Developer Area/Developer Meetings/71

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Agenda for the 71st Mahara developer meeting on Thursday, 2 May 2019, 7:00 UTC

We will meet using Meet.Catalyst (a Catalyst staff member will initiate the call).

Our #mahara-dev channel on Freenode IRC will be our backup or in case there are problems with the web conferencing tool and we'll need to chat to resolve it. If you don't have an IRC client, you can join us using your web browser.

  • Chair: Cecilia Vela-Gurovic
  • Minute taker: Kristina Hoeppner


  1. Mahara 19.04 release (Kristina)
  2. Plans for Mahara 19.10 (Kristina)
  3. Developer meetings: Different format? (Kristina)
  4. Next meeting and chair
  5. Any other business


  • Cecilia Vela Gurovic, Catalyst IT, Wellington, New Zealand (chair)
  • Ghada El-Zhogbi, Catalyst IT, Sydney, Australia
  • Gregor Anželj, POVSOD, Slovenia
  • Kevin Dibble, LearningWorks, Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Kristina Hoeppner, Catalyst IT, Wellington, New Zealand (note taker)
  • Lisa Seeto, Catalyst IT, Wellington, New Zealand (new Catalyst team member in the Wellington team who joined in January 2019)
  • Peter Spicer, Catalyst IT Europe, Brighton, UK
  • Rebecca Blundell, Catalyst IT, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Robert Lyon, Catalyst IT, Wellington, New Zealand

Mahara 19.04 release

  • Congratulations everyone. Everyone in the meeting contributed to it. It was quite a big release again.
  • Special congrats to Peter Spicer for his first patch, Lisa for her first patches since January, and Kevin for putting in a series of bug fixes and there are more to come.
  • Details are in the release notes.
  • The user manual has been updated, and there is a short video showcasing the highlights of this release.
  • Notable features:
    • One of the longest standing features that finally made it into Mahara is isolated institutions that Gregor worked on majorily. It makes it possible for institutions to isolate themselves entirely from other institutions on the same platform.
    • The SmartEvidence editor, developed by Rebecca and Cecilia, is also another big feature that made it into 19.04. It allows people to create SmartEvidence frameworks directly from within Mahara without the need to set them up in a JSON file.
    • Liam Sharpe was the main developer to convert Mahara from Bootstrap 3 to Bootstrap 4.
  • New features put us into a good position to look ahead to 19.10 for usability improvements.
  • The demo site has been updated.
  • The download link on was also updated to reflect the latest version.
  • The community discussion site will be upgraded at a later stage.
  • The user manual saw some improvements: Now when you go to the main page and use French, German, Japanese, or Dutch as your browser interface language, you are redirected immediately to that language of the user manual.
  • The same happens on the Language pack site of Mahara for all languages that have language packs. The language pack site is now also branded.
  • Catalyst developer Glenn Walbran made a number of improvements to the management of the user manual and the langpacks on the servers making it easier to update them and add new versions.
  • Question: Is it possible to update the language packs of previous versions of Mahara if they hadn't been completed before? The language packs can be updated at any point in time. We generate the language packs for the supported versions of Mahara automatically into the language pack.
  • If a string stays the same, it should be propagated to the other language packs as well. Gregor is going to test that and report back.

Plans for Mahara 19.10

  • After the release is before the release... Once a release is done, preparations start for the next one, and often already before then if features are added to the code review system after feature freeze.
  • A number of things are already in code review, in particular of Kevin's.
  • Outstanding item: Moderation mode, part of isolated institutions. Gregor to progress that. QA from Synergy wanted to test the status quo to see what else is needed to get it in.
  • High level plans from the Catalyst Wellington team:
    • Removing database triggers
    • Moving to Gridstack to improve how the layout of Mahara pages is done to remove the current restrictive layout options.
    • PDF export for entire portfolios, including collections, and the associated files rather than a flat PDF.
    • Moving all bugs and wishlist items from Launchpad to our Gitlab to make it easier for people to report bugs; ideally tying in the authentication with to easily move between the two.
    • A few more may make it into Mahara 19.10. We are waiting on project approval for these.
    • One of the ones yet to be approved is the "magic block" project on which you can give feedback. [Note by Kristina after the meeting: DCU approved this work, and thus the featurewill make it into 19.10.]
  • Kevin:
    • Came across an issue of how feedback is pulled back in from SmartEvidence -> Essentially, the feedback is pulled back in before the annotation block is built -> needs some guidance on addressing this to rebuild. Issue is -> Robert to take a look.
    • The fallback of doesn't quite resolve it.
  • Gregor: My Learning plugin is still in the works; testing against 19.04 first before release.
  • Peter: Was at the UK MoodleMoot who want better Moodle-Mahara integration and he'd be happy to make a plugin but may need to make some core adjustments to make it happen.
    • Sending notifications that originate in Mahara to Moodle -> 2-3 small code changes -> Peter is going to put this into review fairly soon
    • Send reflections from Mahara to Moodle - seems to be important to a number of organisations in the UK / IE.
    • Scope is still vague -> It would be good to start the conversation on to make it possible for others to see those ideas.
  • Where is the LTI assignment submission plugin at for Moodle? Catalyst has not yet put it into the Moodle plugin database because the customizations we made for a client need to be removed. It would be the substitute for the MNet assignment submission plugin so it can be used with LTI and take advantage of the new LTI features such as archiving.

Dev meeting format

  • Except for the this meeting and the last one, it was pretty much only Catalyst staff who attended the meetings.
  • Idea: Should we revisit the format and the time? Are these meetings still needed?
  • How can we attract more people to these meetings? Why are you attending or not?
  • Question for the note takers: Is the new format (audio) more tedious? It's not too onerous; it's definitely more work, but not a huge deal
  • Meetings in the current format are a shorter because people don't need to type and are often more engaged and don't do other things on the side.
  • At the beginning of the meetings, we used an alternating schedule: One month early in NZ and the next time late in NZ, but in the past few years we drifted to evenings in NZ and mornings for Europe as that seemed to be working a bit better for everyone attending. But is that still the case?
  • Opinions:
    • Having regularly scheduled meeting is a good thing because then you make time.
    • Meetings are good because they produce ToDos for those esp. not at Catalyst so they know what they can work on and then catch up on during the next time.
    • Also a reminder that we are not just names on the screen.
  • Does the time still work? Currently it works for everyone in their respective time zones.
  • Kristina to write forum post to ask those not attending. Done on 12 May 2019.

Next meeting

Any other business

  • Gregor: Issue doing bulk export of users. Gregor to create bug report around
  • Peter: Triggers are a major issue.
    • Interim mitigation: Space out the cron jobs.
    • Cecilia to outline the mitigation and share with the community. Done on 3 May 2019


  • Gregor
    • to test if language strings that exist in both 19.04 and 18.10, for example, are both translated if he only changes it in 19.04.
    • to contact Synergy about the test timeline of the access moderation.
    • to create bug report around the issue he encountered exporting users from one instance and importing them into another
  • Robert to look at and see what is needed to correct the issue as it may be a fundamental one.
  • Peter to submit the changes for core changes to support sending of Mahara notifications to Moodle.
  • Kristina to create forum post on the dev meeting format to see what those that didn't attend think. Done on 12 May 2019.
  • Cecilia to make forum post outlining an interim mitigation for the trigger issue. Done on 3 May 2019