Making Moodle work better on #Chrome browser

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I use Chrome browser for my day to day internet browsing and work, even for accessing Moodle site.  Which is why it kinda stinks that the HTMLArea text editor doesn’t function in Chrome.  There are 2 ways to get it to work though, so if you’re a Chrome and Moodle fan and want to love them both at the same time, check out these two solutions:

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1.  The lowest tech: this solution is simple, but new to me.  It was described by Emory Maiden through the MoodleMayhem list serv while we were discussing possibilities.  Here’s the run down,

  • Open Chrome and click on “Customize and Control Google Chrome” (The wrench in the upper right).
  • Select “Extensions” from the menu and then click on “Browse the Gallery”.
  • In the search box at the top search for “IEtab”Click on the IE Tab link when it appears, it is by Blackfish Software
  • Install the extension
  • Go to into Moodle.  You will need to click on the Internet Explorer icon that is now on your tool bar in the upper right beside the Wrench icon when you want to switch to the easy editor but the fix has worked pretty well for us.  [editor’s note: this does not work on Chrome for Linux]

2.  Higher tech: change some Moodle code.  This solution is from the Moodle.org forums and was suggested/provided by Pall Thayer and includes two small edits to Moodle’s php files [http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=3945]:

step 1:
can_use_html_editor function in file /lib/moodlelib.php
line 6519 } else {
line 6520 return 1;
line 6521 }

step 2:
This will tell the HTML editor to use its ‘Gecko’ configuration for Safari and browsers that it identifies as “Mozilla < 1.3”, for instance, Chrome.
HTMLArea.checkSupportedBrowser = function() in /lib/editor/htmlarea/htmlarea.php
line 2408 //alert(“Mozilla < 1.3 Beta is not supported!\n” +
line 2409 // “I’ll try though, but it might not work.”);
line 2410 return ‘HTMLArea.is_gecko’;
line 2414 //return false;
line 2415 return ‘HTMLArea.is_gecko’;

The latter was attempted successfully by Ben Wilkoff, who mentioned “just used the hack to get HTMLArea to appear and it works great!”

There’s also the possibility of replacing HTMLArea, the default text editor in 1.X with TinyMCE (which will be the default in 2.0); but that process is admittedly more technical.

Are you a Chrome user?  Did either of these fit the bill for you?

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the IE tab suggestion.

    Our school has NTLM SSO authentication (auto login), which works on IE and firefox, but not Chrome. Has anyone had experience tweaking Chrome to make this work?

    Thanks
    Michael

  2. I can attest that it does indeed work. One interesting thing, is when you get to your Moodle, if you wait until you’re looking at a page to edit to click the tab/convert button, you’ll have to login once more. So really it’s like a browser inside a browser (but the text editor most certainly works).

  3. The itab extension wants access ALL THE DATA ON MY COMPUTER.

    Is this necessary? Esp in this day when we are concerned about privacy and security.

  4. Andrea, it’s a valid concern. I’m not sure if providing the extension access to all computer data is necessary for it to work, that would be a great question for the developers.

  5. While I’m not in any way associated with it, I think the reason it needs access to “all your data” is because it uses IE’s rendering engine – and therefore needs access to it (and there isn’t a way for it to request access to IE’s rendering engine only – it has to ask for permission to access all your data and then only use it to get at what it needs). That said, if the developer really wanted to, they probably could abuse that permission… but I’m sure it would have been spotted by now if they did.

    And yes, it really is like having an IE window trapped inside a Chrome tab – because it’s having IE render the page, it’s using IE’s cookies, which is why you have to log in again.

  6. All good advice, but if you’re running a Mac (and thus can’t install the IE tab extension) and are a humble user rather than a site admin another approach is necessary. Getting Chrome to tell Moodle it’s Firefox appears to work, and one can do this via the terminal on a session by session basis:
    Open the terminal and type (or paste):
    /ApplicationGoogle\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome –user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.6; en-GB; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20091218 Firefox 3.6b5″
    I still get an annoying ‘this won’t work for Mozilla <1.3b' pop-up, but HTML area and AJAX then do work.

  7. Joseph,
    From the point of view of Moodle encouraging learning, your post was incredibly helpful to me!

    I had never heard of extensions until your post.

    Your step-by-step directions were a great learning experience, and also now I know about Moodle and have registered with it.

    Because of you, I installed three other extensions.

    But, mainly, now I gather I will be able to go back to using Internet Explorer when I want to, hopefully to find my bookmarks, which I had thought I had lost when I installed Google Chrome yesterday evening.

    However, Chrome and my gmail seem to run slow, on my older computer. That was the main reason I was online, today, and I don’t think any of the extensions I installed will speed it up.

    Thanks very much for your nice learning example,
    and for leading me to Moodle,
    and for any further help you can give,
    Pat

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