To integrate with production data in an Ed-Fi ODS / API platform, it is often useful to test your client application against a test dataset to ensure that your application can exchange data with the API correctly. This kind of testing environment is generally isolated from production data so that the production environment maintains a high level of consistency.
The Ed-Fi ODS / API code comes with a Sandbox Administration Portal. Most platform hosts expose this portal to client developers. The Admin Portal enables you to create and use these testing environments in the form of sandboxes that are completely isolated from production data.
Obtaining Access and Setting Up Sandboxes
Access to the Administration Portal is by invite only. In the invitation e-mail, a link will be provided that will direct you to set a password for the account. Upon logging in, you will see the existing sandboxes associated with your login along with the application key and secret.
Figure 1. Sample Administration Portal with configured sandboxes
The Add Sandbox button allows you to create a new sandbox environment with or without sample data. A sandbox with sample data includes standard lookup data (e.g., grade level types, attendance event types, etc.) as well as anonymized sample data (e.g., students, schools, grades, and assessments scores). A sandbox without sample data will only include the lookup data.
Figure 2. Adding a sandbox via the Administration Portal
Clicking the Gear icon brings up features like Delete and the ability to change the assigned application Secret. One useful feature included in that menu is Get Token, which performs the OAuth authentication steps using the selected application's credentials and returns an access token. This access token code can be used, for example, in the Swagger documentation or to make sample calls to the ODS / API sandbox as shown in the Authentication section of this documentation.
Figure 3. Getting an access token using an application's credentials
Access to Production
Generally speaking, platform hosts will use a sandbox environment to verify that a client application can integrate successfully with their instance of the ODS / API platform. Once integration testing is completed and verified, contact the platform host for instructions on connecting to production data. Since the data in a production platform is sensitive, platform hosts generally use a secure means of communication (e.g., encrypted e-mail, telephone call, secure site), to supply connection information for production data systems.1
1 The ODS / API Admin App is the tool provided with the ODS / API platform code for configuring access to production.