Getting Started - For Beginners

Blog Post created by mkauffman on Mar 21, 2019

I'm writing this as we've had a few questions from developers come in who have never written a Web Application in their life. I hope this helps.


First, get up to speed on developing web applications. A Google search for 'web application in <your favorite language>' is a good start. Here's an example result that I found Quickstart: use Visual Studio to create a Python web app - Visual Studio | Microsoft Docs - Side comment - Visual Studio Code is one of the nicest tools I've seen come out of Microsoft.


Next, when you start coding your Web Application to integrate with Blackboard Learn, we recommend use of our REST APIs plus LTI. Use LTI as the starting point for the user of the Learn instance. Why? You get information about the user and any course context from the LTI launch parameters. Then, if necessary the LTI Tool Provider that you write can make additional REST API calls back into the Blackboard Learn instance that made the launch. You can also, for some cases just write a REST application that a user connects to Learn via Three-Legged OAuth and then makes REST calls on behalf of that user. Note that everything, your server/Tool Provider & Learn running in production will/should be using HTTPS via the standard port 443. See the following list of resources for getting started.


Here are several resources for developing REST Applications for Blackboard Learn:

We offer weekly technical office hours everyone is welcome to attend, free of charge: (Link to join is on the upper right of the page.) LTI is an industry standard. Below are links to several resources:


I hope this helps you get started! Below is a high-level architecture diagram as an example. It's not meant to be all-inclusive, but does show one type of relationship between the User, the Blackboard Learn System, and your Application.