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Chapter 1. High level overview of Fuse Online

With Fuse Online, you can obtain data from an application or service, operate on that data if you need to, and then send the data to a completely different application or service. No coding is required to accomplish this.

The following topics provide a high-level overview of Fuse Online:

1.1. How Fuse Online works

Fuse Online provides a web browser interface that lets you integrate two or more different applications or services without writing code. It also provides features that allow you to introduce code if it is needed for complex use cases.

Fuse Online lets you enable data transfer between different applications. For example, a business analyst can use Fuse Online to capture tweets that mention customers and then leverage the data obtained from Twitter to update Salesforce accounts. Another example is a service that makes stock trade recommendations. You can use Fuse Online to capture recommendations for buying or selling stocks of interest and forward those recommendations to a service that automates stock transfers.

To create and run a simple integration, the main steps are:

  1. Create a connection to each application that you want to integrate.
  2. Select the start connection. This connection is to the application that contains the data that you want to share with another application.

    Alternatively, you can start the integration with a timer or a webhook that accepts an HTTP request.

  3. Select the finish connection. This connection is to the application that receives data from the start connection and that completes the integration.
  4. Map data fields from the start connection to data fields in the finish connection.
  5. Give the integration a name.
  6. Click Publish to start running the integration.

Another kind of integration is an API provider integration. An API provider integration allows REST API clients to invoke commands that trigger execution of the integration. To create and run an API provider integration, you upload an OpenAPI 2.0 document to Fuse Online. This document specifies the operations that clients can call. For each operation, you specify and configure the flow of connections and steps, such as data mapper or filter steps, that executes that operation. A simple integration has one flow while an API provider integration has a flow for each operation.

The Fuse Online dashboard lets you monitor and manage integrations. You can see which integrations are running, and you can start, stop, and edit integrations.

1.2. Who Fuse Online is for

Fuse Online is for business experts in, for example, finance, human resources, or marketing, who do not want to write code in order to share data between two different applications. Their use of a variety of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications gives them an understanding of business requirements, workflows, and relevant data.

As a business user, you can use Fuse Online to:

  • Capture tweets that mention your company, filter them, and create new contacts in your Salesforce environment when the tweet is from an unknown source.
  • Identify Salesforce lead updates and then execute a SQL stored procedure to keep your related database up to date.
  • Subscribe for orders received by an AMQ broker and then operate on those orders with a custom API.
  • Obtain data from an Amazon S3 bucket and add it to a Dropbox folder.

These are just a few examples of what a business user can do without writing code.

1.3. Benefits of using Fuse Online

Fuse Online has a number of benefits:

  • Integrate data from different applications or services without writing code.
  • Run the integration on OpenShift Online in the public cloud or on OpenShift Container Platform on site.
  • Use the visual data mapper to map data fields in one application to data fields in another application.
  • Leverage all the benefits of open source software. You can extend features, and customize interfaces. If Fuse Online does not provide a connector for an application or service that you want to integrate then a developer can create the connector that you need.

1.4. Descriptions of Fuse Online constructs

To use Fuse Online, you create an integration by working with connectors, connections, actions, steps, and flows. It is helpful to have a basic understanding each of these constructs.

Integrations

In Fuse Online, there are simple integrations and API provider integrations.

A simple integration is a set of ordered steps that Fuse Online executes. This set includes:

  • A step that connects to an application to start the integration. This connection provides the initial data that the integration operates on. A subsequent connection can provide additional data.
  • A step that connects to an application to complete the integration. This connection receives any data that was output from previous steps and finishes the integration.
  • Optional additional steps that connect to applications between the start and finish connections. Depending on the position of the additional connection in the sequence of integration steps, an additional connection can do any or all of the following:

    • Provide additional data for the integration to operate on
    • Process the integration data
    • Output processing results to the integration
  • Optional steps that operate on data between connections to applications. Typically, there is a step that maps data fields from the previous connection to data fields that the next connection uses.

An API provider integration publishes a REST API service for which you provided an OpenAPI schema. A call from a REST API client triggers execution of an API provider integration. The call can invoke any operation that the REST API implements. While a simple integration has one flow of execution, an API provider integration has a flow for each operation. Each operation flow connects to the applications and processes the data according to the steps that you added to that operation’s flow when you created the integration. Each operation flow ends by returning a response that you specify to the client whose call triggered execution of the integration.

Connectors

Fuse Online provides a set of connectors. A connector represents a specific application that you want to obtain data from or send data to. Each connector is a template for creating a connection to that specific application. For example, you use the Salesforce connector to create a connection to Salesforce.

An application that you want to connect to might use the OAuth protocol to authenticate users. In this case, you register your Fuse Online environment as a client that can access that application. The registration is associated with the connector for that application. You need to register a particular Fuse Online environment only once with each application that uses OAuth. The registration extends to each connection that you create from that connector.

If Fuse Online does not provide a connector that you need, a developer can create the required connector.

Connections

Before you can create an integration, you must create a connection to each application or service that you want to obtain data from or send data to. To create a connection, you select a connector and add configuration information. For example, to connect to an AMQ broker in an integration, you create a connection by selecting the AMQ connector, and then following prompts to identify the broker to connect to and the account to use for the connection.

A connection is one specific instance of the connector that it is created from. You can create any number of connections from one connector. For example, you can use the AMQ connector to create three AMQ connections where each connection accesses a different broker.

To create a simple integration, you select a connection to start the integration, a connection to end the integration, and optionally one or more connections for accessing additional applications. To create an API provider integration, you can add one or more connections to each operation flow. Any number of integrations and operation flows can use the same connection. A particular integration or flow can use the same connection more than once.

For details, see About connecting to applications.

Actions

In an integration, each connection performs exactly one action. As you create an integration, you choose a connection to add to the flow and then you choose the action that the connection performs. For example, when you add a Salesforce connection to a flow, you choose from a set of actions that includes, but is not limited to, creating a Salesforce account, updating a Salesforce account, and searching Salesforce.

Some actions require additional configuration and Fuse Online prompts you for this information.

Steps

A simple integration is a set of ordered steps. In an API provider integration, each operation flow is a set of ordered steps.

Each step operates on data. Some steps operate on data while connected to an application or service outside Fuse Online. These steps are connections. Between connections, there can be other steps that operate on data in Fuse Online. Typically, the set of steps includes a step that maps data fields used in a previous connection to data fields that are used in the next connection in the flow. Except for the start connection in a simple integration, each step operates on data it receives from the previous steps.

To operate on data between connections, Fuse Online provides steps for:

  • Mapping data fields in one application to data fields in another application.
  • Filtering data so that the integration continues only when the data being processed meets criteria that you define.
  • Spliting a collection of records into individual records so that Fuse Online executes subsequent steps iteratively, once for each record.
  • Aggregating individual records into a collection so that Fuse Online executes subsequent steps once for the collection.
  • Generating equivalent, consistent output by inserting data into a Freemarker, Mustache, or Velocity template.
  • Logging information in addition to the default logging that Fuse Online automatically provides.

To operate on data between connections in a way that is not built into Fuse Online, you can upload an extension that provides a custom step. See Developing extensions.

Flow

A simple integration has one flow, which is the set of steps that it executes. An API provider integration has a flow for each operation that the REST API defines. Each operation’s flow is the set of steps that processes a call that invokes that operation.

In a flow, each step can operate on the data that is output from the previous steps. To determine the steps that you need in a flow, see Planning integrations.