By Craig Saunders, Daniel Wood and Stuart Woodhouse, 7 March 2020
Claris have just released their new product Claris Connect, a cloud based service to orchestrate the connection and flow of data between different applications, including of course Claris FileMaker.
This means you can potentially do things like have a "card" created in, say Trello, automatically post a message in Slack, and create a task record in your custom FileMaker application.
For businesses this gives you way of using those smaller dedicated apps that you love, and linking them together to eliminate double entry and avoiding the need to build an API integration, or in some cases an entire custom app might not be needed at all — why not just tie together several different dedicated apps?
We'll come back and talk more about the business case for it in a later article, but for now as developers we were just dead keen to get our hands on it and have play around to see what it's capable of and get a true sense of how we might be able to use it to add value for our clients.
A few members of our team have jumped in and had a go so here's what we've found out and where we think it's going:
Early signs are that it’s very promising, for both the casual ‘citizen developer’ right through to our professional developers here at Digital Fusion. There are some integrations/flows that would normally take a number of days that could potentially be implemented now in just a few hours. It’s early days in the life of the product, so we are interested to see how things evolve over time.
Our initial trials involved using Trello, FileMaker and Slack, connecting flows between them, so here's what we were able to achieve in about half day:
We set out to build a relatively complex workflow, connecting three different cloud based apps, each with their own complexities, in a very simple flow of information:
Adding the initial Trello trigger was a breeze, very easy to connect it to Trello & select the board we wanted to monitor.
Likewise connecting to Slack account was easy. There was a little time involved in figuring out posting to Slack but overall that was easy too. We ran into an issue where it does not appear Claris Connect can post to a private channel so we had to re-add the channel as a public one.
One really awesome thing about it was Claris Connect makes available to you any piece of information the Trello API returns, which you can use in future actions in the workflow. So we were able to formulate a message to post into Slack utilising any bit of Trello information. We could also grab the name of the Trello user and make that the “bot” name who posts, so it looks like the person who added the card is telling you in Slack.
The next step was to execute a script in FileMaker: the setup of this was actually pretty damn easy too. Very easy to connect to a FileMaker Server (must be 18v3) and select the database. We did have a few issues at this point in time with the script failing to execute on a number of occasions when passed information from Trello. Hopefully these bugs can be resolved in Claris Connect rather promptly as one of the most important aspects of this workflow requires this. It was at this point we came a bit unstuck and had to abandon completion of the workflow.
The “Test” feature is cool as it allows you to sample and verify the action (in this case run script).
Because we could only create three flows as part of our trial license, it did limit what we would love to have tested — ultimately we wanted to add the following:
As mentioned above, we are really exited by the opportunities the product can bring to our development team here at Digital Fusion. We are going to keep a very close eye on how the product evolves and further opportunities for us to use it in our development.
You can find out more inlcuding pricing and sign-up for a trial yourself at the Claris Connect web site
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