Commons Cartridge Viewer: We invented it!

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You asked for a way to see the contents of the resources that are shared in Commons before importing it into Canvas. We wanted to give that to you, but those Commons resources are stored as “Common Cartridge” files and a web-based “Common Cartridge Viewer” isn’t a thing that existed in the world. Our industrious engineers worked very hard to find a solution that would allow us to crack open those cartridges and show you their contents. And they did it! Seriously. They invented a way to extract and then preview common cartridge files in the browser. That means we will be able to show you a preview of assignments, pages, discussions, quizzes, modules and courses in Commons.


You can try out the Preview technology here, using our stand alone Common Cartridge Viewer. There are a few cartridge examples there for you to test, or you can export a course from Canvas and drag it onto the browser. The Common Cartridge viewer is open source and you can check it out on github.  


Our next release to production (January 5, 2019) will include a feature option for Commons Previews on the Commons Admin page.  Because we invented this thing (did I mention that yet?), we wanted to take a little time to collect feedback on the Previews before turning the feature on for everyone in March 2019. We’ve set up a User Group where we’d love to hear your thoughts, questions and any issues that you find with the Previews.

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Community Member

So.. this looks pretty amazing (who invented it again?? LOL) 

CONFUSED: So is this rolling out in the January release or not until March?  Above it says March but Canvas Release notes says Jan... Am I mis-reading something? (likley!) 

Lamplighter‌, it will be a feature option in January (so yes, available to use with the January release), and turned on for everyone in March.

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Community Member

Ok, well I love this idea.

Observations: I have tried a few direct links of content from Commons and plugged into the URL:

1. When I click "View" nothing happens (fig 1)

2. However, when drag and drop the exported cartridge, it does work

3.  After pasting the the URL in Commons or the URL that comes with "copy Link address" the link changes. (fig 3)


(copy Link Address):  THIS LINK changes to 

fig. 1


fig. 2


fig. 3


Anyways, I am loving and kudos to those hard working peeps who made this possible. 


Community Member

The viewer nicely displays the organization section of my thin common cartridge's manifest. Will there be future support for the resources section of the thin common cartridge as well? I would love to have the viewer recognize my supplementary materials and associated standards that also exist in my cartridge files.