I am happy to announce today that Sakai’s master branch has minimum viable product (MVP) for all of the aspects of IMS LTI Advantage.
We have this code in our code base before the specs are completed and before certification tests are available for LTI Advantage. Because of the specs and certifications are not available/final, we cannot claim compliance to the specs at this time (October 2018) – all I am announcing at this time is that we have an initial, complete implementation that we will move into certification.
Sakai (and Tsugi) will help IMS test their certifications and reference implementations as they are rolled out and I expect we wil be certified as soon as the certifications are available.
In short LTI Advantage includes an OAuth 2.0 / JWT security model for launches and services, a names and roles service, and the ability for a tool to make create and manage their own grade book columns.
The LTI Advantage code is already included in Sakai-19. Any issues identified during certification and interoperability testing with other vendors will be fixed using our normal fix-merge-and-minor-release process – so we will be able to field a 100% certified LTI Advantage implementation in Sakai-19 once IMS finalizes the specs and provides the certifications.
I am excited. My feeling is the LTI Advantage will be as revolutionary as the initial LTI 1.1 was nearly a decade ago.
All the other major LMS systems in the market are making good progress towards LTI Advantage by the end of the year and Sakai will have LTI advantage in the same timeframe as the rest of the market.
This will be a great development for Sakai – since the Advantage APIs cover such a broad scope and all major vendors will be implementing the full range of the APIs, it means that far richer LTI tools can be built without using proprietary LMS-specific extensions. Other LMS vendors will push tools towards LTI 1.3 / Advantage by making it so that switching to LTI 1.3 is the only way to get access to certain capabilities.
If you are interested in the nerdy details of what it took to make it happen, you can look at the Sakai issue tracker:
The short summary is that while it took me four months to build LTI Advantage for Sakai, the new code is simpler and cleaner than the LTI 1.1 code and far simpler than the LTI 2.0 support in Sakai. As a comparison, I worked on LTI 2.0 in Sakai off and on for three years before it was completed.
It is important that I acknowledge the help, support and guidance by the other participants in the LTI Advantage process. They know much more about this spec than I do and I was able to lean on them as I raced through my implementation and for that I am very thankful.
Thanks to: Claude Vervort / Cengage, Nathan Mills / Canvas, Karl Lloyd / Canvas, Eric Preston / Blackboard, Derek Haskins / IMS, James Risler / IMS, Martin Leonord / TurnItIn, Paul Gray / Learning Objects, and many others.
Making LTI Advantage work on a tight time schedule required an unprecedented trust and sharing of code and best practices between participants.
We knew we were all going to succeed together or fail separately and the the effort was large but also important and transformational. I for one know I could never have done this without the help I received from the rest of the working group. So my heartfelt thanks is in order.