Developer Area/Developer Meetings/86

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Agenda for the 86th Mahara developer meeting on Tuesday, 12 October 2021 at 22:00 UTC

We will meet using Big Blue Button (Kristina will initiate the call).

Our Mahara channel on Matrix will be our backup in case there are problems with the web conferencing tool and we'll need to chat to resolve it. You can connect to our Matrix channel also using the #mahara channel on Freenode IRC.

  • Chair: Kristina Hoeppner
  • Minute taker: TBD



Recording of the meeting


  • Kristina Hoeppner, Catalyst, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand (chair, minute taker)
  • Dianne Tennent, Catalyst, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Doris Tam, Catalyst, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Gold, Catalyst, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Robert Lyon, Catalyst, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Items from previous meetings

Minute 1:55

  • Kristina to announce alternating times: Done
  • Bootstrap Carousel issue: Bug coming from Adam:
    • Done; issue fixed
    • While testing, we found that the new version of Fancybox which does the carousel in an overlay in the 'Image gallery' block, is proprietary. We'll look for an alternative option.
  • Kristina to check with Evonne how to get the custom styles into TinyMCE: It is possible because there is a stylesheet for TinyMCE in the SCSS folder, but still need to check the options that are possible there.

Rename 'master' to 'main'

Minute 4:50

  • Forum post that outlines the changes and the impact on our infrastructure.
  • Change anticipated for the 21.10 release
  • Note after the meeting: The change was made in the week of 18 October 2021

Git branch management change proposal

Minute 5:50

  • Post about the Git branch changes
  • Change made to support CI/CD processes better.
  • Biggest change: _STABLE branches will only have minor point releases rather than receiving all new changes since the last minor point release.
  • For the Mahara 21.10 release candidate, we are already using the new 21.10_DEV branch. Other supported versions will also get those changes.
  • Still to refine: Updates to the release scripts to use the changes from the _DEV branch.
  • When backports to supported versions are made, they need to be made to the _DEV branch rather than _STABLE.
  • Idea: Include some sanity checks in the makefile, e.g. if someone tries to push to _STABLE to bring up an alert.
  • Makefile for 21.10RC is changed to push to _DEV, but if someone pushes manually, they'll need to be careful.


Minute: 14:40

  • End of life of PHP 7 in November 2022.
  • XML-RPC extension will not be part of the standard PHP 8 distribution. This will require you to compile that PHP extension.
  • Something that called a 'resource' in the past will now call an 'object'.
  • Syntax changes
  • A number of changes that may not affect our Mahara code, but the code of third-party libraries.
  • Lots of 'this can't be used any more, use X instead.'
  • Closer investigation over the next few months to decide whether we can minimally support PHP 8 in 21.04 and be able to use Mahara 22.04 with both PHP 7 and PHP 8, and then after that looking into fuller support, i.e. using newer PHP 8 syntax
  • Need to take into consideration third-party libraries and how quickly they move to PHP 8.
  • Next steps: Spec out the amount of change
  • Idea from Gold: Change how we handle third-party libraries in a more modern way and instead of patching things, handle things differently

Mahara 21.10 release

Minute 29:33

  • List of new features for Mahara 21.10
  • Not too many new portfolio features, but more back-end features
  • LTI Advantage as experimental feature is a huge change; initial implementation for Brightspace; still need to investigate how other LMS can handle it
  • Not in Mahara 21.10: Upgrade of Elasticsearch; envisaged for Mahara 22.04
  • Currently, preview version of Mahara 21.10 is available. Final release by the end of October 2021.
  • Thanks to everybody who's been working on this release and testing it.

Any other business

Minute: 34:30

New Mahara Mobile beta version is available in the Android store. It's an open beta and everyone can test it.

Next meeting and chair

Minute: 35:25

  • Tuesday, 30 November 2021, mid-morning or evening NZ depending on who responds to the RSVP
  • Chair: Robert
  • Minute taker: Dianne

To do

  • Gold: Proposal on how to handle third-party libraries going forward and include looking at templating engine.
  • Kristina: Write announcement about PHP 8 compatibility
  • N.N.:
    • Include some sanity checks in the makefile, e.g. if someone tries to push to _STABLE to bring up an alert.
    • Look into support of third-party libraries and PHP 8 support (after the meeting decided that Gold will look into third-party libraries and Dianne into frequently used Linux distributions)