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7 Nov 2017

import system rewritten

in Technical Blog by Kae Verens
An issue that comes up with our field management service software clients more and more often lately is that most of our file uploads and importers are written using Flash to enable the file upload. The reason for this is that up until recently, there was no other way to upload files without having to reload the entire page. Because we try to be the best field service software and keep everything as easy and smooth as possible, forcing a reload of the page every time a file was uploaded was simply not on. The only alternative, though, was a Flash-based uploader. So, that's what we did. Now, though, web technology has advanced enough that we can upload files using just JavaScript. No flash. That's very important because Flash reaches its end of life in 3 years. This is a problem for some service management software solutions I could name that rely heavily on Flash. Luckily, our own investment in the technology was minimal. The first thing to be rewritten was the importer for Customers. I have yet to plug it into the Customers page properly (it needs to be passed by our testing department first), but it's working well enough that I can describe what we improved. Firstly, we had the issue that even though we provide example files illustrating how we need customer imports to be formatted, a lot of our field service management clients had trouble fitting everything into those formats, so we would end up doing it ourselves, or the clients would try anyway and potentially break some of their already imported customers. To fix this, the import process now includes a mapper. You upload in whatever format your own exports are in (XLS/XLSX/CSV/ODS), and match your headings against our own. Once that's done, click Save and the system will ask you what to name your new map (if you hadn't chosen a pre-existing map), so that next time you upload from a file in the same format, it will already know how to handle it. After this, the system starts the import properly. It starts by uploading one at a time, then two at a time, etc., until it figures out how many you can upload at a time so each batch of uploads finishes in 5 seconds. A five second interval is enough for the system to keep you apprised of what's going on, with uptodate numbers of completed or failed imports, and a reasonably correct timer that will tell you how long you have to get that cup of tea. It can take a while to import customers, as we do a lot of checks to make sure you're not uploading duplicates or obviously incorrect data (names in the lat/long fields, for example). When the import is finished, any customers that failed to be imported will be grouped together and you can download a CSV from the result page, to see what was wrong with them and try again. This system is currently in with our test team so they can do a thorough review of it before update the workflow management system and replace the old flash-based one. It's a huge improvement, though! If you'd like to see it in action (along with the rest of the best field service management software on the market), please ask us for a demo.