SCORM API Discovery Algorithms

| 27 Jan 2009 | Permalink

The algorithms listed below are the official SCORM algorithms that content can use to locate the SCORM API. Content should call “GetAPI()” to locate the LMS’s SCORM API adapter (notice that the mechanics of the functions’ return values are slightly different). It’s important to note that these functions should always be called from the top parent window of the content. If the content contains a frameset with child frames, these functions will not work properly in all contexts if they are called from one of the child frames.

These are the official algorithms included with the SCORM specifications, but they are not the only way to go about finding the SCORM API. Feel free to improve upon them or modify they for your specific needs.

SCORM 2004 API Discovery Algorithm

var nFindAPITries = 0;
var API = null;
var maxTries = 500;
// The ScanForAPI() function searches for an object named API_1484_11
// in the window that is passed into the function.  If the object is
// found a reference to the object is returned to the calling function.
// If the instance is found the SCO now has a handle to the LMS
// provided API Instance.  The function searches a maximum number
// of parents of the current window.  If no object is found the
// function returns a null reference.  This function also reassigns a
// value to the win parameter passed in, based on the number of
// parents.  At the end of the function call, the win variable will be
// set to the upper most parent in the chain of parents.
function ScanForAPI(win)
   while ((win.API_1484_11 == null) && (win.parent != null) && (win.parent != win))
      if (nFindAPITries > maxTries)
         return null;
      win = win.parent;
   return win.API_1484_11;
// The GetAPI() function begins the process of searching for the LMS
// provided API Instance.  The function takes in a parameter that
// represents the current window.  The function is built to search in a
// specific order and stop when the LMS provided API Instance is found.
// The function begins by searching the current window’s parent, if the
// current window has a parent.  If the API Instance is not found, the
// function then checks to see if there are any opener windows.  If
// the window has an opener, the function begins to look for the
// API Instance in the opener window.
function GetAPI(win)
   if ((win.parent != null) && (win.parent != win))
      API = ScanForAPI(win.parent);
   if ((API == null) && (win.opener != null))
      API = ScanForAPI(win.opener);

SCORM 1.1 and SCORM 1.2 API Discovery Algorithm

var findAPITries = 0;
function findAPI(win)
   // Check to see if the window (win) contains the API
   // if the window (win) does not contain the API and
   // the window (win) has a parent window and the parent window
   // is not the same as the window (win)
   while ( (win.API == null) && (win.parent != null) && (win.parent != win) )
      // increment the number of findAPITries
      // Note: 7 is an arbitrary number, but should be more than sufficient
      if (findAPITries > 7)
         alert("Error finding API -- too deeply nested.");
         return null;
      // set the variable that represents the window being
      // being searched to be the parent of the current window
      // then search for the API again
      win = win.parent;
   return win.API;
function getAPI()
   // start by looking for the API in the current window
   var theAPI = findAPI(window);
   // if the API is null (could not be found in the current window)
   // and the current window has an opener window
   if ( (theAPI == null) && (window.opener != null) && (typeof(window.opener) != "undefined") )
      // try to find the API in the current window’s opener
      theAPI = findAPI(window.opener);
   // if the API has not been found
   if (theAPI == null)
      // Alert the user that the API Adapter could not be found
      alert("Unable to find an API adapter");
   return theAPI;