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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.
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.
These four Object types are no longer just tied to a map. See Scoped Objects below.
There have been some significant changes in some areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.