I'm exploring various ways to fit a large amount of data into the student answer that gets recorded into the database. The limit is around 5k characters. Access to gzip or something similar would allow pretty good compression of text (like an SVG or a JSON string) and give me a little more flexibility. As far as I can tell, nothing like that is available to PG problems and it's not possible to add external modules. Am I missing something?
I'm also aware that a compressed answer wouldn't be readable in the past answers screen. (But I'm handling it fine on the actual problem page.) However, even a JSON string that contains various metadata wouldn't be very useful to a student who wants to see past answers, either. I've looked at the ShowAnswers.pm file and it seems that everything just gets encoded to non-PG, non-HTML, plain text. How did the Flash applets handle this? I don't know what kind of answers they would record.
Thanks in advance!