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Posts Tagged ‘SDK’

Rafiki’s Corner – Feel like doing some “renovations” to Exact Event Manager?

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Greetings from the frozen North! It has been a while since I put “finger to keys”, but I have not forgotten about the ever growing Exact Event Manager community!! I have spent the past few weekends renovating some of my rooms in my house, which got me thinking about the topic of this blog.

As you know, Exact Event Manager 1.8 has been out in the field since December 15, 2011, being implemented in all corners of the globe. I have heard of some interesting applications that Exact Event Manager is being used for, about which I will write in a subsequent blog. In the meantime, I wanted to provide some insight into one of the less than known capabilities of Exact Event Manager. I stress capabilities here, and not features for a good reason.

I have often had questions posed to me such as “When will Exact Event Manager support the creation of Opportunities in Synergy Enterprise?”. In response to the question, what if I were to say that it will support this functionality when YOU want it to!? Hmm, what does that mean you are probably thinking to yourself right now!?

Okay, here is it…. Exact Event Manager 1.8 has a “built-in” Software Developers’ Kit (SDK), or more accurately, an Application Programming Interface (API). This was added to Exact Event Manager to “untether” some of the development requirements from your specific internal needs and requirements. We understood early on that we would never cover 100% of all that may be requested of us and are mindful of the fact that a Third Party ecosystem is a powerful validation of the commercial value of a solution. The intent of the API to to allow you to create your own actions that create / modify data in Synergy Enterprise. (If, and only if, there is no User Interface Change needed). Furthermore, the way this API was built means that all “interaction” with Synergy Enterprise is channelled through the entities of Synergy Enterprise which means all data is validated and flows through the correct business logic.

So, what does this mean for your solution? Well, plain and simple, it frees you up from a pre-defined development schedule, allowing you to create your own action(s) for Synergy Enterprise. For example, you may want to have Exact Event Manager create an Item in Synergy Enterprise, based on the creation of an item in some external QA database. In this case, you would use the API to interact with the Items entity in Synergy Enterprise, and that is pretty much it! I know I am simplifying this, but it is not all that tough to do. You could also create an Opportunity in Synergy Enterprise, based on a quotation stored, say, in an external CRM solution.

What skills do I need to accomplish this? This is a good question…. Aside from a good imagination and patience, you need to have C#.net skills as well as an understanding of how the entities (web services) of Synergy Enterprise work and how to consume them. Basically, you will code the action, compile a .dll file, drop the .dll into the <bin> directory of Exact Event Manager, register the .dll and off you go. You do not need to perform a complete installation again. The code you would have written is independent of the core code base, further de-coupling your efforts from core development.

When we developed the API, we needed to find a test bed for the solution, so that we could prove it out prior to releasing it. We thought using the API to develop some of the existing Synergy Enterprise actions would be the perfect enviroment. So, we put one of the development team members, who had no experience with the core code development, into action(he was responsible for the installation side of the solution), and tasked him with building the Resource Action and the Accounts Action. When they were done, we simply added them to the install process. So, if you are using the Resource or Accounts actions, those are actually API developed actions. I have not seen any bugs come through on these two items, so I presume they are working well!?

How do I get hold of the API? You already have it! It is simply deployed along with the installation of Exact Event Manager. Now, there is no public documentation for this yet, but I have a set of electronic documents (help files) and some samples that provide an idea of what to do and how to go about it. If you would like to take a peek at these, please let me know and I will make sure you get the relevant files. One point to be aware of: The actions that you build for Synergy Enterprise will function correctly, assuming your code is good, but also if there are no User Interface changes required. There should be none, but just in case. Any UI changes require that core code be worked on, which of course you cannot do!

I am going to take an active interest in the activity that will evolve from the use of the API. I know that there are many ideas that I have never even come close to thinking about and I look forward to hearing some of your uses. Please keep me posted. Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead!

 

Status update improving SDK documentation

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

In my previous blog about SDK documentation I asked you for input how you think we can improve our SDK documentation. As a result I got from many of you feedback on possible improvements. Via this way I would like to thanks you for this feedback and share the current status.

The feedback covered all parts of documentation. On a high level the following points are mentioned most:

  1. General;
    Centralization of all SDK documents, clear navigation and specific search.
  2. Examples;
    More and better explained examples of all functionality supported by SDK.
  3. Explanation & descriptions;
    Descriptions of the controls, guidelines, the repository and web services
  4. Tips & Tricks;
    How to setup a development environment, what is the best way to debug, etc.

Based on the feedback we decided to focus first on improving the SDK documentation for Exact Synergy Enterprise. For the end of this year we would like to improve:

  • The documentation of the controls,
  • Update the startpage and
  • Come with additional documentation.

For a more detailed explanation of the feedback and the steps we now are improving I would like to refer to the presentation shown below.

Connecting Exact with other applications

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

Within Exact, but also outside our organization, we experience more and more the need to have the capabilities to connect our software with other applications to exchange information. On this blog we already gave multiple examples where we have realized a connection with other applications. Just a few of these blogposts are: OCS presence in Exact Synergy Enterprise, Electronic Invoicing, E-Risk Management for Exact Globe and the Synergy Office Integration.

Those examples describe a connection with a specific application where we, as Exact, have established the connection ourselves. Here we are fully in control to define the connection. But other organizations also want to exchange information between their applications and our applications. They want to use the connection the same way as we do in our applications to:

  1. Present information from other applications
  2. Exchange data to help their users to improve their productivity

In our applications we had basically two main possibilities to establish a connection to exchange information. Those two possibilities are:

  1. XML; With XML, Exact and other organizations have the possibility to exchange data via an XML file.
  2. SDK; With the Software Development Kit, certified solution partners can develop their own solution for exchanging data, real-time.

Those two possibilities are very useful to exchange information but are not the solution to establish easy, standard connections between Exact’s applications and other applications. The main reason is that those possibilities are not standardized and /or do not work real-time.

To come to the situation that we can easily connect with other applications we have made several steps. We have built a layer in Exact Globe and Exact Synergy Enterprise which we call the connectivity layer. This layer gives the possibility to exchange data, real-time in a standardized format based on a request – reply structure. Via this layer, entities, which are different types of data such as ‘accounts’ and ‘resources’, can be exchanged. At this moment 6 entities are supported for Exact Globe and 20 entities for Exact Synergy Enterprise and we are extending this number with every new product update.

The beauty of this connectivity layer is that the same structure is used for both applications. So we basically get one way of connecting for both Exact Globe and Exact Synergy Enterprise. The difference is only that Exact Globe supports the entities on component level and that Exact Synergy Enterprise supports the entities on component level as well as through web services.

I think that with this connectivity layer we make connecting with Exact Globe and Exact Synergy Enterprise much easier. Ok, it’s still something that is only to be used by developers, but it makes their lives much easier.

Although we know that this is a good step, we also know that establishing connectivity between two applications can be made  even easier than this. To realize this, we have signed a strategic partnership with Pervasive to use their Data Integrator as a preferred middleware solution to establish the connection. More about this partnership in my next blog post.

Please share via a comment to this article your opinion about you vision on connectivity and please let me know if you see possibilities to improve it even further. Do not hesitate to share your great ideas!

 

Photo credit: Visulogik

Rafiki’s Corner – A Sneak Preview of Exact Event Manager 1.8

Written by Sander van Triet on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Greetings everyone! Fall (Autumn) is upon us, with blue skies, orange leaves around us and shades of exposed glorious travertine create a wonderful casserole of colour and promise. There is no better time than now to lift the covers off the newest addition to the Exact Event Manager family, that of Exact Event Manager 1.8. This release is full of the colours and promises of my favourite time of the year. Whilst Exact Event Manager 1.8 is not yet into Controlled Release (more to come in a later blog), I thought it prudent to provide you some insight into the short term future of Exact Event Manager. Here are some interesting highlights of what you can expect to see, very soon!

Simple Grouping

Tables in emails with grouped data

Support for Stored Procedures as sources and actions

Creation of Projects, Accounts and Resources in Synergy Enterprise, as actions

Software Developers Kit or API

I could write a thesis at this point on all of these new features, but time and space does not allow for that right now. Today, I will focus on providing some insight into inserting Tables in email bodies with Grouped data. I think this way, I will maintain your attention, and get you coming back for a little more next time….

Simple Grouping and Tables in emails (Grouped data)

This collection of features has been requested for a while, but now you have it..!!! The essence of the feature is that you will be able to define within the Alert, what data you want to group, then create an action that will take that grouped data and disseminate the details in the appropriate manner, with all common data going to the identified (grouped) common recipient. By that I mean, you will be able to create an event that looks for all orders over $5,000 within the month, and then aggregate them together by customer (the grouping), and then send the customer an (only 1) email with all the data nicely tabelled within the body of the email. No more “one action for one row of data”.

Step 1 – Work out what it is you want to do?!

Step 2 – Create the Visual Workflow

Step 3 – Create the query on the action to include all the necessary data with grouping on columns where needed

Step 4 – Create the email action, setting the Body to Custom, and entering the new Rich text Editor

Step 5 – Insert a table with enough columns and 2 (two) rows, with headings in first row and desired data in second row.

Step 6 – Indicate if you want summation on any columns

Step 7 – Insert a beautiful picture of snow angels if you wish

Step 8 – Save it!

Step 9 – Hit “Queue Now” to run it immediately without having to define a schedule (because you can now!!)

Step 10 – prepare for the next release of Exact Event Manager.

So, there you have it! A slew of new features, that are exceptionally powerful, rounding out this latest offering from Exact. have fun and until the next time….

Help to improve the SDK documentation!

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

Exact is offering with the Software Development Kit of Exact Globe and Exact Synergy Enterprise a set of development tools that allows developers to extend our products with additional functionalities and behavior or to connect our products with their own products to exchange information between the products.

Most of the SDK development tools are automatically available when installing Exact Globe or Exact Synergy Enterprise. Having the correct modules in the license will activate the SDK for the developers to develop their solutions on top of our products.

To support our development partners the best, we are constantly looking how to improve the SDK. Examples we currently did, or are working on, are:

  1. Constantly improvements and extension on SDK functionalities,
  2. Extended the SDK training for Exact Synergy Enterprise with a repository section,
  3. Setup development guidelines for solutions on Exact Synergy Enterprise,
  4. Updated the product certification process,
  5. And we recently started to document the most important controls of Exact Synergy Enterprise.

For the development of the solutions we offer our development partners online documentation about the SDK development tools. This documentation is presented on our portal and can only be accessed by our customers, partners and employees. There are two start pages:

We now addressed the SDK documentation as the next step to improve. We already made a start with the documentation of the controls but that’s not the only improvement we would like to make.

I would like to invite you, our development partners, to comment on this blog what you really miss or what you would see improved about the SDK documentation. Based on your feedback I will compile a list of improvements that would make your life easier. In a new blog post I will share this list with you and where we will focus on for the coming period.

I’m looking forward to receive your input.