Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Disaster averted

At the start of the year ORCID announced the new version of their API. For reasons clearly articulated on a recent post on the ORCID blog, ORCID made the decision to not actively support older versions of the API after their 'sunset date'. This change of API has caused some agitation at our end. As our implementation of ORCID is very much based around our CRIS - Pure - making sure that this continues to work effectively with the API is essential for the smooth running of our project. For a while it looked like we might have to go a period of time in which we couldn't generate ORCID iDs through Pure, or even add existing iDs to Pure. Experience shows that it doesn't take much disruption in service to undo a lot of good work in promoting that service in the first place.
Responding to a change in API is not an easy business when using a large and 'business-critical' system like Pure. Atira - the developers of Pure - have to make the necessary changes for their next version release, putting it into an already busy update schedule. Once this new update is launched it needs to be installed on our test servers and tested before we can make it live. A system like Pure has a number of modules used by many different people in different ways for different purposes, many of which are critical, so testing has to be thorough and the system can't be made live until we are absolutely sure that there will be no nasty surprises. In short, the process can't be rushed and there is no way that we will have the next release of Pure (4.21.0) live by the time active support for the older ORCID API ceases. 
But, thanks have to go to Atira who have come to our rescue by launching an intermediate release of Pure (4.20.X) which uses the updated ORCID API but which we can implement without the extensive testing needed when implementing a whole new release. The changeover hasn't happened quite yet but from the testing we've done it looks like the ORCID functionality will continue seamlessly without the users noticing any change. Panic over. Relax.

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