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Kim Clark, Mark Ketteman | Published October 13, 2017
API ManagementDevOpsHybrid Cloud
Archived date: 2019-08-30
When you create a process application, you want to focus on business value, not on the complexity of the underlying technology. With integration, you often must learn details that you’d rather not know about. However, modern cloud-based applications, such as Salesforce, typically come with web-based APIs that intend to make integration easier. Indeed, in recent years, IBM® Business Process Manager (BPM) has made tremendous advances in its support for REST APIs. But, APIs are typically complex to use, with subtle error handling and relatively complex data models. Often developers want a specific and simple use case of an API that is only a small subset of what its full API does.
Because IBM BPM enables code-free process creation, you also want to create and extend your connections to external services in a code-free manner, which is where IBM App Connect comes in. You can consider IBM App Connect as the “cloud connector” for IBM BPM, simplifying interaction with cloud-based applications. By using IBM App Connect, you can compose APIs in a code-free flow designer. You can also provide connectors to a wide range of common software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, including Salesforce, as used in the example in this tutorial.
This tutorial demonstrates how IBM App Connect can simplify the task of creating a contact with Salesforce. The connectors in IBM App Connect are not just technology connectors. For example, the Salesforce connector is programmed to make a secure connection with Salesforce and manage many common error conditions. It also detects which of the many Salesforce APIs to use to perform all of the common actions and what the common objects are, such as a contact look-alike. By following the example in this tutorial, you will learn how to use the capabilities of Salesforce in IBM App Connect to perform a code-free implementation of a simplified API for IBM BPM to consume. You also see how to use that API thanks to the REST functions in IBM BPM.
This tutorial has two key tasks. First, you learn how to create an API in App Connect. Second, you create a reusable, external service to call the API in IBM BPM. If you already know how to do the first task, you can skip it and start with the second task to create the external service.
Try IBM App ConnectTry IBM BPM
In this part, you create and expose a simple API to create a contact in Salesforce. The following example shows how this new contact will look in Saleforce when you are done.
This example is the simplest possible API that you can create. Even then, you will see that you can use it to expose a more complex Salesforce API with a much simpler data model. This API also provides a placeholder so that you can add more sophisticated capabilities to it later. Before you begin, log in to your Salesforce account.
Flow editor features. We chose a simple flow so that you can complete this section and move onto the configuration in IBM BPM as quickly as possible. However, keep in mind that the flow editor has many more features. You can include conditional steps, and perform multiple actions to many different applications.
You now have a secured but publicly available API that is ready for use in any application that has the credentials.
Now, you use the API that you created in IBM App Connect within a process in IBM BPM. You set it up so that it is easier to reuse in multiple parts of a process and other process applications.
This tutorial is written for users who are newer to IBM App Connect but who are familiar with IBM BPM. Therefore, the details in this section focus on how you set up connectivity to IBM App Connect.
To connect to any API from IBM BPM, you must create an external Service in IBM BPM. An external service defines operations, their input and output data, and a server configuration that contains information about how to connect to the host server. In this tutorial, the server definition holds connectivity detail for the API on IBM App Connect (URL, port, credentials, and so on). You can change these details at run time when the process moves through the various environments, such as test, staging, and production. An administrator can change the server definition—for example, if the endpoint URL is different—at run time.
In this section, you create an external service to hold the operations, inputs and outputs, and server configuration of the REST API that you created in App Connect:
Salesforce New Contact
In this tutorial, you learned how to simplify interaction between IBM App Connect and IBM BPM with Salesforce. You can then expand this simplified API to provide more sophisticated functions with Salesforce or to enrich the data with information from other applications. For example, you can ensure that you do not create duplicates in Salesforce. You can create a new contact in other systems. Or, you can send notifications by email or SaaS tools, such as Slack, to inform your team that you created a new contact. The possibilities are endless. To see the art of the possible with IBM App Connect, see the Integrate Watson and Salesforce with IBM App Connect video.
June 4, 2019
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