OL Connect Node-RED Stack
A collection of Nodes for communicating with Objectif Lune's Connect Server.
Since the title of the package is quite the mouthful, you may sometimes find it abbreviated to OLCNRS or to its friendly nickname: O'Connor.
A bit of history
O'Connor was born out of the need to provide users of OL Connect with a modern, web-based, cloud-friendly, unicode-aware automation tool. For years, this job has been handled by OL Connect Workflow (aka Workflow), whose first version dates back to the turn of the century.
However, as powerful and efficent as Workflow is, its evolution is somewhat hampered by its original design: a native-code, 32-bit, on-premise application that only partially supports unicode. Consequently, OL decided to explore other automation methods that could, at first complement, and ultimately replace Workflow. O'Connor is the first step in that direction.
A word of caution
This stack is a technology preview. It is intended for use by current users of OL Connect who want to experiment with automating server operations through Node-RED.
It is not a replacement for OL Connect Workflow; in its current inception, it should be considered a complement to it.
The list of known issues is maintained in this OL Learn page.
At this early stage, the OL Node-RED Stack is not supported through the OL Care program.
Feel free to visit the OL Connect Node-RED Stack forum to post questions, comments and suggestions about O'Connor.
If NPM is already present on your system, you can use it to download the O'Connor package through the usual NPM command:
npm install @objectif-lune/node-red-contrib-connect
Alternatively, a stand-alone installer for Node-RED, NPM and the OL Connect Node-RED stack can be found on the Objectif Lune Resource Center, in the Plugins & Tools section under either PlanetPress Connect or PReS Connect.
Obviously, you must have OL Connect installed on a server that can be reached from the one where O'Connor is installed, otherwise you won't be able to perform any automation tasks.
All the documentation is available in each node.
Each node has been designed to input/output values that make sense for most common
applications. For instance, the
data mapping node expects to receive a data file
(or a managed file ID generated through the
upload file node) as input, and it
outputs a data set ID that can then be immediately consumed by the various
create content nodes. Those nodes then, in turn, output a content set ID that can
be consumed by the
create job node.
This makes it easy to string the nodes together in order to create your first basic flow.
Each individual node is very similar to its Workflow task cousin, although nodes and tasks are not always strictly identical in the way they behave.
Note also that all nodes that communicate with the OL Connect server always require
you to specify a
connection node, which you set up once (from inside any of the
OL Connect nodes) and re-use across all nodes. You can create several such
connection nodes, which is handy in a DTAP environment where server parameters may
be different from one server to the next.
Is O'Connor supported?
No. Don't call Objectif Lune support about O'Connor. If you want to report issues, ask questions or make comments or suggestions, visit the dedicated OL Connect Node-RED Stack forum on OL Learn.
The more feedback we get, even if slightly negative, the more it will help us polish the official product.
If O'Connor is still in Beta, when is the official release planned for?
Soon. And that's all we're willing to say about that.
Will I have to purchase the official version of O'Connor?
No. The Node_RED platform is open source, and so is O'Connor. We might even, at some point, open up the project for external contributions.
Why is it called O'Connor?
Because the official OL Connect Node-RED Stack name is a mouthful. That said, feel free to call by its official name or by its acronym (OLCNRS). We won't mind.
Are more nodes in development?
Oh yes! If we want O'Connor to eventually take Workflow's place as the automation engine of choice for OL Connect, we have to provide as much - and even more - functionality than is available in Workflow. We are planning on adding tens of nodes over the upcoming months.
Why didn't Objectif Lune write its own proprietary automation tool?
We did, it's called Workflow. And it still holds up today. But when we evaluated the amount of work required for upgrading it to modern standards (event-based, unicode-compliant, cloud-friendly, etc), we opted to look at existing solutions to see if they could be used instead. After almost a year of testing and developing, we became confident that Node-RED is the ideal platform for OL Connect automation.
Is O'Connor the end of Workflow?
Oh no! Well, at least not in the short to mid-term future. It took Objectif Lune several years to bring Workflow to the level of maturity it has reached, it will no doubt take a few years as well to elevate O'Connor to the same level and to surpass it. So in the meantime, Workflow is still being actively developed and updated and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
But Workflow and O'Connor work very well together, so that will greatly ease the transition from the former to the latter over the next few years.
Will OL Connect's new features only target O'Connor?
There are no plans to implement features in OL Connect that cannot be accessed via both Workflow and O'Connor (or via any other automation engine, for that matter). We will be focusing on beefing up the OL Connect REST API, which can be accessed by any client that can issue HTTP calls.
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