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The Seamless integration workbench – a primer

Over the past few months, we’ve dropped a few hints about the Seamless integration workbench. In this post we wanted to share some more details about the workbench.

Integration Workbench

What’s it good for?

The workbench is all about setting up an integration configuration. An integration configuration describes everything the core Seamless service needs to sync data between different systems. Within the workbench, a user can configure all the variables that make up an integration.

  • Specify the connector plugins that need to be used for this integration
  • Specify any properties the plugins require in order to process data (e.g. connection details for the systems being synced)
  • Specify where data in transit will be hosted (a service bus, a database, a local directory, etc.) and when it will be expired
  • Specify the data queries to retrieve data from the source system
  • Specify the data transforms required before posting┬ádata into the target system
  • Specify the timing of data sync from source to target and vice-versa

 

How does it work?

All aspects of an integration are ultimately saved into an XML file. These files can be loaded into the workbench (to continue working on a previous integration) and saved from the workbench (for subsequent deployment into Seamless).

The workbench can also run the integration locally (i.e. on the local machine). This is useful for troubleshooting and debugging integrations before they’re deployed into the cloud. Integrations are run by clicking play and all logging data is provided to the user for analysis.
 

What can it not do?

The workbench can not do the deployment of the config file to a live Seamless service. This was kept out of the workbench to enable separation of design and deployment.

The workbench can not run the integration on an ongoing basis. Options for running locally are limited to a handful of iteration cycles. In practice, you couldn’t use the workbench to run Seamless as a locally hosted integration service.
 

Who gets to use the workbench?

The workbench is provided to all Seamless delivery partners so that they can work on developing integrations. The workbench is also provided to clients who want to specify and build their own integrations – often as part of a broader software project.
 

Does every Seamless user need to use the workbench?

No. Only delivery partners and users who are specifying their own integrations need to use the workbench. Where you’re working with a delivery partner or directly with Recursyv, you won’t have any use for it.
 

How did it come to be called the workbench?

You’d think the term “workbench” was a pretty straightforward moniker for this piece of kit. In the early days, our engineering team creatively labelled this the “Seamless Integration Builder” – descriptive but not particularly exciting. After many, many minutes of discussing prospective names for it, David and Jon moved onto a more pressing conversation about why cycling is a better sport than running. In conversation some months later, one of our clients referred to the tooling as “the workbench” and the name has stuck. Also, the client prefers cycling.

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