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Blackboard Help

Install Building Blocks

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on installing and managing building blocks.

Administrators manage building blocks from the Install Building Blocks page or using the B2Manager command line tool.

Managing Building Blocks from the Administrator Panel

Software Updates

The Software Updates module, located in the Administrator Panel, provides building block updates and access to newly released building blocks. To learn more, see Software Updates.

How to Install or Update a Building Block

In some cases, installing a new version of a building block might require the existing version to be uninstalled before installing the new version. If overwriting the building block does not work, try this method.

Before you can install a building block, you must download an existing building block or create a new one.

In a load-balanced or distributed environment, Blackboard Learn automatically deploys the information to all other nodes.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Building Blocks, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools.
  3. Click Upload Building Blocks.
  4. Click Browse to locate the building block .war file. This file may also be a .zip file.

    Blackboard maintains a catalog of building blocks at http://www.blackboard.com/Support/Extensions.aspx. To learn more about creating building blocks, see Building Blocks API and Web Services Specifications and Changes. These files are available in English only on behind.blackboard.com.

  5. Click Submit to upload the file to Blackboard Learn, and then click OK to go back to the Building Blocks page.
  6. To enable the building block, click Available in the Availability list for the building block. Blackboard Learn lists the permissions that the building block requires. This is a security feature to protect Blackboard Learn from dangerous content. If you are concerned about the permissions given to a building block, contact the vendor before approving the permissions.
  7. To make the building block available and allow it the listed permissions, click Approve.

To update a building block, follow instructions from the vendor. Note that most upgrades uninstall the old version of the building block and replace it with the new version.

How to Remove a Building Block

When a building block is no longer needed, administrators can choose to delete the building block or  make it unavailable. When you make a building block unavailable, it remains in Blackboard Learn but is not available to users. When you delete a building block, it is removed from Blackboard Learn. If you plan to use the building block again in the future, make it unavailable.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Building Blocks, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools.
  3. To disable the building block, click Unavailable in the Availability list.
    -OR-
    To uninstall the building block, click Delete, and then click OK to approve the action.

What Happens to the Building Block Content?

Content tools that are added as building blocks allow instructors to create different types of content and display it to users. When a content tool has been removed or made unavailable, users cannot access content created using that content tool. Students cannot see the links to these content items. Instructors can see the links, but they cannot open or view the content. If the building block is made available again, the links become visible and available to everyone.

How to Manage Building Blocks

The following table provides descriptions of the available management options.

  1. On the Administrator Panel, under Building Blocks, click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools. The following table describes the available tasks.
    Installed Tools Tasks
    To Click
    Make changes to the building block Settings. This button will only appear if the building block is configurable. Make any changes to the configuration of the building block. The settings are specific to each building block and may contain items such as license files, external resources, or global settings.
    Remove the building block Delete. This action is irreversible.
    Make the building block unavailable/ available The list in the Availability column and select one of the following values:
    • Inactive: In this state the building block is registered but cannot execute any code, including configuration scripts. This is the default state when all building blocks are first installed.
    • Available: The building block is available to users.
    • Unavailable: The building block is registered, can execute code, but is not available to users.
    Set the default availability within courses for a building block tool The list in the Course/Org Default column. This option determines whether the tool is available by default within courses.
    Examine details about the building block View Components. This page lists the components that make up the building block as well as a description, its version number, the vendor information, and its default and available languages. If the building block has its own CSS for any of the default themes, those themes are listed to help you locate the proper files during customization work.
    Download a Building Block Find and Download Building Blocks. This links to http://www.blackboard.com/Partnerships/Extensions.aspx. Building blocks can be downloaded to a computer and then added to the system. Downloading a building block will not install it. 
    Install a building block Upload building block.

Managing Building Blocks Using the B2Manager Command

How to Install or Update a Building Block

Step 1: Install the building block

Type the following command, where blackboard_home is the Blackboard installation location and B2_Path & Filename is the full path and file name of the building block being installed or updated:

UNIX Syntax:

/usr/local/blackboard_home/tools/admin/B2Manager.sh -i B2_Path & Filename.war
For example: /usr/local/blackboard_home/tools/admin/B2Manager.sh -i /usr/local/MyB2.war

Windows Syntax:

C:\blackboard_home\tools\admin\B2Manager.bat -i B2_Path & Filename.war
For example:C:\blackboard_home\tools\admin\B2Manager.bat -i C:\BuildingBlocks\MyB2.war

Step 2: Configure the Building Block

You can configure the building block using these steps or from the Administrator Panel. Under Building Blocks, click Building Blocks, and then click Installed Tools.

  1. Type the following command, where blackboard_home is the Blackboard installation location:
    UNIX Syntax:

    /usr/local/blackboard_home/tools/admin/B2Manager.sh -v

    Windows Syntax:

    C:\blackboard_home\tools\admin\B2Manager.bat -v

  2. In the verbose list, locate the building block being configured.
  3. From the Setup field, copy the URL listed and paste it into a web browser. If asked to authenticate, use your Blackboard administrator credentials.
  4. Follow the steps provided by the building block provider to complete the configuration process.

How to Manage Building Blocks

You can manage any building block using the B2Manager command line tool.

  1. From a command line, change to the following directory, where blackboard_home is the Blackboard Learn installation location:
    UNIX Syntax:

    cd %/usr/local/blackboard_home/tools/admin

    Windows Syntax:

    cd C:\blackboard_home\tools\admin

  2. From this directory, type the following to run the B2Manager command using the desired operation, where filename is the name of the building block .war file and B2_Handle is the "Handle" that identifies the building block. To identify the handle of the building block, type one of the List commands (-v or -l):
    UNIX Syntax:

    B2Manager.sh < -c VALUE | -r | -s VALUE | -v | -l > [filename | B2_Handle]

    For example:

    To change the system status of the MyB2 building block to active, type:B2Manager.sh -s AVAILABLE MyB2

    To list all building blocks in verbose form, type:B2Manager.sh -v

    Windows Syntax:

    B2Manager.bat < -c VALUE | -r | -s VALUE | -v | -l > [filename| B2_Handle]

    For example:

    To change the system status of the MyB2 building block to active, type:B2Manager.bat -s AVAILABLE MyB2

    To list all building blocks in verbose form, type:B2Manager.bat -v

    Note:  To identify the handle of the building block, enter one of the List commands (-v or -l).

    List commands
    Command Description
    -c Change the default course or organization status of the specified building block. This option determines whether the tool is available by default within courses. Valid values:
    AVAILABLE or UNAVAILABLE
    -r Remove the specified building block from the system. This action is irreversible.
    -s Change the system status of the specified building block. Valid values:
    • INACTIVE: In this state, the building block is registered but cannot execute any code, including configuration scripts. This is the default state when all building blocks are first installed.
    • AVAILABLE: The building block is available to users.
    • UNAVAILABLE: The building block is registered, can execute code, but is not available to users.
    -v List all installed building blocks in verbose form. If the filename or B2_Handle is specified, only the information for that building block will be listed.
    -l List all installed building blocks in short form. If the filenameor B2_Handle is specified, only the information for that Building block will be listed. Format of listing: "B2 Name" B2_Handle by Vendor [System Status] SetupURL
    -o Override safety measures for mandatory B2s
    *BLACKBOARD USE ONLY*  Usage can put your system in an unstable state.
    -d Override safety measures for B2 dependency checks
    *BLACKBOARD USE ONLY*  Usage can put your system in an unstable state.