CodeBash 4 – testing interoperability

It’s not been so much springwatch time as codewatch time for JISC CETIS with our fourth codebash taking place on 7/8th June at the University of Bolton.

As in previous events the ‘bash’ focused mainly on content related activities concerning IMS Content Packaging and QTI. However there were a number of extended conversations surrounding various e-portfolio issues. The Portfolio SIG held a co-located meeting at the University on the second day of the codebash.

Thanks to our Dutch colleagues at SURF we were able to provide remote access to the event through the use of their macromedia breeze system. We had about 15 remote participants including a large Scandinavian contingent organised through Tore Hoel from the Norwegian eStandards project. Tore also hosted a face to face meeting on day two of the bash.

Day one began with a series of presentations giving updates on IMS Content Packaging, QTI and SCORM. Although it may well seem that content packaging is ‘done and dusted’ there are still some issues that need resolved particularly with the imminent release of v1.2 of the specification. Wilbert Kraan outlined the plans the IMS project working group have to develop two profiles (one a quite limited version of widely implemented features and one more general) for the new version of the spec to mixed response. Some people felt there was a danger that providing such profiles could limit creativity and use of the newer features of the specification and create defacto limited implementation. It was agreed that care would have to be taken on the language used to describe the use of any such profiles.

Steve Lay then gave an update on IMS QTI and a useful potted history of the spec’s development stages and the functionality of each release of the specifcation. The IMS working group is currently looking at profiling issues and hopes to have a final release of the latest version of the spec available by early 2008. Angelo Panar from ADL provided the final presentation giving an overview of developments in SCORM and the proposed LETSI initiative to move the governance of SCORM out of ADL and into the wider user community. Angelo also outlined some of the areas he envisaged SCORM would develop such as extending sequencing and consistent user interface issues.

Although smaller than previous ‘bashes’, the general feeling was that this had been a useful event. There’s nothing quite like putting a group of developers in room together and letting them ‘talk technical’ 🙂 It’s probably fair to say that less bashing of packages took place than in previous events, but some useful testing particularly in relation to QTI did take place between remote and f2f participants. Maybe this was a sign of the success of previous events in that many interoperability issues have been ironed out. It is also probably indicative of the current state of technology use in our community where we are now increasingly moving towards web services and soa approaches. It is likely that the next event we run will focus more on those areas – so if you have any suggestions for such an event, please let us know.

Copies of the presentations and audio recordings are available from the codebash web page. You may also be interested in Pete Johnson’s (Eduserve) take on the event too.

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