Monday, August 2, 2010

What's a connector?

Connector is one of those over used words when talking application integration these days. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different interpretations.

Application developers typically talk about connectors as the piece in between that connects 2 different applications together. For example, Salesforce to SAP connector which was commissioned by Salesforce to sync accounts between the 2 applications. When application developers refer to connectors, they usually are talking about specific point-to-point integrations that only implement 1 or more limited use cases.

When application integration developers talk about connectors, they are only talking about the piece that makes the calls to one application. It usually involves wrapping the APIs exposed by an application and exposing it in a uniform or standard way within the integration platform. It’s usually (but not always) use case or module  independent. In case of Salesforce and SAP, you’d have 1 Saleforce and 1 SAP connector. If you build an account to customer sync, that’s just called the integration which will use the connectors as means to get data in and out of the applications.

Connectors are some times referred to as adapters but that doesn’t change the meaning.

By the way, if you're looking for the Salesforce to SAP connector, it's no longer available from Salesforce.