Welcome to this part of the product configuration manual explaining how to interface ROB-EX to external systems. This chapter is mainly targeted towards interface developers but is also helpful for IT architects and IT decision makers seeking to learn what interface options and features are available.

The following integration modules are all included in the ROB-EX Open Connector suite:

  • CSV integration – text based integration
    • Standard Excel Import using CSV – quick start setup and guide on how to import from Excel into ROB-EX
  • XML integration
  • SQL integration – database integration via intermediate GanttERP database
  • REST Server – communicate directly with ROB-EX from REST, .NET or Workflow clients
  • Direct SQL integration – import from the ERP system database directly into ROB-EX. Export from ROB-EX to ERP via intermediate database table. Out-of-the-box configuration are available for popular ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics AX/NAV etc. These out of the box configurations are purchased separately.

The following integration modules are purchased separately and are not included in the Open Connector suite:

Interfacing using an ETL tool

An easy and recommended approach, when building interfaces between ROB-EX and external systems like ERP, is to use an ETL tool (Exctract, Transform, Load). Using a tool reduces the learning curve required, enabling non-developers to create even complex interfaces.

Read this chapter explaining (with movies), how to interface with ROB-EX using the Talend Open Studio ETL tool.

What module should I use?

These modules enable interface developers to export data from an external system (e.g. ERP) to ROB-EX. Also the modules support export of changed data from ROB-EX back into the external system.

What technology to use for interfacing (CSV, XML, SQL or SOA) mainly depends on the development tools available for data export from the external system. CSV files are very easy to produce for almost any system, but have the draw back that they have limited encoding support and in some cases are also hard to later expand on.

XML is very flexible and easy to read and expand upon. Also XML has very good support for exchange of information created for different language locales. But unless tool support for XML is available in the external system it can be more difficult to generate and parse XML documents. The XML integration for ROB-EX is the integration with most functionality in terms of available entities and fields being supported.

SQL or database integration is a good solution if the external system has good tool support for executing and retrieving data using SQL. Another advantage of SQL integration compared to CSV and XML is that exchange of text documents are avoided, which in some situations causes extra working steps for users (e.g. having to export to a file from one system and then import that same file into the other system). Newer versions of ROB-EX however have very nice build in support for automating import of both CSV and XML files.

Finally with SOA, like the SQL integration, the exchange of files is avoided. Furthermore the setup is simpler than the SQL integration since the ERP system communicates directly with ROB-EX over a network. The transferred data is in XML format, so the same flexibility as with the XML integration is retained.

The following is an overview drawing of the ROB-EX Open Connector suite architecture:

Important things to note:

  1. Interfacing is something taking place on the Scheduler client. Generally interface developers do not have to care about if Scheduler is running single or multiuser mode.
  2. The SQL, SOA and CSV 2/3 plugins pipe all import data through the XML import plugin and can thus take advantage of all the features of the XML import module

To learn more about the different options click on the different links at the top of this page.

For questions concerning Open Connector licensing and prices please contact ROB-EX A/S or your local ROB-EX dealer.

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