Behind the scenes of 3rd party integrations

I love integration jobs. It’s my thing. Big chunks of coding work that I can bury myself in and not have to resurface for days, sometimes even weeks.

To my delight, about a month ago I was handed a new project – a function to suck in some data from a 3rd party system and update transactions in EXO with details and costs.

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) was the most suitable tool. It takes longer to create the solution, but results in seamless integration where user intervention (copy, paste, print report, upload etc.) is not required.

The budget was tight – twelve hours. I knew I had to work smart as there was  field mapping which involved some guess work (thanks 3rd party software!), and I was using SSIS.

So, eight hours into the job: guess mapping complete, scripting complete, SSIS project built, all I had to do was run the SSIS task which would bring in the raw data from a CSV file and dump it into a temp table in SQL. That’s where I came unstuck. Version errors, password encryption errors, connections not found, and a few more randoms. Hello Dr Google. I was pointed to some solutions which bumped off some errors whilst creating others.

Twelve hours came and went. The office fridge was ransacked and shelves pilfered (it was me!). I finally succumbed, went home and had nightmares about it (apparently you can’t put this in timesheets, even though its work related)

The following day my solution was still tied in knots. I dumped Dr Google and bought in Dr Phil. To cut a long story short, Dr Phil pointed out something I overlooked and suggested an alternate method of avoiding the version errors. A one hour consult and my solution problems were solved!

Morals of the story:

  • Don’t let 12 hour budgets turn into 20 hour vendettas
  • It’s OK to ask for help – it will more than likely save time and your sanity
  • Workmates rock!