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Exploring the Application Programming Interface (API)

LOOKING AHEAD with Alan Tucker - Software Documentation Editor and Product Manager

This edition of Looking Ahead explores the application programming interface (API) concept and the many such programming tools provided by Amtelco.

An API sometimes referred to as an SDK (software development kit) is a set of software methods, routines, protocols, and other tools a programmer can use to build a computer application that makes one application interact with another. The API specifies the ways the programmer’s code can interact with the API’s parent application. There are many different types of API’s for use with operating systems, specialized applications and websites. Microsoft, for example, has many API’s for its Windows operating system that are used by third-party applications and system hardware when you copy and paste text from one productivity application to another, it is an API that makes that work.

Using an API requires the understanding of computer programming to do the work and the imagination to dream up things to do using the API. The programming skill is easier to come by than it used to be. It’s a fact that people born in the year Apple introduced the Macintosh computer will celebrate their 32nd birthdays this year. They, and most people even younger, never knew a world without computers and more often than not took an introductory programming class in middle school. The imagination side of the equation isn’t as easy to come by, but your clients can, no doubt, provide a lot of suggestions.

Amtelco over the years has developed a stable of API’s that can be used by programmers and by third-party applications to access the features and databases of Amtelco’s software products. These tools are made available by Amtelco only upon the completion of an Amtelco Software Development and License Agreement. Different licensing is required for applications developed for individual use than for applications developed for resale.

IS Web Service API

At the core of the Intelligent Series suite of call center applications is the Intelligent Series (IS) Web. The IS Web provides enterprise-wide web access to the Intelligent Series applications, including Status Updates, Directory, OnCall Scheduling, Appointment Scheduling, Message Scripting with Contact Dispatch, Status-Based Dispatch, Message Inbox, Reports, and Call Log.

The SOAP-based IS Web Service API makes it possible for third-party applications to interact via a proxy with the applications and services that are contained within the IS Web application.

IS Web REST Web Service

IS Web REST Web Service is an on-going development that was conceived as an interface between the IS Web application and handheld mobile devices. The IS Web REST Web Service is an alternative to the older technology of the SOAP-based IS Web API.

The IS Web REST Web Service uses the JSON programming method derived from the JavaScript scripting language to present a number of dictionary-based objects and tags that are used to communicate via a proxy with the IS Server application and the IS database.

Amtelco Dashboard SDK

The Amtelco Dashboard SDK enables developers to access key real-time information about the activities of the Infinity and Intelligent Series servers, operators logged into these servers, calls that are processed by the operators and other system activity information.

A third-party application using the Amtelco Dashboard SDK connects to a Microsoft .NET Framework component titled Amtelco.Dashboard.Service using the Amtelco.Dashboard.Proxy. This proxy establishes a connection to the Amtelco.Dashboard.Service which delivers Infinity and Intelligent Series data to the third-party application.

A sample application is provided as a starting point on which to develop a third-party application that can access the Infinity and Intelligent Series information that is available through the Amtelco Dashboard SDK.

IS Transformer

The IS Transformer is a feature of Infinity Intelligent Series that transforms information from external sources into IS Directories and IS message scripts. The IS Transformer consists of two optional components: IS Transformer Directory/Data and IS Transformer Client Components. Each of these IS Transformer components can be purchased separately.

  •  IS Transformer Directory/Data transfers information from delimited files, fixed field files, and SQL files into the IS Directory. It can also be used to transfer information from one IS Directory subject to another, or to export information from the IS Directory to a delimited file or an SQL file. IS Transformer Directory/Data can be used to update information, append new information, or delete information.
  • IS Transformer Client Components creates IS message scripts from Infinity message forms or from data exported from other messaging platforms. The IS Transformer can be used to automatically create basic messaging scripts when upgrading your Infinity system or when converting accounts from a different messaging system.

IS Schedule Importer

The IS Schedule Importer is a data transformation utility that is an optional component of the Intelligent Series suite of applications. The IS Schedule Importer transforms information contained in the Infinity database and in delimited files produced by third-party scheduling applications so that it is accessible to the IS scheduling applications.

The IS Schedule Importer is a client workstation application that can be installed on multiple computers to extend the responsibility for maintaining on-call schedules to the IS Clients and the departments in a facility that use the schedules.

The IS Schedule Importer can be used to set on-call shift role requirements and assign individuals to cover shifts. These capabilities make it fast and easy to integrate third-party scheduling applications with the IS On-Call Schedule without having to manually configure schedule information in the IS Supervisor application.

IS Directory Modifier

The IS Directory Modifier utility is an optional component of the Intelligent Series suite of applications. The IS Directory Modifier is used to make mass changes to information contained in the IS Directory. The Directory Modifier is designed to avoid manual labor by automating changes that affect every listing in a directory. The Directory Modifier can be used to make one- time modifications to a directory, or the settings can be saved and scheduled to perform modifications on a regular basis to adjust data imported into a directory with the optional IS Transformer.

The IS Directory Modifier can be scheduled with the Microsoft Windows Task Scheduler to perform directory modifications hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly at specific dates and times. This makes it possible to configure the Directory Modifier and then have it run automatically at an off-peak hour to minimize the utility’s data traffic over the local area network (LAN).

Infinity Web Integration SDK

The Infinity Web Integration SDK provides access to the programming methods and data calls in Amtelco’s copyrighted MxInfinity.dll control in order to access the data resources of the family of Infinity Web-Enabled Applications. The Web Integration SDK enables client applications to communicate with the Infinity CTI server application and its integral database in order to use specific Infinity features.

The Web Integration SDK makes it possible for any program that can utilize ActiveX controls to use the MxInfinity.dll control to send and receive data stored on the Infinity CTI server and database and to invoke methods on the Infinity CTI interface.

The MxInfinity.dll control is built using standard OLE/COM programming elements and methods.

Infinity Telephone Agent ActiveX Methodology

The Infinity Telephone Agent ActiveX Methodology provides access to the programming methods and data calls in Amtelco’s WinAgentCtl.dll control. Any software application that can

utilize ActiveX controls can use the WinAgentCtl,dll to get data from the Infinity Telephone Agent application and to invoke methods on the Infinity Telephone Agent interface.

The WinAgentCtl control is scripting safe so that it can be placed in a web page without needing to modify the security settings of the user’s web browser.

The WinAgentCtl control is built using standard OLE/COM programming methods.

Infinity Directory Import/Export Interface Engine

The Infinity Directory Import/Export Interface Engine provides a programmatic interface to access the directory database and certain functionalities of the Infinity server in order to import and export directory information.

RED Alert External Trigger

The RED Alert External Trigger is an optional RESTful web service API that can be used to integrate the RED Alert system with third-party applications and processes in order to trigger notification activities automatically. The RED Alert External Trigger functions as a web request that can be executed in any manner a developer chooses.

The External Trigger is optimized for use with Amtelco’s Intelligent Series suite of call center applications and is particularly suited to initiating the activities of the RED Alert system in the course of an Intelligent Series message script.

Amtelco has made tremendous strides in the past few years in making its solutions more open and easy to interact with by its customers and by third-party developers. You can speak with your Amtelco sales representative or project manager to learn more about the many API’s that Amtelco has to offer, and about how they are licensed and priced. Feel free to contact me directly for more information about Amtelco’s API product offerings.

Alan Tucker is a product manager and the software documentation editor at Amtelco, a manufacturer and supplier of call center solutions located in McFarland, Wisconsin. Contact him by e-mail at atucker@amtelco.com.

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