AEC Application Integration : Part 3/6, Technical Requirements

Barreling down the pipe to the midway point of this integration post series... To achieve any of the business requirements and use cases outlined in the last post (2/6) you will need a few key pieces to create a stable, sustainable integration. This includes the Source Application, Destination Application, and a Middleware Application with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Keep in mind, these parts could all be stand alone, or they could be built into one of the Source or Destination applications. Either way, don't leave home without them (in your workflow anyway).

As a typical example (the scenario with nearly every AEC application), I'm going to assume that the Source and Destination applications do not have any existing connection to/awareness of each other. I'm going to use Notevault (RSA), Prolog Converge (LOBA), and BizTalk (Middleware) and describe pushing some data one way from Notevault to Prolog.

This may seem like a use case (which it is, and it fits into scenario 1 on the prior post 2/6), but I'm going to include much more granularity than needed for a use case. Also note, this is an example, I don't know if it is an existing solution or not, and it would likely be overkill for a one off integration, but I do know it will work based on other experience.

1) User creates a daily record using Notevault. This results in some text, photos, and audio being saved in Notevault.

2) BizTalk would be configured to monitor Notevault. A BizTalk connector is used to connect to Notevault via an application programming interface (API). Out of the box, Biztalk does not have a Notevault connector so that is an additional component that is required.

3) BizTalk would be configured to take one of the text fields from Notevault, and the audio file. Using the BizTalk Connector for Notevault. It is going to then send that information to Prolog.

4) BizTalk will also need a connector to communicate with Prolog. Out of the box, this does not exist, so it's an additional component. Technically, the connector has to support Prolog Connect, which is the web service "wrapper" for Prolog Manager and Prolog Converge, and similarly PrologSky.

5) BizTalk will then take the text and sound file, and push it via the BizTalk connector for Prolog Connect. Based on some imaginary business requirements the following will happen;

A) A Daily details record will be created in Prolog (if it does not already exist for that date/user).

B) The text will be inserted in the General Notes field of the Daily Details form in Prolog.

C) The audio file will get inserted into the Prolog Document Management System (DMS).

D) A link to the file in the Prolog DMS will be inserted to the Daily Details record.

Hardly drag and drop, but there you go, you're integrated.

In the next post I'll talk about some Options from prototyping "on the cheap" to enterprise "breaking the bank" and how to make your way to "Zen and the Art of SOHQ/SOLC". I'll also toss in some anecdotes on Gotchas often hidden in the Product Vendor, IT staff & Consultant closets that seem to be the screwdriver in the cogs of expectations more often than not.