Changes to Engine in 2017.1

Integrated Support For Amazon's S3 Storage & Cloudfront CDN

Engine now provides built in support for the Amazon AWS environment. Using Engine's built in AWS support you can securely store your course content in Amazon's S3 data store. This functionality is made available in conjunction with Amazon's Cloudfront CDN solution. Using Amazon Cloudfront to access your course content stored on S3 and your Engine application servers allows you to move your course content to Amazon's geographically located content stores so that your content can be made available to your learners more quickly.

Remote Content Hosting & Launching

For customers that need to host their content in a remote location(non-Amazon content store, a CDN solution, or any number of other reasons) we've made some significant changes to the way we handle our SCORM content playback. To support these types of deployments, we've done a lot of work to decouple the client side Javascript from our backend application. This enables you to place our client side javascript files onto whatever server you deliver the rest of your course content from and deliver that course content without running into any of the traditional cross-domain javascript communication issues. If you think this might be a feature you'd benefit from please reach out to us, we'd love to talk through your use case with you.

Improved Player UI

We continue to iterate on the design and layout of the new Engine Player UI. As we've worked with early customers deploying this feature, we've been able to identify a number of areas for improvement and roll those changes into this release.

Accessibility Improvements to support customers pursuing 508 compliance

We've had a number of customers ask us about the Engine and 508 compliance. While the Engine has never needed to be certified itself, as a building block for other applications it's important to us that our application provides the accessibility features needed so that our customers can confidently provide that support to their customers. As we've worked on updating, changing, and improving the Player UI, we've also been able to make significant changes to the way we structure our Player to allow it to more easily cooperate with screen readers. This was an effort we pursued with one of our customers and we're really excited for the opportunity to share the outcome of that collaboration with all of our customers.

Expanded PENS Support

The Package Exchange Notification System (PENS) sees a lot of use by some of our customers and very little by others. You can read more about how PENS is helping content publishers send content directly to LMSs here (https://scorm.com/pens/). In this release we're moving forward with a plan to expand PENS support in Engine. While we're confident the specification will catch up to new and emerging learning standards, we don't want to stand in the way of our customers using PENS for these new standards. To that end, we'll be including support for content types in PENS of "cmi5", "xapi", and "tcapi". Any of these will now be recognized in the PENS request and processed. If you have questions about PENS, or you already use PENS and want to know how to make use of this expanded support please let us know.

xAPI Conformance

xAPI Conformance is here. ADL has now officially released the xAPI conformance test suite. Good news is that Engine is xAPI conformant (see here: https://adopters.adlnet.gov/products/all/0). That said, we've tried to go one step past that. It's been our experience that our customers often just need things to work. To make sure this remains possible we've added a configurable option to run the Engine's LRS in a "strict" mode or "permissive" mode based on the needs of the organization. We always recommend running in strict mode but customers with legacy xAPI content or content sources they can't control may benefit from our permissive mode.

Performance Improvements

We've made some performance improvements, most notably to the critical area of creating and updating registrations. This involves a change to the way registrations are stored, so it requires an opt-in see:StoreRuntimeDataAsLob.

Engine Release Notes

Please visit the Release Notes section of our Knowledge Base to see a list of Engine releases (starting with 2016.1.11.356) and view details about changes introduced in each one.

You can choose to 'Follow' that section of the Knowledge Base to be notified whenever we publish a new maintenance release of Engine. This can help you to stay informed of improvements and bugfixes that might be relevant to you.

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