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TSUGI - A Framework for Building Interoperable Learning Tools

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Tsugi is a multi-tenant scalable LTI library and tool hosting environment. It is intended to make it more tractable to implement the Application Store that we will need for the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment.

This repository is the Tsugi Administration, Management, and Developer Console. This code also implements an IMS ContentItem App store.

While earlier versions of this repository included a set of modules, examples, and even exercises, as we move towards a 1.0 release of Tsugi, these elements are now moved to separate repositories (see below).


  • Install GIT so that it works at the command prompt.

  • Install a PHP/MySQL Environment like XAMPP / MAMP following the instructions at:

Tsugi Versions

Tsugi is intended as a continuously upgrading cloud deployment. Most of the Dr. Chuck servers have a cron job that does a git pull and runs upgrade.php every 30 minutes. You can see this infrastructure at:

As a result, there are no traditional "releases" of Tsugi - the common use case is to be pretty close to the tip of the main branch.

But sometimes, folks want to "hold back" from upgrading for a while. Perhaps they have an old version of PHP and can't run the latest. It is risky to hold back too long. But to help those running Tsugi that want to hold back, a series of versions / tags are maintained as "safe plateaus". These tags are often snapped right before a significant upgrade or data model change and announced on the dev list.

Long Term Support Versions

Mostly because PHP is evolving from version 7.0 to version 9.0 in ways that break code and break dependencies, we are maintaining several long term branches for those stuck on older versions of PHP - we maintain these as branches.

  • Branch: master - Requires PHP 8.2 or greater - probably would work on 8.1 but not 8.0

  • Branch: php-80-x - If you are running PHP 8.0 or a late version of PHP 7.x this is a good branch

  • Branch: php-74-x - This branch is a little earlier than php-80-x and should run on late versions of PHP 7.x and PHP 8.0

  • Branch: php-72-x - If you have a system that is lower than PHP 7.4, this is a safe branch


  • Check the code out from GitHub and put it in a directory where your web server can read it

      git clone

Method 1: Docker install

  • If you have Docker installed (OSX/Linux currently) you should just be able to run docker compose build and docker compose up and Tsugi will start up and initialize.
  • config-dist.php will be copied, you need to edit a few things in this like CFG->adminpw. Just edit these in place and they'll be updated.
  • Go to http://localhost:8888/tsugi and you should be all set.

Method 2: Manual install

  • Create a database and get authentication info for the database (MySQL 8.0 will need different commands):

      CREATE USER 'ltiuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'ltipassword';
      GRANT ALL ON tsugi.* TO 'ltiuser'@'localhost';
      CREATE USER 'ltiuser'@'' IDENTIFIED BY 'ltipassword';
      GRANT ALL ON tsugi.* TO 'ltiuser'@'';
      GRANT ALL ON tsugi.* TO ltiuser@'localhost';
      GRANT ALL ON tsugi.* TO ltiuser@'';
      SET PASSWORD FOR 'ltiuser'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('ltipassword');
      SET PASSWORD FOR 'ltiuser'@'' = PASSWORD('ltipassword');
  • Copy the file config-dist.php to config.php and edit the file to put in the appropriate values. Make sure to change all the secrets. If you are just getting started turn on DEVELOPER mode so you can launch the tools easily. Each of the fields is documented in the config-dist.php file - here is some additional documentation on the configuration values:

  • Go to the main page, and click on "Admin" to make all the database tables - you will need the Admin password you just put into config.php. If all goes well, lots of tables should be created. You can run upgrade.php more than once - it will automatically detect that it has been run.

Production instances

There is an entire repository that contains various build / deploy documentation showing how to install on EC2, Docker, Digital Ocean and Ubuntu.

These scripts make sure you have all the necessary pre-requisites installed and configured.

Adding Some Tools

If you are just exploring Tsugi, or doing a developer bootcamp, you can add some tools from some of the other repositories:

  • If you set the $CFG->install_path and go into the Admin interface, you can use "Manage Installed Modules" to install tools from Tsugi Tools

  • Tsugi Module Sample Code - These are relatively short bits of code that you can look at as you write your own Tsugi Module.

  • Tsugi Developer Exercises - This is a set of exercises of increasing difficulty suitable for a class or workshop. Working solutions are provided online. Source code for working solutions is only available to instructors that contact Dr. Chuck.

  • Sample Tsugi Module - Copy this if you want to start a fresh Tsugi Module from scratch. If you are building a new tool from scratch, you should build it as a "Tsugi Module" following all of the Tsugi style guidance, using the Tsugi browser environment, and making full use of the Tsugi framework. This repository contains a basic "Tsugi Module" you can use as a starting point.

  • Sample Tsugi-Enabled Application - You can also use Tsugi as a library and add it to a few places in an existing application. This repository contains sample code showing how to use Tsugi as a library in an existing application.

Each of these repositories contain instructions on how to install, configure, and hook each of these applications into your Tsugi instance. Once you install a new module or modules, you will need to re-run the Admin / Database Upgrade process to create the new tables required by the new applications.

We have a short document on how to check out all of the above tools and set up the configuration for them.

Developer Documentation

You can view some of the developer documentation for the PHP version of Tsugi at:

Other Repositories

The Tsugi Administration Console and Tsugi Modules / Applications depend on two other repositories:

  • Tsugi PHP Library - This is the code for the Tsugi run-time used by the Tsugi administration console and Tsugi PHP Modules and Applications.

  • Tsugi Static Content - This repository contains JavaScript, images, and CSS files shared across the various Tsugi implementations (PHP, Java, and NodeJS). The static content is available at - if you like you can check out your own copy of this repo locally or for your production environment and point your Tsugi config.php at your own copy of the library.

Other Languages

There were some emergent efforts to port the core Tsugi code to Java and Node. Partial implementations were built with the hopes that those interested in these languages would pick the code up, use it, and invest in those implementations. This has not happened so those projects are deprecated until some resources show up.

Going forward, there is an effort to increasingly move away from PHP and towards Python in a series of careful steps that won't break existing tools or servers.

The first step is to build a way to develop and host Python-based tools and then being to build a parallel version of the Tsugi core code and administration in Python.

You can play with an early version of a Tsugi Python Tool.

While the PHP Implementation of Tsugi is the most well developed, there are additional Tsugi implementations being developed:

  • Tsugi Java This is a reasonably complete implementation of the Tsugi run-time in Java. It shares low level IMS libraries with Sakai and is ready for production use.

  • Tsugi NodeJS - This is early pre-emergent code and not under active development.

Tsugi Developer List

Please join the Tsugi Developer List so you can stay up to date with the progress regarding Tsugi.