This admin report provides a way to create completely custom reports by enabling the user to enter in SQL queries which the report engine then runs.
This module was released for Moodle 1.9 back in October 2009. It was written by Tim Hunt of the Open University. It was later upgraded for Moodle 2 by Derek Woolhead also of the Open University. For those unfamiliar with Tim’s work, he is the maintainer of the Quiz activity module in Moodle. It has recently had another nice feature added with variables possible now too!
There are a few community options for implementing extra reporting in Moodle and this is one of the interesting ones. Some of the code for this plugin was used to in the Configurable reports plugin that I reviewed too.
What does it do?
The report basically provides a very simple set of options
- create a report
- run an existing report
- define who has rights to see the report
When it is first installed there are no reports configured so you immediately need to add a report which means if you don’t know SQL or have a known good query, this is probably not the report generator for you.
You immediately are faced with entering in SQL and deciding who can access the report.
There are three options for setting who can access the reports based on 3 capabilities.
Queries can also either run on a schedule or be ran on demand. The used of scheduled queries differ from on-demand queries in one essential way; you can set it up that when you just create one line of results – the report builds up over time if you so choose it. This way you can see how the results change whereas with the on demand report you see the results as they are then when the report is ran.
This report would get the “Ronseal” seal of approval in that it does exactly what it says on the page. Assuming you have the correct skill set and the technical understanding it is simple to set up, simple to use and helps provide reporting on your Moodle site that would otherwise require development. The community nature of the available reports really help provide a lot of examples to the novice user although I would love to see that page audited so that they are checked for hardcoded mdl and even if they are correct – just to be sure, to be sure.