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Comments on feature proposals /
E-mail to Journal


Andrew Nicols's profile picture
Posts: 214

02 July 2011, 5:03 PM

I've just posted a feature proposal on the wiki for a feature which would allow users to e-mail content directly to their Journal.

The details and an initial description and specification is described at https://wiki.mahara.org/index.php/Developer_Area/Specifications_in_Development/Email_to_Journal

This functionality could be extended further for additional functionality such as to allow users to e-mail all types of files to mahara (discussed in the proposal).

I'd appreciate any feedback you may have on this proposal.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3366

02 July 2011, 11:39 PM

Hello Andrew,

That's a great proposal! This has been discussed a bit here in NZ in conjunction of sending that info from a mobile device. A couple of thoughts from my end:

  • Check with Alan who works on MaharaDroid as that already allows users to send images, video and everything else that can be shared on an Android phone to their Mahara portfolio. He has some other plans for the app as well (discussion is in the Mobile Mahara forum).
  • Would the web services stack that Piers is working on be of any interest here?
  • The case of email address is an interesting one. I would have gone with the approach to store one email address in my address book to which I can then email my blog post. I would find the approach of
    <username>-journal[-<journaltitle>][-draft]@mahara.local
    too difficult as I'd have to remember what I called my journal. That email address could also potentially become very long then.
  • Allowing only to send draft emails seems cumbersome to me. Isn't the beauty of Posterous that your posts appear immediately on your blog after you sent them via mail? No more logging on? I see your concern about somebody misusing the email address, but maybe there is another way around that?

Cheers

Kristina

 

<username>-journal[-<journaltitle>][-draft]@mahara.local
Andrew Nicols's profile picture
Posts: 214

03 July 2011, 3:03 AM

Hi Kristina, Thanks for the feedback.

I'll admit that I hadn't rely considered the web services framework that piers has been working on, but I don't think that it really fits the use case here. To use the framework, a client is required which limits availability to only those devices where a client is available.

E-mail, on the other hand, has the benefit that it's already available on all (one would hope) smartphones and doesn't require that additional software onramps be installed. To me, this strikes me as a key point.

MaharaDroid has the same limitation. It is currently only available for Android, and although someone may make an iOS equivalent, what about symbian, or windows phone, or non-smart phones with email support, or nintendo ds, or...new can't possibly write and maintain applications for all ofte devices that people own. Additionally, e-mail allows for messages to be written off-line and sent when a connection is available. I believe that this is a limitation of MaharaDroid, and certainly of any client using the web interface to Mahara.

I'm still uncertain as to the email address option. Any improvements or suggestions would be much appreciated! I didn't get anchance to speak to many people so their views may not be representative.

Again, the security aspect is important (and related to the e-mail address format) and requires further thought and discussion.

Thanks for the feedback!

Andrew

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3366

04 July 2011, 3:06 AM

Hi Andrew,

thank you for your feedback and the explanation of the web services. I better stop throwing around terms like that or API to not mislead you with my half knowledge in these areas. Wink

MaharaDroid does not have the limitation that files can't be prepared offline. That's actually one of the cool new features of version 1.7.3: you can take as many photos, videos, or prepare other files as long as you have space on your memory card and then upload them once you are in a free wifi zone as you can choose whether you want to use your data or wifi. Smile

Cheers

Kristina

Andrew Nicols's profile picture
Posts: 214

04 July 2011, 5:29 AM

Ah - I didn't know that maharadroid supported that now. Drawback of not having an Android. That's a really cool feature.

Thanks!

Andrew

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3366

05 July 2011, 3:55 AM

No worries, Andrew. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the forum post or only in the video demo.

Cheers

Kristina

Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 423

03 July 2011, 10:09 AM

Hi Andrew,

I like this. The more platforms are able to work with this out of the box, the better.

A couple questions:

1) Could upload of multi attachments be supported?
2) Are uploads into groups feasable?
3) Many young learners choose SMS texting as their preferred way of communicating with each other. I suppose SMS is an entirely different ball game?

I think Kristina has a good point on drafts. I like having a draft option but would prefer an immediate publication feature. I suppose a user could use the access control of pages to control this?

Dirk

Andrew Nicols's profile picture
Posts: 214

04 July 2011, 5:41 AM

Hi Dirk,

Thanks for the comments.

I don't see why multiple attachments should be an issue. There may have to be some limit to the number of attachments accepted, but I'm not sure yet. I haven't had a chance to look at the implementation side of things for attachments yet.

I think that the uploads to group would also be pretty cool. I'll add it to the wiki page. Mark has also added the conversion of YouTube links to the relevant embed code so that the video is actually displayed on page too.

I think that SMS is probably beyond scope for this. SMS is vastly different to e-mail, but the web services framework that Catalyst are currently working on should really help with connections between Mahara and SMS gateways anyway.

My concern with publishing journal entries immediately is something that I think we need to seriously consider. E-mail is remarkably insecure and easy to fake and, given that mahara is used extensively for assessment, I think that the authenticity of journal entries does need to be considered. Perhaps someone from the security team, or one of the other developers has an alternative solution which I haven't considered. I think that replying to a confirmation e-mail sent by Mahara should be a relatively pain free option though?

Again, thank you for the feedback!

Andrew

23 January 2013, 10:51 PM

3) Many young learners choose SMS texting as their preferred way of communicating with each other. I suppose SMS is an entirely different ball game? 

Is there a way that when a student gets a comment back that a notification SMS can be sent to their phone? But only if they say that comments on this page be SMS notifed? 

Ruslan Kabalin's profile picture
Posts: 146

23 January 2013, 11:49 PM

Hi Gerard, what you actually talking about is the alternative method of events notifications which different from functionality discussed in this post. No, alternative events notification is not implemened in Mahara, but it is possible to design. The person who wishes to use SMS notifications will also need to arrange any SMS gateway subscription that will be used for delivering messages.

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