I first got involved with XCRI a couple of years ago and have since produced an online XCRI validator which is being used by a number of organisations in the UK looking to consume XCRI feeds. To help augment that, as some people already know, I’ve been working on producing a .NET base library for educational institutions looking to implement XCRI (eXchanging Course-Related Information) feeds. Today I’ve decided to go public with what’s done.
If you don’t know what XCRI is then it’s best summed up as an XML standard used to allow educational providers to expose information about courses they are running. That information contains a huge variety of stuff from physical address information through to prerequisites and course outcomes. If you would like more information then your first stop should be the XCRI Knowledgebase at http://www.xcri.co.uk/.
The issue with XCRI adoption has always been the chicken-and-egg scenario whereby systems that would benefit from aggregating the course data that XCRI outputs won’t do the work until there’re a significant number of feeds, but educational institutions won’t implement the feeds until they can see the benefit. The XCRI-CAP .NET Generator Library aims to reduce the resources required by an educational institution to implement an XCRI feed.
Moreover because the developer is not involved with the micro-management of XML (namespaces, prefixes, XSD locations, etc), the manual generation of XML code (tag nesting, value encoding, etc), nor trying to understand and implement the XCRI standard itself, the resultant feed quality is very high.
It is free to use if you are an educational institution and means that an XCRI feed can be published onto your site in a matter of hours, rather than the days it typically took. Please note that the XCRI-CAP .NET Generator Library is not free if you are a commercial entity – even if you are doing work on behalf of an educational institution. You will need to purchase a commercial licence to use the library in this manner
Full source – or just the latest binaries – can be downloaded from the XCRI-CAP .NET Generator Library website at http://code.google.com/p/xcricap-net/.
What’s in the future?
I’m currently writing a full unit-test library (yes, I am aware I should move to TDD at some point) so expect the odd point-update in the next few days. Once I’ve had some community feedback to move the library to version 1.0 – the aim for that is early March.
Long term the plan for the library is to update it to XCRI 1.2 as the standard becomes more defined, plus adding additional vocabularies as and when the community requires them.