Release notes for WeBWorK 2.9

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                         Online Homework Delivery System                        
                                  Version 2.9                           

                    Copyright 2000-2014, The WeBWorK Project                    
                              All rights reserved.                              


Release date: June 20, 2014

Github repository:
Modules:    webwork2   pg 


Warning : No new modules or database fields were added between 2.8 and 2.9 so you shouldn't need to upgrade your courses or install any new Perl modules. However, you will need to run OPL-update and if you are upgrading from 2.7 or earlier you may still need to upgrade courses or install software.:
  • Necessary: Update the OPL to the latest version using git and run webwork2/bin/OPL-update.
  • Suggested: Run webwork2/bin/check_modules to insure that your CPAN modules are all installed.
  • Suggested: Check the course tables are up to date by visiting the admin web page (the upgrade courses tab).
  • Suggested: Make sure that MathJax is properly installed in /opt/webwork/MathJax.

Primary Changes

This is a smaller release than 2.8, as evidenced by the fact that there are no database or module additions. The primary changes to WeBWorK for this release are: support for Apache version 2.4 (and hence the latest versions of Ubuntu and Fedora), polishing the math4 interface, adding a couple of new PG modules, and general bug fixing.


The ww_install installer has been upgraded to support Apache 2.4. You can use it by following the instructions on the previous link. Note: ww_install also installs the components necessary to switch your installation to the develop branch without installing new software. (You will need to upgrade your course tables, and run OPL update though.)

What's new?

  • System Updates
    • Added support for Apache 2.4
      • This includes internal changes to WeBWorK to support Apache 2.4 as well as a new configuration file, webwork-apache2.4-config, which should be used for Apache 2.4
      • Remember that you also need to use the new Apache 2.4 directives when setting up your server: MaxConnectionsPerChild in place of MaxRequestsPerChild, and MaxRequestWorkers in place of MaxClients.
    • Removed jsMath. This display method has been entirely superseded by MathJax
    • Added maketext calls to places where they are missing. This is the first step for localizing these strings. They now need to be translated.
    • Fixed depreciation warnings for Perl >5.16
  • General Interface Updates
    • Added an unsupported-themes folder and moved everything but math3 and math4 into that folder.
      • Newer pages assume things like the presence of jQuery or certain bootstrap elements. These are missing from old themes that haven't been kept up to date. Using these themes will cause unexpected results. You can re-enable them, at your own risk, by moving them from unsupported-themes back to themes.
    • Added LaTeX editing support for MathView. This has two uses.
      • If you enable MathView and use essay questions then MathView can be used to typeset LaTeX equations in an essay box.
      • If you set $options{PGMathView} = 1; in a config file (not available in the main course config page) it will make the MathView editor available for inserting LaTeX equations into the PG Editors
    • Cleaned up how MathView looks on small screens.
    • Cleaned up support for long set names. They still don't look great but they are better. (This includes allowing a lot of long set names to wrap. This is better than them overlapping other elements, but they can look weird if they are long names in a narrow area.)
    • Added a button which can collapse or expand the navigation bar on the left hand side of the page. The bar starts collapsed on phones and expanded otherwise.
    • Improved how the Problem Sets and Problem Set page are formatted. They have links instead of buttons for set names and problem numbers. The set names wont drop below the checkmark/radioboxs anymore.
    • Cleaned up the tables for the Homework Sets Editor and Classlist Editor. The select box in each is its own column, the select all feature has been moved to the table header. The select all, unselect all and clear buttons have been removed since they are not needed.
    • Cleaned up some other math4 display things, including removing extraneous buttons and removing extraneous button coloring.
  • Library Browser Updates
    • Fixed a bug where the Hide Problem button froze browsers when used on a problem with "More Like This". Also improved how Hide Problems and More Like This work together.
    • Added support to the OPL for cross-listing taxonomy in the library. Now things like "Vector Geometry" can appear in more than one subject.
  • Achievement Updates
    • Fixed Achievement Editor bugs, including errors on exporting and selections disappearing.
    • Changed achievement scoring so that dropped and audit students aren't scored. When you score achievements the success message contains a link to the scoring file.
  • Under the Hood Updates
    • Changed how Essay Answers works to speed things up. It no longer reports if you have problems that need grading on the Problem Grader links, but the pages load faster.
  • Homework Sets Editor Updates
    • Fixed a bug with the Datepicker and set names with a "." in them. Also improved how Datepicker works with the import date shift functionality.
      • Fun fact some of our strings get parsed so often that "." needs to be replaced with "\\\\\."
  • Classlist Editor Updates
    • Cleaned up the classlist table so that abbreviations for statuses aren't shown and the email address isn't shown. The actual status and a link to send an email are shown instead.
    • In ClassListEditor2 filtering on Permissions or Status now filters on the actual Permission or Status, not the code used to store those in the database.
  • Problem Editor Updates
    • Fixed a bug where "open in new window" sometimes didn’t open in a new window in PGProblemEditor2. Also made it so the "open in new window" checkbox is responsive to what you are selecting.
    • Upgraded PGProblemEditor2 so append works with gateway sets.
    • Added support for "Append" back to PGProblemEditor3.
    • Changed the behaviour of PGProblemEditor3 so that if you "Save As" or "Append" it will open the new file for editing instead of remaining on the old file.
  • PG Updates
    • Fixed a bug where applet based questions weren't working properly.
    • Fixed a bug with images in problems not having the right size in tables in IE.
    • Added a statistics macro and pcctables macro for pg to defaults.config.
    • Added some statistics functionality to PG, including more flexibility for Bernoulli variables and the ability to use arbitrary discrete probability distributions.
    • Added smarter fraction support to PG. Now toFraction now turns things like .33333 into 1/3 and not 33333/100000.
    • Added support to override arithmetic operators to distinguish between different forms of answers (
    • Added support for more accessible tables in PG using
    • Changed how MathJax is loaded by PG. It should be a little faster on pages loading a number of problems at the same time.
    • Upgraded PG to support the newest versions of Perl.
    • Improving how tables work in PG. Among the little improvements are how table headers work, how images work in tables, and accessibility concerns.
    • Fixed a bug with contextTypeset that was causing bugs when students used asciiMath formulas in Essay questions.

Supported Distributions and Features

The following are the distributions and features that are officially still supported. You still can use WeBWorK on whatever you like, of course. In particular if you install WeBWorK on a very recent version of Ubuntu or Fedora and have problems let us know.

  • Ubuntu LTS 14.04
  • Debian 7
  • Centos 6
  • Fedora 20

We also want to support RedHat 6 but can't reliably test on it because the distribution is not freely available. If you install on RedHat 6 and run into trouble let us know.

We are also removing or depreciating support for some things that have been replaced by newer components.

  • RedHat 5 is no longer supported because its version of Perl (5.8.x) is not new enough. Perl 5.10.x is required and 5.12 or higher is recommended.
  • The old version of the Homework Sets Editor and the Classlist Editor are no longer shown by default and are no longer maintained. If they are enabled via a configuration file they will still (mostly) work, but are not kept up to date.
  • With the increased use of JavaScript, more of our functionality has become dependent on to what were once mostly cosmetic themes. Right now the only two supported themes are math3 and math4, and math3 is only partially supported for the newest of features. Older themes can be found in the unsupported-themes directory.

What could possibly go wrong?

  • You can get a red warning error about using a theme which does not exist. You should go to Course Configuration and select either math3 or math4.
  • If you are upgrading from an older version you may need to update your course tables and install new modules.
  • If you don't also upgrade PG to the latest version you might not be able to have problems load correctly on the latest versions of Perl.
  • Remember to update the OPL and run OPL-update.