Exit Dokkeos, Enter Chamilo

Those of you watching closely the Dokeos code will have noticed... I stopped contributing to the project in December 2009, along with my team of 12 and all of our fellow community members. The only changes we sent were actually customer requirements, so no way to avoid that. But that's it. I officially stopped working with Dokeos on January 1st, 2010. As many huge actors in the open-source (MySQL/MariaDB, OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice, ...) and PHP development world at the end of 2009, it was time for a big change.

Style broken when installing Dokkeos on one local computer then seeing it from another

A frequent question I've been asked is why, when installing Dokeos on a local computer, then trying to see it from another computer, the styles are broken (the homepage appears as a list of links from top to bottom). This is all a question of Name Resolution (or DNS).

How you did it

The initial problem lies on how you did the installation on your local computer: you downloaded Dokeos, then took the easy way and installed it on "http://localhost/dokeos/", or "", or even your local IP "" for example.

Why using partial strings for translations is not a good idea

This article is clearly at level "piece of cake" for those of you working day to day with UTF-8 and unicode headaches, but I have plenty of problems with my own team to explain why they should never put a string like this:
$SomeString = "This value must not be inferior to";
in the Dokeos translations system, but they never learn :-) This would later appear in the code as something close to:
echo get_lang('SomeString');
and this would make it available in all the supported languages (if translated by a good will in his own language). So here i

PclZip and gzopen64()

I have updated my system early to Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and, to my surprise, there is a little change that could cause dramatic problems in Zlib (library dealing with compressed data). The gzopen() function has been changed to gzopen64(). This means that all calls to gzopen() in the PHP bindings for that library should probably be modified to use gzopen64(). In Dokeos, we use PclZip 2.6, which doesn't use gzopen(), apart from a check to see if the zlib extension is installed or not.

Dokeos IRC channel outbeats Moodle channel

The IRC channel of Dokeos now outbeats the Moodle channel both in terms of responsiveness and in terms of users (up to 40 users yesterday). This comes after I decided about a month ago that we should show a little more openness to the world as a group of developers, and should have a real-time interaction channel for all people wanting to ask something quick about Dokeos. There's support for English, Dutch, French and Spanish questions already. Come and join us on irc.freenode.net - #dokeos !

Re-enable official code in registration screen

In Dokeos 1.8.6, we have removed (or better say "hidden") the official code field from the open registration form. Well, that's only logical since we suppose a normal, already registered, student will be registered through an Excel import sheet or some automatized way. But that might cause problems to some of you, so basically, the only thing you need to do to re-enable it is
  • edit main/auth/inscription.php
  • look for "official_code"
  • uncomment the section containing this term
That's it.

Users' mail: configuring SMTP account to send mails with Doke0s

Note: as of 2010, BeezNest has moved away from supporting Dokeos and launched the Chamilo project. This article was written in 2009, when BeezNest's team members were still the main developers for the Doke0s software, under the responsibility of the Doke0s company. Chamilo has since then reached double the size of the Doke0s project and is much more transparent in terms of code publication and community support. This article surprisingly still holds true for Chamilo up to version 1.11, but this might change in Chamilo 2.0 with a new system for e-mail sending.

Loginshare for Dokeos

A long time ago, I developed a loginshare script for a customer, that I think can now be shared with the community. I don't know much about LoginShare, and the truth is that their forum doesn't tell me much either, but based on a similar script, I developed the following script to use Dokeos 1.8.5 with it. Just in case it would be useful to anyone... (it certainly will be more useful this way than abandoned in one of my directories).

BPC - Blackboard to be replaced by Moodle in one institution

The LMS Evaluation Commitee of the University of North Carolina at Charlorte just published the results of a 5 quarters survey about the implementation of Moodle to replace their current BlackBoard Vista. Although I don't particularly like Moodle (mostly because our users find it much more complicated to use than Dokeos), there are two things that I really liked in the results from this report (and I'm sure there are loads of other interesting data in there if you keep your eyes opened)