Blackboard, Prototype and IE9

I’m in the middle of writing the next iteration of the tagging/recommender plugin. The courses we envisage using this B2 would be quite big with a lot of content, so the initial tagging would involve a lot of items. Unfortunately, at present, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to embed new functionality into the original BB functionality, and B2s have to create all of the user-interaction for them selves. With this opportunity (always a half-full kind of guy) I though I’d go a little bit over the top and create a nice javascript UI with flying boxes etc., and I have found a nice prototype based library, which could do this for me (

BB is using prototype, so staying away from jQuery based libraries is advisable. But after developing a prototype page of this that works in Chrome I thought I should test it in IE, which means IE9 on my computer. This is where things went belly up. Nothing worked. Going into debug mode it turned out that one of the elements found by the prototype $ function was not being interpreted as a prototype enhanced element, so the select function didn’t work on the recently found element!

I spent a lot of time on trying approaches using other kinds of elements, but no matter what I tried it always gives the same problem.

I suddenly saw/realised that the prototype used by BB was version 1.6.1, which isn’t supporting IE9 (nor Firefox 3, 3.5, 4) which isn’t that surprising as it was developed in 2009! So I took a different approach to check BB with an empty B2, and it throws several exceptions while loading the page! So perhaps this issue is not that strange.

I now have 2.5 options, either:

  • make a simple pure jsp with tradition html
  • create the actions using first principles, i.e. handwrite it without using libraries.
  • (the half option) wait to BB updates prototype to the current version.
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1 Response to Blackboard, Prototype and IE9

  1. karlund says:

    George Kroner of Blackboard has just informed me on Twitter that Prototype 1.7 is scheduled for Service Pack 7.

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