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Re: Joint statement about debian edu participation from the GUADEC 2004

On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 11:36:08 +0200, Andreas Schuldei
<andreas@schuldei.org> wrote:
> * Tom Hoffman (tom.hoffman@gmail.com) [040702 04:16]:
> > comprehensive REST web services API.  I also have some experience with
> > the School's Interoperability Framework,
> Which one? i assume there are special ones in the US?

Hi Andreas,

Thanks for asking.  Allow me to clarify my US-centric reference.

Dropping the extraneous apostrophe I added, the Schools
Interoperability Framework, or SIF (http://sifinfo.org), is a
longstanding (since 1997) industry initiative here in the US to
create, well, a framework for interoperability between applications in
schools.  The results have been decidedly mixed and actual deployments
are rare, but SIF Is at least a useful reference.

SIF is essentially a web services architecture.  It has its own
flavor, as it was created before SOAP and other methods you may be
more familiar with were invented.  A school implementing SIF would
install a "Zone Integration Server" (ZIS) which uses a
publish/subscribe model to coordinate the flow of information between
applications in the school which implement "SIF agents."

An example might be more useful.  Say my school's got a ZIS, and my
student information system and lunch system both have SIF agents.  The
agents would register themselves with the ZIS telling it what bits of
data they provide and which bits they want to subscribe to.  So then,
if I added a new student to the school's student information system,
it would notify the ZIS, and automatically pass on the change to the
lunch system.

I'm not proposing that the open source community embrace SIF outright,
but it does provide a useful perspective on the problem that reflects
seven years of input from vendors in the US.  The process of drafting
the spec is closed to non paying members of SIF, which is an obvious
problem.  However, the SIF data model and XML syntax in particular are
useful references.

It does seem that SIF has somewhat perversely been given a new lease
on life by the Bush administration's imposition of strict data
reporting by individual schools and districts in the US.


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