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ForumNG - the future

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Edited by Sam Marshall, Friday, 4 Sep 2009, 16:03

This is my last blog entry before going on holiday (from work and from everything Moodle-related!) for four weeks. So I thought I'd answer some questions about the future.

In the honourable tradition of FAQs, nobody has ever asked me a single one of the questions listed...

When is there going to be a public release of ForumNG for Moodle 1.9.x?

Hopefully the public release (to the 'contributed code' area where you can download optional extensions for your Moodle) will be around November. That depends on me sneaking it in on unscheduled time, unless I can get some scheduled...

The difficulty is not just the hassle of packaging it up and so on - code changes are required, because some JavaScript depend on TinyMCE's API and standard Moodle uses a different HTML editor. Hopefully the same things are at least possible with the Moodle 1.9 standard editor (otherwise the public release will disable HTML editor and use plain textboxes, making it not very useful).

Will ForumNG ever be the standard Moodle forum?

If the community likes it, it might be included in a 2.x release. This will obviously require us to update the module to support 2.x, and also to be able to transfer data from the old forum. (Both these things are planned.)

What new features are going to be in the OU's December release? (=same as the hopeful public release)

The December release plan includes:

  • Accessibility and usability fixes (we asked the relevant university department to do some testing for us, which identified some issues).
  • 'Study advice' forum type; a forum type where students can start discussions and reply in those discussions, but cannot see discussions started by any other user.
  • The return of the save-as-draft feature. (We had this feature in our modifications of the old forum. It didn't work properly. Unfortunately this time around I couldn't get away with the 'Moodle 2 will do this generically' excuse, because as we know, taking away features from users - even pretty annoying and not very useful features - is verböten.)
  • Ability for a user to 'flag' messages they are interested in or intend to respond to. Flagged messages get included as direct links on the front page of the forum, so you can jump straight back to them.

Hopefully there will be some other stuff, but to be honest, I might not even finish this lot as there isn't much development time...

Could you quote some useless statistics?

Okay. ForumNG went live on OU servers on Tuesday, and so far there have been a total of 20 posts. Woohoo! By comparison, we have 546,606 posts so far in old forums.

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