Interface Overview

The Astra Schedule interface with your SIS system is designed to facilitate the coordination of data between the two systems. Using the interface, Astra Schedule can import academic course section information and related data. Rooms are assigned to sections as required using the Astra Schedule toolset. These room assignments can then be exported back to the SIS. Additionally, as section details and room assignments change, updates can be sent in both directions to keep the respective information synchronized. Section details and meetings can be updated in Astra Schedule, and Astra Schedule room assignments for sections can be exported to the SIS. Rules that dictate the specifics of this relationship are configurable and will be determined during the interface setup.

Astra Transform Engine (ATE)

Astra Schedule utilizes a “hub and spoke” model for integrating with other systems. In this data transform engine, the “hub” knows the format of the Astra Schedule database for a particular type of data. The hub validates and applies business rules upon receiving data. The “spoke” is a data format adapter (read Oracle, MSSQL, text, Excel, etc) with specific instructions for getting data from another source (i.e. a specific SIS database) and transforming it into data the hub can understand. In the form of an xml configuration file, the spoke contains field mapping, instructions for data filtering, business rule settings, and validations on field type and formatting.

Imports and exports of data are managed through “jobs” created from within Astra Schedule. Each job is associated with a specific xml configuration file. The combination of the job parameters and the xml file settings can be saved and run at any time.  See Import & Export Jobs for more information. 


Initial Import

During an initial import the interface selects data from several SIS database tables using the parameters specified in the interface job and adds new records to the Astra Schedule database. The import creates new section and section meeting records, as well as builds the meeting type, subject, course, and instructor catalog tables in Astra Schedule. As new values are encountered during the import process, they are added to the Astra Schedule database.

The building and room inventory in Astra Schedule is not updated automatically during imports and updates. This information must be created before the import or update is performed if room assignments are to be imported along with sections. Section room assignments that do not exactly match existing Astra Schedule room records will not be imported. These sections will be displayed as “Unassigned”.

The process of creating section records and checking for new catalog table entries is performed during an initial term import as well as during an update where a new section record is being added. 



When an import job is run the system compares the SIS section and meeting records to the section and meeting records in Astra Schedule that match the parameters in the job. If the section or meeting does not exist, it is inserted as a new record as described above. If the record exists in Astra Schedule and the SIS activity date is more recent than the activity date in Astra Schedule, then the record is updated to reflect changes.

During the record comparison, section records are identified using the combination of term and a unique key (SISKEY). The unique key may be a value provided in the SIS or a combination of values used to create a unique value. Section meeting records are identified similarly. Depending on the SIS data structure, an additional component such as the table row ID may be used to help determine the identity of records. 



When an export job is run the interface compares the activity date in Astra Schedule with those of the SIS section records. If the activity date in Astra Schedule is more recent than the corresponding date in the SIS then the room assignment for the matching section meeting is updated. 


Data Access

Astra Schedule will require that access is provided to specific tables in the SIS database. The interface selects data from various tables to import academic sections, meetings, room assignments, cross-list information, instructors, subjects, courses, and activity statuses to be displayed within Astra Schedule. The required access and the specific tables and fields utilized when interfacing with Astra Schedule vary depending on the SIS product being used. Please see SIS-specif documentation for additional details, including any additional installation and configuration steps required for your SIS.

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