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A Brief Primer on Interactive WhiteBoard/ Common File Format Conformance for End-User Institutions, Faculty, and Buyers of Third-Party Services and Tools for integration into Learning Platforms

A Brief Primer on Interactive WhiteBoard/ Common File Format Conformance for End-User Institutions, Faculty, and Buyers of Third-Party Services and Tools for integration into Learning Platforms

 

The IMS Interactive WhiteBoard/Common File Format (IWB/CFF) specification defines a file format to hold content primarily designed to be viewed on a large display. Much of this content is designed to be interactive, so objects can move around the page.

The primary goal of this format is to establish a way to organize files that can be opened, edited, saved and used across many whiteboard applications so that teaching content can be exchanged between establishments. To this goal the format must be simple but extendible in a restricted way to ensure compatibility.

Background


The initial work on the Common File Format was done in 2009 by BECTA in the UK.  When BECTA dissolved, IMS was asked to take over the maintenance and evolution of the Common File Format.

Since IMS would be maintaining the specification, the initial work completed was to make a small number of changes to the original specification. IMS intends to evolve the Interactive WhiteBoard/Common File Format specification based on the requests of its members and the end-user learning community.

As stated, the changes from the original BECTA specification were minor in order to allow organizations who had already made an initial investment in the format to make small changes in order to utilize the new specification.  There were no functional changes to the original specification, no elements were added or removed.

IWB/CFF Conformance
IMS maintains a IWB/CFF conformance validator for members. This tool is available to the public free of charge and may be used to test IWB/CFF files. Conformance to the IWB/CFF specification is granted to IMS Members who participate in a community. IMS only certifies specific named products and specific versions of those products.  IMS certification means that the supplier has committed to working with the IMS community to actively resolve issues that may arise. IMS Conformance makes no representation to the quality of content.

IMS provides a list of the platforms that have achieved conformance. The list is available at Conformance Certification Status.


Support for IWB/CFF Features

IMS also provides a table that indicates the mandatory features that conformant IWB/CFF files / products must support

Table 1. IWB/CFF Features

Item

Attribute

Mandatory

.iwb filename extension

 

Yes

Content.xml file required

 

Yes

IWB namespace required

 

Yes

SVG namespace required

 

Yes

XLINK namespace required

 

Yes

Tag

 

element

background

Yes

 

flip

Yes

 

locked

Yes

group

 

Yes

iwb

 

Yes

 

version

Yes

 

xmlns

Yes

 

xmlns:svg

Yes

 

xmlns:xlink

Yes

 

xmlns:xsi

Yes

 

xsi:schemaLocation

Yes

link

 

Yes

meta

 

Yes

tspan

 

Yes

 

Type

Yes

svg:a

 

Yes

 

xlink:href

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.wav”

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.mp3”

Yes

svg:circle

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

fill-opacity

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:ellipse

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

fill-opacity

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:g

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

fill-opacity

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:image

 

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.jpg”

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.bmp”

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.gif”

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.png”

Yes

 

requiredExtension

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:line

 

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:video

 

Yes

 

xlink:href=”*.mpeg”

Yes

 

requiredExtension

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:page

 

Yes

svg:pageset

 

Yes

svg:polygon

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

fill-opacity

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:polyline

 

Yes

 

Stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:rect

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

fill-opacity

Yes

 

stroke

Yes

 

stroke-width

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:svg

 

Yes

 

viewbox

Yes

svg:switch

 

Yes

svg:tbreak

 

Yes

svg:text

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

font-family

Yes

 

font-size

Yes

 

font-style

Yes

 

font-weight

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:textarea

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

font-family

Yes

 

font-size

Yes

 

font-style

Yes

 

font-weight

Yes

 

text-align

Yes

 

transform

Yes

svg:tspan

 

Yes

 

fill

Yes

 

font-family

Yes

 

font-size

Yes

 

font-style

Yes

 

font-weight

Yes

 

text-align

Yes

A conformant whiteboard application that supports features that goes beyond what is specified in the table above may generate an IWB/CFF file from content that makes use of these additional features. However, since it may not be possible to represent these features in the IWB/CFF file format, it is not guaranteed that these features will be rendered correctly when the IWB/CFF file is opened by a different application or even the same application.
 
Requiring Interactive WhiteBoard/ Common File Format Support in Requests for Proposals (RFPs)

When issuing an RFP for tools or a platform that you wish to IWB/CFF support, you simply designate the version of IWB/CFF that you wish to have supported, along with the features. You do need to consider both content and platform acquisition requirements – as these need to support the IWB/CFF features you desire.

Procuring content:

  1. If you already have a conformant whiteboard platform, determine what version your conformant whiteboard platform supports by looking it up in the IMS conformance table or by verifying its conformance registration number.
  2. Click on the product name in the listing to see if your conformant learning platform has any approved exceptions.
  3. Ask your supplier(s) to provide IWB/CFF conformant  content in the same version that your platform supports. Only IWB/CFF Content and Platforms with verifiable conformance registration numbers are IMS conformant.
  4. You may also wish to require specific features of the IWB/CFF are used in content you procure. If so, specify which features from the table 1 above you desire.

Procuring a whiteboard platform:

  1. Include in the RFP a requirement for an IMS Interactive WhiteBoard/Common File Format Compliant platform.
  2. Indicate that a Conformance Registration Number must be provided in the proposal (Check the registration numbers online when you receive the proposals) .