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Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

Getting started with Taleo Connect Client (TCC)

Gerhard Drasch
Sr. Director Oracle A-Team

Introduction

The Taleo set of Cloud Offerings such as Recruiting, Performance, Learn, Onboarding, etc. come with a powerful tool for configuring and managing batch-style integration requirements both for import as well as export scenarios.

This article is meant to provide some guidance for first steps in using the Taleo Connect Client (TCC) and not as a substitute of the product documentation.

In technical terms, the TCC acts as a frontend application that is deployed on any Windows or Unix based client system. It communicates with the Taleo backend via web services and takes away the burden of dealing with technical details of the backend services. Instead, the user can focus on the relevant business objects and the mapping of attributes to the files used for exporting and importing information from and to Taleo.

The integration process workflow is built in TCC and determines how to extract information from or upload information to the Taleo Cloud service. Specific editors are offered for each of these activities.

Main Article

Downloading and Installing the Software

The latest version of TCC is available in the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. After the login we select 'Taleo Products' in the Product Pack dropdown list and Microsoft Windows (32bit) as Platform. In the list of results we then chose the latest Oracle Taleo Enterprise Edition entry (currently 14A) leading to the actual download location:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 11.17.06

It important to download both the Connect Client as well as the corresponding Data Model package, also referred to as 'Product Integration Package (PIP)' in the product documentation.

Both packages come with the usual installer. The Data Model installer must run first as the Connect Client installer will ask for the installation folder of the Data Models.

Connecting to the Taleo Cloud Service

When we launch TCC for the first time we have to provide the connection details to the Taleo Cloud Service as well as the credentials for a user account that is enabled for the use of TCC:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 11.18.47The entries here are straight-forward and will be persisted for the next time. Once we are done we click the Ping button to verify that the provided details were correct. Note that while this looks like a login action, it's actually only verifying the connection along with the credentials and any further configuration is done in an offline mode. Only for the actual data exchanges TCC will connect with the Taleo Cloud Service.

Exporting Data

TCC provides a rich business model covering all entities in a particular Taleo product version. This can be leveraged to create specifications describing the information to be extracted. Each export is based on a root entity from which all fields and relationships are derived. From that entity, fields and relationships can be selected (projected) for extraction.

In a first attempt we want to go ahead and export Candidate records from the Taleo Recruiting Cloud. Exporting data with TCC requires an export definition as well as an export configuration. You can think of the export definition (the same applies to import definition later) as the specification of the data objects in the Taleo Cloud such as a Candidate, Application, EmployeeGoal, etc. along with the selection of attributes, filtering of data, and sorting of the result set.

Export Definition

In order to create an export configuration we select File -> New -> New Export Wizard from the menu. Next we choose the right product and version (Recruiting 14A in our case) as well as the main object to be exported (Candidate):

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 14.53.49

Clicking Finish brings us to the design perspective of TCC to further specify the export. The main information on the General tab is the Export mode which already defaults to CVS-entity. On the Projections tab we next specify the object attributes to be included in the export. TCC allows for simple drag and drop of either single attributes or entire structures from the right-hand entity view into the Projections area:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 15.04.28In this example we simply pulled the whole Candidate structure into the Projects area. Note that this includes any attribute of the object, but not sub-structures such as Applications, etc. But further attributes from such sub-structures can be added in the same way if required.

Also note that the order in the Projections tab will later define the order of attributes in the exported file. It simply defaults to the alphabetical order, but we are free to adjust this as required using the Up and Down buttons.

In the Filters tab one can specify simple and complex filter criteria for the data to be exported. In our example we simply chose to filter for Candidates living in San Diego:Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 15.12.30

Note that we can use the same drag & drop of attributes from the entity view on the right hand side into the field area that first defaults to 'path'. Finally, the same mechanism also applies to the Sorting tab in which we specify to sort by LastName and FirstName in ascending order:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 15.16.09

In a last step we save the completed export definition as we will need it in a bit when we continue with the export configuration.

Export Configuration

The export configuration complements the export definition with operational details of the export process. The export configuration defines the integration process workflow that sends the request to the Taleo Cloud service and later retrieves the response file asynchronously. It uses a T-SOAP message format containing information wrapped in an industry standard SOAP envelope along with Taleo specific information.

In order to create the configuration launch the wizard via File -> New -> New Configuration. In that wizard reference the export definition from above and confirm the endpoint of the Taleo Cloud Service.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 11.29.12

You can now tweak operational specifications such as the location of the csv file with the exported data, the file name pattern, etc. Furthermore, there is the ability to specify email alert notifications for success and error cases when running the export. In our case the defaults fit for our requirements and we save the export configuration.

Running the Export

Kicking off the actual export is as simple as clicking the water wheel icon in the icon bar. With that TCC changes to the runtime perspective providing a detailed monitoring view on the execution step of the export:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 11.30.10

It worth to mention that the entire processing in the Taleo Cloud is done asynchronously. You can see from the above that the processing request is prepared and then sent to the Taleo service. From there on TCC polls in regular intervals the Taleo Cloud to see if the processing has been completed and if the results can be retrieved in another subsequent step. The final step is then the extraction and conversion of the retrieved data into the expected format, i.e. into a csv file in our case.

In this case all steps were successful and the resulting csv file can be verified:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 15.41.01

Note that the order of the attributes (taking LastName and FirstName to the top in the Projections tab) as well as the sorting specification had the expected result.

Importing Data

The data import process in TCC is very similar to the export process shown above in detail, hence we only focus on those aspect that differ.

Import Definition

The import definition wizard differs slightly from the export wizard since it asks for the object and also the operation that is to be executed on the object. In our case we select the create operation on the Candidate:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 15.53.38

Note that there are also more complex operations such as merge, but for this example the creation of a new record in the system is sufficient. On the following screen we specify details for the csv file such as the delimiter, but more relevant the list of attributes expected in the import file:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 16.49.29

Import Configuration

Equivalent to the export configuration we also need an import configuration for the operational details such as where to find the csv file with the records to import. This time we reference the import definition when going through the new configuration wizard resulting in the following:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 16.54.24

We can leave everything else at the default values and save the import configuration.

Running the Import

Since we are aiming to import new candidate records we have to prepare a csv file that matches the previous specification regarding columns, delimiter, header row, etc. This time we just go with a single record and the basic candidate information we specified in the import definition:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 16.53.22

The execution of the import can be monitored in the same way as before and it's worth not only verifying the status of the several execution steps, but also to check the content of the response file indicating the outcome of the actual import:

"Index","Identifier","Status","TransactionType","Result","Message"
"1","","success","candidate.create",,""

Finally, we also want to verify in the Taleo Recruiting Cloud that we can find the imported candidate:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 16.57.12Conclusion

Leveraging TCC makes both importing data into and exporting from the Taleo Cloud products a convenient and straight-forward process. TCC hides all technical details of the Taleo integration backend service as well as the details of the asynchronous processing and allows the user to focus on the actual data and the operation in a powerful client application.

 

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