BC Web Services

Posted by Shane Donnelly, Product Innovation Delivery Manager on 1 May 2019

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BC Web Services

Integration and Automation using BC Web Services

Welcome to the first in a series of articles that will introduce you to the BC Web Services which allow the integration of third party applications and the automation of common activities such as project creation.

We’ll look at what they can do and how they do it.  We’ll do so by including actual examples straight from our development labs.

What are web services?

Introduced in Business Collaborator 6.1, web services allow third party applications to securely connect to Business Collaborator across the internet.

This enables the creation of solutions that:

  • Automate key or common processes in Business Collaborator to reduce manual overhead and increase accuracy and reliability.
  • Allow mobile clients (on phones or tablets) to connect to a Business Collaborator server.

For instance, you could connect an ERP financial system to Business Collaborator using Web Services to create a project collaboration area whenever the budget is approved for the project.

Are they secure?

Each solution must be granted access to a server before it can connect.  Furthermore, any action carried out is on behalf of the current user and restricted by existing access rights and membership permissions.

Authentication is securely handled by OAuth and all communications are carried out over HTTPS.

How much do they cost?

Use of the web services is free.

How do I get started?

First you’ll need a developer with a can do attitude.  Then you’ll need to get in touch with our support team who’ll be able to get the ball rolling.

Jargon

The Web Services REST API does bring with it a small downside.

Jargon.

You don’t need to understand the terminology but if you are interested:

  • Web Services – the ability for an application to ask Business Collaborator to do something across the web.  The application can be anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  For example, you could add a document to a project in Business Collaborator from another system.
  • REST – REpresentational State Transfer.  A very basic open standard that defines how to talk to Business Collaborator.
  • API – Application Programming Interface.  Essentially a list of what you can ask of Business Collaborator or what you can get Business Collaborator to do.
  • OAuth – Open standard to Authorization.  This ensures that authentication between an application and Business Collaborator is secure.
  • JSON – JavaScript Object Notation.  Pronounced “Jason”.  The format for passing information to and receiving information from Business Collaborator.

Further reading

  1. Introduction to the basics
  2. The key to getting started

Who wrote these articles?

This series of articles is brought to you by Shane Donnelly.  He first joined GroupBC as a developer back in 2002 and has been key in the delivery of modules such as ProcessPlan (Assure) and Tendering.