Installing Moodle on 4.0-Mona

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Installing Moodle on 4.0-Mona

Introduction

This step-by-step guide shows how to install Moodle on Uniform Server V4.0-Mona. In addition shows how to resolve fixed paths allowing Moodle to be run from a USB memory stick.

Windows does not support true cron jobs hence I have included a portable-cron solution catering for both hard drive and USB memory stick installations.

Pre-Installation

Install Uniform server

  1. A) Create a new folder named moodle_b (Can be any name)
  2. Extract a new copy of Uniform Server V4.0-Mona to this folder
    (Double click on file to extract).

Download Moodle

  1. B) Create a new folder moodle_a (Can be any name its only a temporary folder)
  2. Download the latest version (moodle-weekly-19.zip) of Moodle from Moodle download page
  3. Copy the file dowloaded (moodle-weekly-19.zip) to moodle_a
  4. Unzip moodle-weekly-19.zip into this folder.
    (Right click on file, select extract all, extract to current path.)

Copy files to Uniform Server

  1. C) Expand the folder moodle-weekly-19
  2. D) Copy folder moodle to Uniform Servers's root folder www

Moodle 1.gif

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Create a Moodle Database

Creating the Moodle database is straight forward, tables are automatically inserted during installation

  1. Start Uniform Server (Double click on Server_Start.bat in folder UniServer).
  2. From apanel (displayed in your browser when the server starts) click on the phpMyAdmin link. (left menu under tools) Note you can always return to apanel by typing http://localhost/apanel/ into your browser address bar.
  3. A) We want to create a new database. Enter moodle
  4. B) Click on Create to create the database

Moodle 2.gif

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Moodle Installation

All that remains is to run the Moodle installer script install.php. Type the following into your browser address bar.

http://localhost/moodle/install.php

Most of the pages display information just click either the next or continue button to proceed to the next page. Item 4 requires the database user name and password for a personal installation we are using the defaults root and root. The following shows what to expect during installation:

1) Choose a Language: Select your language e.g. English (en) click Next

2) Checking your PHP Settings: passes all click NEXT

Your server should pass all these tests to make Moodle run properly

    PHP version   Pass
  Session Auto Start   Pass
  Magic Quotes Run Time   Pass
  Insecure Handling of Globals   Pass
  Safe Mode   Pass
  File Uploads   Pass
  GD version   Pass
  Memory Limit   Pass

3) Please confirm the locations of this Moodle installation:

  • Web address http://localhost/moodle
  • Moodle Directory Z:\www\moodle Grayed out
  • Data Directory Z:\/moodledata

For a default installation of Uniform Server these are correct click Next

4) Database configuration:

    Type:   MySQL(mysql)  
  Host Server:   localhost  
  User:   root -- (Uniform Servers default)
  Password:   root -- (Uniform Server default)
  Tables prefix:   mdl_  

Click Next

5) Checking your environment:

Name   Information   Report   Status
unicode       must be installed and enabled   OK
database   mysql   version 4.1.16 is required and you are running 5.1.30   OK
php       version 4.3.0 is required and you are running 5.2.8   OK
php_extension   iconv   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   mbstring   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   curl   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   openssl   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   tokenizer   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   xmlrpc   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK
php_extension   ctype   should be installed and enabled for best results   OK

6) Download language pack Installation: Option to download a language pack NEXT

7) Configuration completed: config.php has been successfully created Continue

8) GPL License: You have read the copyright notice! YES

9) Current release information: Moodle 1.9.4+ (Build: 20090204)(leave Unattended operation un-checked): Continue

10) Setting up database: Takes some time wait as the install takes place: Database was successfully updated Continue

11) Setting up module tables: Again wait, Workshop tables have been setup correctly Continue

12) Setting up plugin tables: Truefalse tables have been set up correctly, Continue

13) Upgrading database: Datbase was successfully upgraded Continue

14) Upgrading database: Blocks version is now 2007081300 Continue

15) Setting up block tables: Continue

16) Setting up plugin tables: Paypal tables have been set up correctley Continue

17) Setting up plugin tables: xml and other plugins set up correctly Continue

18) Setting up plugin tables: xml tables have been set up correctly Continue

19) Setting up plugin tables: user tables have been set up correctly Continue

20) Setting up plugin tables: stats tables have been set up correctly Continue

21) Setting up plugin tables: unittest tables have been set up correctly Continue

22) Setup administrator account:

Admin set-up: On this page you should configure your main administrator account which will have complete control over the site. Make sure you give it a secure user name and password as well as a valid email address. You can create more admin accounts later on. Fill in details:

Username: boss
New password fred123
First name: Fred
Surname: Smith
Email address: fred@smith.com
Email display: Hide my Email address from everyone
Email activated: This email address is enabled
City/Town: Cambridge
Select acountry: United Kingdom
Timezone: Server's local time
Prefered language: English
Leave rest blank  

Click Update profile

23) Front Page settings:

This page allows you to configure the front page and name of this new site. You can come back here later to change these settings any time using the Administration menus. Fill in details:

  • Full site name: MPG Test
  • Short name: MPG
  • Front page description: Personal installation of Moodle running on Uniform Server 4.0-Mona
  • New settings - Manage authentication: Disabled
  • Click: save changes

24) Finished:

This is your main admin page you can continue setting up Moodle or log out

Note: Steps 22-23 I entered dummy information. You can change this information from admin at any time, however make sure you remember your admin password and name.

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Stopping Moodle

  1. Logout from admin
  2. Double click on Stop.bat located in folder G:\Uniform Server

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Starting Moodle

  1. Double click on Server_Start.bat located in folder G:\Uniform Server
  2. In your browser address bar type http://localhost/moodle/

Note: You can run apanel at any time by typing http://localhost/apanel into your browser address bar.

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Portability Memory Stick

To run Moodle from a Memory stick, copy the folder UniServer and all its content to whatever drive your memory stick is on.

Note: This process is not fast; writing 102 MB (UniServer plus Moodle) took just over 20 minutes. In the same vain do not expect exceptional performance, Moodle uses a large database hence is slow when run from a memory stick. That said I found it just about acceptable.

Hard Coded path

During installation Moodle uses the drive letter (default Z) it is installed from and hard wires it into a configuration file. This means you cannot run or move the installation and expect Moodle to run. A solution to this problem requires modifying the Moodle configuration file config.php.

Open the following file in a text editor:

UniServer\udrive\www\moodle\config.php

Its a small file locate the following two lines:

$CFG->dirroot   = 'Z:\www\moodle';
$CFG->dataroot  = 'Z:\/moodledata';
?>

The hard coded paths start with Z: the solution is to let PHP calculate this drive letter (path) by replacing the above two lines with:

$root= substr($_SERVER["DOCUMENT_ROOT"],0,-4);
$CFG->dirroot   = $root.'\www\moodle';
$CFG->dataroot  = $root.'\/moodledata';
?>

The above change makes Moodle completely portable.

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Cron

Moodle has a cron.php script that needs to be periodically run. It takes care of various routine tasks for example unsubscribing inactive members and sending out email messages.

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Manualy Run Cron

To keep Moodle happy you need to periodically run the cron.php script.

For a personal implementation of Moodle you can run cron.php occasionally by typing the following into your browser address bar:

http://localhost/moodle/admin/cron.php

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Automatically Run Cron

Manually running Cron can become tedious a solution is to create a portable-cron using 4.0_Mona components, three new files are required as follows:

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run_cron.php

This file runs the actual cron script cron.php its sole purpose is to convert local paths to server relative paths.

UniServer\udrive\www\moodle\admin\run_cron.php

<? $dummy = file("http://localhost/moodle/admin/cron.php"); ?>

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run_cron.bat

This batch file uses unidelay.exe to provide a periodic tick. At the end of each delay PHP is run in CLI mode and runs script run_cron.php. the loop repeats indefinitely.

UniServer\run_cron.bat

:next
udrive\home\admin\program\unidelay.exe 60
udrive\usr\local\php\php.exe -n udrive\www\moodle\admin\run_cron.php
goto :next
exit

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run_cron_hidden.bat

The above batch file if run directly would be visible hence this batch file uses uniserv.exe to run the above hidden.

UniServer\run_cron_hidden.bat

start udrive\home\admin\program\uniserv.exe run_cron.bat

With the files in place start the servers and run run_cron_hidden.bat.

Note 1: unidelay.exe 60 runs the cron-job every 60 seconds increase this as required.

Note 2: You can run Cron from Server_Start.bat add the following line just below line :END (forth line from bottom of file):

start udrive\home\admin\program\uniserv.exe run_cron.bat

Hence every time you start the servers using Server_Start.bat or disk_start.vbs Cron will run.

Related links:

Moodle Docs Cron

Portable Cron

LCC portable cron program

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Tip - UniServer on a laptop

I lifted the following tip straight from gdunc blog, it looks very useful, reproduced unedited:

One other thing that might be useful to add here is a small addition to the config.php file for those users who use UniServer on a laptop. Since the config.php file lists the wwwroot as "localhost" external users are unable to view your moodle site correctly. For that reason, I would recommend the following changes to config.php:

Locate the 'wwwroot' line in config.php

$CFG->wwwroot   = 'http://localhost/moodle';

Replace the above line with the following two lines, to let php figure out what your current IP address is and change it whenever your IP address changes. This can be very useful when moving from event to event.

$domain = GetHostByName($REMOTE_ADDR);
$CFG->wwwroot   = 'http://'.$domain.'/moodle';

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Summary

Although there are a large number of steps Moodle is easy to install on Uniform Server.

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