Integration components

An integration component is a small application specialized on carying out a function within an integration flow such as retrieving, storing, transforming or sending objects.

  • A connector is a specialised component designed specifially for sending and retrieving data from a specific third party service

  • Generic componements such as Webhooks and Mappers are used to action data flowing betweem two connectors, and to send a retrieve data from services that do not have a bespoke connector

Note: Creating a flow with a connector is simpler and easier to maintain than creating a flow with a generic component.

In most cases the components at the beginning and end of a flow connect to a service’s API (REST, SOAP, etc) on a user’s behalf using the provided credentials. However, a component may also connect to a Database, an SFTP server, etc. to retrieve or store data.

How components work

A component can expose multiple operations to be used in integration flows. As a rule of thumb a component talking to an application through its REST API will expose operations that reflect the endpoints of that API.

For example a CRM may make the following five operations available

POST

/customer

Adds a new customer

POST

/customer/{customerId}

Updates a customer

GET

/customer/findByStatus

Finds customers by status

GET

/customer/statuses

Gets all availables customer statuses

GET

/customer/{customerId}

Finds customer by ID

If the component is at the start of the flow, the flow is triggered with a Get command and the data received is used throughout the integration flow.

The Post commands are used to add this data to other components within the flow.

Multiple flows can be set up using the same component, and the same (or different) endpoints. Learn more about the steps in an integration flow.

Understanding a component’s interactions

A component has three main requirements. A connector will explicitly expose what is required, while a generic connector will require the user to understand the service they are connecting to enter or set up the appropriate data. Both types of component offer a user interface to help the user set up this information.

  • How to authenticate: what data are required to access the service

  • Consumed input: An example of the input data component will retrieve

  • Produced output: An example of the output message the component will send

The user interface helps the integrator to see what can and cannot be done, so that a complete integration between two services can be built and tested rapidly with minimal technical knowledge. The overview of how flows gives further information on how data passes between components.

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