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Differences between OLab4 and OLab3

A summary of the main changes, rather than a changelog or roadmap.
While many things have changed in this new version, the main functions and components are pretty much continued. This helps make it easier to port your maps from one version to another - the map layout and design is retained, and most of the functions work much as before.
These have not changed. A map still has a graph-like structure, with Nodes (which represent pages) and Links between them.
When you import a map from version 3, all of this looks and functions like before. The underlying SQL tables have changed very little. A map is still the main ‘atomic unit’ that contains the Nodes, Links, Files, Questions etc.

Files, Questions, Counters and Constants

The main four types of Objects that you can use within a map still function in much the same way. Constants used to be called Elements in OLab3.
Consult the Glossary for such name changes.
These four Object types are no longer just tied to a map. See Scoped Objects below.

Main Changes

There have been some significant changes in some areas.

Scoped Objects

We found that authors spent a lot of time recreating objects many times, with much duplication between maps. You can now change the Scope of an Object so that it can be reused more broadly. See https://olab4.gitbook.io/help/basic-topics/objects#scope_for_objects for more detil on this.
The default scope is still map-level but you can share Objects at server-level or higher scope.

Script Objects and Rules

In OLab3, you could use Rules to control the play of a map. Using a simple IF..THEN..ELSE.. structure, you could alter what happened, where the user could go in the map, change Counter scores etc.
In OLab4, we are expanding this concept so that experienced authors can employ a much richer JavaScript syntax to interact with OLab4 and its Objects. A Script Object is like a small Lego-block of code, which is easy to copy or modify. See https://olab4.gitbook.io/help/advanced-topics/script-objects for more on this.
Because of the way that Rules were evaluated in OLab3, it was sometimes quite difficult to make a Rule do what you wanted. Because OLab4 now uses a single-page-architecture, where objects can more cleanly interact with each other, this should now be much simpler.


In OLab3, we used Skins to alter the basic look of a map. In OLab4, we have Themes. While these are similar in principle, they allow authors much more control over the appearance of a Node, either for the whole map or from node-to-node.
Authors now have more control over how Counters and Links are displayed: they can be placed anywhere on the Node, and will update automatically.
Avatars were a simple but remarkably popular feature in OLab3. There are now much better ways to support these.
Some other OLab3 features have also been deprecated - you can find more details on this here.

User Management

Managing large classes or student groups became an administrative headache in OLab3. Accordingly, in OLab4, we are handing off such Identity-Access-Management-System (IAMS) functions to other educational tools.
Primarily, we use Moodle for this purpose in our own systems. But we are setting things up so that your organization can use the LMS of their choice.