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Build Your First Integration

This tutorial will walk you through some basic concepts of integration development. You will:

  • Fetch data from a third-party "app"
  • Learn how data flows between steps of an integration
  • Use a loop to iterate over the data you fetch
  • Use logical branches to determine what to do with the data
  • Send the data conditionally to another third-party

Integration overview

The integration you build here will fetch data (a list of to-do tasks) from an API, loops over the list, determine which tasks are marked "incomplete", and notify you via Slack of any "incomplete" tasks. Placeholder data will stand in as a placeholder for the to-do list "API".

You'll design this integration to be configurable, so the same integration can be deployed to multiple customers with unique API endpoints and Slack Webhook URLs.

Prerequisites

To run this integration, you will need to have a Slack account (you can create one for free) and generate a Slack webhook. Take note of the webhook you generate. It should be of the form https://hooks.slack.com/services/SOME/API/KEY.

Create a new integration

Click Integrations from the left-hand sidebar, and then click + Add integration in the upper-right.

Give the integration a name of "My First Integration". You can choose to give your integration an optional description, and can categorize the integration if you wish, though both fields can be left blank.

After clicking Next, select an integration trigger. An integration's trigger determines what should cause the integration to run. For this integration, select a Schedule Trigger, which allows you to run the integration on a schedule (once a day, once an hour, etc). After selecting the trigger, you'll find yourself in the integration designer.

Configure the integration trigger

First, let's determine what will cause this integration to run.

Click on the integration trigger. This will open a configuration drawer on the left side of the screen. Then, click Add a value in the Schedule field. Configure the trigger to run once daily at a time of your choosing:

Pull down to-do data

Your first step is responsible for fetching data from the to-do API. Add an HTTP - GET Request action by clicking the

button below the trigger and searching for the HTTP component.

Select the HTTP component, and then select the Get Request action.

Make the URL configurable

Now we need to tell the step where to look for the to-do API. We should make this configurable, so one customer could look at one endpoint, and another customer could look at another endpoint.

Click the URL field in the left-hand side of your screen and open the Config Variables tab. Click

next to the dropdown to create a new config variable. Within the dialogue that pops up name the new config variable To-Do API Endpoint and set this as its default value:

https://my-json-server.typicode.com/prismatic-io/placeholder-data/todo

Click Accept to save this config variable and use it as input to this step.

The Response Type field should keep its default JSON value and you can leave all other input fields alone.

At this point you should test your single-step integration to verify your first step pulls to-do data from the to-do API successfully.

Click SAVE & RUN TEST button to save and run your integration. This will open the TEST RUNNER drawer. If you open up the Step Outputs tab, you should see the data retrieved from the to-do API:

The important thing to note here is that those step results (the list of to-do items in this case) are available to use in subsequent steps.

Loop over to-do tasks

Add another action by clicking the

icon below the action you just added. This time choose the Loop component, Loop Over Items action.

Let the step know what items to loop over by clicking the Items input, and from within the Reference Search box that comes up, enter results.

Click SAVE & RUN TEST again. In the Step Outputs tab, you'll now see the results of the loop step. Note that it has a currentItem value - this represents the to-do task that is currently being looped over. We'll use that value for the next step.

Check if a to-do task is completed

Now you need to determine if each to-do task is complete or not, so you can send incomplete tasks as Slack messages.

Within the loop, add a new step. This time select the Branch component, Branch on Expression action.

Create a branch named "Completed". Under Field open the Reference tab and select your loop step as the Reference Step. Enter currentItem.completed as the Reference Search. Under the Operator drop down, select is true to check if the current to-do item's completed value is true.

Post the message to Slack

We want to send a Slack message when a task is not complete. So, add a Slack component, Slack Message From Webhook action under the Else branch.

In the Message input field choose a Reference, select the Loop Over To-Do Items as your Reference Step and enter currentItem.task for the Reference Search:

This will instruct the Slack component to send the current tasks's description as a Slack message.

Configure the Slack connection

A connection is a config variable that contains the information necessary for a step in your integration to interact with an external app or service. Connections often contain endpoints, usernames, API keys, etc. In this case, we want to configure Slack to use a specific webhook URL (the one you created above) to send messages. Note that the Connection input has already been populated with a connection config variable for you.

Open up the Configuration Wizard from the button on the right side of the screen and open the Slack Connection config variable that was created for you. Under Connection Type, change it to a Slack, Webhook URL.

Open up the connection's Webhook URL input and give it a default value of the Slack webhook URL you configured above:

Test the integration

Now it's time to test your integration to verify it works properly.

Click the Save & Run Test button once more. Then, open the Test Runner tab from the left-hand sidebar. You'll see output from your test run. By clicking through Step Outputs you can see the output that each step generated. You should see several "incomplete" to-do tasks appear in your Slack channel as the integration runs.

Tidy up your integration

Though it's not necessary, it's helpful to add descriptive names to each of your integration's steps so your team members know exactly what each one does. You can also add a step under the Completed branch to do something with completed to-do items if you'd like.

Publish the integration

Now that you have a working integration, it's time to publish it so it can be deployed to customers.

Open the Version History tab on the left-hand side. Enter a publication message so others know what you've changed, and then click the Save & Publish button.

Next steps

Congratulations! You created your first integration! Here are a few things you should try next:

  • Alter the Slack message you're sending using template inputs.
  • Swap out the HTTP GET action for a different data source component (perhaps pull from an SFTP server)?
  • Write your message out to a file in Dropbox or Amazon S3 instead of Slack.

When you are ready, move on to the next tutorial to deploy your integration to a customer.