Basic LTI Tutorial Using PHP

Introduction

This tutorial will get you up and running with a development environment, complete with a virtual machine running an Apache 2 server with PHP, a basic LTI library written in PHP, and a simple basic LTI-compliant LMS. By the end of the tutorial, you will have written a simple “Hello, World!” LTI tool, and you will be ready to delve into the world of LTI coding. Please note that we assume you already have the following knowledge:

  • An understanding of directories and files, and how to navigate through them using a terminal window on your operating system;
  • How to install software packages on your operating system;
  • An understanding of fundamental web concepts, such as HTML, CSS, HTTP requests, POST requests, etc.
  • Some experience in setting up web servers;
  • Basic knowledge of PHP;
  • An understanding of basic LTI concepts and, in particular, the Basic LTI (v1.0) specifications.

Ready to begin? No? Then grab some coffee or another refreshing beverage. We’ll wait. . .

Ready now? We hope so! Because we’re getting started.

Install Pre-Requisites

In order to complete this tutorial, you will need to set up a development environment. Our tutorial uses a Git client to download the code from our Github repository, VirtualBox to set up a virtual machine, and Vagrant to manage the virtual machine. However, all you really need is 1) the code in our repository, and 2) a web server running PHP. If you don’t want to install VirtualBox or Vagrant, you don’t have to, but we highly recommend doing so in case you want to experiment with them.

TIP! Already have a web server and PHP installed somewhere? Then just make certain to install Git, then you can download our code from the Github repository. You can still follow along with the tutorial, but some URLs and file names may change. We trust that you know what you are doing!

Install Git

We will be using the Git command-line client in this tutorial, so head on over to the Git web site, download the command-line client, and follow the instructions for installation.

TIP! If you prefer a GUI to the command line, you can also download the GitHub GUI client by visiting the GitHub Git setup page, but this tutorial only has instructions for the command line.

Install VirtualBox

Oracle’s VirtualBox is a powerful environment for running all kinds of virtual machines on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is very much like Parallels or VMWare, except VirtualBox is free. Visit the VirtualBox downloads page to find the software appropriate for your system, download it, and install it.

TIP! If you want, you can also download the Extension Pack, which provides additional functionality.

Install Vagrant

Vagrant makes it easy to fire up and provision virtual machines with VirtualBox. Visit the Vagrant downloads page to find the software appropriate for your system, download it, and install it.

TIP! To ensure the successful installation of Git, VirtualBox, and Vagrant, please make certain to visit the web sites listed above, and read through the documentation. Some people might call this RTFM, but we’re too polite to say that.

Once you have Git, VirtualBox, and Vagrant up and running on your system, you’re ready to start downloading code!

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