Future of the About page

Hello everyone,

I believe there have been several threads that touched upon this subject, but I don’t recall a clear answer: what is the future (in Redwood and beyond) of the course About page?

The About page, available for any course at https://openedx.example.com/courses/course-v1:org+course+run/about and editable in Studio via https://studio.openedx.example.com/settings/details/course-v1:org+course+run#field-course-overview, appears to be the only learner-visible part of a course that is still being rendered through the legacy LMS, as opposed to the Learning MFE. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no easy way for the learner to access the About page information from within the MFE, except if the course author awkwardly inserts a link to the legacy LMS manually.

The relevant documentation contains no warnings or deprecation notices about the About page going away in the near future, so I am guessing there are no plans to change where the course description goes. I’ve also checked the recorded architectural decisions in the frontend-app-learning and frontend-app-course-authoring GitHub repos, but found no decisions touching upon the About page.

So my questions are these:

  • Will the About page be included in the Learning MFE in some form, in Redwood?
  • If so, will there be an automated redirect from the About page’s location in the legacy LMS, to the one in the MFE?
  • If not, is rolling the About page into the Learning MFE planned in a future release?

Thanks!

Cheers,
Florian

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Hi @fghaas - my quick take on this. The Learning MFE (as well as the initial planning + coding of the Course Authoring MFE) was built by teams at edx.org, who use their own landing page, not the built-in course catalog/about pages that many Open edX installations rely on. Thus I believe they were simply not considered. I don’t expect anything to change around this for Redwood - in my testing, the Learning MFE is not adding any views for the about page nor is the about page changing.

What I would like: I would love to see an overhaul of the Catalog and About pages. I last touched them in 2012 and visually it shows. I think it would be a benefit to the community for those pages to look neat and fresh. Does that require the pages to be migrated into an MFE, whether an existing one or a new one? Architecturally I don’t know. I’m interested to understand more how the Learning MFE changed the behavior of how one would look at the course About page from within the course. I always remember returning to my dashboard, then viewing the course catalog, in order to see the About page of a course I was enrolled in - so I’m lacking context as to what behavior was changed with the rollout of the Learning MFE.

I think the direction of catalog/about pages probably needs to start with the Core Product Working Group. This could possibly be a good agenda item, once we’re over the current stress point of the Redwood release. I vaguely recall someone else may be thinking about this, too, but I don’t remember who.

https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/COMM/pages/3449028609/Product+Working+Group if you’re interested in attending an upcoming meeting.

Hi Sarina, as far as I can tell it would make sense to include the About page in the Learning MFE, just like the course Home page, so I would consider that a missing feature in that MFE (or rather, a regression vs. the prior LMS frontend). I have also found Replatform legacy LMS pages into micro-frontends · Issue #31620 · openedx/edx-platform · GitHub, which happens not to mention the About page — but that issue hasn’t seen updates since last October, when it was moved from a To Do to a Backlog status. However, some of the checklist items therein, like ORA grading, did see updates for Quince so I am not sure if maybe I should be looking elsewhere for updates. It’s a bit difficult to follow.

As for the course catalog, the MFE Rewrite Status Confluence page lists no status, but that page also states it’s no longer current, and people should be looking into Complete the MFE conversion process · Issue #156 · openedx/wg-frontend · GitHub instead — though I can’t find much info about it there either, and I’m not sure if I want to go down that rabbit hole, so I think it makes sense to not go into Catalog in this thread. :slight_smile:

Would you agree with the assessment that the About page is best handled in the Learning MFE?

@fghaas as I keep saying in all the frontend PRs I review, I am a “frontend baby”! I don’t think I grok quite enough of how we draw boundaries around MFEs to say for sure where an about page should live. I think we should also be making a decision about where the Course Catalog should live at the same time.

I moved this discussion from Educators to Development, since this seems to be at core both a product and architecture discussion.

I’ll pull in @arbrandes for the architecture question of where should About and Course Catalog live. Ultimately prioritizing such a project, including spending time designing/etc, will need to be a Product question. And I just have a little feeling I’ve heard in the product working group that someone is, or wants to be, tackling this design problem.

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@fghaas First of all, I agree it might be beneficial to refactor the about and courses (catalog) pages into MFE. We have created several custom ReactJS apps to add new functionality to about pages or the course catalog even before MFEs were released. I believe there’s enough code that can be contributed to make the MFE conversion for these pages as easy as possible.

However, I don’t agree with your suggestion to include about page into Learning MFE. According to DDD bounded contexts it states that about page along with the courses page, are in the Catalog Discovery domain and not the Learning domain. Another reason not to include it in the Learning MFE is the possibility to integrate Open edX with other CMS or e-commerce systems (this is exactly the case with edx.org). Richie portal, Wordpress, Oscar, Shopify, all might include their own catalogs as well as product about pages, so there should be a possibility to disable those pages in OeX.

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Okay fair point, but in that case my other comment still stands: the MFE Rewrite Status page mentions Catalog exactly once, with a blank entry. And Complete the MFE conversion process · Issue #156 · openedx/wg-frontend · GitHub does not mention Catalog at all.

So, is it correct to say that the About page is currently not included in any ongoing MFE effort?

That’s right.

It will fit under the umbrella of the issue you linked to, once we restart the push to finish the MFE conversion. For this release we focused on Studio. I expect there might be some (Axim) budget left to get back to this over the next couple of releases.

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Okay, thanks!

So, taking the liberty to summarise this thread:

  • No change to the About page in Redwood.
  • Any changes in future releases will come in the course of MFEing Catalog.
  • No such MFE effort is presently underway, but may land in Sumac or Teak.

Thanks again!

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