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Questions about possible new features


anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 131

30 September 2009, 7:09 AM

Hi all,
I'm with an art and design institution and we're considering Mahara. Multiple file upload is really important to us because our users are handling multiple media files, and a survey has shown that convenient uploading is really important for them.
I'm starting from the basis that we don't want a form with multiple file elements (one browse button for each item). We want a single browse button which opens a dialog allowing multiple file selection.
This doesn't seem possible in vanilla html. I've seen some solutions which handle this elegantly though, e.g.

http://phpfileuploader.com/demo/demo1.php

and

http://demo.swfupload.org/v220/simpledemo/index.php

The first of these is proprietary and second uses flash (though it degrades gracefully in the absence of flash).
Would it be possible to add equivalent functionality to Mahara, while sticking with its open source philosophy? No doubt we could hack one of these solutions in ourselves, but I'm wondering if this is something you would be able to add to the default install.

Next question. Blog posts don't seem to allow the insertion of uploaded image files, only linkage to web-based image files. Is this functionality something that could be easily added?

Thanks,

Mike

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

30 September 2009, 6:49 PM

Hi - you can already upload multiple files in one go with Mahara's files area. Give it a try! While one file is uploading, you're free to then select another file to begin uploading. In fact, this seems quite similar to the proprietary option you linked to Smile.

I guess the issue with the current one in Mahara 1.1 is that you have to fill out title/description, check the copyright box etc.. in Mahara 1.2 we've streamlined this considerably, to the point where you only need to pick the file to upload. Would that be sufficient for you?

Regarding the blog posts - yes, you can also embed uploaded files as images. First, you have to attach the image to the post (using the control below the post text box), then you can click on the Image button in the WYSIWYG editor and choose the image to embed.

This two-step workflow isn't the best, but there are potential plans afoot to make it a more seamless process, where you could just click the button and immediately pick one/upload a new file. 

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 131

01 October 2009, 5:34 AM

Hi Nigel,

Thanks for the response. I don't have access to my Mahara install just now to try that out. It sounds like you are describing a solution where there are still mouse clicks required for each file. I'm really looking to be able to lasso select a whole group of files (or shift-click to select the files) hit upload, and leave it to do its thing.

If you have a folder with tens or hundreds of images this isn't a trivial issue. So it's really a significant usability issue for us. 

This is something that Digication, for example, handles really well in its image gallery module. There are other applications, like Multiply which offer client software allowing sync with files put into a local folder and the web app. I'm really holding out for this level of ease of use.

Anyway I shouldn't jump to conclusions until I've had a chance to try Mahara again! Perhaps I misunderstood your explanation.

Thanks for the info. about the blog post. Glad it's possible, but agreed it needs to be more intuitive to use.

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

04 October 2009, 7:15 PM

Well one thing that we're experimenting with is allowing users to upload a .zip file, and extract it on the server. That would keep your case happy, I think Smile. Not sure when the functionality would make it to Mahara, but maybe soon after 1.2 is released.
anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 131

05 October 2009, 5:06 AM

Uploading a zip would be very useful, but it's still another step for the user. I'm really not trying to be picky, but we really need to lower barriers to entry for our users. It's all about useability, especially if we want them to keep coming back.
I'm trying to think about how we could contribute to the dev. of features we need. If we integrated swfupload for example, would there be a chance of that being built into Mahara further down the line? Don't want to duplicate effort, hence my question about what solution would fit with your development model.

Thanks,

Mike

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

05 October 2009, 6:07 PM

Hi - interesting, I just had a closer look at them and now I see what you mean (helps to enable javascript for the first one!).

Yeah, that functionality would be quite cool. The first step, I think, would be for you to file a feature request on our tracker, so nobody forgets about it (even if circumstances mean you or us don't get around to it right now)Smile 

I think that yes, there would be a pretty good chance of the swfupload being included with Mahara. The integration wouldn't be the simplest process though, I guess we'd want to make it work for the My Files area as well as the pieform element we have for doing file attachments. Richard Mansfield would know probably more about what was involved.

If you have developers (or are one), you're welcome to have a crack at implementing it, though you'll find it useful to liase with us probably, as we can point you in the right direction if you get lost Wink 

ps: the zip extracting has made it to core for the 1.2 release 

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 131

06 October 2009, 12:28 PM

Hi Nigel,

OK, will put in a feature request. I might try to have a look at integration if I have time - otherwise it could be a case of commissioning the work if we were to go with Mahara.

Thanks

Mike

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 131

06 October 2009, 12:32 PM

Just noticed that Wordpress also has a Flash-based uploader which does this too. Maybe it's the same code as swfupload - will look into it.

 

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 1643

06 October 2009, 5:46 PM

I see the feature request - thanks for that Smile
anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 12

06 October 2009, 5:10 PM

I'm also very interested in seeing this feature added - I'm currently attempting to migrate users' files from another system and don't want to have to do it one file at a time! Doing it backend seems difficult as I don't see how the artefact file structure works. Any tips on how to do it in the interim?
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