One of the things that we're keen to do with XMarks is to make it as easy as possible for people to try out our system.
One way of doing this would be to find a way of distributing an easy installation kit that would get a working system pretty much up and running.
At the recent JISC Toolkits and Demonstrators Startup meeting
, we found out about the NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Installation System)
project, an Open source project hosted on SourceForge.
Looks like cool software. It's windows-based, which might be a limitation for us.
I'm mostly blogging about it as a kind of a book-mark; even if we don't use NSIS it's important we think about how to package our system to make it as easy as possible to try out.
We had our first technical team meeting yesterday, where we talked about the web services for XMarks, and what kind of underlying data representation we'd need
First of all, we thought about how assessment/assignment ids would need to be tracked around the system.
Currently, our administration database (aka our student records system SRS) contains a record for all contributory (summative) assessments and all non-contributory (formative) assignments - except for those currently existing only in the learning management system
And Moodle - our learning management system - currently has its own records for quizzes etc.
So we could see assessment data flowing in two directions.
a) Our administration database could assert the existence of a given assessment/assignment - in which case it would be able to pass the Admin id into Moodle
b) Moodle would be able to assert the existence of a given quiz, in which case it would be able to pass the Moodle id out to the admin database.
See illustrations below:
|Flip chart sketch of the "handshake" or id exchange|| ||Diagram of the "handshake" or id exchange|
We could potential have a synchronous handshake style exchange where the target system in each case passed back
the id that it was going to use.
From there, we thought through in a bit more detail exactly what the web service might look like:
|Flip chart sketch of web service overview|| ||Diagram of the web service overview|
Welcome to the XMarks project!
We'll be exploring ways of exchanging marks and assessment data between our university Student Records System and our Learning Management System.
The overall approach will be to use a web service, and this is our current thinking about a flexible, generic web services architecture: