So you may have heard that with Blackboard Learn’s latest release, Service Pack 8, command-line Snapshot has been deprecated. It’s true, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. There are a couple things to note when we talk about command-line Snapshot’s deprecation:
First, all existing command-line Snapshot integrations will NOT be effected by a Service Pack 8 upgrade, and if you have an existing integration it WILL continue to work.
Second, Blackboard introduced in Service Pack 6 and further refined in Service Pack 8, the SIS Integration Framework. The framework was created to streamline the way Blackboard Learn interacts with student information systems. The framework gives system administrators a user interface to administrate their SIS integrations and will do the work of your existing command-line Snapshot integration, with some additional functionality.
This deprecation announcement is really only meant to serve as a notification to Learn administrators that the functionality is moving to the SIS Integration Framework. Blackboard Learn’s Technical Product Manager Mark O’Neil comments on the deprecation announcement, “…deprecation announcements allow for planning and provide folks the opportunity to begin the ‘retooling’ process rather than being hit with a surprise system or integration requirement for an upgrade.” Mark also notes that the feature has been frozen, “at SP7 capabilities.”
The bottom line, we’re not getting rid of command-line Snapshot support just yet, but if you’re a Blackboard Learn administrator, you should start looking at the SIS Integration Framework because it really does offer some great functionality that will be an improvement over your existing command-line integration.
This year’s Blackboard Developer’s Conference (DevCon) is featuring sessions devoted to getting started with the SIS Integration Framework. Chris Greenough of Northern Arizona University will highlight the data migration process using the framework and Blackboard’s own Jim Riecken will discuss advanced techniques that administrators can use to pre-process incoming SIS data.