Customers have been building custom connectors onto the Azuqua platform for some time, but we heard feedback from customers (and internal connector developers) that we needed a more turnkey solution that turned connector development into a repeatable process. Our product and engineering team has been working on a solution for the past couple of months, and we’re proud to announce the availability of our new tool today!
Now, you can build new connectors on Azuqua incredibly fast.
Wait, wait, what is a connector?
A connector is an interface within the Azuqua platform that communicates with external APIs. The goal of a connector is not to be a direct reflection of an API, but instead a user-friendly abstraction on top of an API. Connector development is more focused on end-user needs than on the capabilities of the API. Each connector is made up of methods, which appear to the user as the different event and action cards. Each method determines how data is fetched from the API, and transforms data to the user-friendly format accepted by the front-end. Most methods use more than one API call to do this.
Why would I want to build my own connector?
Many customers have asked us to build custom connectors to their internal microservices, external APIs, and some niche cloud applications. In many cases, it’s possible to use a service by leveraging the HTTP functions and calling an API directly from the FLO, but a connector built directly onto the Azuqua platform makes it far easier to use that service over and over again.
Times when building a custom connector makes sense:
- The service is heavily used by different individuals. By investing the upfront time in building the service into Azuqua as a connector, subsequent uses of it are incredibly easy and fast for everyone without requiring extensive documentation.
- Non-technical teams need to use the service. Building a connector on Azuqua to that service means that any team member (with the right permissions) can now use that service without coding.
- You want to add a layer of security and authentication to using that service. Just as different individuals can add different accounts to a Salesforce connector in Azuqua, you can explicitly set permissions for different users and easily control access.
- You want to leverage a commercial application that’s not already a part of our existing list of connectors. In many cases, we’ll build the connector for you, but in certain cases, customers have had specific specifications for how a connector must work and have chosen to build it themselves.
Here is an example of a customer that built custom connectors to integrate IoT devices used by the manufacturing team. This enabled the IT team to give the (manufacturing) engineering team a way to automate workflows that depend on data from devices thereby eliminating error-prone manual tasks.
How does building a connector work?
Our connector builder tool is a JSON editor and testing environment that allows you to build connector definitions. Connector definitions group together methods (actions and events), so they can all share the same auth and display properties.
You can either create a new connector by simply selecting new connector and editing right in the workspace or you can import code in one of three ways:
- Copy/paste – Write the connector code in your editor of choice and copy/paste into Azuqua. This is great if you want a simple way to import a connector, and are trying to import once, or infrequently.
- Github – Import existing connector definitions from a Github repo (note that you’ll need to authenticate (OAuth 2.0) with your account before using this feature).
- API Endpoint – Import an Open API/Swagger or connector JSON file from a hosted API endpoint. You may also choose to “subscribe” to that API endpoint which gives you the option to check that API endpoint and see if the hosted file has changed each time you visit or edit the connector code.
Azuqua also accepts two formats for the connector definition:
- Open API/Swagger – Azuqua has the ability to receive any valid Open API/Swagger definition and auto-generate Connector JSON for you.
- Azuqua Connector JSON – The default format in which all connectors are built.
To learn more details, check out our documentation.
Ok, I’m sold. How do I get started?
Because this is a new feature we’re rolling out, we want to make sure that every team building custom connectors finds exactly what they are looking for. Currently, the only way access custom connectors is to ask your sales or customer success representative to turn on the feature for you. If you’re not sure who to ask, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re excited to help you connect your internal tools and services onto the Azuqua platform!