What is a Generic Connector?

Overview

Beckon integrates with popular marketing execution systems and provides built-in connectors to fetch data into Beckon WARP drive. But, there are far too many third-parties that are used by Beckon's clients. In case we need to bring data from these, we have a few choices:

  • Scheduled exports from the third party and ingest them using Email or SFTP Connectors;
  • Manual export from a third-party and manual upload into Beckon.
  • Generic connector.

This article serves as an introduction to generic connectors. 

Information

When a marketing execution third-party supports a REST API (Application Programming Interface), a generic connector can be used to fetch the data and load it in Beckon. A generic connector can be configured using a user interface to handle specific API for a third-party. Also, fetch-options and pull schedule can be specified for a generic connector just like built-in connectors for automation.

You can choose a 'Generic' connector from the available connectors.

generic_connector_icon.png

The generic connector's user interface allows you to configure the API.

generic_connector.png

There are multiple different ways to connect to a third party API and they will apply in different cases. We will cover them starting with the easiest approaches.

  • API METHOD: REST API calls are handled using one of GET/POST. The information on what to use will be specified in the third-party API documentation for a specific API method.
  • URL: The URL for accessing a particular resource method, e.g.:
    https://api.beckon.com/epicenterprise/data/file
  • PARAMS: When an API needs query parameters, you can check the 'PARAMS' checkbox and then provide name/value pairs of query parameters. These are sent along with the resource URL.
  • AUTHORIZATION: The generic connector supports various protocols like basic-auth, oauth or custom. You can select an adapter that uses one of these authentication methods from the drop-down. It is also possible to have 'none' as an authorization protocol while integrating with a simple API that does not need it. When one of the login scripts is used, one would use 'custom' as the authorization method.
  • HEADERS: When an API needs a set of name/value pairs as header properties in the HTTP request, that can be specified in this pane. e.g., "Content-Type" as name and "application/json" as value.

In many cases, the third-party API is more complex. The generic connector can integrate with a configuration that uses scripting. A script can be written using Javascript, Groovy or Ruby as the language.

Four pluggable endpoints can be specified using a script. One can specify the script endpoints that apply. The endpoints allow the user to specify a handler script before or after a login call or a request call. The login related scripts are typically used to get an api-token or auth related information. The request related scripts are used to send an HTTP request.

Here are configurations that are associated with various types of scripts.

  • PRE-LOGIN: A script that returns an HTTP request that will be sent before any request is sent to third-party API. This request will be sent only once for the call.
  • POST-LOGIN: A script that is used to parse the response received from login-request. This script will typically parse out the required tokens and make them available for the API request script.
  • PRE-REQUEST: A script that creates an HTTP request that will be sent to the third-party.
  • POST-REQUEST: A script that will be used to parse the response from the HTTP request.
  • PROPERTIES: These are name/value pairs that are available to the above scripts.

 

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