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18 May 2017

using the FieldMotion API for your own project

in Technical Blog by Kae Verens
We sometimes have customers who ask if they can link to FieldMotion so their internal systems can be updated automatically. If it's something very common, then we might already have that built into our Zapier plugin, but if they're looking for a more indepth connection, we ask them to use our API. An API (Application Programmer Interface) is a way for one program to speak to another program. Every large company has one. Google, Facebook, Amazon, EBay. If a field service management software company doesn't have an API, you need to think twice - one of the points of using an online service is that it is more efficient than using pen and paper, but if efficiency is important, then surely it's important that you can get your online service to speak directly to your accounts or other internal services? Two of the more common uses for the API with our own field service engineer software clients are to connect to accounts such as Sage, or Opera. It's impossible for FieldMotion, or any other cloud-based workflow software, to speak directly to those account packages because they are not online. You cannot speak to them over the Internet. This is why accounting software such as Xero is so popular today, because you can access Xero online, and therefore you can easily link to it without needing custom-written code. We link directly to Xero, for example, but we don't link directly to Sage. But, if you did want to link directly to something (Sage, etc) that is not online, then here's how you do it. Firstly, you need to hire a programmer, or contract a programming company to do the work for you. They need to create a program that runs on the same computer as the offline service you want to link to. There are many ways that the program itself can be built, but probably the simplest is to simply create a periodic synchroniser. Every half an hour (for example), it will check the Sage database to see if there is something new to upload to FieldMotion, and it will also check FieldMotion to see if there is anything new to download from that to Sage. Of course, the devil is in the details, but we're here to help. If you decide you want to go this route and want to link your accounts packages with FieldMotion, please contact us and we'll help you, by either talking with your programmer, or by putting you in contact with others that have already done this, so you can benefit from their work. APIs are incredibly important. If you are working with workflow management software, one of your main purposes is to try and automate away anything that might normally need to be done manually.