I learned day-one in configuring data integrations that documentation is essential! Invariably someone else is going to take over the integration and have to make changes or support it. Unless you want to be on speed dial, you had better document it. One of the things I love about Scribe Online is that the Block design inherently makes it self-documenting. You can add comments and group things together in a logical manner. The next person who comes into Scribe Online can logically follow the flow of Maps and Blocks.
But what about the person who doesn’t use Scribe? What about the case where you want to get sign-off on the work completed – you probably have had to add a few hours onto the project just for the documentation. The other issue I hear about frequently from system integrators is “I want a record so when the client goes and changes things, I can refer back to it when I get that call a month later.”. Sure, you can export the Maps – which provides you that detail, but that really doesn’t solve the issue. If you had a paper trail it sure would help. I’ve pondered the request to provide documentation based on the Solution and the questions which always come up – well what do you want to show, and at what level? If it is for a client, how much is too much?
These thoughts were on my mind when discussing the issue with our CEO, Shawn. Like any product, my backlog is never ending with great ideas and requests from customers. I was pretty passionate on this one because I have experienced firsthand being the person on the receiving end of that speed dial.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and Shawn calls me into his office to show me something. He had taken it upon himself to create a self-documenting tool using the Scribe Online API which solves this very problem. Using the API, he created Google Docs scripts that pull the data and format it in a very easy to read format. I think this started as an experiment, however it is a great an example of an application being built on the Scribe Platform. This tool provides our customers with an elegant solution since it allows anyone to adjust, change, add a logo – whatever you want to do.
We’ve decided to publish this under the “Scribe Labs” program and make it available in the website Marketplace from our website. The instructions include the link to the tool and you are welcome to adapt it for your own purposes, or use this as an example to create your own application. We will be introducing a new portal soon for developers that talks about this and some other new exciting tools. Look for more on that soon!
I encourage you to take a look at the marketplace, download the application, and see if it fits your needs!