I’ve been taking a quick opportunity to go back and check up on some projects that are of general interest to me in e-learning.

The first of these is Plex. Plex is being developed by CETIS as part of their PLE project funded by JISC.

You can find an interesting podcast by Derek Morrison about PLEs at Auricle. And Mark van Harmelen’s guest post on Seb Schmollers blog has a good summary of the issues in the area of PLEs.

I’ve recently taken a quick look at Plex and here are some initial finding. It’s based on the Eclipse environment (don’t go there unless you’re a software developer) and while the installation went smoothly the first problem I had was with getting the help to display.

I’d come across this problem with eclipse as well but the solution is not one everyone may feel comfortable sorting out. There’s an issue with the eclipse framework displaying the help html files in a window due to it’s use of the the localhost to serve the page. When a proxy is set up for your browser you need to ensure that requests to either localhost or (localhost IP address) are ignored by the proxy.

In Plex this meant enabling the option to display the help in an external browser (Firefox) where I’d set this up as the help wouldn’t display properly in a pop-up window generated by Plex. Alas, after sorting this out, it was a bit of a waste of time as there’s presently no help files. I’m sure the project team will get round to this. Help does tend to be something that get done at the end of a project. 

And of course, being an open-source project there’s nothing to say that the help files couldn’t be generated by the community.

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