Here are some slightly-edited notes I provided to colleagues following my attendance at the October 2009 IMS Quarterly Learning Information Services (LIS) project team meeting. LIS is the next generation of what has previously been called "IMS Enterprise" and brings together the capabilities of batch processing (original IMS Enterprise) and the more "chatty" capabilities of IMS Enterprise Services alongside other refinements and additions.
The meeting was mostly oriented around:
- Demonstration by Oracle and a presentation by Sungard about their implementation of LIS
- Discussion on (minor) modifications to support requirements from IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)
- Mapping out next steps
The headline news is that a public draft release is expected in December this year. The core specification is judged to be fit for purpose and further work, after public draft, will focus on the definition of the "HE profile" and the conformance requirements.
Conformance specification and testing is acknowledged to be a difficult problem but there is interest in using BPEL to create what are effectively unit test scripts. Oracle seems to have taken this approach and there is some literature relating to it. It is my conjecture that a library of unit tests (in BPEL) managed by the to-be-instantiated "Accredited Profile Management Group" for LIS in IMS would be a practical approach to testing implementations of LIS.
Linda Feng (Oracle) showed their Campus Solutions "Student Administration Integration Pack" working with Sakai (Unicon version), Inigral Schools on Facebook app) and Beehive (Oracle collaboration software). Linda has recorded a ViewLet (best viewed full-screen). The Sakai integration used "normal" LIS SOAP web services but the other two used an ESB (specifically the Oracle service bus). The Beehive case is worthy of note as the integration was achieved, as I understand it, without any code mods to Beehive: LDAP was used for core person (an LDAP binding for LIS has been developed) and the existing REST API for Beehive was translated to from LIS SOAP via the ESB. Inigral is also REST based. It was reported that the Beehive integration took a couple of person weeks to achieve and I can see quite a few people following the ESB route.
Sungard had only just completed a code sprint and were not in a position to demo. They expect to have both batch and chatty versions completed in Q1 2010. They did comment that many customers were already using "old" Enterprise batch processing but fully intend to move to LIS (and leap Enterprise Services v1.0).
I gather Moodle Rooms is also close to completing a LIS implementation although this is probably currently implemented against an old draft of LIS (the press release is cagey and doesn't mention LIS)
At the terminal "summit day" of the quarterly, Michael Feldstein did a showman-like intro to LIS which was video-ed (I'll link it in when posted) and he has subsequently blogged about supplier inclinations towards LIS.