Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whither Moodle 1.9?

A lively discussion on the fate of Moodle 1.9 can be found at:

Personally, I've invested so much time and space to Moodle 1.9.15 that it is difficult for me at this point in time to migrate to Moodle 2.x. Moodle 2.x is getting better every 6 months with a new release and I am sure that there will come a time when Moodle 1.9.15 will be rendered obsolete. However I don't see that happening anytime soon, although the signs on the horizon are visible.

I love Nanogong too much, as well as a whole slew of mods, blocks and filters that are Moodle 1.9 compatible but sans-compatible with Moodle 2.x. And there's also the question of Moodle 2.x being more resource hungry and server demanding than Moodle 1.9.

So for the time being, for better or for worse, I'm staying put with my trusty Moodle 1.9.15. Can someone convince me otherwise? I'm all ears.

Re: Moodle end of life 1.9 plans
by Gerard Arthus - Friday, April 20, 2012, 05:01 PM

Moodle and the Illusion of 'Better"

I have not commented on this fiasco until now; the way I will deal with it is to stay on 1.9x version. I have all of the functionality which I need in version 1.9x and see no reason to change. I currently run multiple versions of 1.9x and 2.0.2 on my server and have to say that there is not much better concerning functionality that I see in the 2.x series. Once again, developers have succeeded in taking a good thing and corrupting it with unnecessary features and increased complexity. Much like the cell phone industry has done with the forced progression to smart-phones. I just want a phone, not an appliance. Most instructors need a simple to use web-assist course tool; not a Dreamweaver or Photoshop suite on steroids. The simple file-structure of 1.9x made it easy to coordinate the course materials with downloads and then considering backup size restrictions, it was easy to separate the files to reduce the size of the backup. All of this is out-of-the-window with 2.x. I think the developers have taken a lesson from Microsoft and Adobe. That is why I use Abiword and Gnumeric for my document and spreadsheet work. Tools are meant to make our lives easier. Moodle 2.x has only complicated the job of the instructor when it should have been making their job easier.

The argument over hiding the edit features is a good example. Who cares how ‘cluttered’ the edit mode looked ... it got the job done. Time and resources spent on hover buttons and hiding features is lunacy. I like to see everything and having it in a consistent location is a plus when one’s time is being focused on doing the job and not having to re-learn and re-conceptualize an application. Unfortunately one college where I work will be forced to upgrade to Moodle 2.0; so I am seeing a good comparison with implementation and it is not a pretty picture. It is easy for developers to make arbitrary decisions when others have to suffer the consequences of their poor choices. The concept of ‘better’ has many nuances, but they should have been focusing on usability before they went hog-wild in developing eye-candy which does not optimize what the core-users requirements really are.

I appreciate all the work that has gone into developing Moodle, but the adoption of the current corrupt cultural beliefs which place how something looks over how it works will not make any application work better. How Moodle looks and how much eye-candy it has are low on my list of priorities; does it help me do my job better, that is the question and I think 2.x leaves much to be desired when compared to 1.9x.


Update: 1 December 2012.

I've discovered these two great posts on by Frederic Nevers. What makes them GREAT are the instructive and informative comparison charts that Frederic's macros and hardware have  churned out while the rest of us have been sleeping.

Graphic by Frederic Nevers,

                                                                      Graphic by Frederic Nevers,

What I can conclude from Frederic's posts is that Moodle 2.x is more resource-hungry compared to Moodle 1.9. HOWEVER, with Moodle 2.4 to be released this December 2012, you are presented with a Moodle that has many more features compared to the aging Moodle 1.9, and yet runs leaner compared to other Moodle 2.x versions prior to it, thanks to the debut of the Moodle Universal Cache. Given that over time, hardware costs are dropping whilst hardware performance gains are increasing, upgrading to Moodle 2.4++ is a definitely a viable and attractive decision. Plus you get to enjoy all those nice themes and new default icons of resources and activities.

Frankie Kam

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  1. Howdy! We are planning to move to 2.x in the fall. My understanding is that formal Moodle HQ support (security) will end in June. I also understand that support may be had through December, but what about after? What are your plans for running 1.9.x in light of this?

  2. Hi Jedidiah
    Yes, you're absolutely right. And with a set of new question types released by Open University UK for Moodle 2.2, it gets better for Moodle 2.x. My plans are to just keep using M1.9 until the benefits of using M2.x are irresistable.

  3. As you know Frankie, we have invested a significant amount of time and money into 1.9 on Labo d' The thought of a migration to a less mature branch is a major concern. However, there is a language lab module that promises to be very useful for our purposes. The pull is strong, but what modules won't upgrade/import to in 2.x? Is there a list?

  4. The main problem will be getting staff used to the new file structure, actually that could be the main issue for me too ;)
    I'm interested to see what happens with 2.3 in June. I think we'll probably end up running 1.9 for this year and switching to 2.3 in 2013. The new modules and activities being developed are too good not to be using really.

  5. Reasons to start a new course in Moodle 2.4++. Too many to list here. Off my head:
    0. Themes and more beautiful themes
    1. Mobile Themes!
    2. Authohide
    3. Drag and Drop file upload
    4. Drag and Drop image files
    5. Rubric
    6. It just gets better
    7. Interface with external sites
    8. Quiz engine and variety of questions
    9. Gotta keep up with the times, you know.


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