Now that we have all settled back into our daily routines post Bb DevCon and BbWorld I thought I would take a few moments to get some thoughts out about the conference and what is to come.
The Developer conference was awesome. The conversations were (as usual) stellar and I brought back several suggestions and ideas for improvements Blackboard can make for the developer community. Some of these I will write about here in the future.
The buzz generated by the announcement of the OpenDB initiative was better than I could have hoped for. To date Blackboard has seen over 300 unique views on the database documentation – adding proof that this is a valuable resource and will become even more useful as we all move forward with work around reporting and Building Block development. Some questions have come up around OpenDB and I will try to address them here.
In order to advance your abilities to serve your community, whether for reporting or application development, you needed access to information stored in the database and an understanding of the schema architecture. OpenDB provides you the information and rights you need to create reports, perform forensics, and write better Building Blocks.
What about documentation?
While OpenDB is about providing schema documentation (viewable via your behind the blackboard account) it is also about promoting best practices around using the schema documentation and tools available to you. To that end we started, and it is in a very early form today, an OpenDB Best Practices guide. Your input and experiences are invaluable to improving this guide. It is difficult at best for us to determine what guidance you need and your suggestions, solutions, and practices all make excellent input to this guide. Please forward to me your insights.
Blackboard is certainly aware that there are gaps in the posted OpenDB documentation and we will be addressing them over time. Worth noting however is that these gaps do not diminish the utility of the current documentation – it still stands as a valuable research tool. If you note discrepancies and typos please feel free to submit them to me or suggestions.blackboard.com as system administrator issues and I will make certain they receive the necessary attention.
What is next?
As we improve on the process used to generate the documentation ( and get those typos fixed ) you can expect to see schema documentation related to stored functions and procedures. You can also expect over the coming months an effort to develop an OpenDB community space on EduGarage.
Finally, I have to say what a great feeling it was to greet friends old and new in my current role at Blackboard – thanks to all of you for your support and feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions!