PHP XDEBUG’ing in Brackets

XDEBUG enables you to walk through the execution of PHP source code and debug the code as it is executed in real-time. It is one of the most important tools that a PHP developer’s toolbox and is well worth the time it takes to learn how to use it. The following instructions will guide you to setting up Xdebug in the Backets editor. It is actually pretty straight forward once you know how. It is assumed that you have already installed Brackets text editor and XAMPP (64-bit is faster) web server in C:\XAMPP. For this article, we will be doing … Continue reading

Forcing Links to Open in a New Tab or Window

Have you ever found yourself browsing the web on a smartphone and clicked on something that opened in a new tab? It is almost impossible to tell when this happens. In fact, many people don’t even realize that browsers on SmartPhones can have the equivalent of multiple tabs or windows. Now imagine someone using a screen magnifier. They click on a link somewhere in the middle of the screen. If the link opened in a new tab in the background, they would never notice it and just think something is broken. However, if it opened in the foreground, one might … Continue reading

Creating a Multilingual Moodle Site

I have built many multilingual Moodle sites over the years. Unfortunately you cannot make a course appear or not appear based on the user’s current language. But you can create a multilingual Moodle site and multi-language Moodle course. First you will need to install the Moodle language packs for each of the languages you want to support. Depending on the theme used, this should display a language selection menu in the Moodle navigation. If it doesn’t display a language selection menu, contact the theme’s author to have him or her fix it. When a user switches language, Moodle will display … Continue reading

WCAG 2.0 – Closed Caption, Describe Video and Transcripts

Adding (or burning) captions into raw videos will not satisfy WCAG 2.0 criteria because the text then becomes part of the image which will not be narrated by screen readers or displayed on braille device. Real Closed Caption (CC) / Describe video is actually text overlaying the video for those who are visually impaired. Moodle does not currently offer a way to include subtitles for a video. The standard compliant and best practice approach to inserting video captions requires using the HTML5 <track> element. The various attributes of the is element allow you to specify the type of content, the language … Continue reading

Camtasia alternatives and other media tools for screencasting

Camtasia is one of the best and most complete set of tools out there for capturing a recording of your screen (called screencasting) but comes at a cost of $313.99 per person (as of this writing). While you might be able to afford it for a few licenses, if you want to give access to this tool to your whole staff, the cost can really add up. Here are some recommendations for (mostly) free media related tools — for those on a limited budget: Greenshot — Simple to use, comes with an editor to annotate still screenshot (no video). Kind of like … Continue reading

Multi-language content in Moodle

So, you are have a Moodle website that runs in multiple languages. To date, you’ve been doubling up all you text doing things like “This content is in English. / Ce contenu est en français.” As a result, the site looks a mess no matter in what language you use Moodle. In addition, this results in an accessibility issue because users of screen readers get really confused when the alternate language comes through their speaker… and not even pronounced correctly. What can you do? If you haven’t come across it yet, take a look at the Multi-Language Content (v2) Moodle plugin available … Continue reading

Choosing a Moodle theme

While you may simply choose a theme based on the way it looks, smart people know that themes are more than skin deep. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a Moodle theme: Make sure that the theme is compatible with the version of Moodle you want to implement. If it is not, contact the developer/vendor to find out if that was an oversight, or if they are imminently planning on releasing an update in the near future. Choose a layout that you like. Changing the layout usually means changing the theme source code which makes it hard … Continue reading

Productivity Tip: Copy and Paste without Junk

Have you ever tried to copy information from a web page or a MS Word document and got more than you bargained for when you pasted it into another Word document or web page? Text often comes with unwanted junk in the form of extra formatting codes. The solution is usually to use Paste Special and then choose to paste as Plain Text or Unformatted text. Word actually gives you an opportunity to also choose whether you want to paste using the sources formatting — where you got the content from, target formatting — uses the formatting in the current … Continue reading

So you want to install Moodle, eh?

There is an increasing number of businesses who are looking at Moodle LMS to meet their training requirements for their employees and/or their customers as an alternative to commercial LMS. Open source is a very attractive alternative to pricey licensing of commercial products or alternatives that lock you into either a contract, a provider or technology — or all of the above. Have you considered giving Moodle a try? Moodle Quick and Simple The simplest and quickest way to give Moodle a try is to install a stand-alone instance of Moodle is to install it on your local Windows computer. … Continue reading

How to add SSL / HTTPS to WampServer

With the importance of HTTPS for security and SEO (according to Google), you need a development environment that lets you run your site locally on https. Unfortunately, right out of the box, WampServer only includes a parts of what you need to get your local web server running over https://localhost. In this article, we will go over the exact steps you can follow to get HTTPS / SSL working on your Wamp Server. These instructions assume that you are installing the 64-bit version of WampServer for Windows to your c: drive. If not, just replace c: with d:. You may also … Continue reading