Something’s different about TestTrack

Yes, as we’ve mentioned recently, several things are different about TestTrack. We transitioned upgraded our server, we applied a skin that makes it look like our new website, and most recently, we switched TestTrack over to our “beta” of the SCORM Cloud.

Truth be told, I’m remarkably happy with how well TestTrack has held up through all of these iterations. It’s undoubtedly a testament to the developers who are working on it. The SCORM Cloud, while built around existing SCORM Engine code, is really a very different architecture from what we had been running. What’s different, you may ask?

  • Use of Amazon’s SimpleDB for storing aggregate registration and package information
  • Use of Amazon’s S3 storage for per registration detail
  • Use of memcached to address certain eventual consistency issues with S3
  • Use of Amazon’s Elastic Block Store for persisting content and managing the FTP access to TestTrack (read about that here)

Is that enough for now? Well, one less obvious change is the use of a linux box for the content storage and delivery. The fundamental difference I’m referring to is that TestTrack is now, all of a sudden, case sensitive.

That’s right, the old version of TestTrack ran on a Windows box that was completely forgiving of all case sensitivity issues. The new version of TestTrack still runs partly on a Windows box, but the content itself lives in “the cloud”, and the cloud cares about your capital letters. So, as you develop content and test it on TestTrack, you’ll need to be a bit more wary of this detail.

In writing this, I was pondering whether an apology might be in order. Have we wronged you by making this change? My conclusion is… a defiant, “NO!” Actually, I think that you owe me a debt of gratitude. (OK, I’m kidding here… I thought a little drama was called for.) I do, however, think this is better for content vendors in total. Case sensitive LMSs are more restrictive, more burdensome for the content developer. As a developer seeking to create content that will just work when I deploy it to other LMSs, I think the case sensitivity constraint on TestTrack will likely improve my chances of success. So, with only a bit of remorse, I say, “Go enjoy the constraints we’ve imposed and create some more compatible content.”