[LON-CAPA-users] New Content/Problem Editor - Input needed NOW

Damien Guillaume damieng at msu.edu
Fri Oct 10 11:06:17 EDT 2014

> One of Damien's comments concerns me:  ... with some elements removed, and some structural changes.  Backward compatibility is very important to me.  I experienced a nightmare when Blackboard moved from Vista to Learn, which is what prompted me to switch to LON-CAPA.  The switch to LC was painful, but allowed me to generally preserve years of content that I had created.  If I have to go through something like that again, I may stop using online Learning Management Systems altogether.

Don't worry, backward compatibility is important to us too. We want to 
be able to use all the problems we currently use in LON-CAPA, and we 
want the conversion to the new format to be 99.9% automatic. We will use 
the occasion to cleanup HTML code to get more valid HTML in the end, but 
without risking to lose information: if there is an error in a document, 
and the converter does not know how to fix it, it will try to preserve 
the error rather than trying to fix it with the risk of losing 
information. This means that some (rare) converted files might not work 
well in the new editor without a fix in the text editor, but then it is 
already the case with the colorful editor and I think it's better than 
the risk of losing content or having misbehaving problems.
Backward-compatibility is a severe restriction on our changes, so the 
new language will not be very different. And we will keep using Perl 5.

> A cleaned up and well documented language for LON-CAPA resources, something Damien is working on, accompanied by some tools could be a cornerstone for community-developed solutions to this problem.

Yes, one of the goals of the transformation into XML, with a reference 
XML schema, is to make it easier to create new tools performing 
automatic tasks on the documents in the future.

> BTW have you considered replacing or extending the colourful editor with Damien’s editor Daxe or some of its ideas?

The new graphical editor is based on Daxe, which I have improved in 
several ways, particularly to handle more WYSIWYG element displays. It 
is extensible, so we will be able to define a custom display for each 
element in the language.


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