Happy New Year, 2019!
After two years of presenting our intention to deprecate SOAP, I am excited to say that 2019 is the year for our deprecating Learn SOAP Web Services! You can find the full deprecation announcement at the end of this document.
Over the past couple years I have had a few folks ask me “Mark, why would you remove the SOAP Web Services?” and “Mark, why would you replace the SOAP Web Services with REST?” The following addresses these questions.
APIs can use different architectures for transfer of data from the remote server to the client software. In the case of Blackboard the two web service architectures are SOAP and REST. Historically, SOAP was the go-to messaging protocol for web services. But SOAP suffers from limitations that present concerns as we develop new services and products. These SOAP limitations also hinder you from building integrations with Blackboard products.
The need for lightweight web and mobile applications, firewall transparency, broad language support with easily found examples, security, and data transfer in a compact format have driven the popularity of RESTful architecture. The flexibility of REST has led us to adopt REST as our primary integration architecture for our products.
REST, in many use cases, offers server and client performance improvements over SOAP. These improvements decrease data access times such as page loads.
Finally, the developer and blackboard administrator experiences are simply better with REST applications. The developer portal allows easy documentation for documenting APIs and for managing and delivering integrations with modern authorization workflows. We also have the developer community and GitHub sites that provide discussion, source code, and examples about our REST APIs. And, to be blunt, it is easier for developers to build integrations with REST APIs than with SOAP web services.
Blackboard introduced Learn SOAP Web Service APIs in 2007. Since that time our Learn product has undergone substantial change. As a result SOAP is not suitable for SaaS and Ultra integrations. Since its introduction, REST has emerged as the de facto and preferred API architecture.
The selection of REST as the architecture behind our integration-enabling strategy enables Blackboard and our developer community to move forward with a modern, lightweight, and flexible integration architecture. For this reason SOAP is being deprecated.
Thank you for your interest in developing integrations for Blackboard Learn and I am looking forward to talking with you about your REST-based integrations in 2019!
Director, Product Management, Platform and APIs
Blackboard SOAP Web Services Deprecation Announcement
This SOAP deprecation announcement pertains to Blackboard SOAP APIs. It does not apply to the IMS Learning Information Services (LIS) SOAP Web Service-based SIS Services.
With the release of Blackboard Learn Q2 2019, Blackboard deprecates our SOAP APIs. Blackboard SOAP APIs will be available for two self-hosted and managed-hosted releases, starting with the release of Q2 2019 and will be removed from the Q2 2020 and corresponding SaaS releases of Blackboard Learn. We recommend that if you use Blackboard's SOAP APIs in any capacity, as an external application or as part of a Building Block, that you immediately refactor your integration using our Blackboard REST APIs.
We are making this change to modernize our integration model for developers through the move to REST APIs. You may read about this strategy in more detail in the below “Why SOAP Deprecation?” article on our Community site.
We have created several documents on our Community site to provide change guidance
- For mapping SOAP to REST APIs: SOAP-to-REST Migration: Mapping
- For viewing REST API documentation: Explore APIs
- For learning about our REST APIs: REST
Should you determine that your existing integration cannot be refactored using current REST APIs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blackboard SOAP APIs will become unavailable with the release of Blackboard Learn Q2 2020 and it's corresponding SaaS release.