Unoconv – Universal Office Converter, is a command line program which is used to convert between different file formats supported by LibreOffice/OpenOffice. Unoconv is used by Moodle since the release of Moodle 3.1 and is used by the Assignment activity to convert documents to pdf so that they can be annotated.
Technically speaking, in Moodle 3.1, the File API added the ability to convert files, but local unoconv was a requirement. Apart from unoconv, There are various web services and different applications that can do this conversion work. Now, Moodle HQ team is working over a new tracker project MDl-55528 to make the file conversion in a pluggable interface.
Unoconv is pretty difficult to set up and scale on some OS and some alternatives as suggested by one of the community members are:
- crocodoc (paid service, https://crocodoc.com/docs/api/)
- IBM watson https://www.ibm.com/watson/developercloud/document-conversion.html (has a small 100MB/month free tier, limited file formats – doesnt output pdf which is what moodle is currently interested in).
- pandoc – free and open-source software document converter, widely used as a writing tool and as a basis for publishing workflows.
Martin Dougiamas, CEO & Founder of Moodle Project is also pushing the development team to get it right before the release of Moodle 3.3 You can also be a part of discussion through comments over this Tracker issue.
Have you faced any issues with unoconv as Moodle site administrator? Let us know your experience with unoconv in the comments section below.