[sugar] offline moodle

David Van Assche dvanassche at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 23:50:04 EDT 2008

> Cool. This is somewhat of a re-post of an earlier message to
> server-devel, IIRC. I'm glad you've done more research on the jolongo
> track as I hadn't heard of it before.

The developers seem highly motivated to do something that would work for
olpc too, its basically their Master's thesis, and they seem to have a good
working knowledge of how it all fits together. I hope I can get it working
with jolongo on a regular laptop and see what is required to get it to work
on sub size laptops... Although I agree that in the long term its probably
going to be better to go the other route. In terms of Adobe AIR, I think it
and Flex are open source, at least Flex definitly is, and I think Adobe is
moving very seriously and very quickly in the open source direction. Talking
to Adobe is always an option, or perhaps I'm dreaming a little :-)

> > 1. Open University Moodfle on a stick
> As you say, I have been involved on this track. The work OU is doing
> is great, and it advances Moodle in various fronts that we care about.
> The overall implementation of it is not a good long term bet for us.
> It might be feasible short term but it will surely need a ton of work
> to fly, including a port to sqlite and a threaded or forking webserver
> in pure PHP.

Ok, the sqlite part is pretty much done... at least there are 3 patches
availble on Moodle.org which work for at least one version of moodle... in
terms of a webserver, surely there's something already out there that is
usable already... does it really have to be done from scratch? (I don't know
enough about this, other than that there are a lot of light httpd servers
already, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.)

I also found this, which you may have already seen, but its a very thorough
breakdown of how OU sees the development process of offline moodle with step
by step screenshots, flow diagrams, etc:

and this, their offline moodle Moodle:

and a set of instructions I found after doing it all myself manually :-)

(btw... although there is no linux installer, it took very little time to
replicate the offline moodle environment on an asus eeepc running its
original OS, with almost no visible overhead... (apt-get install moodle
apache2 mysql-server mysql-client php5 php-pear php-mysql was all that was
needed) the XO was a little more complicated (needed an xampp installer) but
has also little overhead, though obviously more than the eeepc, and
hopefully I can try it on a next gen atom based classmate running sugar, to
see how it fares... more data the better right?)

> In other words, if there's anyone interested in doing the heavy
> lifting, I can provide a bit of mentoring on what needs to be tuned on
> the PHP & Moodle side. It will need a wrapper similar to the
> wikislices activity too.

I guess I'm going to regret this, but I'll volunteer, if you've got time to
guide me in areas I need. I've got lots of experience with Moodle including
teaching, and had a php based web development company for 6 years, so I
guess I should be able to do this... though I hate coding...

> > 2. Jolongo (meaning backpack in slang Latin American Spanish)
> also a Spanish native speaker - but I didn't know Jolongo as a slang term
> :-)
> > adobe AIR
> That is possibly not redistributable by us :-(
> Is there a good explanation anywhere of what techniques are being
> used? My long term plans are to work on a disconnected operation based
> on Google-Gears or something similar. XPycom is included with Browse
> IIRC, but it's very hard to get traction ustream with an XO-only
> technology, so GG is much more likely to be a long-term viable plan.

Here is what they say about Jolongo development (note, interestingly they
are using sqlite...):

Our program is entirely programmed in Adobe Air (open source) and we are
using some PHP<http://moodle.org/mod/glossary/showentry.php?courseid=5&concept=PHP>code
(that will also be freely available) to connect our offline
SQL <http://moodle.org/mod/glossary/showentry.php?courseid=5&concept=SQL>ite
our online
project <http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=107> is similar (with
less features, at this stage) to Open University's Moodle Offline Project,
but we are not installing a modified Moodle server to the desktop, just
Adobe Air Runtime (free plugin) and our program (Jolongo). Those, allowed us
to maintain our SQLite database (without the need for any other
installations) and the communications between this offline database and
Moodle's online database.

> If the AIR-based code can be ported to GG, then it could be a viable track.

I've asked for the source code, so we'll se what they say...

> > version will be using sqlite, so that could even things out. Giving it a
> > couple of months will allow us to see which one of these projects is the
> > best adapted to usage by OLE and olpc.
> For OLPC, I suspect AIR is a no-go due to licensing reasons. Gears, on
> the other hand, is definitely possible.

I believe AIR, as I said before is actually open source, but Adobe seems
quite cagey about mentioning this, as opposed to Flex which they openly say
is open source...

Open University has a LOT of content and material concerning offline moodle
and it makes sense to colaborate with them as much as possible.

Kind Regards,
David Van Assche
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