Developers – How to get started in Moodle development

For developers just getting started in Moodle development, testing and fixing 3rd party Moodle plugins which are not currently supported the latest version of Moodle is a great way to get started on your way to learning how Moodle works. These plugins often just need simple fixes, updates to deprecated API calls and stuff like that. Start by browsing through the list of 3rd party plugins and choose a plugin that is of interest to you. If you think it would be useful for you, chances are there are others who would think so too. Next contact the author before you start just to make sure … Continue reading

Adding New Comments to the Mini Toolbar in Word 2010 & 2013

Unfortunately the Mini Toolbar in Word 2010 and 2013 can’t be customized to add an “Add Comments” button. However, here are a few other ways you can accomplish this. After highlighting your text using the keyboard or a mouse, do one of the following: Keyboard: Press CTRL-ALT-M. A new comment will be created and your cursor will be positioned ready for you to type your comment. Mouse: Right click and select New comment which is the last option at the bottom of the context menu (available in Word 2013 or later). Keyboard or Mouse: Press ALT-R (or click the Review … Continue reading

Sending Custom Emails in Moodle Using the email_to_user() Function

You can send custom emails from within Moodle using PHP using your own forms using the email_to_user() function. By the way, did you know that Moodle actually uses the open source PHPMailer behind the scenes? A typical call to Moodle’s email_to_user() function would look like: email_to_user($toUser, $fromUser, $subject, $messageText, $messageHtml, ”, ”, true); This is a very simple version of a very powerful function. For more information about the email_to_user() function, take a look at the source code for function email_to_user in Moodle’s /lib/moodlelib.php. If you wanted to also include an attachment, you would need to also specify the path to the file to attach … Continue reading

Debugging in JavaScript

One of the most popular ways of debugging in JavaScript when you are just getting started is to use the JavaScript alert() and input() functions. However there are times when clicking OK repeatedly can become tedious not to mention time consuming. Here are a few additional advanced JavaScript debugging techniques you can use to help increase your productivity. JavaScript Console API Functions Unlike the alert(), this the console API functions just displays a message in the debugger console and continue execution. For example: console.log(“Total is now: ” + t); There are other useful console API functions for debugging: console.group() console.info() console.log() … Continue reading

Tips for Getting Started with the WD My Book Backup Drive

There isn’t a lot of documentation that comes in the box with the WD My Book drive. This article will provide you with additional information will hopefully answer some of your questions regarding the My Book drive. The instructions are for Windows users and may be different if you are using a Mac/OS X or using a newer/different version of the software. Getting Started with the WD MyBook Drive Plug in the power supply to the wall/powerbar and to the drive. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn on right away. That will happen in the next step. Plug the USB cable … Continue reading

Making XDEBUG work with NetBeans on Windows

After spending way more time that I should like to admit trying to get XDEBUG to work with Notepad++ using the DBGp plugin in anything but the simplest of projects, I decided to look for an alternative. I compared features of 9 different IDE’s for PHP development and reading tons of reviews. There are many great IDE’s out there and everyone will have their favourite. My short list ended up including: Eclipse (PDT) 3.5 — Didn’t bother trying it. While I’m sure it’s a fine product, the website is ancient and not user friendly. Way too much work to try and … Continue reading

How to upgrade MySQL to MariaDB in XAMPP in 5 minutes on Windows

Here are the steps I used to to upgrad MySQL to MariaDB in XAMPP on Windows in about 5 minutes. After completing this process, MariaDB will look and work just like MySQL. You may even notice a performance increase in your website. No need to panic fellow developer, increased performance is perfectly normal and just one of the great benefits of MariaDB over MySQL. IMPORTANT: Before you begin, always be sure to make a good backup. Do not do move instead of copy files in the instructions below as the original files may be required in order to back out and … Continue reading

Introduction to JavaScript Debugging Techniques using Developer Tools

Most modern web browsers today, like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, come with an integrated JavaScript debugger. If you’ve never one of these debuggers but do program in JavaScript, it will be well worth the few minutes of your time to learn how to use them and save hours of web development effort. The browsers Developer Tools are typically accessible by pressing F12. Each browser has a similar set of tools but are not all created equal. Some are definitely stronger for some tasks when it comes to JavaScript development. For example Internet Explorer (IE) has a split screen so you don’t … Continue reading

Upgrading Moodle packages for Windows (XAMPP Control Panel, PHP, phpMyAdmin, Apache, MySQL)

Moodle 2.3 to 2.6.1+ for Windows comes with pieces of XAMPP 1.7.4. Although it works well, the version of PHP that comes included with it is buggy, lacks some key features for development such as a modern control panel and phpMyAdmin. Here is how you can fix some of the problem and upgrade your environment. Upgrading PHP What prompted me to look into this was that Apache was constantly crashing and the following message appeared my Apache error log: [notice] Parent: child process exited with status 3221225477 — Restarting. Here is how to upgrade PHP: Download PHP 5.3.29 — be … Continue reading

Excel Formulas – Converting between double letters and numbers

Converting numbers (1, 2, 3…676) to two letters (AA, AB, AC…ZZ) in Excel Formula 1: =CHAR(65+TRUNC((A1-1)/26)) & CHAR(65+MOD(A1-1,26)) Converting two letters (AA, AB, AC…ZZ) to numbers (1, 2, 3…676) in Excel Formula 2: =(CODE(MID(B1,1,1))-65)*26 + CODE(MID(B1,2,1))-64 Example The figure bellow can be re-created by adding numbers from 1 to 5 in column A. Enter formula 1 in B1 and formula 2 in C1, Copy the formulas in B1 and C1 into the cells below. … Continue reading