From a programmer's point of view I am getting some chills when it comes to some of the other open source VLEs. Examples:
- Dokeos (formerly Claroline) has a default setting of creating one database for each course... Why?? ( It can be done in one database accoring to the docs if you deviate from the default setting)
- Dokeos requires register globals to be on. In my humble opinion any php application built in the last 4 years or so should not have this requirement. It's not like you can't build an application that is built for register globals = off that doesn't work with register globals = on. And it's just bad practice & security (usually).
- Atutor is very strict when it comes to requirements. Sure it's nice if you can use the latests PHP features, but my test environment happens to be on a debian-stable server where php4.2.0 is not supported under normal circumstances.
I think I had a few more things but I'll post those if I remember them
What do other developers think of these things?
- I started with Claroline, but these are some of the reasons why I switched to Moodle.
- If aTutor writes these requirements - see below - crystal clear on their website, I do not see this as a problem: If you try to do it cheaper, it tells more about your research budget then about aTutor..
Understanding that the installer has little control over their hosting environment is THE major reason I went w/ moodle. Bazaar had some nice features, but I thought it arrogant to exclude those who do not have root access to their web server. So moodle got my support.
The use of the adoDB database abstraction layer simplifes some of the coding and also gives the potential for running on alternative database engines.
p.s. Atutor seemed to run pretty much out of the box on the hosting systems I tried it with.
Unfortunately for the research I'm doing can't really count this as factor, since it's focussed on institution wide use on universities, where it can be assumed the system will be run on their own servers and not on a web hosting account.
I really wish I could include such things since as a programmer I think these things important for any application. Especially in open source where adoption of a system plays an important role in the success and the likelyhood that the project will survive, it's important to make your potential user base as large and diverse as possible. Then again, THAT is a factor that counts for my research, hey, I found a way to include it anyway!
I must say that so far moodle is certainly the most appealing, insofar that I'm finding myself getting biased against other systems compared to moodle. I cannot guarantee anything of course but for now it seems like moodle will come out on top in my research.