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Technical review of Mahara


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

16 September 2011, 6:58 PM

Hello Melissa,

I don't see that Mahara cannot be both working portfolio and showcase portfolio because you can create as many portfolio as you wish and can decide for each (or each page) who shall have access to them. Some pages may only be seen by the student while others are visible to a teacher / parent / fellow students and yet others bundled for a wider display or to collect the best work for the end of a year.

Cheers

Kristina

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 112

17 September 2011, 9:52 PM

Okay, I give up ...

How exactly does a person have more than one portfolio?  A person can have more than one collection, and more than one blog/journal, but a portfolio?  You lost me on that one.

But it is not having two portfolios that is the issue.  It is the fact that a working portfolio is going to be much larger than a presentation portfolio, and defining the interaction between pages seems to be a missing feature in Mahara.

As to your question about me having an account on my children's computer .. yes I do, but as I stated before ... this works because I only have three students.  My model breaks down with a teacher who has 30 students per class and 5 classes for a total of 150 students to manage.

I created an install of Joomla with a shopping cart, downloads, etc.  Added no categories at the current time.  I think that it is setup that anyone can make an account.

http://proactiveprogramming.com/mahara/joomla/administrator/index.php

When you add an article, you will see the article edit box.  Below this box is a button to select the editor.  That is an add-on I installed.  Only one editor is installed in the default installation.  I installed every editor that ran in the current version of Joomla that was free.  If you select the "image" button the bottom of the screen, that would be similair to Mahara's selecting of images from the files section.  So Joomla had to add a separate button to handle adding a "files" image.

Now to the technial part.  I see the Artefacts folder.

Journal -> /artefacts/blog

Resume -> /artefacts/resume

Plans -> /artefacts/plans

File -> /artefacts/file

I see Collection one directory above.

But where is the code that handles the creating of a portfolio page?

And where is the code for the Text box editor and any other item that can be dragged and dropped when editing a page.  How easy is it to add a drag and drog item to be placed on a page?  How easy is it to exchange out the current editor for another editor? 

I did look at the online documentation and I did look at the directory structure.  It is not clear on how to add extensions to Mahara.  Actually, I will rephrase that.  I can see how to add whole other tab in the artefacts section, but exchanging out the editor, adding other editors, add more drag/drop items?  I can't figure it out.

Melissa

 

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3864

19 September 2011, 3:39 PM

Hello Melissa,

Sorry for confusing you. When I speak of multiple portfolios, I mean one portfolio = one collection. That's how it's been used mostly to my knowledge so far.

Mahara was not built for local individual work, but it was developed as web app on which every user has an account and can thus work in one installation. A feature proposal we recently wrote for exporting / importing / merging portfolios may be somewhat along the lines what you wish to achieve.

Thank you for setting up the Joomla site. I'll check it out once I I got my activation email.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with the more technical questions. That's something for a developer.

Cheers

Kristina

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 112

03 October 2011, 7:58 AM

François Marier, per your request, I added my solution for this issue.  It took a bit to come up with one, but I finally figured out the correct direction (if not the exact details).

http://www.tinymce.com/wiki.php/Configuration:file_browser_callback

This is the page that contains the solution.

Mahara needs to do the following:

1. Make sure that the advanced TinyMCE is being used.

2. Install the Advanced Image plugin by default.

3. Install the Advanced Link plugin by default.

4. Grab the http://www.tinymce.com/wiki.php/Configuration:file_browser_callback for the Image, so that the user's file directory is displayed for an image selection.

5. Grab the http://www.tinymce.com/wiki.php/Configuration:file_browser_callback for links, so the user's page list is displayed for a link selection.

That is pretty much it.

Melissa

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 112
François Marier's profile picture
Posts: 411

04 October 2011, 4:25 AM

Thanks for these details Melissa!

It looks like we might be able to do this without hacking tinymce (which I was worried we might be forced to do).

Cheers,

Francois

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 112

04 October 2011, 9:59 AM

Also, take into account that TinyMCE needs to be updated to the current version.  Mahara is a couple of versions behind.  Most of the changes between Mahara's version and the current version have to do with the Media plugin, which did not exist in the version that Mahara has.

I played around with the "external_list_image_url" settings.  Take into account that it is a url, not just a filename.  When I hard coded the whole URL path, it worked, but when I did it as just a name, I could not figure out where the file was being launched from.  The TinyMCE documentation says that it is relative to the page that is executing it, but I still could not figure out where exactly that was in Mahara.

I was thinking that if the user creates a directory (in the files area) with the same name as the page (or possibly the collection that file is part of) that a list would automaticly be generated.  But to generate the list every time that an editor is called would be consuming of resources.  Maybe there could be an option on the page editing to indicate that the page is associated with a directory of resources?  Or maybe when a person creates a collection, a directory could be part of a collection.  But not all pages would be part of a collection.

As for the links, maybe the list could be generated from the tags.  Collections maybe be another option, but again, if a person is creating a page that is not yet part of a collection?  And what about page holders (for example, a person is working on a page of George Washington and they know that eventually there will be a page each US President) and they need their current page to have links to all of the President pages.

Although, this leads to a technical question about Mahara.  TinyMCE distinguishes between media (sound and video) and images, but in Mahara, all three are placed in the same area.  I know this is because file storage does not care if an item is a sound file, video file, image file, or something else. But HTML does.  Should these distinctions be changed in Mahara?  Or should Mahara just add simple filtering of sound, video, and images?

I know that the solution is somewhere in the files artefact blocktype for a single image, but I am not sure how to access that code outside of  a block plugin.

If you have any pointers on how to get over that hurdle, I could try to do some more coding and testing.

Melissa

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