Using the Syncplicity Events API to get real-time visibility of events

Syncplicity Events APIs
Syncplicity Events APIs

The recently available Syncplicity Events API gives administrators increased visibility of activities within Syncplicity. It provides valuable additional auditing and monitoring capabilities and allows applications to execute actions based on changes to data within Syncplicity.

Syncplicity already contains a host of features and functionalities helping customers get the most from their content and assisting administrators in their monitoring and governance duties. For example, the built-in reporting capabilities allow administrators to run reports on end-user and administrative actions, for both reporting and auditing needs. And the existing APIs allow customers to extend the functionality of Syncplicity, and to integrate Content Services into other applications. Read additional APIs for Syncplicity.

Syncplicity Events API

The new Events API brings evolution to both aspects. It provides rich activity monitoring capabilities, integration with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions. It allows Syncplicity customers or partners to develop new integrations and applications. The Events API provides information relating to Enterprise events, and specifically file, folder and folder sharing changes for all users across the enterprise.

The Events API enables companies to extend the functionality of Syncplicity and provides additional capabilities around:

  • Monitoring and anomaly detection, including Integration with third-party Security Information and Event Management solutions,
  • Creating custom reports or dashboards displaying real-time information,
  • Providing notifications to end-users or managers that an event has occurred, and
  • Building applications leveraging Content Services functionality, where the application needs to be aware of recent changes.

Monitoring and anomaly detection

The Events API allows administrators to monitor updates for audibility and control purposes. This can be used to provide anomaly detection, identify threats such as viruses, excessive sharing, uploads or deletions, and prevent security breaches.

Typical anomaly detection tasks that the Events API can address:

  • An administrator who sees the volume of stored content increase or decreases suddenly can now simply find out the cause.
  • Administrators can be aware of file branching and pro-actively reach out to end-users.

The Events API also allows security personnel or administrators to receive change notifications from Syncplicity directly in their Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool, such as Splunk, LogRhythm or Syslog.

Creating dashboards and reporting for end-users and managers

Content managers, team and department leaders, as well as advanced users, like to stay up to date on recent changes within their environment. To this end, several customers have built reports for business users, aggregating recent changes to content. The Events API brings a big evolution, allowing business users to now have a real-time view of changes to files and folders in the team’s area. Dashboards can be built showing details of all changes, along with the date and time of the change, and allowing the viewer to drill down into specific folders or for specific team members.

Providing notifications of recent changes to end-users

The Events API allows organizations to provide additional functionality for end-users, who often want to be notified of the occurrence of an action within Syncplicity. For example, doctors in a hospital using Syncplicity can collaborate with external lab agencies as well as with patients. When the lab uploads patient reports into Syncplicity, the doctors need to be notified; and they can then review the documents. Once approved, the files are made available to the corresponding patient, who in turn needs to be notified. The same mechanism can be used by other departments inside the hospital, such as the invoicing department uploading patient bills and wanting patients to be notified automatically.

Typical additional examples of use cases are:

  • Teachers at an education establishment wanting to be notified when student homework has been submitted,
  • Loan officers at a bank needing to be informed when a customer has uploaded a document,
  • A group of senior directors wanting to be informed immediately when a specific key document has been updated,

By creating their own solution, customers have the liberty of determining the frequency and the format of the notification, and can use different methods for different use cases: mail, SMS, displaying a web page, etc.

Integrating Content Services functionality into custom applications

Many Syncplicity customers are already leveraging Syncplicity via its APIs to integrate functionality into custom applications. By doing this, Syncplicity can be used to handle all aspects of content security and availability, making the development of applications quick, easy and secure. The Events API opens up several additional possibilities regarding these actions within the custom applications to take place automatically based on changes to content in Syncplicity.

Typical integration use cases addressed by customers with the Events API include:

  • Sending an automatic acknowledgment to a consumer upon document receipt.
  • Kicking off a document approval workflow for a specific document that has been uploaded, before the document is made available to others.
  • Sending out automatic notifications to external parties when a new document such as a press release has been published.
  • Submitting newly uploaded documents to a third-party anti-virus or optical character recognition (OCR) solution for content extraction or checking.
  • Enhancing the integration with the Axway AMPLIFY™ hybrid integration platform, by providing the capability of starting a process automatically upon document receipt, folder creation, etc. The AMPLIFY platform allows for a large array of integration patterns, enabling customers to integrate multiple different types of applications running on different platforms, on-premise and in the Cloud.

What is currently available via the Events API?

This first version of the Events API allows the reporting of file and folder activity within Syncplicity and will return the same information as can be seen by users in the activity feed.

The Events API will return information on:

  • Files: file creation, upload of a new version, and deletion, as well as moved or renamed files,
  • Folders: folder creation or deletion, as well as moved or renamed folders.
  • Restored items: previously deleted files or folders that have been restored.
  • File branching: for reporting on branched files where multiple users have made overlapping edits to a document.
  • Folder sharing: adding or removing users as participants of a shared folder.

The API calls can be performed for a specific Syncpoint (top-level folder), sub-folder or file, or a specific user, allowing a very granular view of recent changes. The developer can also specify a time in the request, to return only details of changes made since that specific time.

To make coding simple, each request to the Events API can include multiple items, reducing the number of steps and complexity to get the required information. For example, a single API call can return details of recently created files, recently updated files, and recently deleted files for a specific user.

Up to 1,000 records can be returned per API call. This limit is voluntary, ensuring that the returned data is manageable in size. Custom code requiring more information can easily retrieve additional data by making several API calls with more granular requests or using pagination.

Important to remember

It is important to understand that the Events API does not raise an event as a trigger but returns a list of recently changed items. Event data is kept for 95 days, so it’s possible to query for events within that time period. Events older than that are still accessible in the audit logs, ensuring that companies can keep the full visibility and governance on activity within Syncplicity. The reason for not raising the event as a trigger is simple: it allows the same content to be retrieved multiple times for different purposes. However, it is possible if required to just retrieve the new events since the last request; I have written a separate blog for developers, which explains how to do this. The API documentation with further details is available here.

Using the Events API in the Developer Portal

As with the rest of the Syncplicity APIs, the Events API is available in the API Catalog. From here you can view all the details and an example of the request and the response, as well as possible return statuses. Developers can also try out the API call in the Developer Portal to view the exact format of the request and response to use in the custom code.

If you have any questions regarding the use of the Events API, please post them on the Axway community. Also, if you have an interesting use case that the Events API has let you address, let us know! We are always interested in hearing how customers use the product and the value they are getting from it.

View the Syncplicity API release notes.

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