The problems with the 1.7 roles mechanism go on and on. As most of the issues relate to production systems, I think quite some Moodle administrators are getting into the danger zone. Although they may continue to have full confidence in Moodle, the patience of their environment, end-users, teachers and management will not last for ever.
I think that in the end we all will love the role mechanism. IMHO there are a few serious drawbacks however:
- The default values differ from the default values in 1.6. This is the most serious drawback. Normally, when you upgrade to a new Moodle version (recommended as stable!), you may expect that the functioning remains more or less the same, unless you are going to use the added functionality. Now, without any warning, you discover change after change, like students having write access to newsforums, private forums being public, etc.
- Administrators are fixing these issues by trial-and-error, thus introducing the seeds for new problems to be discovered in the future.
- The system lacks a function to give a clear overview of ALL role settings.
- In general, the administrator could use more documentation about the new mechanism; how should you interpret these new concepts?; what does it really mean to apply whatever role to an information block? what is the difference, if any, between a person's role and a person's profile role?
Our forum mechanism is perfect to deal with new and upcoming issues. In this case, however, I'm afraid it fails. Running from issue to issue does not bring a stable and structural solution.
What is needed in my view is:
- a document that lists all the default settings as they should have been in order to make a smooth transition from 1.6 to 1.7
- a temporary script to reset all these settings to these default values
- a patch to guarantee that administrators upgrading from 1.6 to 1.7 will see the new defaults
- a new function that gives a complete overview of current role settings
- in general more documentation, e.g. the treatment of all role issues raised in this forum in a coherent and systematic way and not iussue-by-issue.
If, for whatever reason, moodle.com is unable to deliver the above, please let us know and moodle.org can search for alternatives.
The ultimate goal: "The upgrade to 1.7 is as smooth as we could make it. The existing roles (admin, teacher, student etc.) and the existing capabilities will be automatically retained. This is done by creating default roles at site/course levels, and assigning the current users to these roles accordingly. The default roles will have default capabilities associated with them, mirroring what we have in 1.6. With no modifications, Moodle will operate almost exactly the same before and after the upgrade." Source: Moodle documentation.