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OLab4 alpha release

Some of the challenges for early adopters

Thank you

For trying out our early releases of OLab4. This has been a long time in coming.
While the OLab4 Player has been stable for quite some time, it has been more difficult to get the authoring environment up to speed. There are a number of gotchas in working with this alpha release.


The Player is pretty safe. It rarely crashes and will not corrupt your files. Its security model is a bit porous because of some workarounds that we have temporarily inserted. We do not recommend its use for summative exams at present.

Help system

The documentation always comes last. We find ourselves in the odd situation that the Help files are working and reasonably complete. Indeed, you are using the system, based on GitBook, right now. But the menu links from OLab4 are not yet in place.
Somewhat ironically, it is currently easier to insert a link to the Help system into your own maps than it is to access it from OLab4 itself. Simply insert a shortcode to this Constant into your Node:
There are several other server-level Constants that point to various parts of the Help system. You can find them in the Object Picker.

Problems in the Designer

Question Editor

This is pretty basic at present. It is easier at present to create a rough map in OLab3, which contains the Questions and Responses that you want and then Import that into OLab4.

File Uploads

The dev team struggled quite a lot with this function. We are not sure why since this is one of the commoner functions for web applications. At present, you have two workarounds: create map in OLab3, with the Files included and then Import that into OLab4; or use an ftp program to directly upload them to your server.

Node Editor

This has a quirk that has resurfaced from OLab3. The internal editor, TinyMCE, has a tendency to clobber URLs to internal files. There are three workarounds to this: (1) store the files on an external server; (2) edit the Nodes directly with a SQL editor; (3) create a Constant which has the URL to the file and then insert that where you need it.


The editors do not generally autosave. Although this was in the original design plan, it had to be dropped. Remember to click on the [Save] button. In the Node Editors, the Ctrl-S (Cmd-S for Macs) is a quick key for saving your changes.