Thoughts on technology and innovation
Eric Marzinsky, Web Developer
We recently integrated Cvent, a 3rd party event solution, with a client’s iMIS 15. Up until the integration, the client was inserting all Cvent registrations into iMIS by hand in order to create batch information and handle PayPal refunds. This was very tedious and time consuming. They wanted users to be able to register for events through Cvent yet still have the registration information, events and batches appear in iMIS. The requirements for this included creating activity records and batch information for each registration.
Cvent’s API was utilized to retrieve a list of all registrations completed during a specified time period. To overcome API call limitations, the registration list was then split up into chunks of 200 records. This allowed API calls to retrieve detailed information for each chunk of records without running into limitations set in place that dictates how many records of certain types can be returned in any one API call.. Once all the necessary information was collected the data could then be added to iMIS.
The creation of activity records in iMIS was a fairly straightforward. Cvent stored the user’s iMIS id so this was used to determine to which iMIS records to add the activity record. The creation of batches was a bit more complex. iMIS had to be checked first to see if the Cvent event existed. If it did not then the event would need to be created before any registrations could be completed. Once the event was created in iMIS (the client handed the event creation) all Cvent registrations were looped through and each user was registered for the event. All Cvent registrations were added to a single iMIS batch to make accounting work easier for the client.
Once all of the activity records, registrations and batches were completed the client was then able to go into iMIS to handle the batches and run any existing reports.
Working with 3rd party tools and their associated API is always an interesting challenge. Some APIs are very well crafted and documented, leaving no question to the programmer on how things should be done. Other cases are slightly more convoluted and require some trial and error in order to accomplish the goals set forth. In this case it did take a little more work to figure out the limitations and best approach for the intended functionality with the tools that were provided.
When choosing a 3rd party event registration tool it is of utmost importance to discuss with your accounting department how the tool will be incorporated and what changes will occur to the current work flow. Selecting the best suited tool for the job may help to minimize the amount of development work and staff training required.