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How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

New Member
Posts: 33
Country: USA

How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

Greetings,

I am new to ACT! and I am looking for some guidance before embarking on that long and winding road of yet another learning curve.  ;-)

 

I am a contractor working on the Linux side of the house, implementing an authentication server.

The customer database is in ACT!

 

I need to know if there is a way to customize ACT! so that it can trigger an update to a remote database on the Linux server?

I know of a few possible options, such as sending a web request to the server, populated with the data within the URL parameters.  Or perhaps some form of inter-process communications over a custom port and protocol?

 

What I want to avoid is having to create a new parallel database on the Linux server, and do double data entry to keep them in sync.  I only need a few fields to be sent over, and ideally, have some confirmation to the user that the change was successful.  This can be done on the server side.  I just need to know if there is a mechanism in ACT! that can support this.

Terms I have seen are add-ons, plug-ins, controls, and buttons...

 

Any hints on where I might begin my research journey would be most appreciated.

Silver Super Contributor
Posts: 2,328
Country: USA

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

There are a couple of options that come to mind.  The easiest is probably to purchase an addon that will export from ACT! to a file.  You could then retrieve that file from your Linux server and update the database that way.

 

The second option is to either write an application yourself using the SDK (Software Development Kit) and have it write to a file or to an ODBC interface to your other database.

 

It really depends on your level of experience and how automated you want the solution to be.

 

Stan

 

 


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New Member
Posts: 33
Country: USA

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

Hi Stan,

Thanks for the reply.

 

Automation is the key.  I do not want to retrieve the files manually, nor poll periodically via scripts.

 

The database on the Linux side can either be MySQL, or flat files.  The data just needs to get there.

 

I wouldn't mind attempting to use the SDK, although I am most familiar with the Linux tools.

My time with the Windows environment is limited.  But programming is programming.

I have written scripts, programmed in C, assembly, and have some knowledge of SQL.

 

In an ideal world, our support staff would bring up a customer's account in ACT!, make edits,

then submit the changes to the Linux server by clicking a button, or selecting a pull-down menu, or ...

A few selected fields would be transferred to the server and update database records there.

 

It would be less desirable to send entire files for every change, but that would work I suppose.

 

Are there any examples available for doing something similar?

Or does the SDK have reasonable documentation to guide me through this?

I need to get this working in a relatively short period.

 

I am willing to go through the exercise, I just don't care to start with ACT! 101.

Any additional insight would be helpful.

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

New Member
Posts: 33
Country: USA

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

I think I am looking for an ODBC connection to the MySQL database on the Linux server from ACT!.

We have support personnel making changes directly into ACT! to update customer account records.

We do not want system administrators having to make the same updates manually to the MySQL database in parallel.

 

We also do not want to create a new single point of failure within the network, meaning, if the linux server is unable to query the ACT! database, that could prevent network access.  By populating the linux MySQL database with just the fields it needs, the queries can continue, even if ACT! is unavailable.  (Of course, if the linux server is unavailable, that is a different set if issues.)

 

How difficult will it be to customize ACT! to provide for add/change/delete capability on a handful of fields, and populate the MySQL database interactively?

 

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

There are two ways:

1. Wrote some code that just reads the ACT! db via OLEDB/ODBC and writes the MySQL - benefit: requires no direct ACT! skills and doesn't need to be in .Net. This would be faster to write, but would run in a batch mode

2. Write an ACT! plugin that detects changed records and writes them directly to MySQL - benefit: writes the data in real-time. Needs to be written using .Net and ACT! SDK
New Member
Posts: 33
Country: USA

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

All I was able to find was something about using the ACT! Reader.

Is there a better resource for finding out more about ODBC and how I would interface to it from the Linux side?

 

I believe the company is running ACT! 2010.

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

ActReader requires the Premium version of ACT!.

Then it's just a matter of reading the data as ODBC
New Member
Posts: 33
Country: USA

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

Isn't ActReader Windows based?

What pieces are needed on the Windows server where ACT! runs?

And what do I use on the Linux side?

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,384
Country: Australia

Re: How to customize ACT to interface with linux server?

ActReader just runs once on the ACT! server to set the password.

You then have access for anything that can read ODBC to read the database via ODBC and the ActReader account