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Archive for 2009

The Cool Course Competition has had a flurry of new entries recently and the site now has over twenty courses in Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish! These courses will be the start of our community hub for Moodle 2.0.

We’ve decided to keep the competition open for another month, till Tuesday 19th January 2010, so if you have some free time in the holiday, why not enter your cool Moodle course!

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Moodle hackfest logoIt’s day two of our Moodle hackfest in the Czech Republic and the topic currently under discussion is backup in Moodle 2.0. Moodle’s knight in shining armour Eloy Lafuente is tasked with improving backup reliability and performance as well as implementing requested features such as anonymised backups. It’s a real pleasure to finally meet Eloy in person at the hackfest after communicating online for several years.

Yesterday senior developer Petr Skoda led discussions on a number of Moodle 2.0 improvements, including a roles and enrolments rewrite and site-wide groups.

To avoid confusion with course groups, we need to come up with a good name for site-wide groups. Can anyone come up with anything better than the following: clusters, cohorts, crowds, tribes or groupies?

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With two weeks left until the closing date of the Cool Course Competition, there are currently just eight entries in Catalan, Dutch, English and German.

If you have a cool Moodle course which nicely illustrates how Moodle features can be used, how about entering it in the competition. There are various competition categories and some great prizes on offer from the Moodle Shop!

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A month ago I reported that download figures for October 2009 rose to a record high of 127,052 downloads. Well download figures for November 2009 have easily broken the October record and risen to a new record high of over 160 thousand downloads – 166,108 to be exact!

(Note that these download figures are only for packages downloaded from moodle.org/downloads and do not include site updates via a CVS mirror server.)

For more statistics, please see moodle.org/stats and also download.moodle.org/stats, which lists the number of downloads of Moodle packages, plugins, patches and language packs in the last 60 days.

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Our Moodle demonstration site is now using Moodle 1.9.7 (thanks to Moodle HQ sys admin Jordan for upgrading) and has demo account passwords FunMood1ing! which fulfil the default password policy i.e. at least 8 characters and including at least one number, one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter and one non-alphanumeric character.

The security overview report (in Site Administration > Reports > Security overview) includes a report of any roles, permissions overrides and users who are allowed to backup user data. It is recommended that the capability to backup user data is only allowed for people who really need it, and their accounts should be protected by strong passwords. Note that glossary and database activity entries can easily be moved to a different course using the export and import entries feature without needing to backup user data.

Backup of user data report screenshot

The security overview report also reports that a password salt has been set.

Of course these demo site security improvements aren’t strictly necessary, since the database and files are erased and restored to a clean state every hour, however hopefully they serve to set a good example.

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The Moodle HQ team in Perth is increasing in size and now includes six developers. The latest addition is Andrew Davis, who has been helping out with QA and small bug fixes since he began a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, European HQ members are looking forward to the upcoming Moodle hackfest in the Czech Republic in a week’s time, where no doubt Moodle 2.0 will be the hot topic of conversation. Also on the agenda for discussion is Moodle 3.0!

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Our documentation wiki, Moodle Docs, has a nice feature for users browsing in one of the 27 languages other than English. If you view a page which is not yet translated, a message is displayed encouraging you to translate it and also providing a link to the English version of the page e.g. http://docs.moodle.org/nl/backup/restore. Thanks to Moodle developer and Czech language pack maintainer David Mudrák for figuring out how to do this (MDLSITE-90).

This feature came up in our developer chat when deciding upon the wording of the 1.9.7 upgrade notification message. Rather than having lots of explanatory text in Moodle, a neater solution is simply to include a documentation link.

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