AcuWeb Interface

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

From this blog I’ll be posting about the progress we make on the backend of the Acumen Website replacement project.  This system is designed to be a centralised interface that will both drive the replacement Acumen websites and also allow clients to access it directly to drive their own websites, where required.

One of my current focus so far has been to create the interface to the configuration database, this database stores each clients settings and allows them to control the behaviour of their websites themselves. To improve performance the settings are cached, every so often the system checks for updates. Although this means it may sometimes take a few minutes for setting updates to be reflected within the website interface.  The performance increase that will be gained from the caching however means that this delay is well worth the speed at which requests will be completed within the AcuWeb system.

This configuration database also provides us with excellent functionality for tracking problems within the system.  A feature which is lacking in the current Acumen website solution, where tracking down problems is a time consuming activity.  Within the new AcuWeb system, to trace a problem the log database can be checked and the cause identified easily.

One of the main design goals for the new system is to ensure that the interface is simple to use, allowing it not only to drive the supplied booking engine, but also to allow it power custom websites for Acumen clients.  The interface will not only allow clients to access their Acumen data to provide data for their websites, but also provide extra functionality such as payments.    The interface that we will make available to clients will be a combination of REST and XML, although only certain commands will support the REST interface. 

The way we’ll be using REST means that in the XML returned by commands we’ll include some REST URLs, these URLs will provide a way of accessing further, related data.  For example a property information command may provide a set of URLs for each available date.  Pricing information and extended information could then be retrieved for each date by executing the matching URL.  This combination of using XML and REST, both open and well documented web service architectures mean that it should be much easier for Acumen clients to expose their data to power their web sites.

I’ll leave this entry at a general overview at what we’re aiming to achieve with the new system, next time I’ll go into more detail about the interfaces we’ll expose with AcuWeb, before going into more detail about the great Payments functionality we’ll be exposing through the system.