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How to create a Custom Connector in Google Application Integration

Google Cloud Application Integration is a powerful platform designed to create applications with seamless connectivity to various data sources and APIs. Adding Application Integration is a natural extension for those already utilising Google Cloud that leverages the same infrastructure. 

It allows rapid development with low-code/no-code tools while ensuring scalability, security, and robust authentication. This means integrations can be implemented with minimal disruption to your business processes.

While Google offers pre-built connectors for many popular applications, sometimes your needs are unique. This is where custom connectors come in.

This blog post will walk you through how to create the connector in Google Cloud Application Integration. As an example, we'll use the Exact Online HR connector, which we built to streamline the recruitment process at Crystalloids.

What Is a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration?

Google Cloud Application Integration offers over 180 pre-built connectors for Google services and other applications. However, custom connectors provide the flexibility to integrate with any application. The connectors act as bridges, enabling your applications to connect seamlessly with external data sources, services, and APIs.

The custom connectors feature in Google iPaas allows you to use connectors that are not included in the standard offerings. 

For example, if your in-house Human Resource Management System or Project Management Tool has a proprietary protocol, you can integrate it into Application Integration via a connector. This feature is handy when built-in connectors are unavailable or don't meet your requirements. 

Integration Connectors support custom connectors through the Open API version 3.0, enabling seamless connection to your backend. This specification defines the contract between Integration Connectors and the endpoint, enabling efficient integration.

Custom Connector Use Case: Crystalloids and Exact Online HR

At Crystalloids, we created custom connector for Exact Online HR, a popular cloud-based accounting and ERP software. This connector allows seamless integration between our applications and Exact Online HR, enabling efficient data exchange and synchronization.

Customer connector for Exact Online HR in Google Cloud Application Integration

To streamline our recruitment process, we integrated multiple systems in real-time with Application Integration to harmonize data exchange methods. The systems we connected were HubSpot, Jira, BigQuery, Cloud Storage, and Document AI, necessitating a custom connector for Exact Online HR.

Here’s how we achieved it:

  • HubSpot: We connected HubSpot to capture job applicants from our website.
  • Jira: We integrated with Jira to create and update tasks on our board for each applicant.
  • BigQuery: We used BigQuery to update HR data and perform analytics.
  • Cloud Storage: We uploaded CVs and cover letters as PDFs to Cloud Storage.
  • Document AI: We utilised Document AI to extract key information from the submitted documents.

The Exact Online HR custom connector was responsible for adding an accepted candidate into the system, filling in their personal information, changing their avatar photo, filling out their team and role, and uploading their application files into the system (CV and cover letter). The custom connector is capable of many other features, but there are those that we used in our case.

This integration streamlined our recruitment process by automating data flows, reducing manual data entry, and ensuring real-time system updates. This approach improved operational efficiency and gave us more accurate and timely business insights.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Custom Connector for Exact Online HR

If the OpenAPI specification of the Officient API is well-documented, you can directly use it to create custom connectors. 

In our situation, we had to create a facade because the OpenAPI specification of OfficientAPI (ExactHR) was not well-documented. The required fields, successful response schema, and error response schema were not clearly defined, making the error system difficult to work with. 

Creating a facade has advantages, as it allows you to add more logic to the application. Our facade is an API that we built on top of OfficientAPI. It specifies all the necessary fields to create a fully functional custom connector for Application Integration.

This facade has been deployed in a Cloud Run component with its own OpenAPI specification, enabling us to create the custom connector.

Step 1: Create the Custom Connector

The first step is to create the custom connector by providing the OpenAPI specification URL of our API (the facade we created and deployed in Cloud Run).

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

Step 2: Establish a Connection

Once the custom connector is created, we need to establish a connection using the credentials that allow access to the custom connector.

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

 

Step 3: Integrate with Google Application Integration

With the connection established, we can use it in Application Integration. All the endpoints defined in the OpenAPI specification are accessible with the "connector" task. 

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

 

Step 4: Generate Required Variables

When an action is selected, the necessary variables are automatically generated.

 How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

 

Step 5: Fill in Endpoint Fields

Depending on the endpoint you want to use, fill in the required fields (header, body, and query parameters) using the data mapping task.

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

How to create a Custom Connector in Google Cloud Application Integration

By following these steps and best practices, you can create powerful custom connector from scratch in Google Cloud Application Integration, enhancing your applications' functionality and integration capabilities. 

Not sure where to start? Crystalloids can help you integrate your apps with various systems, providing expertise and solutions tailored to your requirements. Our services go beyond the scope of existing options to meet your specific application integration needs.

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