Today the Office the University Registrar and UWIT have released the R25 Class Room Scheduling Web Service to be available for public use. Please see documentation on how to use the Web Service.
It was back in June of 2009 that we first blogged about the R25 web service. At that time we started talking to folks on campus to help us understand the value proposition for offering classroom scheduling data available as a web service. Due to the low cost in providing the web service, a free web service interface to the R25 database provided by Collegenet, we determined that the return on investment for this solution was compelling.
In the past, the only people who could see when a particular classroom was available at a certain date/time were classroom schedulers on campus who had the R25 Windows desktop application installed on their PC. There are more than 100 individuals that help this University with room and course scheduling, but not all of them have R25 installed on their PC. This made scheduling classrooms challenging to say the least since all questions had to go through these limited set of folks. With the availability of this data through a web service interface now all departments on campus can get access to the data programmatically.
The Room Class Schedule Finder
In addition to our Web Service release, a client web application has been released along side the web service called the Room Class Schedule Finder (note that you must have access provided by the Office the University Registrar). This tool was written by our friend Scott Bush at the Office of the University Registrar. Please see his blog posting on how the web application was written.
This allows anyone on campus, with the appropriate access, the ability to type in a classroom and see the room availability.
Why Web Services?
Web Services help developers decouple their code from database schemas so that updates to the schema do not impact client applications that rely on the data. RESTful Web Services like this one offer an easy to use programmatic interface to get the data you need in real time that is technology agnostic. Scott’s web application is developed in PHP and jQuery however you can use any popular programming language to get access to the R25 Web Service.
In the future the Office the University Registrar would like to allow for people to submit scheduling requests to classrooms via the Web Service interface and/or the Room Class Schedule Finder.