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Monday, July 6, 2009

Midterm plugin

This week I "finished" the repository plugin for integration of web services. I got carried away so I added more features than I initially planned for (like video recording). Before going into more details, you can go and download the plugin from the ticket #MDL-18341.

Instalation: Inside the tgz'ed file you'll find only one folder (called riffly) that you'll have to extract in the repository folder of your Moodle instalation. After that, go to Moodle's Site Administration menu and drill into Plugins/Repositories/Manage repositories. Click on the "Add Riffly" link and then enable the Riffly repository plugin.

Usage: As I said, the plugin has many features (although some of them are not as visible as they could be), so I will not present them all and let you discover them by yourself. Just a few tips:

  • how to insert a riff in your document: you'll have to use TinyMCE's "Insert/edit embeded media" button. Click on it and then click on the Browse button (to the right of the File/URL textbox). In the File Picker, select the riffly source. There you'll see the riff manager option, the record audio option, the record video option and any riffs you recorded previously (or added manually through the manager). Select the riff you want or record a new one, enter its name (or a description) and click the "Select this file" button. The rest is business as usual.
  • how to manage your riffs: follow the previous steps, but select the "Manage collection" instead of an riff. You'll see a list with all the riffs in your repository (including their name/description, ID and preview areas). You can remove items from the repository or you can add new items if you know their IDs (Yes, you can share riffs with your friends by sharing these IDs)

Things that might go wrong: The code was developed against the HEAD of Moodle's CVS and it works ok. However, I spent an entire day tracking down a bug that prevented the file picker to show its content (repository categories and items). It seems a bug found its way into commit 1.19 of lib/form/editor.php (Petr was so kind to help me find it). Either check it was fixed in a following version or use the 1.18 version from HEAD.

Things that didn't go as planned: I broke my Moodle working enviroment twice this week with CVS updates. It's normal for a product in development phase, but that doesn't make it less annoying. 

I planned to create a TinyMCE to ease the proces of recording (and open the file picker directly). I never developed for TinyMCE before. I got maybe 60% of it done, but yesterday I got stuck in some JavaScript issues. Today, I found some ways to make it work, but I'll have to postpone work on it for a while.

Because of the TinyMCE plugin, I didn't have time to write the text filter, which would be probably much more easier and straightforward (I went with the challenging/fun part).

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