it seems the API is about serving of isolated files referenced by repository ids. HTML requires to use relative or absolute locators with file names, we can not use repository ids directly in relative links. In case of scorm we have absolute path to base of SCORM package of given activity and SCORM files use relative links inside the package. Solution could be to store relative paths directly in filename field ex:directory1/directory2/filename.ext.

Yes I agree, we definitely need to support (virtual) directories and slasharguments.
We could just match the file argument to a path in the db.  Perhaps add the fileid 
to the argument path as a primary key: fileid/directory1/directory2/filename.ext
Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Virtual directories and files

Sometimes the content of files is generated on the fly (csv exports, etc.), there are many special files spread through codebase doing nearly the same, it should be imho possible to use the same file API for these.

Another virtual example is assignment submissions and webdav. I would like to see an option to browse the assignment submissions as directory structure, the top directory would be a list of names of users, inside html files with online assignment and uploaded files. This would allow us to implement simple zip&go or webdav based offline grading solutions. The problem here is that the content of this virtual submissions directly needs to be created on the fly based on user references, the proposed repository structure can not be used for this.

Very interesting idea! Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Backup/restore relinking

We are supporting relinking inside courses only. Till now it was easy to guess if absolute link will work after restore on another server. There are several types of files:

  • course files - relinked during restore, works on any server if from the same course
  • module files - not relinked, urls are not permanent, link can not be copypasted (assignments, forum attachments, rss files, etc.)
  • user files - not relinked, links work only on original server (blog attachments, personal files, etc.)
I think all this will be simplified in the proposed system because everything is 
represented using the same system: a file with an ACL (backup can quickly 
determine all the files in one course, probably using one SQL query). 
Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Access needed for both file and its instances

We need two types of access control - first who can create instances (link files), second who can access the instance (download the file).

For the first don't we already have those capabilities? (like mod/forum:createattachment,
moodle/course:managefiles) but they probably could use rationalising.   We'll need new 
ones per repository, too, of course.  
Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Cache lifetime

There should be a way to specify cache filetime for each instance of file. For example 0 for uploaded assignments, 1 day for resource file. It might be better to allow modules to decide about this, at present it is hardcoded in file.php.

Great idea.  Martin Dougiamas 07:08, 29 February 2008 (CST)

Hierarchy in tables ?

It's possible that I don't undertand a key piece of the concept, but I wonder why there is no reference to any "parent id" in the file or file_instance table ? In other words, how the hierarchical structure is supposed to be "imported" from repository to Moodle ? If the hierarchy is reserved to the course context, and not to the repository context, it seems difficult to allow students to access to a complete directory, for example.

On the other hand, maybe it's only a question for the "local" repository type, and not to the "generic" repository API ? Allegre Guillaume 16:43, 5 March 2008 (CST)