GSoC Idea: A W3C Widget Compliant Widget Content Packaging Infrastructure for OpenACS

GSoC Idea: A W3C Widget Compliant Widget Content Packaging Infrastructure for OpenACS

Areas OpenACS
Good if student knows .LRN, OpenACS, XOWiki, XOTcl, Tcl
Priority High
Difficulty Medium to Hard
Benefits to the student Gain experience with widget standards family, object oriented development, content packaging.
Benefits to Tcl OpenACS/dotLRN - as Tcl-based flagship applications - would greatly benefit from the increased interoperability capabilities.
Mentor Gustaf Neumann

Project Description

Content packaging is one of the most relevant concerns for learning management systems in the area of interoperability and is therefore integrated in a range of important e-learning standards which evolved over the last years and decades (e.g. SCORM, IMS Common Cartridge ...). Although the importance of content packaging is getting increasingly more important, the more e-learning resources become available, the e-learning community is rather small compared to the overall Web development community. With the rise of rich Internet applications and mobile apps, several alternative (often more restricted) approaches for content distribution were developed outside of the e-learning communities: small, web-based applications/web-content packages commonly referred to as widgets, where the W3C widget specification is one of the more prominent ones. One of the reasons of the higher acceptance of the W3C widgets is there exist already several user agents for many operating systems and web-based platforms.

The main goal of the project would be to write an OpenACS package for generating W3C widget standard conformant content packages out of learning materials that reside within the dotLRN system. As a starting point and minimum requirement, generic code for generating such content packages out of OpenACS content repository items should be implemented. Further steps could involve content package generation in other important vendor specific widget formats, the packaging of XOWiki-based content into widgets or the exposal of XOWiki-based applications through widgets.

Background: OpenACS is a powerful Tcl-based open source community system used for a wide set of applications ranging from e-learning (dotLRN) over community sites to e-commerce shops. Several large universities and companies use OpenACS as framework for their E-learning environments, hosting already a substantial amount of countent. The xo*-family of packages (xotcl-core, xowiki and xowf) has established itself as a flexible, generic, object oriented toolkit for OpenACS, enabling rapid development of arbitrary applications for both OpenACS and dotLRN. XoWiki is one of the most flexible wiki-frameworks, supporting advanced concepts like for example structured wiki features, multiple access policies, flexible application integration and workflows. In the e-learning context, XoWiki can be used as a single tool for content development for (adaptive) content presentation, (collaborative) content development, blog style content distribution and assessment.

Project homepage


 * OpenACS:

 * .LRN:

 * XOWiki:

 * XOTcl:

 * Widget Standards Landscape:

 * Widget Server:

 * Widget Packaging and Configuration:

Comments & Discussion