MyStuff September 2009 Version Release

Posted on October 7th, 2009 at 8:10 am by Thanh

A new version of MyStuff is now available for download in the Installing MyStuff page.

This is an incremental version with a a major XSLT bug resolved which may have caused installation issues for some users depending on which version of the PHP XSLT library they have installed.  Apologies for those who encountered this bug during their installation, but we did not notice this issue till we upgraded our web servers.

The advice attached to the posting on April 2009 applies which is: the build will automatically reorganise a user’s repository to the new configuration when the user logs in. But to ensure 100% reliability, the system administrator is recommended to run the following script once for existing installations:

…./mod/portfolio/paritionUserFolders.php?keyNameValuePair=k43ashdjsahdjdhdhkahdakjadl389743hh22d2

The above script will restructue an existing MyStuff repository to the new format.

MyStuff April 2009 Version Release

Posted on April 2nd, 2009 at 9:06 am by Thanh

A new version of MyStuff is now available for download in the Installing MyStuff page.

The major change in this build is to remove a physical server limit inherent in earlier versions of MyStuff which restricted a MyStuff installation to having only 31,999 user accounts.  This latest version of MyStuff reorganises the MyStuff repository such that one can now have a minimum of 500 million accounts on any single MyStuff installation.

The new build will automatically reorganise a user’s repository to the new configuration when the user logs in.  But to ensure 100% reliability, the system administrator is recommended to run the following script once for existing installations:

…./mod/portfolio/paritionUserFolders.php?keyNameValuePair=k43ashdjsahdjdhdhkahdakjadl389743hh22d2

The above script will restructue an existing MyStuff repository to the new format.

Finally, remaining changes in this builds are various bug fixes and minor changes, and also more tweaks to improve overal performance.

MyStuff January 2009 Version Release

Posted on January 27th, 2009 at 1:37 pm by Thanh

A new version of MyStuff is now available for download in the Installing MyStuff page.

This release is primarily a bug maintenance release.  It has been the intention of the development team to keep the features of MyStuff frozen to monitor the overall stability of the system and to also give our current MyStuff users time to assess and learn about the current features of MyStuff.

The maintenance focus of this build has been on further performance improvement.   The development changes in this build and switching MyStuff to use the database as its storage preference as opposed to the file-system should offer noticable performance improvements.

The only additional feature in this version is an admin function which allows MyStuff accounts to be exported in a MyStuff proprietary format or in the format of an IMS Content Package.  These exported packages can be used as import into the same or a new instance of MyStuff.  This feature thus offers the ability to backup user accounts or allow user accounts to move from one MyStuff instance to another (i.e. assuming a MyStuff installation exists in two different institutions/locations).  This feature is found under the Moodle admin page within the settings page for MyStuff.

MyStuff September 2008 Version Release

Posted on September 9th, 2008 at 12:22 pm by Thanh

A new version of MyStuff is now available for download in the Installing MyStuff page.

This version is a major revision to MyStuff based on usability feedback and includes many visual interface changes.  The interface changes were made to reduce the perceived complexity of MyStuff and thus reduce the cognitive load and learning curve for the first time user of MyStuff.

Two major feature changes to note in this release. 

Firstly, there is now a new Quick Note form which merges what used to be five separate MyStuff forms.  The Quick Note form is to use to create the most common MyStuff item/content and is used to also upload multimedia item/content.

Second feature to note is the ability to Copy and switch form.  This feature allows the user to view a Mystuff item and easily copy the content from that item to a completely new form type in one action; i.e. reuse the content in an interest form to complete a personal summary form

Finally, some features of MyStuff have either been hidden or made less prominent (visually) in the user interface.  The thinking here is that complex features should only be shown when it is needed and not presented to the user at all times.  Other features have had their process flow simplified such that, for example, certain actions that use to take 3-4 mouse clicks are reduced to 2 mouse click.

MyStuff usability improvements

Posted on July 23rd, 2008 at 12:54 pm by Thanh

As an indication of upcoming MyStuff developement, the version of MyStuff that is currently in development incorporates many visual user interface changes and simplification of core MyStuff functionality as seen by the user.

The user interface and feature changes have been done based on internal usage and user/user group feedback.  The expressed aim of the interface changes can be summarised as:

  • Make MyStuff sit more comfortably (visually) with Moodle out-of-the-box theme;
  • Reduce the learning curve for MyStuff by making less used features less prominent and shown only when required;
  • Reduce the number of mouse clicks and steps to trigger MyStuff functions by simplifying various process flows and merging features;
  • Redesign of the overview page to make it more functionally useful and as the key starting point for MyStuff;
  • Make a clearer distinction between generic MyStuff features from bespoke features offered by general  and study spaces within MyStuff;

This development version will be frozen for testing in August 2008 for 4-week testing and the release version will be made available in mid-September 2008.

MyStuff July 2008 Version Release

Posted on July 23rd, 2008 at 12:35 pm by Thanh

A new version of MyStuff can be found in the Installing MyStuff page.

The focus of this release has been primarily stability and performance fixes.  Core MyStuff features remain unchanged in this version so from a user interface point of view; nothing will be evident.

 Two major features in this release are:

  • Compilation builder has been improved in terms of stability and in terms of the user interface to make it easier to use;
  • About Me space now provides the ability for a user to build a biographay which is a central space to store some body’s profile in MyStuff.  The biography is then used to build a generic Job CV/Resume.  The intention is to encourage all MyStuff study/general spaces to reuse the biography and not ask the user for their life history more than once.

This release was installed on Moodle 1.9.2 July codebase successfully.  The usual warnings for new installations about making sure you have the right PHP extensions, etc. apply; so please follow the installation documentation carefully for new installations.  Existing installations can simply overwrite the mod/portfolio directory with the new version.

For general interest, MyStuff by default uses the moodledata file system for metadata and content storage.  If you find user respositories in MyStuff having 100 or more items, those users will encouter performance issues.  In such circumstances, it is recommended you switch MyStuff to using the database for metadata storage; this can be done as a setting in the MyStuff module admin page.

Here’s a fuller description of major changes:

Compilations

  • Users can now mix up sections and files (in previous releases, when on one level, sections had to precede files).
  • Tables in RTF output made more visually attractive (cells better sized following user comments).
  • Various small tweaks to form outputs in response to user comments.
  • The ‘download’ option on the ‘View & download’ screen is now only displayed when a compilation has finished generating.
  • A compilation can be previewed as HTML from the first screen 

Items

  • Items can be selected and added to a new compilation from the ‘Items’ screen

Pinboard

  • Items can be selected and added to a new compilation from the ‘Pinboard’ screen

MediaPlayer

  • The MediaPlayer should now work in Windows Vista

Sharing

  • Fixed sharing e-mail notification issue which sent e-mail to all contacts every time share permission changed; including removal of share to an individual that was not shared previously
  • Fixed the order of individual and group contacts in order of sharing priority; i.e. individual permissions takes precedence over group permissions

Perfomance

  • Unnecessary JavaScript removed
  • Fixed code that prevented MyStuff page caching from working

MyStuff as an offline personal tool

Posted on May 15th, 2008 at 10:25 am by Thanh

It has always been on the MyStuff roadmap to support life long learning through making the portfolio tool available to the student as a personal tool that they can take away with them and run offline as necessary.

This posting is a pointer to a related project to make Moodle become an offline tool which can be run on a users desktop computer without a network connection.  This project when completed will be the basis for hosting MyStuff in the personal offline context.

 See more details about the project here.

MyStuff update

Posted on May 15th, 2008 at 9:18 am by Thanh

Thank you to those who have tried MyStuff and added questions and comments.

This is a quick post to say, we have been developing MyStuff since the release found on this blog and are now at a stage of putting this new MyStuff build into a testing cycle.  We will release the new version of MyStuff once it is through testing in 4 weeks time.  This new build does not add any new features with the emphasis on bug fixing, core stabilisation and user interface improvments.

In the meantime, we have added a MyStuff documentation page to the site.   The documents are in draft status, but hopefully will shed some light on MyStuff, its architecture and construction for those exploring and investigating MyStuff.

MyStuff Version 2

Posted on April 22nd, 2008 at 12:48 pm by Thanh

We have formally completed development, tested and gone live with MyStuff version 2.

This build represents the most stable release version of MyStuff with the core set of MyStuff features complete in terms of their development status.

The blog page called Installing MyStuff has been updated with instructions for downloading the MyStuff source code and for installing it on your Moodle installation.

The development team are keen for people to try MyStuff and also feedback their experiences to help improve MyStuff.

Have fun!

New Version of MyStuff in April

Posted on March 17th, 2008 at 4:26 pm by Rachel Hawkins

We have been concentrating on getting MyStuff up and running within the OU and on stabalising MyStuff (including improving performace). We are aiming to release a new version of MyStuff at the end of April once it has been tested. The changes include:
a) a performance patch
b) improved Tags (e.g. deleting tags, tag managment)
c) improved compilation (with HTML and RFT outputs)
d) improved sharing

Rachel