Thursday, July 17, 2008

SchoolTool News (from the mailing list)

Ignas, Alan and I held a three day sprint in Vilnius, Lithuania in conjunction with the EuroPython conference last week. We used the face to face time to plan out the remaining significant changes to be implemented before our beta release in October.

Ignas presented his plans for re-organizing the data structures around school years and semesters/trimesters. The basic design sounded very solid, so we spent most of the next two days sketching out the UI implementation and various details.

Most of the remaining time was spent designing and beginning to implement an event log that can be used for basic integration with external server applications. Basically, a log of changes to persons and sections will be created which an external process can periodically scan and propogate changes to a Moodle, Drupal, etc. database. It is not the ultimate in data integration, but a simple, practical step in that direction.

This will be the last sprint we'll hold at a Python convention for the foreseeable future. It has been a useful strategy the past couple years, given the rapid pace of change in Python web development and Zope. We've had to assimilate eggs, WSGI, paste, buildout, and other new (and advantageous!) technologies over the past couple years, and attending talks on the subjects and discussing them face to face was helpful.

With a beta and 1.0 release on the horizon, it will make sense to switch to holding sprints at schools and educational technology conferences, as we switch our focus from technical issues to user feedback, fit and finish.

In other news, Jeff Elkner is in El Salvador, and he managed to stumble upon Douglas Cerna, who may be the only Zope 3 developer in the country, if not all of central America. Jeff is also working with a school down there, and with an interested local developer, we migh be able to get a pilot going.

Also, CanDo has seen some major work on its data model to clean up some nasty deep bugs. Last year's crop of interns are doing very productive work this summer.


Chris Lehmann said...

Awesome... What was Ignas' view of Alan's work on the Student Intervention Center / Narrative Report Cards, etc? And it sounds like big strides were made toward the single sign-on, data integration.

I'm really excited for this. The further we go at SLA with using our web portal, the more the need for this presents itself.

Bill Fitzgerald said...

Hello, Tom,

We should definitely talk re Drupal/Schooltool integration.

I also just saw this: -- this could be a useful tool in connecting these apps in way that wouldn't break horribly across versions and upgrades.