with regard to the trajectory of Moodle from 2.1.1+ on, I think I still feel pretty discouraged at the moment. Good discussion here, but we have gone over old ground, and the conceptualisation of solutions is still hazy at best, and the divide still there. When I was a part time software developer (in 1990 - 1998) I talked to users regularly, sometimes weekly. Things have changed.
Thinking about the theme of this thread, my "critical" items include
- less clicks to deploy a file/include image
- better forums
- native way to implement 1<>1 communication
- solution to the scroll of death
- quick and easy deployment of media with no extra required coding
- blog posts visible at course level only
- file sharing that is simple
Plus a few other items, but these are the top of the list. The response I have had in several years here on Moodle.org is a bit variable. Now, the effort seems to be going into Mobile and a few other things we hear whispers about, and all the legitimate infrastructure stuff Tim talks about. It's unclear where 2.2 is going from the sparse roadmap. You get whispers from each Moodle Moot, but it is all a bit hazy. There are not even any more developers or people in the core team using word like "hope" for progress on these things I am interested in. I've had personal communications with several of you posting in this thread and several who have not posted. No joy really. After waiting for 2.0, going through 2.1.0, and times like the day in March when Forums were removed from the roadmap - these are the reason I feel a little discouraged.
I am in a minority here I know: I can do without a lot of fancy gradebook things, Mobile provision, theme frills, tracking, hubs; the list above is the basics. I'm interested in a simple Moodle core that works for the basic teacher. Oddly enough, the most voted item (calendars) I can take or leave. [as an aside, it is an irony that one version I use has this in it professionaly coded by Catalyst http://www.moodleinschools.org.nz/download/moodle-2-0-nz-schools-version] For me, it's like Maslow's thing: if it takes 200 clicks to upload a bunch of files, I don't think about calendars.
Itamar, when you say
I think you should instead encourage the marginal (non-core) people who are probably closer to your reality to do their thing regardless of core.
What you are suggesting is really a fork, or at best a highly enhanced set of addons. Like Totara, or Hubert's ELIS http://remote-learner.net/elis
Major issues: these packages cost a LOT. This leaves out the small enterprise, the non-profit, the tiny school. I've asked on the forums here about these packages to see what could be done to get their great (and available) functionality into core. No replies. There seems to be a huge huge barrier to getting these bits into the core. eg Book. ForumNG. Menu. The odd good format.
I've been told "complaining is good", and to "pester" but I'm actually not prepared to do this.
Many many non-core developers are writing quick hacks to do what they want on their systems - or more complex projects, and their work is not really contributing to 'community', and there is huge repetiton: seven people all coding the same thing. I do also know there are good aspects of the sharing inn the Moodle Community.
So you are back to needing significant expertise to get a basic useable site made. There is no useable basic vanilla Moodle install. There is not even one decent theme with a set of configurable options for the basics.
If you go to a Moodle Partner, the costs often are high. A recent quote for me: Four hours at full chargout rates to do an upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1. Small site, less than 120 users, less than 15 courses, no legacy stuff. No big or complex things anywhere in the sites.
So: from the users POV it is difficult. Lets say you are not developing big scorm stuff with a dedicated ID section, you don't have good addons like ForumNG (you know: basic stuff like drafts, sticky threads, subscribe by thread, export, who has not posted lists, push ANY post out to everyone etc) and OUBlogs (like blog posts visible at course level) and any menu block (solve the scroll of death), multiple fule upload (eg sharing cart) it is just plain hard work to build and run courses.
Having read all this stuff in the forums, core developers have NOT said "Oh, tell us more, how can we help" (I guess just one example: server files Dante's inferno to quote a previous poster - there is nowhere where this has been registered publically, or a response like "No fix" or "we'll consider it") This is one aspect of the user/dev divide. Totara and ELIS (and others) have just gone out and fixed it and a ton of other stuff. Good for them.
The number of enhancements in 2.1 according to the roadmap is very very small. I wonder what 2.2 will bring? Tomaz has gone, the docs are a little drifting. Scrums continue. Dec 21 and 2.2 is looming. I have got a smart phone recently (which I like), maybe I'm wrong about mobile.
However, back to Itamar's post:
My current thinking: we need a distibution version of Moodle with these items in as core. Maybe a spec list like this:
- Menu plus formats to solve the scroll of death problem
- Dialogue module to solve the 1<>1 problem, or a 1.9 Journal clone
- the top 10 scripts that have been available for years but never in core to do a few bulk actions
- Couple of standard File System repositories
- Couple of the media plugins
- A couple of the good themes with config options (eg custon CSS, header image, footer, nice menu - a combination not available in core themes)
A distro not a fork. Call it "Moodle Plus". Moodle for the small insitution/school or non-prifit - quite a few of the basic useability/speed of deployment problems addressed in some way. Quick to build simple courses, quick to manage key low level Teaching and learning activities, some enhancements to the user managment/course deployment - I know it does not address a bunch of compliance issues for some (Iike the tracking), I know it doesn'l help with the guys with 100 SCORMS to deploy, 26,981 students and 3512 courses (but you have the SMS and programmers to cope) the need for mobile, the need for micro-tracking of student activity etc etc.
May have an option to host with server access etc. I did try to find some $$ for a project recently in the OER community, but they had none. Just pondering at the moment.
My sense of discouragement could be ill founded. There are some good hints in this forum (but not supported by links). From Petra "Alen, can you help us?" maybe Alen can help. Hubert: "and by changing the development model, which I have heard has already improved things significantly in the relatively short time that it has been in place" and re repos: "I know there are some problems with it (some of which I believe are being worked on)" sort of hope by chinese whispers.
Next month I am following Tomaz back to the classroom for 12 weeks, and Moodle as in meta activities will take a break. To echo others here, I do hope Moodle survives the next few versions. As Itamar says, "And if that doesn't work we'll find another solution or another system"