Changes in the X-Road Development

The X-Road was originally developed by the Estonian State Information Systems Department (at the Ministry of Economy and Communications) and the first version was launched in 2001. In Finland the Suomi.fi Data Exchange Layer service that's based on the X-Road was published in November 2015. Today Finland's and Estonia's data exchange layers are connected to one another which enables cross-border data exchange between the countries. Estonia and Finland have also been developing the X-Road core together since 2015. Now the development is handed over to the NIIS.

First steps

The cooperation between Estonia and Finland officially started in 2013 when the Prime Ministers of Estonia and Finland, Andrus Ansip and Jyrki Katainen, signed the Memorandum of Understanding about the cooperation in the field of ICT. In the beginning of 2014 Estonia gave the X-Road to Finland under EUPL license and later that year the Finnish X-Road implementation project was kicked off.

The cooperation between Estonia and Finland was not limited to handing over the source code as the countries started to develop the core of the X-Road together. Both countries wanted to share the same X-Road core and maintain the interoperability between X-tee and Suomi.fi Data Exchange Layer to enable cross-border data exchange between Estonia and Finland. This meant that the joint development of the X-Road needed to be coordinated.

Deepening the cooperation

Finland's Population Register Centre and the Republic of Estonia's Information System Authority were responsible for the coordination of the X-Road core development and a set of practices and guidelines were agreed for managing the cooperation. Another important outcome of the collaboration was publishing the source code of the X-Road core as open source under the MIT license. The source code was published in two parts in 2015-2016 and it was made publicly available on GitHub.

Shared organization

The next step of the cooperation was taken in June 2017 when the NIIS was founded. Now, in June 2018, the NIIS is taking over the X-Road core development from Finland's Population Register Centre and the Republic of Estonia's Information System Authority. The first step of the handover was already completed earlier this year when the NIIS took the responsibility of running the Working Group that is the platform for day-to-day coordination of the joint development. Now it’s time for the NIIS to take over the management of the source code of the X-Road core as well. In practice, this means updated joint development practices and transferring all the related source code repositories on the NIIS’s GitHub account.

What will change?

First of all, for the X-tee and Suomi.fi-palveluväylä member organizations nothing will change. Finland's Population Register Centre and the Republic of Estonia's Information System Authority are responsible for running their national ecosystems and providing all the same support services to their members as so far.

What will change is the joint development model and the locations of the X-Road core and few additional components’ source code repositories. The new joint development model can be found at:

https://github.com/nordic-institute/X-Road-development/

From the X-Road community’s point of view one of the biggest changes is making the X-Road backlog public. Anyone can access the backlog, and leave comments and submit enhancement requests through the X-Road Service Desk portal. Accessing the backlog and service desk requires creating an account which can be done in few seconds using the signup form.

Starting from 1st June 2018 new locations of the X-Road core source code repositories are:

https://github.com/nordic-institute/X-Road

https://github.com/nordic-institute/X-Road-tests

https://github.com/nordic-institute/X-Road-tests-environment

Starting from 1st June 2018 new locations of the additional components’ source code repositories are:

https://github.com/nordic-institute/REST-adapter-service

https://github.com/nordic-institute/xrd4j

All the X-Road implementers and developers, please update your remote master repository’s URL to the new master today. From now on all the pull requests and contributions must be submitted to the NIIS managed X-Road master repository. The previous repositories will remain available on GitHub, but they're no longer updated and changes from the new master will not be synced to them.

What next?

The NIIS will continue to develop the X-Road open source technology and welcomes all the interested parties to participate in the development.

The global X-Road Community will meet on 12th September in Tallinn. The event will provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the X-Road and meet X-Road enthusiasts from all around the world.

Stay tuned!