In 2020, OutSystems has really topped the topic of integrations. They brought to us an Integration Builder component that promises to support our tasks and mission to deliver integrated applications fast.
And now you might be asking: why would you need a new integration tool when OutSystems already offers plenty of options to build integrations?
Well, here’s why.
The Growing Need to Integrate with Everything
In almost every project, we need to integrate applications to other systems and environments that are not always easy to understand. A simple change to one of these integrations takes a toll on the speed at which we’re able to deliver applications. That’s because the integration process is, most of the time, still very manual, since it usually requires reading documentation and installing components to connect to APIs successfully.
If you’re an OutSystems developer, you know you can use the platform’s out-of-the-box capabilities and connectors from the Forge to integrate your apps with systems of record easily. But as the number of applications developed increases, the number of integrations to be built and their updates also increases.
Which is reason enough for organizations to have processes in place so that they’re able to deploy integrated applications more frequently. To remove this complexity, OutSystems released Integration Builder —now available to all OutSystems customers.
Advantages of Integration Builder
Simply put, OutSystems Integration Builder removes the complexity when configuring connections between applications and external systems — disrupting the way integrated applications are built.
To illustrate the benefits of Integration Builder, the next graph compares the effort of building integrations with this new tool (in my opinion, as a rule of thumb) versus reusing an existing component from the OutSystems Forge versus a “traditional” and manual integration task.
Note that this graph considers that, in most cases, we have to read, configure, and deploy different types of integrations (broad range of knowledge).
Quite impressive, right? This means that all additional work to customize and match specific requirements (e.g., implementing a data connector or system authentication) can be reduced considerably.
To explain exactly how Integration Builder simplifies the integration process, let’s take a look at the technical differences between building integrations with traditional development versus Integration Builder.
The team developing this builder has been doing so with unrelenting passion and commitment, hearing the feedback of expert developers and the Community throughout the whole early access program. As Integration Builder becomes generally available, they’ve achieved not only a great technical tool but one that is simple to use and interact with.
But how does it actually work? Let’s take a look.
How to Create Integrations with Integration Builder
The process of creating an integration using Integration Builder requires only a few steps—five to be exact, from configuration to the moment you start using it. Depending on the type of connection and data fields to use, it can take around 15 minutes to set up the connector.
Step 1: Authorize Integration Builder
Authorize Integration Builder to connect to your external system by providing the correspondent service account credentials.
Step 2: Add Objects
Pick-and-select the external system's available entities (default and custom) to use and leverage the metadata.
Step 3: Review Integration
Review and manage the runtime connections by fetching the external system data configuration for validation.
Step 4: Publish
Here, the Integration Builder will automatically create and deploy the generated components, including the connector to the external system and the environment where the OutSystems applications are located.
Step 5: Connect Integration
The published connector can now be referenced by any application in the environment using a common OutSystems language (regardless of the underlying system), thus freeing developers of grasping concepts and terminology of the consumed system of record.
Build Robust Integrations Effortlessly
Integration Builder provides fast, consistent, and coherent connectors for your projects. You can select a standard or do custom integrations. This accelerates your integrations in no time and is suitable even when you are not sure which fields to use.
Overall benefits include:
- Easy to create and maintain: the integration's definition metadata is stored in the cloud, so there is no need to worry about how they're created, only that they're available in the environment and ready to be used or extended.
- Easy to secure: only users allowed to create applications can deploy new connectors in the target environment. Plus, access can be managed with the platform’s role-based security to control data flow from and to external systems.
- Rich metadata: an easy to use catalog of data types and relationships is directly available.
To learn more about Integration Builder and see it in action, I invite you to join Fernando Moitinho, Product Manager at OutSystems for integrations in his upcoming session Accelerate the Development of Integrations with Integration Builder.
Or you can give it a try right here.