A while ago I posted a message related to the possibility of being able
to integrate Flash with Moodle in such a way that it could become
possible to create Flash quizzes or any type of Flash applets (with
Flash, the sky is the limit, really) which could in turn export results
to the Moodle data base and hence do whatever we can now do now with
the results of quizzes: namely export grades, but not limited to this. You can find the thread in:
Even though I'm still working on the problem, I have found out a few things that can be useful to achieve this goal and I would like to share them. Besides, I have seen a few postings (like the one I'm responding to now) related to this issue and I have also received private messages inquiring about the status of this enterprise which have prompted me to send this message. I'm sorry if the same message is posted in various forums, but I cannot think of any other way to reach the people I want to reach.
OK, here is what has changed since the last time I posted a message concerning this issue. It is a rather long message, but please bear with me if you are interested in making it possible to integrate Flash with Moodle.
My first problem at the moment is that I can't find anybody that can help
me with the Moodle side of things. For my project, I am working with some good professionals that are building the type of Flash applications I need but they are totally at a loss when it comes to make them interact with Moodle since they don't know anything about Moodle and my knowledge of Moodle is limited to the user/administrator perspective.
So before I go on, this is an open call for any developer or Moodle Partner
who wants to work with me in this project. I know everybody is busy with their own priorities and for this reason I am prepared to pay decently for your time an effort. My only conditions are a) that the people who take the job are knowleadgeable enough about the Moodle environment and have the required competency to do a decent job, and b) that they don't ask for an arm and a leg to do this. I do have some money that actually I need to spend before the end of december. However, there are two considerations: first, it is not a huge amount of money and second, whatever we build I will make available for the whole Moodle community, so everybody can benefit from it, including, of course, the people who put their work and they are paid for it. This is also a call to other people who want to contribute some money to this goal. I imagine that if we join efforts we can make it better and faster.
If the main Moodlers think it appropriate, I would like to include this as a module or as a part of an existing module (the quiz module seems the most appropriate but it doesn't have to be restricted to it). If the main problem related to being able to "connect" the Flash applet
with the Moodle data base is solved, it should be relatively easy to create different forms (similar to the forms one currently has to create quizzes) adapted to the different types of Flash applets one is able to build. If we add to this that Flash MX can work with the so called 'components', one can imagine the enormous flexibility users would have to work with the inventory of created applets (I would also hope that the Open Source spirit Moodle is built upon would favor the free exchange of these applets as well) to customize them, adapt them and extend them to fit their specific needs.
OK, after this SOS call, let me tell you what I have so far. The first thing
I did was to contact Martin at Moodle.com to ask him if he could take on the job. He was too busy with other projects at the moment to be able to help me, but he did offer some guidance about where one should start. What he told me was that, as long as as we could find some way for a Flash applet to manipulate hidden form fields on the same web page where it is embedded, then it should be possible to do what we want (if he is reading this, he can correct me if I misinterpreted him). He added that "Moodle does now have a modular system for new question types so it shouldn't be too hard to do this". So, basically, if Flash can change the values of hidden fields in a form (of the type <input type="hidden" name="secretfield" value="secretword">)
can do, then in principle we would be all set.
Now, it turns out that things are not that easy. Talking to a friend who has worked on similar issues outside Moodle, he told me the following:
, but I don't know.
But my friend also pointed out that the problem is not only the limitation to work with one browser. There is an added problem with this way of doing things that is related to efficiency. Flash is much more efficient and fast if it can get data directly to and from the data base. In fact it works even better if it can get the data from an XML server
since otherwise we need an additional PHP or Perl script to act as a bridge (which is pretty much the standard way of doing things).
Even though my friend is not familiar with Moodle, he assumes that due to its internal architecture it must be easier to leverage the standard approach of getting the data from the hidden fields in the HTML page. However, this would certainly not be the most efficient way of working with Flash. And, furthermore, he suggests that we should try to build some kind of bridge between the Moodle data base and Flash so that the latter could work with any type of quiz or exercise. He thinks this should not be too difficult. He has done similar things in other platforms and they worked perfectly. Unfortunately this friend, besides not being familiar with Moodle, works full time and cannot take this job.
So this is where I'm at. If anyone thinks that they can join me from here, please answer me in any of the forums where I have posted this message or contact me directly. Even if they are not interested in taking this job, if some Moodle guru reads this message and sees a problem with what I'm saying or has any helpful suggestion as to what direction to take, I will HUGELY appreciate it.