SIF Association

This blog is run by the staff of the SIF (Schools/Systems Interoperability Framework) Association for the use of it's members and the general educational community.

It is specifically designed for those who are interested in understanding what SIF is about, where the standard is going and how Schools, Districts and State Educational Authorities will benefit.

Monday, May 9, 2011

SIF v2.5 Web Service Release is now publicly available!

The new SIF release which integrates SOAP / WSDL web service technologies into the existing SIF standard is now publicly available on the SIF v2.5 release website

So what does this mean for current and potential future SIF adopters?

Enhanced Functionality
For openers, by making the educational data, and particularly the student data within a SIF Zone available to web service applications created with industry standard tool kits,  it is now significantly easier to integrate SIF components into District and State level computing environments, and to find and train SIF developers to create and manage them.

Ease of Migration
This new web service functionality was specifically designed to strengthen rather than obsolete earlier investments in developing and deploying SIF solutions.  From the very beginning, the strategy for incorporating web service technology into the SIF infrastructure was to “embrace” rather than to “replace”.  

As a result, Web Services now comprise a second SIF reference infrastructure, equal and completely interoperable with the first, and SIF Web Service applications are both backwards and forwards compatible with all SIF applications developed to either infrastructure. Once a Zone Integration Server (ZIS)   (see Section 3.3.2 SIF Zone Architecture) has been upgraded to version 2.5, it will do the necessary bridging so that whenever a SIF web service is subsequently installed it will seamlessly interoperate with all previously deployed SIF applications (supporting either infrastructure stack).

To Web Services ... and Beyond!
The extensive features of the SIF Zone infrastructure:
  • Guaranteed message delivery
  • Content based routing
  • Publish and subscribe
  • Service auto discovery
  • Data security (encryption, authentication,m authorization)
are provided  to these new SIF web services as well.  This should significantly reduces the amount of logic (and programmer time) associated with ensuring this level of functionality in many other web service environments, and where needed, eases the integration between a SIF Zone and any Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) middleware.

A “SIF Web Service Developer’s Toolkit” is also included with this release.  It comes complete with a set of WSDL files and SOAP Binding XML Schema that combined with the separate SIF Web Service volume of the v2.5 specification, will greatly  facilitate the construction of new SIF Web Services as well as the conversion of existing SIF applications.

SIF v2.5 -  it's a very major minor release indeed!