Advanced Rules Based Integration with Catalina API for SL

Catalina’s API for Dynamics SL can be used for many things. We can retrieve all types of data from SL. We can also save transactions to SL. In this demo I did for several folks, I am taking sensor data and pushing it through an advanced rules based engine to create Service Calls in Dynamics SL.

While this demo highlights Dynamics SL, we could just as easily use these same types of rules based development to integrate with other systems like CRM, helpdesk, field service, etc. We can monitor all types of things like temperature, barometric pressure, vibrations (helpful if you an HVAC company and need to monitor your customer’s properties for problems), humidity, ambient light, flooding, and more.


Warnings when running stored procedure script for Catalina’s API

When I run the script to install Catalina’s stored procedures, I get several messages like this:

The module ‘xct_spDSLXXXXXXXXX‘ depends on the missing object ‘xct_spDSLYYYYYYYYY‘. The module will still be created; however, it cannot run successfully until the object exists.

Don’t worry, those are not errors. They are just warnings that the stored procedure is referencing another stored procedure that hasn’t been created yet. It will get created later in the script.


Manage API Keys for Catalina’s RESTful API for Dynamics SL

You may want multiple users access Catalina’s API for Dynamics SL. When using the RESTful version of Catalina’s API, you can do this by managing the APIKEYSCONFIGFILE.xml (usually located on the web server at c:\inetpub\xctFiles\config — But could be somewhere else depending on the installation. Check with your installer)

NOTE: before doing any changes to Catalina configuration, make sure you backup the files you are updating first.

The APIKEYSCONFIGFILE.xml can be managed by a Catalina management tool called ctConfigEditor. (Normally located in C:\inetpub\xctFiles\ctConfigEditor — but could be in a different location based on installation). Once the ctConfigEditor is loaded, you will see a screen similar to this:

You will need to get your License Key and Site Key (found in the web.config file of the Catalina API for SL. — usually located c:\inetpub\xctFiles\web\ctDynamicsSL or c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ctDynamicsSL but could be located somewhere else based on installation). You will also need to point to the proper Config File.

Once you have loaded the APIKEYSCONFIGFILE.xml with the proper license key and site key, you will see a screen similar to this:

Here you can manage Authentication logins for the RESTful API. In the above example, there are 4 different keys. You can add new ones by just adding a line. and you can delete keys by clicking on the line item and hitting the delete key.

The columns of these API Keys are defined:

  • APIKey: the username of the authentication
  • SECRETKEY: The password of the authentication
  • SITES: a comma delimited list of sites the user has access to

(NOTE: A site is a configuration pointer. If you look at your DSLCONFIGFILE.XML file — usually in the same location as the APIKEYSCONFIGFILE.xml — you will see different Sites and SiteID’s. It is that SITE ID that you would put in the SITES column. If you want to give a user access to more than one site, you would then list all the sites comma delimited. Below is an example of what a DSLCONFIGFILE.XML looks like. You can see that there are two sites: LIVE and TEST.

Once you have finished editing your API Keys in the ctConfigEditor tool, you can then finish it and save by clicking on the “Finish” tab. You can click the Preview button to see what your APIKeys file will look like. You can also Save your file by clicking on the Save button.

Clicking on the save button will allow you to save to a file. You will need to save it on top of the existing APIKEYSCONFIGFILE.XML (NOTE: make sure you have this file backed up before overwriting it).

After you save the file, you will also need to reload your Application Pool in IIS to make the change stick.


Sending Information to Catalina Support

There are times that you might have questions or problems when developing using an API. You contact support and they will ask you to send you the “payload” you are using when communicating with the Catalina API for Dynamics SL. The easiest way to do this, if you are using Postman as your testing environment, is to export the code. This is done in these simple steps

Step 1:
Got to your postman tab you are making the API call from and click on the “Code” link on the right of the screen

Step 2:
On the popup, click on cURL and then copy the text provided, paste it into an email, and send to Support.


QuickCollect – Name Change

We are changing the name of SL QuickPay to SL QuickCollect to avoid confusion with other systems out there. Plus, we think that since we are focused on the collection side of things of AR. Because of this QuickCollect has much more meaning.

SL QuickCollect is a Catalina Technology solution that allows you to email or SMS message out a simple link to your customer as a request for payment. The customer can then click on the link and are sent to a payment page without any portal login required. This lowers the barrier of entry for you to collect from your customers and get paid faster.


Debugging Catalina API for Dynamics SL

There are several settings that you can set to log messages to a log file for Catalina’s API for Dynamics SL.

Look in your web.config (normally in c:\inetpub\xctFiles\web\ctDynamicsSL or c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ctDynamicsSL — but could be located in a different location based on your installation). There will be 3 variables that are important:

<!--def:DEBUGMODE: TRUE/FALSE default:FALSE-->
<add key="DEBUGMODE" value="TRUE" />
<add key="DEBUGLEVEL" value="VERBOSE" /><!--BASIC,VERBOSE-->
<!--def:ERRORLOGFILE: full path to the txt file to writeout error and status messages-->
<add key="ERRORLOGFILE" value="C:\\inetpub\\xctFiles\\errorLogs\\DSLerrorLogFile.txt"/>
  • DEBUGMODE: There are 2 different settings for this
    • TRUE if you want to have messages saved to a logfile.
    • FALSE if you don’t want to have messages saved to a logfile. Normally DEBUGMODE would be set to FALSE for performance reasons.
  • DEBUGLEVEL: There are 2 different levels that you can set
    • VERBOSE: This will save extra information to the logfile. This will create a larger file but will store more information about what is going on in the service.
    • BASIC: This generally stores just errors and less information
  • ERRORLOGFILE: This is the location of the logfile. NOTE: You need to make sure you “escape” this value. So, when you have a backslash (\), make sure you do 2 backslashes (\\) so that it wont create an invalid XML string.


Custom Properties in SLQuickCollect

SLQuickCollect is Catalina’s solution that allows you to email or SMS message out a simple link to your customer as a request for payment.

Custom properties are a way to personalize the emails that go out to the customer. As well as the payment page and receipts they see. You can have an unlimited number of parameters with whatever text you want to send to the customer. And you can place it anywhere you want on the email and page templates.

Here is a quick demo on how you can do this via a RESTful API. And how to modify the templates to display the parameters.

Below is an example of a payload that you would send to the SLQuickCollect API.

{
    "parameters": [
        {
            "name": "CpnyID",
            "value": "0060"
        },
        {
            "name": "CustID",
            "value": "C300"
        },
        {
            "name": "Amount",
            "value": "10.23"
        },
        {
            "name": "PaymentEmailList",
            "value": "fred@testEmail.com"
        },
        {
            "name": "Properties",
            "value": "<nameValuePairs><key name=\"ORDNBR\" value=\"123456\"/><key name=\"COMMENTS\" value=\"Hi Ted, I appreciate your business.\"/></nameValuePairs>"
        }
    ]
}

There are several Parameters that are sent:

  • CpnyID: Your company ID in your SL system.
  • CustID: The Customer ID of the customer you are sending the payment request to.
  • Amount: The amount you want to collect
  • PaymentEmailList: A delimited list of emails that the request is going to go to.
  • Properties: This is a list of properties as Name/Value pairs. You can create as many of these properties as you want. And then you can display them in the email, payment page, receipt email, and receipt page templates any way you want.

When you want to display a custom property on a template page, you use this ASP.NET format:

<%=getProperty(“PropertyName“)%>

So, if the property name is “COMMENTS”, you would use this:

<%=getProperty(“COMMENTS“)%>


SL Quick Pay -- New Features

SLQuickCollect New Features

We have been busy adding new features to SLQuickCollect. SLQuickCollect is Catalina’s solution that allows you to email or SMS message out a simple link to your customer as a request for payment. The customer can then click on the link and are sent to a payment page without any portal login required. This lowers the barrier of entry for you to collect from your customers and get paid faster.

Below are a few of the new features we have added to SLQuickCollect over the last month.

  • Ability to create payment requests via web page: This is a way to quickly send out SLQuickCollect links from a simple to use web page.
  • Send attachments: You can send any type of attachment with the quick link email. This could include the invoice PDF, a work order document, pictures, or any other type of document you would want to send to the customer as information about the payment request.
  • Add custom properties to the requests: Custom properties are a way for you to send custom information to the SLQuickCollect link so that the customer knows what they are paying for. These custom properties are unlimited and can be whatever you want. They could include: notes, order number, work order number, or anything you can think of. These properties can then be displayed to the customer on the SLQuickCollect link email, payment page, receipt page, and receipt email templates.
  • More multi-site/config options: This allows you to create different email templates, config options, payment methods, branding, etc. By doing this, you can have a completely different setup for different companies, marketing campaigns, storefronts, and more.
  • L2/L3 fields: SLQuickCollect (and Account Central) can capture level 2 and level 3 fields such as PO Number, extended address information, line item information, etc. This allows for savings on credit card transaction fees.
  • Payment entry requests: Not only can you create payment requests that would apply against invoices (payment applications), but now you can create payment requests for “payment entries” in SL. These are payments that aren’t directly applied to an invoice. But just captured against the customer account.

You can see more information about SLQuickCollect here: http://blog.catalinatechnology.com/2020/09/sl-quick-pay-easy-way-for-your-customers-to-pay-without-a-portal-login/


Turn off Transactional Processing in Catalina’s API for SL

Catalina’s API for Dynamics SL wraps saving of data into transactions which allows for “rollback” if there is an error. Meaning if there are multiple tables/records that are in a transaction, and an error occurs, everything will get rolled back as if nothing happened.

There are some times when there are problems with this. Mainly when some type of external force (like a trigger) updates the same data that Catalina is trying to save. This could cause table locking and not allow transactions to save properly. One way to get around this is to turn transactional processing off.

NOTE: Only do this in a test environment first. This should be done if other methods don’t work.

This is done easily by changing the web.config of ctDynamics SL. Search for the keyword “DISABLETRANSACTIONS”.

Once you have found the keyword, make sure that the value=”TRUE” and that will turn off transactions.

<add key="DISABLETRANSACTIONS" value="TRUE"/>

If you only want to disable the transactions on a single web service and not all of Catalina’s API, Keep the value of DISABLETRANSACTIONS to FALSE. But add a key to web.config similar to this:

<add key="PROJECTCHARGEENTRYDISABLETRANSACTIONS" value="TRUE"/>

The above will only disable transactions for the Project Charge Entry web service. The syntax is like this:

<serviceName> + “DISABLETRANSACTIONS

So, if you wanted to disable transactions for customerMaintenance, the key would look like this:

<add key="CUSTOMERMAINTENANCEDISABLETRANSACTIONS" value="TRUE"/>


SL Quick Pay tips and tricks

Tips & Tricks for Catalina API for SL: Error Retrieving the COM class factory …

When you have an installation of Catalina’s API for Dynamics SL and you are receiving this error in your log files:

Err:Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID {A440BD76-CFE1-4D46-AB1F-15F238437A3D}

This error is limited to SL7 installations and sometimes occurs during checkout or placing and order upon intial install of Catalina products; but usually after SL client updates or changes.

The problem is related to missing registry entry for: capicom.dll. This file is required by the the Microsoft Solomon components and used for database access. Capicom.dll is included in a variety of MS products and should already be located on the computer.

Common installation paths:
c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\capicom.dll
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\CAPICOM\CapiCom.dll

If the file is not located there, we suggest doing a file system search for “capicom.dll”.

Once you have located the file on your server, you need to register it.

  • Pull up a command prompt and change to the directory where the capicom.dll file is located.
  • Enter: regsvr32 capicom.dll
  • Test your catalina install