A filesystem driver that allows you to view your Blackboard course contents as if they were normal files and folders on your system!

Related tags

Command-line bbfs
Overview

BlackboardFS

Blackboard: noun A website so bad that it might as well be a network drive.

BlackboardFS is a filesystem driver that allows you to view your Blackboard course contents as if they were normal files and folders on your system!

A banner image demonstrating how BlackboardFS maps Blackboard courses to folders

The filesystem matches Blackboard's structure as closely as possible, with the same familiar sidebar names and even the course's internal folder structure!

$ tree Blackboard/COMP3506
Blackboard/COMP3506
├── Announcements.desktop
├── Assessment
│   ├── Assignment One: Due Week 6
│   ├── Blackboard.desktop
│   └── Quiz Solutions
│       ├── Blackboard.desktop
│       ├── quiz1-sol.pdf
│       ├── quiz2-sol%281%29.pdf
│       └── quiz3-sol.pdf
├── Blackboard.desktop
├── Course Help
│   ├── Blackboard.desktop
│   └── Student services and resources
├── Course Profile (ECP).desktop
├── Course Staff.desktop
├── Ed Discussion.desktop
├── Gradescope.desktop
├── Learning Resources
│   ├── Blackboard.desktop
│   ├── Code Snippets
│   │   ├── Blackboard.desktop
│   │   ├── Week 1
│   │   ├── Week 2
│   │   ├── Week 3
│   │   └── Week 4
│   ├── COMP3506-7505-2023-plan-v3.pdf
│   ├── Course Reading List.desktop
│   ├── Lecture_Recordings.desktop
│   ├── Resources

--snip--

15 directories, 70 files

Links to external resources are exposed as .desktop files (Linux) or .webloc files (macOS) so you can easily reach Gradescope, echo360, and even get back to Blackboard's own web UI right from your file browser!

As a bonus, browsing the filesystem is significantly faster than browsing the Blackboard web UI, which is very helpful when you're stuck on slow campus WiFi.

Requirements

macOS

BlackboardFS requires macFUSE be installed on your system.

Linux

The auth window requires GTK3, WebKitGTK, and related libraries be installed on your system. Additionally, to mount the filesystem, FUSE3 is required. Make sure the following packages are installed:

Debian/Ubuntu

sudo apt install libwebkit2gtk-4.1-dev libfuse3-dev

Fedora

sudo dnf install gtk3-devel webkit2gtk4.1-devel fuse3-devel

Arch/Manjaro

sudo pacman -S webkit2gtk-4.1 fuse3

Installation

Clone this repo to a location of your choosing. Then

git submodule update && git submodule init

You can then cargo run -p bbfs-cli or cargo install --bin bbfs-cli as you wish.

Usage

This is a FUSE-based filesystem. To mount:

bbfs <mount_point>

This will spawn a browser window for you to log in with your UQ login. WE ARE ABLE TO INJECT ARBITRARY CODE INTO THIS BROWSER WINDOW, SO MAKE SURE YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND OUR CODE TO MAKE SURE WE'RE NOT STEALING YOUR CREDENTIALS (the relevant code is in cookie_monster/; everything else only gets a session token).

To unmount the filesystem:

fusermount -u <mount_point>

or on MacOS:

diskutil unmount <mount_point>
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