Free Domino Data with Web APIs
Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are widely used in our everyday lives, whether you are aware of it or not. For example, while viewing the website of the new restaurant you see its location on an embedded Google map; you have just interacted with the Google Maps API. Companies leverage APIs all the time as an authoritative source to provide clean, timely and accurate data.
The ability to provide clean and accurate data makes APIs a valuable asset for developers like me when building software applications. In the case of VitalSigns, APIs make it relatively easy to incorporate multiple sources of monitoring information into a unified dashboard. These APIs have allowed VitalSigns to thrive as a monitoring solution for this exact reason.
VitalSigns is able to use APIs to gather information about the status of servers, applications, users and other productivity components of IT environments. System administrators are able to quickly access this critical information in an easy to view dashboard. In most situations, these APIs can easily pull information, however in some scenarios it’s not that simple.
Take IBM Domino for example, which leverages C APIs. Although it is very flexible, you must be able to code in C to extract your data from the environment. While this is not a deal breaker, it can still negatively impact the organization by requiring additional time and resources to accomplish the goal. As a long time Domino/Lotus developer and user I have ran into this predicament on multiple occasions. However, it wasn’t until recently that a solution to this problem surfaced.
Leveraging Web APIs to Work with Domino Data
One of our developers at RPR Wyatt took it upon himself to tackle the problem of getting data out of Domino by making it very easy to convert a Notes view into a web API. Web APIs– which are not language specific like the C API is– can be accessed from any number of languages, including but not limited to php, python, .net, and Angular. This has allowed us to overcome the long-time struggle of extracting data from Domino environment.
This solution has allowed our team to incorporate functionalities of existing Domino tools, such as Essential Agent Master, into VitalSigns. By pushing agent information from EAM to the VitalSigns dashboard we are able to create a truly unified view of the environment as well as increase the end user experience. The end result is a fully integrated Agent Health page within VitalSigns that automatically pulls and displays information on the Domino agents that are currently running ( or not running) in your environment.
Taking it one step further we have applied this solution to Domino reporting, enabling end users to get data out of any Domino database with zero coding or development. As many of you may know, this once was an extremely daunting task that almost always required some developer assistance. However, now end users can create a Data Profile to describe where to get the data, how to get the data, and what the format of the output will be in less than five minutes. These Data Profiles can be run and rerun on a scheduled basis, allowing the organization to develop a historical data lake that enables trend analysis on the environment.
Getting the data out is a technical win by itself but the real goal is to turn that data into actionable business intelligence. This can be accomplished with a tool called Essential Reporting, which pairs Data Profiles with Report Templates to deliver on-demand reporting against all configured databases. The Report Templates leverage Microsoft Excel as a reporting mechanism and can be saved and reused by anyone who has been granted access. This means you can for example run the same exact ‘Tech Issues’ report every week so that you can analyze how quickly your support team is resolving problems over an indicated time period. This critical knowledge empowers the organization to respond accordingly and properly allocate the organizations resources.
Want to see Essential Reporting in action? Sign up for RPR Wyatt’s upcoming Webinar: Building BI with Domino Data on May 18th at 1pm (EDT) for additional product information, demos and a Q&A session.