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Re: [school-discuss] SIF - A second glance

On 24 Jan 2002, Justin Zeigler wrote:

> I would suggest a very serious discussion as to whether or not 
> SIF is a Project/Standard/Group with which  Schoolforge should 
> encourage participation.  There are some serious holes in the 
> recommendations(session handling), that may be fatal in the
> Open Source community's ability to inter-operate with other,
> proprietary, SIF products.  I put forward the idea that this
> list and its members consider creating a true standard for 
> schools to use for inter-system communication/coordination.

I concur.  My main goal was (and remains) to promote interoperability
between open source educational apps.  I still think this is a worthwhile
goal.  I no longer beleive that SIF is necessarily the best route.
Intellectual Property concerns aside, I'm starting to think that parts of
the spec were designed with the "Keep your hands off my candy" mindset.
It is also not possible to even discuss changes to the spec unless you are
a paid member of SIIA.  I think we could do better.

A discussion on the openprojects #schoolforge channel brought up a few
other possibilities.  The gist of it was that the XML interchange format
is a good one.  There should be more than one route for interchanging
these documents between applications.

1.  A ZIS like central message handling server (with support for
    authentication and session handling)
2.  E-mail gateway
3.  Shared filesystems (ie save from one app, load into another)
4.  Sneaker net

The long and short of it is that we need an XML schema.  I'm going to dig
up Bruno Vernier's EduML and take another look at that.  One thing this
SIF adventure has brought me is a better understanding of XML.  :)