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CodeRunner 3.3.0 Release Candidate (your chance to help!)

Picture of Richard Lobb
CodeRunner 3.3.0 Release Candidate (your chance to help!)
by Richard Lobb - Monday, 5 February 2018, 2:21 PM

Hi all

My summer programming binge was shorter than usual due to holidays and other work pressures. However, I have implemented a few new CodeRunner features as follows:

  • A graph question type that allows you to set questions to which the answer is a graph that the student can draw directly into the answer box. This supports FSMs, directed graphs and undirected graphs. See below for a screenshot. Thanks to Emily Price (UCan) for the initial prototype version of this.
  • A multilanguage question type that allows you to ask a "Write a program" type of question which the student can answer in C, C++, Java or Python3. Other languages could be added if required.
  • An SQL question type that allows you to set questions that require SQL answers (but restricted to the sqlite3 dialect). Thanks to Trent Lewis (Monash Uni).
  • Programs can now output non-ASCII UTF-8 characters. However, this only works with the latest version of Jobe (version 1.4.0)  and if the Apache LANG environment variable is set to a UTF-8 locale. See the Jobe installation instructions for details.
  • A question can be customised to use a different Jobe sandbox from normal, allowing for load balancing and specialist Jobe servers (e.g. for a language not supported by the production Jobe server).
  • The question authoring UI now allows one-click correction of test cases that fail during "Validate on save" (assuming the sample answer is correct - caveat emptor). Thanks Andrei Bautu (Trier Uni).
  • PHP and Python scripts are now available to download and analyse all submissions to a quiz, rather than just the final one by each student.
  • Various bug fixes and improvements to combinator template grading capabilities.
As part of the refactoring required to support pluggable user interfaces I've dispensed with the capability of explicitly setting the width of the answer box - it now expands to fit the available space. Only the height (num_rows) can be set by the author, and the student can increase the height if they wish (except with Microsoft browsers!).

All the above updates are currently available in the Development branch on github. We're currently running this branch on our production server (lightly loaded at present) and on so it should be stable. All the same, I'd be really grateful if a few users would try installing this version on their own systems (not big production systems under heavy load) before I merge the changes into the master branch. If you do so, please provide feedback on how it goes (successfully or otherwise) by replying to this posting or by emailing me directly (

There are a couple of issues I'm aware of with the new version, but apparently they've both been present for years:
  1. On the very first time you open a CodeRunner question after a version upgrade, the JavaScript for the Ace editor needs to be downloaded again and Ace will not actually work until the page (or any other CodeRunner question) is reloaded. You should only see this issue once, on the first CodeRunner access. Thereafter the Ace editor code is cached in the browser.
  2. User-resizing of the user interface input fields doesn't work with IE or Edge. 
Feedback please!


Graph UI in action

Picture of Martin Zwerschke
Re: CodeRunner 3.3.0 Release Candidate (your chance to help!)
by Martin Zwerschke - Thursday, 8 February 2018, 8:31 AM

I already have used the latest jobe-version when i was setting up our new jobe server. The new Version of runs without errors (I set the LANG variable in apache2 to "de-DE.UTF-8" in /etc/apache2/envars. 

note: it was the line Export LANG=C on my Ubuntu 16.04 Installation, not just LANG=C as described on 

Now I would like to test coderunner 3.30 with new jobe version.

Yet I am not sure how to update the plugin inside Moodle for I do not have shell-access to our Moodle-Server.

I know, that there is a mechanism to get informed about plugin updates.

Settings >> Site Admin >> Server >> Update Notifications and Check “Enable updates deployment”

The Moodle Manual says:

Then, whenever you visit the Plugins Overview page, you will see the “Install this update” button besides any plugin for which an updated package is available.

Moreover, the current plugin code will be backed up as an archive in the moodledata/mdeploy/archive/ directory to keep your tweaks in the plugin code.

This way i would be able to update the plugin inside Moodle.

But if I do so, i do not see the "Install this update", although i set "updateminmaturity"  to "Release Candidate".

I guess this is a matter of your release candidate not being published on the Location, moodle looks for updates.

I can download the .zip file from github. But what will happen if i simply install this like a new plugin??

Or will I have to uninstall the old coderunner plugin and reinstall the latest one? Will my quizes get lost this way? Do i mess up something this way?

Picture of Richard Lobb
Re: CodeRunner 3.3.0 Release Candidate (your chance to help!)
by Richard Lobb - Friday, 9 February 2018, 8:44 AM

Hi Martin

Thanks for pointing out the error in the Jobe documentation on setting the locale - fixed now. And thanks for offering to check out CodeRunner 3.3.0. However, without ssh access this is probably not practicable. I'm not sure what happens if you try to install a zip of a different branch of a plugin that's already installed. Safer not to try, I think. And nor can you (easily) uninstall CodeRunner.

You can be an early tester when I merge it into the master branch and push it out to github and to the Moodle plugin repository. Hopefully by the end of next week.