The Ed-Fi Alliance is not a product company. But we do have a few technical products: the Ed-Fi Data Standard and software, including the Ed-Fi ODS/API Platform, Admin App, and more. Gathering input and balancing priorities between disparate stakeholders is hard work. We like to bring those stakeholders together from time-time, so that the Alliance can hear from them and they can hear from each other.

As in years past, the Alliance’s Tech Team convened a “tech town hall” listening session at the Ed-Fi Summit in November. To ensure those who were unable to attend in person were included in the conversation, the team followed up with a virtual meetup, as a special adjunct to last summer’s “In the Weeds with Ed-Fi” series of gatherings. #EdFiInTheWeeds

We are already gearing up for the next big event: Ed-Fi Tech Congress 2022 in San Diego, California: three days of nothing but tech (and sun, and maybe there’s a waterfront excursion in there somewhere…).

Here is a roundup of some of the bigger conversations that emerged in these conversations, in no particular order. Common themes: scalability, performance, and modernization.

  • Data Volume: what modifications can be made to improve the handling of large volumes of data loading into the ODS/API? Areas of particular concern: positive attendance, gradebook
  • System-to-system Synchronization: closely related to Data Volume, we need to improve the ability to fully synchronize source and destination systems. Of particular concern: deletes. This applies to data coming from a vendor to an ODS/API instance via Data Import, and it applies to synchronization from ODS/API to downstream destinations.
  • Caching: the ODS/API Platform has a limited caching capability for descriptors, people, education organizations, and security. This caching helps lower traffic to the database, but it has a cost in terms of memory usage, and it does not scale across multiple instances of an API (load balancing). Can a distributed cache be added?
  • NoSQL: when will Ed-Fi support data storage using a NoSQL database? Will the applications support the new .NET Framework 6 in 2022?
  • MappingEDU: what is the future of this venerable utility?
  • Network Traffic: what steps can be taken to reduce network traffic / contention?

For more detail on these topics, including links to Ed-Fi Tracker tickets where you can follow-up on specific issues, please see the 2021 Tech Town Hall Report Out in Tech Docs. And keep an eye on that Roadmap to see if your favorite topic has made it into the development queue for 2022.Whether in-person or virtual, we look forward to continuing the conversation in Slack and at Tech Congress 2022.

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