At work, on the ICE project we are implementing IMS packages so that course content authored using ICE can be exported to learning management systems. I have previously disparaged the package spec, because it does not allow for linking between web resources.

This time I want to report a more positive experience (although the link-free approach taken by the IMS is still anti-web and makes no sense to me).

We are having a reasonably pleasant experience with the specification this time, because we built the product around it, rather than designing the product first then trying to force the export to fit. So this time ICE has classes in the Python code that implement the IMS organization as an editable table of contents (TOC).

An author can create a number of documents and use the ICE application to build an editable TOC for them. Just one TOC is allowed at this stage, but we will add more if and when the users ask. Behind the scenes, the export process is a simple serialization, turning the program’s internal TOC structure into a valid IMS organization expressed in XML.

This has been a painless bit of development because we used the standard we were supporting to guide design.

USQ staff can see the ICE project, code, roadmap, wiki and job-tickets here. Outsiders will have to wait a few more weeks for a peek at it.


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