Importing maps into OLab4.5

Looking forward to playing your existing maps on OLab4? We are pleased that the OLab4 player will accept OLab3 exported maps and play them in much the same way. The same pathways, links, nodes, and general structure of the map will all be preserved and migrated without problem.  

There are certain components that have been deprecated and so should be removed or replaced. See  Deprecated OLab3 objects for notes on what is being removed in OLab4.

At first glance, this list will seem somewhat daunting. But the note is trying to accommodate all of the various projects and approaches that we have encountered in the past. Many of these fixes and steps will not be at all relevant to your own files.

There is a challenge or two that becomes evident because the rendering component of OLab4.5 that displays the HTML text is much more stringent than the old version in OLab3. It will refuse to show pages with HTML errors, bad links and missing objects.  And we have found it is generally better to fix as many issues as possible before the Export/Import process, rather than after. 

So, if you plan to migrate an OLab3 map to OLab4.5, here are some steps that will make the migration more successful: 

  1. Open and play the case on the OLab3 server and make sure it is playing well and generally free of issues.  
  1. Look for broken links to images. Repair or remove them.
  2. Avoid including huge media or video files within your cases. Link to those on an external service such as YouTube.  
  3. Avatars are no longer supported in OLab4. You can convert your OLab3 avatars by saving them as an image file. See Why did Avatars not make the cut in OLab3 cases imported into OLab4? 
  4. CHAT objects are no longer supported in OLab4. These can be converted to Questions with Feedback elements, which will do the same thing and be better reported. See Chat Objects deprecated in OLab4
  5. Check out hyperlinks. You need to see if they resolve properly. If broken, repair, remove or comment them out using <!– comment –> 
  6. Update old hyperlinks that use http. If you have access to a SQL editor, you can use the following query, with nnn = map number: 
    UPDATE map_nodes SET text = REPLACE(text, 'http:', 'https:') 

    WHERE text LIKE '%http:%' AND map_id = nnn; 
  7. Remove or repair hard-coded internal hyperlinks. They will not migrate as is. You can use a SQL tool to search for the following strings: 

  8. If you know that node text has been pasted from a MS Word DOCX, there is often a lot of style cruft embedded. This may not be apparent when you look at the Node itself. Some of these Nodes will not play in the OLab4.5 renderer. You can use the cleaner at to remove this cruft. This can be done before or after the map is migrated.  
  9. For more tips on how to edit the HTML source code in OLab3 and OLab4, check out – it is quite likely that you will need to do some direct code editing. We apologize but as we mentioned above, the new HTML rendering engine in .NET is more finicky than its PHP-based predecessor. 
  10. H5P widgets were popular with some authoring groups. You can still use these in OLab4 but they are not as fully integrated and you cannot edit H5P widgets within OLab4. Instead we suggest that you use another platform such as WordPress or Moodle to support them – these allow you to create, edit and migrate H5P widgets between systems. You can also then call an H5P widget that is hosted on WordPress or Moodle and still use it within OLab4. If future funding supports it, it could be feasible to more closely integrate H5P widgets but they are not innately compatible with OLab4’s single page architecture (SPA). 
  11. TTalk questions and chat sessions are much improved in OLab4 and have been significantly redesigned. If you have any TTalk questions, you should note their identifier and location (question_id and node_id) and then change them to a multiline text question (easiest way is to change map_questions.entry_type_id from 11 to 2 with your SQL editor, if you have one).
  12. Oddly, during the editing and conversion process, we are finding that something is spewing some cruft into the and map_nodes.annotation fields. If you have a SQL tool, these can be cleaned as follows: (changing the map_id as needed)
    update map_nodes set annotation = '', info = '' where map_id = 1234

There are other objects that may be found in old cases that will cause problems but this is true for any web page e.g. Adobe Flash and Shockwave files,