Written By Vinaya Mayya

On December 19th, 2018, we announced the release of version 3.1 of our ODS / API.  The collaboration between the Ed-Fi Tech Team and education agencies who are actively working towards operationalizing Ed-Fi Technical Suite 3 in the 2019-2020 school year has been instrumental for this release. Here are the key features of the update:

Alignment with the Data Standard 3.1a

The ODS / API v3.1 implements Data Standard 3.1a (RFC) which brings in the assessment changes from Data Standard 2.2 and a few non-breaking changes to student information system domains.

Support for Changed Record Queries

In previous versions there was no way of identifying changed records, which required client systems to request full datasets and then overwrite or merge them with the target system. The ODS / API v3.1 introduces the Change Queries feature to address this problem. This allows clients to request only the changed records (inserted, updated, and deleted) after a specified point in time.

Scalable data out also needs to address problem of high normalization of the data model. In 2018, the Alliance convened a Bulk Data Exchange Over REST API SIG to consider possible bulk solutions and design a proposed bulk JSON-based protocol (see the SIG notes for all details – requires Ed-Fi SSO login). This design is a possible future approach to this problem.

Support for Multiple Operational Contexts

In Ed-Fi Technical Suite 2, Data Standard interoperability was challenged by highly localized enumeration sets. Ed-Fi Enumerations SIG worked on this issue and came up with a design for future of enumerations with interoperability in mind. The ODS / API v3.1 implements this design and brings in support for multiple enumeration sets (operational contexts) by providing mappings between different Ed-Fi Descriptor sets, and by allowing for an explicit declaration of operational context. In this release, v3.1 builds the operational context schema and infrastructure. Ed-Fi Dashboards 3.0 will leverage this infrastructure. .

Migration Support

Since Technical Suite 3 includes substantial breaking data standard changes to Suite 2, Suite 2 ‘Shared Instances’ will need to migrate their data to Suite 3 before switching Suite 3. The ODS / API v3.1 includes a migration utility that supports this migration. This utility has out-of-the-box support for migrating an as-shipped ODS to the latest version. With additional customized scripting, the utility can be easily adapted and used to migrate extended ODS instances. This utility could also be used to migrate your test database to suite 3 to speed up your development.

Additional Updates

This release brings in several extension fixes to facilitate Finance domain extensions, TPDM extensions and state extensions. This release also includes significant performance improvements, and some breaking changes to datetime fields. See What’s New in v3.1 for more details.

What is Next for Suite 3

  • The Azure and AWS deployment configurations for v3.1 will be released at the end of February. Windows Installer, and sample Docker build scripts are underway as well. These will be published to the Ed-Fi Exchange.
  • The Admin App with Learning Standards Integration (for both on-prem and Cloud) is expected to be available in Q1.
  • Ed-Fi Dashboards v3.0 work is underway and is anticipated at the end of Q1.
  • Ed-Fi Student Information Systems API v3 Certification is available.

A special thanks to Wisconsin, Arizona, Nebraska and Delaware DOEs for collaborating and providing timely feedback and making this release successful. To learn more visit Tech Docs and API documentation.