The Ed-Fi ODS / API has undergone significant development over the years, transforming into a robust tool for collecting and accessing education data. The Ed-Fi community has played a critical role in guiding its evolution and the introduction of key features, including addition of PostgreSQL support Ed-Fi ODS / API, migration to .NET core, docker deployments, and dynamic extensions. With the ODS / API development team gearing up for the v7.0 release, this article explores some of the upcoming enhancements that have been prioritized by the Ed-Fi community. ODS/API v7.0 is scheduled for release on in late-July/early-August and includes early access to Data Standard v5.0-pre1. (Keep an eye on our Slack channel for real-time updates.) The full production-ready 7.1 release is scheduled for November 30. For more information about Ed-Fi releases, see the Ed-Fi Technology Roadmap (community login required).
Flexible Data Standard Version Support in the Ed-Fi ODS / API
Last October, we published a revised release and support cadence that unblocks data standard evolution and announces a 3-year support cycle. To accommodate this release and support cadence more effectively, we are making changes to Ed-Fi ODS / API tech stack that enables us to build, release, and support the ODS / API for multiple major versions of the data standard concurrently. With the upcoming release, we are decoupling the API and Data Standard artifacts, making it possible to release the latest API code with a previous Data Standard version. We are excited that this decoupling would allow implementations to take advantage of bug fixes and improvements made to the tech suite and take in supported data standard updates with a cadence that suits their institution.
Dynamic Profile Configuration
Ed-Fi ODS / API profiles enable creation of data a policy for a set of API resources limiting the data (properties, collections, and collection items) that is available for reading and writing. In the past releases, configuring profiles required rebuild and redeployment from source code. With the upcoming ODS / API release, profiles can be defined and updated at runtime without the need for recompiling or redeploying. Additionally, profiles will integrate seamlessly with extension plugins. This feature will enable changes to data policy even after the deployment of ODS / API throughout the school year as consumer needs change.
Multi-Tenancy, Deployment Modes, Routing
These changes are aimed at providing flexibility to the platform host in terms of where the ODS, Admin, and Security databases are stored while ensuring that these configurations remain transparent to the API client. The existing deployment modes offered by the ODS / API platform provide some level of flexibility in segregating data in a deployment, but they fall short in providing additional configurations that managed service providers need to support their clients. Current configurations lack uniformity, and some of the modes do not support all features in the API. To address these challenges, we are working on an alternative approach that is simpler and more flexible. The proposed changes, as outlined in the published design allows for more customized and flexible deployment configurations. Of course, achieving this requires a significant programming effort and internal architecture rearrangement. The Ed-Fi ODS development team has been working hard to deliver this in the upcoming release.
We would like to thank in particular the participants of the ODS / API Feature Enhancements special interest group and the Ed-Fi Technical Advisory Group for their time and energy in helping us make important decisions on these enhancements.