CollabNet TeamForge Integrated Applications: More Than Ever Before

November 12, 2010 Jack Repenning

Despite all the features of CollabNet TeamForge, sometimes you just need one more thing. Maybe it’s some in-house application you’ve developed, maybe it’s a legacy service you’re migrating from, maybe something else, but from time to time, you need to integrate some other web application into the TeamForge project.

TeamForge has always had a facility for this called “Linked Applications.” With Linked Apps, you can specify an URL to use to invoke the external app, and optionally a Single Sign-On linkage so the external app can use our APIs to call back to the TeamForge site for additional information and actions. This is a great facility!

But sometimes, you want more. And with CollabNet TeamForge 5.4, you get more! A new facility, called the “Integrated Application Framework,” allows external applications to integrate far more deeply into the TeamForge system, benefitting from many of the conveniences and power features of the core app.

For instance, TeamForge’s built-in components include a popular feature we call “linkification”: in areas like discussion forums, issue comments, and so forth–pretty much all the type-in text areas–you can type the “artifact identifier” of any TeamForge object, and TeamForge will automatically turn that text into a URL that leads to the object. Post a message to a forum like

Hey, Jim, have you fixed bug [artf5101] yet?

and Jim replies

Sure, that’s fixed in [cmmt364]. The new design is described in [doc3263], and the release containing the fix is [rel2563].

Anyone reading that discussion can click those links and go straight to the objects.

With a Linked Application, your external app can be accessed in the same way. You specify the “prefix” to use for your kind of objects, and some details about how to compose those into URLs. TeamForge now knows to recognize and linkify those references, creating direct links to your external application.

You can also specify per-project prefixes. Sometimes, your external app can only support one TeamForge project per instance of your app. To support multiple projects, you may have to set up multiple instances of the app, and these might reuse the same numbers–there might be an object 100 in each project. How can TeamForge know which object to link to? Well, if your external app allows specifying different prefixes on the object identifiers, you’re in business, because TeamForge Linked Applications can be configured to use different prefixes for each project as well.

There’s a sample Integrated Application included with the product. Follow the tutorial found in the help section “Use Pebble as a sample integrated application” to see how it’s done.

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