Developer Area/Developer Meetings/77

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Agenda for the 77th Mahara developer meeting on Wednesday, 29 January 2020, 7:30 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
  • Minute taker: Doris Tam


  1. Items from the last meeting
    • Catalyst looking at possibilities of posting audio recordings of meetings online
    • Peter using Docker with Selenium to run Behat tests
    • Peter testing of trigger patches
    • Guillaume: Share plugin documentation with the Catalyst team for review. Best to send it to [email protected].
    • Kristina: Ask Cecilia what happens during export when you haven't converted the page yet
  2. Mahara 20.04 progress
  3. Next meeting and chair
  4. Any other business


  1. Attendees
    • Cecilia Vela Gurovic from Catalyst IT in Wellington (meeting chair)
    • Doris Tam from Catalyst IT in Wellington (minute taker)
    • Ghada El-Zoghbi from Catalyst IT Australia in Sydney
    • Gregor Anzelj, Computer Science teacher, Mahara community member working on isolated institutions and portfolio moderation, Slovenia, Europe
    • Guillaume Nerzic, independent (HSBC) contribute plugins to Catalyst
    • Kristina Hoeppner from Catalyst IT in Wellington
    • Rebecca Blundell from Catalyst IT in Wellington
    • Robert Lyon from Catalyst IT in Wellington
  1. Catalyst looking at possibilities of posting audio recordings of meetings online
           Pushed to next meeting (awaiting Bob's feedback)
  2. Testing of trigger patches
           Pushed to next meeting (awaiting Peter)
  3. Share plugin documentation with the Catalyst team for review (Guillaume)

      Background: Guillaume developed a plugin as part of a masters project completed for the University of Birkbeck. London. As part of the project, he generated a lot of design documentation to do plugin development and how it fits into the framework of Mahara. This documentation could be submitted into the Mahara community.

    • There is a wiki for a dedicated highlight plugin.
    • Experience: The initial first step was well documented. The next steps were complicated, where it was required to select and unpick an existing plugin to understand how it worked first.
    • Note: Gregor had begun documentation for how to write third-party plugins as he wrote most of the plugins for Mahara. With the documentation, Gregor could review and even add to it.
  4. Gridstack: What happens during export when page hasn't been converted yet? (Cecilia)
    • The new GridStack layout - A page with the old layout stays the same when exported. Upon importing, the page converts into the new layout.
    • IE 11 - not compatible with GridStack
      • After regression testing, we encountered some issues with IE 11 not playing nice with new tech like Gridstack.
      • We investigated a couple of issues and created patches for them. Those patches are in the next minor point release (date TBC). The code is already in the repository.
      • Because IE 11 is on its way out and Microsoft Edge taking its place, we are thinking of removing the support for IE 11 in Mahara 20.04 onwards.
      • Matomo statistics for September 2019 to January 2020 on the demo site: Chrome ( 46.5%), Chrome mobile (15%), Firefox (11%), Safari (9.7-7%), Microsoft Edge (3.9%), Internet Explorer (2.5%), another site: Chrome (67.3% ), Safari (4%), Edge (4%), IE (1.1%), from AU Ghada- saw that there was no Internet Explorer being used. Chrome (61%), Safari (14%), Microsoft Edge (6.5%).
      • Internet explorer is the lesser-used browser. It seems that people use Microsoft Edge more than Internet explorer. It is trickier to work with standardised desktops.
      • Standard universities seen over the past year use Chrome as their standard, IE and Edge are often still there on the Window Machine.
  5. Mahara 20.04 progress (Kristina) Roadmap
    • Usability improvements
      1. Language switcher (already in Mahara core) - when you have several languages installed in your Mahara instance and also logged in, you can very quickly change the language.
      2. Good Feedback: Mits, our Japanese partner, loves this feature and believes it is beneficial in his context

      3. Labels used to sort groups more quickly (in the last phase in testing)
      4. The functionality is sponsored by SWITCH portfolio and one of the universities.

      5. Fixes to SmartEvidence editor
      6. Cecilia has made some improvements and some in reviews, ready to test. We are removing some items to make it easier to look into the individual sections.

    • Technical Updates: These are updates of libraries or need to change to a different library for technical reasons because of the ending of support or a better alternative for workflows or to keep up with new technology.
    • One new technology is Mahara Mobile (led by Doris) is to refactor the app to React Native. Due to some technical problems that we had come across, we decided not to use React JS. Also, iOS wasn't supporting something that Cordova requires, therefore making it impossible to update our current app. The aim is for feature parity and in the Mahara 20.04 release.

      Library upgrades: Gulp, PHP 7.3 -> 7.4 (worked on by Rebecca), MySQL8 upgrade.

      Our designer Evonne is consolidating the elements in Mahara for more efficient themeing.

      Heading doubles for accessibility.

    • New features (including usability):
      • The main feature is SAML - single sign-on improvements.
      • Allowing automatic enrolments based on their role in the IDP and automatically setting up institutions when people from parts of the IDP login

      • Making default group settings available in site administration, requiring less site-admin intervention in certain areas.
      • PDF exports
      • Lisa is working on consolidating our export options into one export so that people don't have to choose between HTML, Leap2A and in the future PDF, and download in one go.

    • Issue resolution
    • Infrastructure updates going into 20.04
    • These aren't direct concerns but are still part of what goes on in the Mahara team as some exciting developments are happening.

      • R&D project (By our intern Aatharsh): To make test environments available in the cloud and to make it easier to set up test environments in Mahara.
      • Mahara manual update: It now uses Python3 to generate all the manual files.
      • Behat testing: Increase efficiency in automation testing in Jenkins. An example of this is to allow only the required Behat tests to run, e.g. run tests that match a set of tags for a particular patch in code-reviews. Instead, we leave running the entire suite overnight.
  6. Other

    Comments for 19.10 since removing triggers: Ghada in her cloud environment: No issue as of yet, but awaiting feedback once schools, universities and other institutions start. There was a client that had regular issues with the triggers, but right now no issues.

  7. Changing 'Users' ->'People' (Kristina)
    Translators: translations may not always be needed as the word doesn't have the same connotations in other languages than English.
  8. Action items

    Guillaume to submit documentation for 3rd party plugins for

  9. Next meeting: 4 March 2020, 7:30 UTC

    Guillaume - chair, Rebecca - minute taker