Interoperability standards add value by capturing agreements and models that can be referenced by many parties. Implementations of a standard vary according to the requirements of the applications and organisations involved. The SIF Association has recognised this need and ensures that its standard constantly evolves to meet current and future needs.
In August 2013, significant changes were made to the infrastructure component. These major advances are highlighted as follows:
· Data Independence: The SIF 3 Infrastructure is now completely independent of the Data Model defining the payloads it carries. As a result, SIF 3.x infrastructure products can be deployed in SIF solutions of all three locales (US, AU and UK) without change.
· Fully incorporates REST technology: The earlier SIF-specific transport has been replaced by one which is fully-compliant with the standard REST design patterns. As a result, SIF 3 solutions will “look like everything else in the educational organization’s data center” and recruiting programming and support personnel for SIF 3 projects will be far easier.
· Middleware is Optional: SIF 3 offers a new architectural alternative designed specifically with mobile devices and the cloud in mind, which supports the direct connection of clients to services without requiring an intervening message broker.
· Increased Scalability: SIF 3 solutions are far more scalable than earlier releases in both performance and organizational coverage. Performance enhancements include the critical ability to carry multiple objects per message, while organization expansion now provides every client access to multiple providers of the same object type (for example, SIS or MIS) separated by site (for example, a specific school), subtype (for example, Special Education) and / or context (this year's students or next year's).
All SIF Infrastructure Specifications version 3.x and above reflect these new changes. The infrastructure and data model components have been completely separated (and are now available on different pages as well as documents).
However, the new infrastructure still provides the following SIF 2.x functionality:
· Automated Service Discovery
· Guaranteed Message Delivery
· Content Based Routing
· Service Registry and Service Governance Administrative hooks
· Publish / Subscribe
Baked-in security enforcement (Authentication, Authorization and Encryption) even for minimal implementations.
Specifically for the AU Data Model
|AU Data Model||3.x SIF Rest||2.x SIF Classic|
|AU 3.4||Latest Data Model - only availablefor SIF REST infrastructure|
|AU 1.4||Available for both types of SIF Infrastructure|
|AU 1.3||Available for both types of SIF Infrastructure|
|AU 1.2||Only available for SIF Classic - now superseded|
|AU 1.1||Only available for SIF Classic - now superseded|
|AU 1.0||Only available for SIF Classic - now superseded|