brown paper bag

Omatic Brown Bag Lunch Series

Omatic Software hosts a monthly brown bag lunch series for employees to share their knowledge on topics ranging from “programming for dummies” to “how to make the perfect taco.” (I am still trying to recruit someone to present on the latter.)  As the CAO (Chief Automation Officer) at Omatic, I will do my best to write about these gatherings and keep you informed on all things “knowledge”.

Today’s presentation was “Programming the ImportOmatic API for non-programmers” by Jim Wilson and Nic Bourne (not to be confused with Jim ‘N Nicks‘ bbq, which is delicious by the way). The API (application program interface) is a free tool that comes with ImportOmatic and allows users to totally customize how their data is imported. They shared with us “non-developers” some of their knowledge of the API for ImportOmatic and I pretended like I didn’t know any of it.

To many in the room with varying backgrounds (sales/marketing, accounting, support, program management, admin, and “whatever that funny looking guy does”) the presentation opened our eyes to the power of the “If…then…” statement. In the real world, one of these statements might be, “If you eat my sandwich for lunch, then I will be very unhappy with you.” But in the world of Raiser’s Edge data importing, one of these statements might be,”If the file contains a certain value in column C and D, then change the value in column E to something else.” The API allows ImportOmatic users to develop these statements in a language that ImportOmatic and The Raiser’s Edge can understand, and ultimately, better manage their list import.

 

Here are a few topics that came up during the demonstration.

“Does the API only apply to developers?” – No. Anyone with a basic knowledge of Visual Basic can configure with the tool.

“What if the user is unsure of their configuration prior to a new list import?” – Omatic already thought of that. They made a test environment where you users can see how your potential scripting will impact their list import (So in other words, you can configure the scripting, and then test it prior to the import so you do not actually impact your list until you are ready).

“Do I have to reinvent the wheel each time I use the API?” – The tool has two tabs: global and profile. The global tab contains some standard formatting and allows users to add their own commonly used code to it as well. On the profile tab, users can repeatedly reference any of the global code for ease of use (and not have to rewrite or customize for each import).

“Who would find this tool most useful?” – Anyone doing regular imports into their Raiser’s Edge database.

“What is a good starting place for those who have no API experience?” – Users can review Q&A as well as an intro guide on our API forum.

If you would like to learn more about the API for ImportOmatic, please click here

 

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