Adapt Learning Hello Something Plugin

Hello Something Plugin

In a previous post I stepped through creating a basic Adapt plugin that outputs the static text Hello World https://ianluckraft.co.uk/2020/05/adapt-learning-hello-world-plugin/ . But a plugin that only outputs some static text is possibly less than useful. In this post we’ll look at the next logical step of allowing a course builder to add some dynamic text to the output.

As a starter we will clone the Hello World plugin and then replace World with Something. If you want to follow along clone the repo from this commit https://github.com/ianckc/adapt-hello-something-plugin/commit/c6c66b2c700e82a6061ce48f81a7b78b710a8fdd

The complete plugin code can be seen in the GitHub repo.

To add extra fields to the plugin we need to edit the properties.schema file.

There is already a properties object with a _supportedLayout key. We need to add two more JSON objects at the same level as _supportedLayout

I’ll paste them here and then we will look at each of them to identify their purpose.

"instruction": {
  "type": "string",
  "required": false,
  "default": "",
  "inputType": "Text",
  "validators": [],
  "help": "Enter the instruction text for this component.",
  "translatable": true
},
"somethingElse": {
  "type": "string",
  "required": true,
  "default": "Enter your something else here.",
  "title": "Text to say hello to",
  "inputType": "Text",
  "validators": [],
  "help": "When output the component will say Hello followed by the text you enter",
  "translatable": true
}

The first property with the key of instruction allows an author to add some instructional text applicable to the component. This could be something such as “Select all of the images containing the world” for a component requiring users to select from a set of images.

If used in the authoring tool it will display as a text input and is not required.

The second property with the key somethingElse is the string that we will be outputting in the template file. It contains the same properties as the instruction object but we set a default value that will appear in the input and also make it required.

The next step is to update the template file templats/helloSomething.hbs

We only need to make a single change to output the text entered in the somethingElse input.

Change the H1 tag to the following

<h1>Hello {{{somethingElse}}}</h1>

If there is instruction text it will be output by default due to the Handlebars partial being called with

{{> component this}}

To use our new component in an Adapt course there are two options, built via the command line tool or in the authoring tool.

Via the Command Line Tool

Open up the components file inside the correct language directory. I am using English so the path to my file is src/course/en/components.json

Add a new JSON object with a unique ID and the correct parent ID, this is the block ID that the component will be nested in. If you do not require instruction text then leave it as an empty string e.g. "instruction": “",

{
    "_id":"c-03",
    "_parentId":"b-05",
    "_type":"component",
    "_component":"helloSomething",
    "_classes":"",
    "instruction": “Look at the text we are outputting",
    "somethingElse": “The Sun"
}

If we then launch our course it will look like this

Via the Authoring Tool

First we need to create a zip file of the adapt-hello-something-plugin directory that contains all of our code. Next in the Authoring Tool click the hamburger menu icon in the top left and choose Plugin Management from the dropdown menu.

You will now be on the Manage Available Extensions page. Click the green Upload Plugin menu in the left hand column. On the Upload Plugin page select the zip file you have just created and then click the green Upload button in the left hand column. After a successful upload you should be on the Manage Available Components and the Hello Something plugin is listed and is enabled.

To use the Hello Something component navigate to your chosen course and edit a page. Select Add component inside a block and look for the Hello Something option inside the Add component drawer. Select the layout you wish to use (left, full or right).

Now the component has been added double click it to edit the settings. Under Properties you will see the two fields we defined in properties.schema, Instruction and Text to say hello to. The instruction is optional but you will need to add something in the Text to say hello to field.

After saving the updates to the component you can now preview the course and you will see the component output with the text you have entered. Below is a screenshot where I have added it to my Hello World course.

Now you have seen how to add fields to your Adapt plugin the next step would be to add some creative interactivity to really engage the learner and deliver high value courses.

Adapt Learning Hello World Plugin

This tutorial will not go into depth about some of the code used. The idea is to give an overview of creating a basic Adapt plugin that will output some static text.

The plugin code can be downloaded from gitHub.

The Adapt framework comes with a good selection of components to help you build your e-learning course, then added to this are the contributed plugins. But what if there isn’t quite the thing you need? The good news is that like all good Open Source software you can just make your own.

In this tutorial I’m going to make a very simple bare bones plugin that will allow us to add a component that simply says Hello World.

Before you begin you will need to install the Adapt CLI and Bower.

To give us somewhere to test our plugin we will create a new Adapt course. In terminal run the following command

adapt create course

Accept all of the defaults except the name which we will set to plugin-development.

Once the framework has been downloaded follow the instructions to build and run the course.

cd plugin-development
grunt build
grunt server

You will now have a course running at http://localhost:9001

From within the plugin-development directory navigate to src/extensions and create a new directory called adapt-helloWorld which will contain our plugin.

In a terminal window cd into the adapt-helloWorld directory and run bower init

Name adapt-helloWorld

Description An example Adapt plugin to say Hello World

Main file js/adapt-helloWorld.js

Keywords adapt-plugin,adapt-component

Authors Accept default

License Accept default

Homepage Accept default

Set currently installed components as dependencies No

Add commonly ignored files to ignore list? Yes

Would you like to mark this package as private which prevents it from being accidentally published to the registry? Yes

Looks good? Yes

We now have a bower.json file inside the adapt-helloWorld directory. In addition to the elements Bower has created for us we need to add some extra ones for this to be a valid Adapt component.

Open up bower.json in a text editor and add a comma after the closing square bracket of the ignore array so it looks like this

  "ignore": [
    "**/.*",
    "node_modules",
    "bower_components",
    "src/plugins",
    "test",
    "tests"
  ],
}

We will be adding in four new elements in between the comma we added and the closing curly bracket to ensure we have valid JSON.

Add the following

  "version": "0.0.1",
  "framework": ">=5.0",
  "component": "helloWorld",
  "displayName": "Hello World"

The end of bower.json will now look like this

  "ignore": [
    "**/.*",
    "node_modules",
    "bower_components",
    "src/plugins",
    "test",
    "tests"
  ],
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "framework": ">=5.0",
  "component": "helloWorld",
  "displayName": "Hello World"
}

Adapt follows the Asynchronous module definition (AMD) specification and utilises RequireJS and Backbone for plugin architecture.

Add the following to js/adapt-helloWorld.js

define([
    'core/js/adapt',
    'core/js/views/componentView',
    'core/js/models/componentModel'
], function(Adapt, ComponentView, ComponentModel) {

var HelloWorldView = ComponentView.extend({
    postRender: function() {
        this.setReadyStatus();
        this.setupInviewCompletion();
    }
});

    
    var HelloWorldModel = ComponentModel.extend({
        // Implement your component model
    });

    return Adapt.register('helloWorld', {
        model: HelloWorldModel,
        view: HelloWorldView
    });

});

The first 5 lines use RequireJS to include the module we need to create our plugin.

We then create two variables for the view and the model that extend their respective component bases.

Inside ComponentView.extend we need to add a postRender method that calls two Adapt functions. Without these two calls the course will not load.

The last part of the file registers our plugin with Adapt, passing the view and model variables to it.

We’ll now create a basic template file to add some output.

In the adapt-helloWorld directory create a new directory called templates and inside that create a file called helloWorld.hbs

This is a Handlebars template file which is the templating engine used throughout Adapt. https://handlebarsjs.com/

Add the following to helloWorld.hbs

<div class="component__inner helloWorld__inner">
    {{> component this}}
    <h1>Hello World</h1>
</div>

The wrapper div follows some naming conventions used in other plugin template files.

The second line uses a Handlebars partials, you can read more about those on the official Handlebars site. https://handlebarsjs.com/guide/#partials

Then for good measure we say Hello World in a H1, as it’s very important.

The last thing we need to do to make this a valid Adapt component is to add a properties.schema file. According to the Adapt wiki “properties.schema is a JSON file that is provided by a plug-in. It is the point of contact between the authoring tool, the plug-in, and the course author who configures it.”

You can read more about it’s uses at https://github.com/adaptlearning/adapt_authoring/wiki/Properties-Schema

As we are only making a simple plugin our schema file will also be quite simple. In the adapt-helloWorld directory create the properties.schema file and add the following to it.

{
  "type":"object",
  "$schema": "http://json-schema.org/draft-04/schema",
  "id": "http://jsonschema.net",
  "$ref": "http://localhost/plugins/content/component/model.schema",
  "properties":{
    "_supportedLayout": {
      "type": "string",
      "required": true,
      "enum": ["full-width", "half-width", "both"],
      "default": "both",
      "editorOnly": true
    }
  }
}

The main section to note here is the properties _supportedLayout which includes the three options, inside the enum element, that Adapt uses to layout components.

We are now at the point where we can see our component in action. We will add our component to an existing block.

In your text editor open src/course/en/components.json

After the opening square bracket add

{
    "_id":"c-04",
    "_parentId":"b-05",
    "_type":"component",
    "_component":"helloWorld",
    "_classes":""
},

This will add the helloWorld component to the first block.

If we now run the build and server command again

grunt build
grunt server

And navigate to the Presentation Components page you will see a nice Hello World.

The plugin can also be used in the Adapt Authoring Tool. All we need to do is create a zip file of the adapt-helloWorld directory and then in the Authoring Tool navigate to Plugin Management there will be a green button in the left minute Upload Plugin.

That concludes the introduction to the building blocks of an Adapt plugin.