[Moin-user] WikiBooks and Quiz Software: General Discussion

Ivan F. Villanueva B. ivan at ffii.org
Sun Jul 24 04:33:34 EDT 2011

Hello Neal,

> [wiki for books with math and quiz]

Your project is very interesting to me. Where can I get updates of it? A Twitter account maybe?

For MoinMoin there are latex-plugins, and RST as default syntax works good.
Why don't you like RST-syntax?

You could however probably spare time if you hack your own system. I, for my personal online notes,
hacked a script in Python that generates webpages and pdfs (not finished) out of RST files, see for
instance this page (specially the formulas within it): http://ogai.name/uned/programacion_II/

Note that the math is not ugly graphics like MediaWiki does, but scalable formulas. Increase the
font size to see how the formula also increase (you might need to just install some fonts). I
describe everything here: http://ogai.name/software/gridcms/


On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 05:40:38PM -0400, Neal Holtz wrote:
> Hello - I'm just looking for general comments, if anyone cares
> to give them. (I apologize in advance for the length of this msg).
> I'm planning to start developing a wiki text book for a university
> level engineering course I'm teaching.  I've so far only got a page
> or two and a rough structure as a proof of concept.  In addition
> to the easily added extra value such as images, photos, problem
> solving videos (ala Khan Academy), I'ld like other media there
> as well, such as interactive self test questions, application
> software, perhaps links to things like sagemath worksheets, etc.
> Oh yes: a lot of mathematics is involved.
> = One =
> I suppose I should really start with WikiBooks, particularly as
> there is the start of a text on the subject there already.  It does
> provide some nice stuff out of the box, such as pdf creation
> for an entire text (or subset, I assume).  However, the things 
> I don't like are:
>   - I don't think I can get the software, and I really don't want
>     to host this on their server.
>   - MediaWiki on which it based can be installed, but I really
>     don't want to program in php if I don't have to ...  And I
>     do expect some new code will be necessary
> So I guess if I want to extend a wiki system using Python, that 
> MoinMoin is the best choice.  That was my first discussion point.
> = Two =
> Markup language: I was pulled toward reStructured text,
> again because of all the extra stuff that is there already
> built around it.  However, after doing a couple of pages,
> I really dislike it (esthetically).  I really do prefer using
> wiki markup.  I looked at creole in hopes of getting something
> that might be more portable but that doesn't seem to
> be the silver bullet either, yet.
> I'll want things like the ability to generate text-book-like
> pdfs of a set of pages, so students can print easier.  
> Should I stick with wiki markup and develop the required
> tools based on that?  (they are not high priority).
> = Three =
> Now - self test questions:  I'm intrigued about leveraging
> moodle for this purpose; I can easily see having questions
> for grading students within moodle - I will probably eventually 
> do so.
> Moodle stores questions in a relational database, and can
> export them in several formats.  I think it might be possible
> to develop some python code to either access the moodle
> database directly, or read the exported xml (I'ld probably
> do both). Then render the questions for anonymous self
> testing for wiki book readers.  This is a significant amount
> of work, but I don't think its huge (I have done this before,
> in 1994, believe it or not ... :-[
> http://http-server.carleton.ca/~nholtz/tut/doc/doc.html
> )
> Most of the hard work is in the user interface to develop
> questions, and thats already been done in moodle.
> The way I see this is developing a parser for moin that
> would read either the moodle xml or moodle database
> info, and present the question.
> Any other quiz engines in python?
> If you got this far, you patience is remarkable.
> Thanks - any kind of comments are welcome.
> -- 
> Neal Holtz                             http://cee.carleton.ca/~nholtz
> Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,   Carleton University,   
> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6.               nholtz at cee.carleton.ca
> Public Key:  http://holtz3.cee.carleton.ca/~nholtz/pubkey.asc
> Office-Hours: http://holtz3.cee.carleton.ca/~nholtz/office-hours.html
> Free-Busy: http://holtz3.cee.carleton.ca/~nholtz/free-busy.cgi

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