What is LISS?

LISS = Lightweight Interoperability Standard for Schools.   

LISS is an interoperability standard designed for K-12 schools, to connect Timetable applications (and potentially other applications) to Student Information Systems / School Admin Systems.  It is a web-based protocol based on JSON, (or XmlRpc, although XmlRpc is discouraged).  The goal is that the combined system should act semantically as if it was a single system, i.e. with changes propagated in near-real time, even if there are different look and feels in use.

LISS puts the SIS (Student Information System) in the centre of all communication:  the SIS is the hub, and other systems such as timetabling software are at the spokes.  The SIS takes the role of the server, and therefore must provide HTTP end-points (URL's), and the timetabling software takes the role of client, and therefore initiates all pull & push requests.

Typically, the timetabling software will pull:  
  • student data
  • teacher data
  • room data 
  • course data;

Typically the timetabling software will push:
  • the cyclical timetable
  • the date-based timetable ('daily variations')
  • class-lists.

How does LISS relate to SIF?
For the past 2 decades, many timetabling software applications have been happily interoperating with SIS's using .csv files. LISS is not very different to the idea of putting these .csv files into a web service.

LISS was developed in response to SIF, because the original complexity of SIF was so high that few companies could afford the development effort to implement it.  However, since then, SIF 3.0 has been released which is a much simpler protocol, a REST/JSON based protocol.

An article on the comparison between LISS & SIF has been published by Education Technology Solutions, issue 42. or p1, p2, p3.

How can I get the LISS specification?

Click here for the latest version.  

I'm a developer.  How do I get started?

If you are a SIS then you can ask Edval for the "LISS Development toolkit" - a simple Windows .exe program which acts as a LISS client, whereby RPC calls can be triggered at will using a sample dataset.

If you are a timetabling product then you will be wanting a LISS test server.  There is no publicly available LISS test server, but you can contact e.g. Compass, Sentral or Millenium.

What is the process for achieving Compliance?

There is no formal process for achieving compliance.  In order to advertise "LISS Compliance" you must implement the basic features, or whatever subset of them your customers will expect from you.  There is a bit more info on what is expected of you in section 1.4 of the specifications.

Who is LISS?

LISS is managed by an informal group of software vendors and stakeholders.  The LISS process began in 2010, but building on experience gained over the previous 3+ years (web services) and 10+ years (flat-file interoperability).  We welcome any input from stakeholders - send an email to any of the contacts below.

 Some of the members of the LISS association include: