Moodle 2.5 Upgrade from 2.3

On Saturday, I had the unfortunate task of performing our Moodle upgrade from 2.3.1 to the latest version of Moodle which is currently 2.5.x. Just for the record, I always write .x on the end of the revision just so if there is a vulnerability in that version then I’m not telling the world what version it is that I’m running. Anyway, that aside, I did a test install of 2.5.0 a few weeks ago and that went very well actually, one or two bugs aside everything went very well. The install / upgrade was actually very quick and painless and there were only one or two small bugs to deal with which consisted of badges and a couple of other minor niggles that appear to have been corrected in the latest version.

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Using ldap_rename Properly to Move Objects

Just today I needed to move several thousand Active Directory users from one OU to another and so I needed a quick way to script this. Looking over at the PHP pages, the ldap_rename function is very poorly documented and so I thought that I’d take a moment to give better detail of the function.

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BT and FTTC/FTTP Skip Rollout Plans Near Business Parks

Over the past week or so, a few articles have caught my eye with regards to BT’s rollout of FTTP and FTTC broadband (that’s fibre broadband or VDSL to most folk). A couple of articles from around the web have suggested that BT is deliberately holding back on these deployments for those of us who live close to any business parks. Why you might be thinking? Well, BT currently charges these business parks a small fortune for leased lines that can run into thousands of pounds per month. PcPro and Cable.co.uk both have published articles that BT have fully denied.

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Moodle 2.3.x to Moodle 2.5.x

Afternoon everybody, just thought that I’d share my current plans and updates that I’ve got running right now. One of my side projects for this summer is to update Moodle from our 2.3.x installation forward to some flavour of Moodle 2.5.

We’ve only had Moodle 2.3 for little under a year now and it’s most definitely been a mixed bag. There’s certainly been some good improvements, however the code maturity in many areas for me personally has left a lot to be desired. If anyone has read back through my old posts on my blog, you’ll soon see what I’m talking about and also bear in mind that I don’t blog every little problem that I come across either. I’ve got some decent hopes for 2.5 and it looks like a lot of things have been corrected, improved and even redesigned in a few places. There’s some new features in there as well such as badges and a little more granularity with some settings that always used to frustrate me. I’ve had a few minor nightmare issues with 2.3 and there were simply some things in there that were almost impossible to replicate properly due the deep embedded YUI libraries and the almost hated ‘INVALID JSON STRING’ error that would appear at random. I’m hoping things such as this will disappear in the next release.

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Moodle 2 Public Feedback Templates Permission

Due to the way in which roles and permissions are handled in Moodle version 2.0 upwards, tutors by default can no longer create global public templates which has become increasingly frustrating as we’ve gone along with our upgrade.

The easiest way to get around this is obviously to add all of your colleagues to a group that will allow this. If you follow the steps below then you will be able to give all of your staff this functionality.

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Moodle 2.3.x YUI Library Problem IE10

Morning all, after making some changes this morning and upgrading a few of our machines to IE10, I quickly found that my install of Moodle doesn’t like a few aspects of IE10 (or vice versa anyway). Certain features, such as bits of AJAX and drop down menus that are powered by the YUI library refused to work unless you put the site into compatibility mode which is something that I’m never willing to do. Doing this only skates around an underlying issue and rather than do this I thought that I’d get it sorted as soon as possible.

Having a good old Google around, I quickly came across many other people with the same problem and the good people over at the Moodle forums had found a quick and dirty solution which is to modify a small proportion of the YUI code. The full details can be found here.

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Moodle 2.3.x Broken Assignments

>This afternoon I was speaking with a colleague at another educational institution about a recent upgrade of theirs to Moodle 2.3.x. For those who’ve read my blog in the past, you will know that we had our fair share of issues that are slowly dwindling in numbers both because of the Moodle community and because of small fixes that I’ve managed to make along the way.

Assignments is one area that hasn’t been exempt from these problems. In 2.3.1, we had an issue of feedback comments and grades not being updated once a tutor had gone in to add comments to coursework, and then later on we had issues with the number of submissions that a student could make and also with the ability for those students to delete pieces of their work – which is what this solution solves.

The solution at the time was to search the web but to no avail. It’s probably out there now but since there were other people still struggling I thought that I would give my findings and a solution.

The problem here from what I’ve found seems to relate to upgrades from older versions of Moodle that had the submission drafts option which is no longer available and because it is no longer available, those assignments that have it flagged can’t have it switched off unless you run a small piece of SQL against your mdl_assign table. All the piece of SQL below does, is turn anything that was a draft submission into the real thing. Very quick and simple.

UPDATE mdl_assign SET submissiondrafts = 0

There you have it! In addition to the above, I would update your assignment module to the one from the latest 2.3.x branch as there seems to be several small fixes in there for other non-related problems.

Moodle Broken Groups 2.3.1

>This morning I came across a rather strange issue whereby within the groups of a course, Moodle thought that for a small number of students had multiple roles (other than the student role). Now I know that because of the way everything is set up that this isn’t possible and so that there must have been a bug somewhere. Taking to Google as one does, the first result in Google from the Moodle forums brought up the exact same problem that seems to have affected various branches. This particlar error shows up from Moodle 2.2 through to 2.3 and can be found here.

Reading through the forum postings there is a documented bug at in the last post which takes you over to the Moodle issue tracker here. The fix documented within the bug thankfully does work so I would suggest if you are on any branch of 2.2 or 2.3 that you apply this fix.

PHP Lightweight Mobile Device Device Detection

>After experimenting with various methods of mobile device detection, I’ve eventually come up with what I think is a quick and easy solution which can be done in just three lines of code.

$mobile = 0;
$devices = array(‘iPhone’, ‘Android’, ‘Windows Phone’, ‘iPod’, ‘webOS’, ‘Symbian’, ‘BlackBerry’);
foreach($devices as $device) if (strstr($ua, $device) == true) $mobile = 1;

Essentially the code sets the mobile variable to ‘0’ no matter what, and then loops through the array until a match is made. Set it to a session or however you like so that you don’t have to run it on every page. I’ve added what I feel are the most common user agent strings, but you could add whatever you like into that array.

Moodle MyMobile Theme Fix For Buttons

>Afternoon all. Just wanted to post a quick fix for the Moodle MyMobile theme which affects the ability to use buttons on certain mobile devices. Sure you can click the button, but it doesn’t do anything. I’ve tested this on iOS Safari and Windows Phone 7.5. The problem exists on both platforms, and the fix works for both as well.

The fix is a couple of minor changes that lie in the jmobile11.css file within the style folder of the mymobile theme. Go to line 1800 to the .ui-btn-hidden class and change both the width and the height to have the !important; property. Clear your Moodle theme cache and try this from your mobile. The button should now work!

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