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(A)nything's (P)ossible with (I)mport-O-Matic

Please respond to this post with your best ideas for challenges that could be solved with Import-O-Matic's forthcoming API. We'll pick a few problems and solve them and post the code for all to use!

Interested in the possibilities this would bring to integrating with the Drupal CMS via web services. This module is how web services are added to Drupal: http://drupal.org/project/services

Particularly, if someone registers on a website with complex profile fields it would be nice to be able to get them into RE easily.

I don't know much VB and C# but I know other languages like Rails and PHP. Where would you recommend to start learning how IOM/the API use C#/VB? Thanks.
I want conditional dictionaries available. Not sure if this is an API applicable request but putting it here anyway.
Examples:
1) I have a dictionary for the leading zero on the zip code. Worked great until I imported my first international address with a 4 digit postal code. So now I had to take it off because we are an international organization. I want to apply the dictionary ONLY if the address is in the US.
2) I want a dictionary which will look for the presence of something in another field and change the current field. For example in the Convio Connector employer info (address type, relationship, reciprocal, etc) comes down filled in even if there is no employer name. I have to remove the data before I can export it and I would rather not ever touch the data file. So some kind of dictionary which says if Org name is blank then make this field blank. This is an issue ALL users of the Convio Connector deal with so I can imagine it being wanted by many.
I too would like a validate feature! I hate importing a transaction file to batch and having errors. Do I just manually add in the error(s) to the batch or do I delete the batch andre-do the entire import so it can all stay in one batch.

Again - not sure this is an API suggestion, though.
Hi Guys,

Great suggestions so far! Here are some responses:

@David: Yes, it could be written to consume webservices to retrieve additional information about constituents, but I wonder if you can give me some examples of the complex fields you cannot bring in now. Are you able to pull them into the source data file already?

@Melissa: Yes, we intentionally exposed the dictionary functionality in the API so that you could call it conditionally if you wanted to. And Yes, you could blank out certain fields if another field or fields is blank.

@Sandi: Hmmm, RE: SSN I think that could be done, would take a bit of work but might make a great example. For the validate...actually yes, we think we've found a way to do this with the API that would not be difficult. As I'm envisioning it though, keep in mind that you would be going through the full import process, then it could pop up a msgbox at the end and say "There were 8 exceptions, do you wish to commit this import?". If you choose "No", the import would not be committed and you would still have your exceptions file to make fixes, but you would need to do the entire import again a second time. Is that roughly what you'd like?

Please keep the good ideas coming!!  I'm afraid I won't be able to make regular responses today and tomorrow as I'm at the AFP conference in Vancouver, but if you or someone in your organization is here, please ask them to stop by and I'll give them a quick demo of the API. We have the lounge-ish booth right next to the Blackbaud booth (natch!).

Jeff
As I'm envisioning it though, keep in mind that you would be going through the full import process, then it could pop up a msgbox at the end and say "There were 8 exceptions, do you wish to commit this import?". If you choose "No", the import would not be committed and you would still have your exceptions file to make fixes, but you would need to do the entire import again a second time. Is that roughly what you'd like


I can't speak for Sandi that is EXACTLY what I would like!
I thought of another one.

I use IOM to import profile updates to from Convio. The information comes down with lots of information pre-populated including address info source. I would really love to be able to have it ignore Info source if it is simply updating an existing address (especially not overwrite the existing info source which is what it does now). I only want it to populate info source IF the criteria set has determined that it should create a new address - then the source should be Convio. If the address is not changing then the constituent source should stay what it was (even if blank). Please tell me we can do this with the API.
Heff, you did not mention in any of this whether or not the API is expected to be free or at cost. Do you know yet?
LOL - I mean Jeff not Heff. (read nothing into that please). LMAO
Hi Melissa,

Actually I did discuss pricing in the announcement, but it's definitely worth mentioning again:
We're adding a free, open API to Import-O-Matic!
The question about info source is a good one, we'd probably need to dive deeper into the specifics to find out. It does give me an idea for adding a new programming event like "MatchFound" or something that will let us execute some code as soon as an existing constituent is matched to. This would allow us to check/cache certain field values and we could then verify them in the BeforeConstituentSaved event. Even more specific to the issue you mentioned might be an "AddressAdded" event, that would allow us manipulate the address (say, set the info source) only when it is a new address being added. Thanks for the ideas, I'll see if we can add some of these events.

Jeff
We’re really excited here about getting our hands on this API! Great stuff!

In your email you mention gathering examples of common challenges, we have something that we think is probably common to customers here in the UK that we’d be really excited to see how you solve with the API...

When we add new reccuring gifts to a record through I-o-M it would be great if the system could close off any existing recurring gifts on the constituent'srecord as part of the import process. This is hopefully just the sort of challenge your looking forward to cracking with the API
This could be the answer to many of our prayers! I'll submit some thoughts in separate posts. First - the email tickler/reminder from actions in RE is pretty poor. Our people travel alot and they will get a reminder - but it doesn't tell them what it is for. If more information could be added to that reminder it would be fantastic.
We'd like our development officers to create their own actions. But the tab is a bit more complicated than we'd want. We'd love to have a screen where they could enter some basic information that would then feed into the proper location on the action tab.
Cindy, I think that is more of a job for the Raiser's Edge API than for IOM API but Jeff could prove me wrong.
Posted By James Hoare on 04 Apr 2012 03:33 AM
When we add new reccuring gifts to a record through I-o-M it would be great if the system could close off any existing recurring gifts on the constituent'srecord as part of the import process.
Hi James,

Why yes, as a matter of fact I think it could be used to close existing recurring gifts. Can you give me some more specifics regarding when this should occur? Just anytime any new recurring gift is being created? Are there any situations in which someone might just be adding an additional RG?

Thanks,
Jeff
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