9 months of intense development later, our first big integration project with Tourico Holidays, went live today, with an additional 1000-odd hotels appearing on our site (with more to come). A good example is Texas where we had only a few hotels outside of the major cities and we now have about 90 (plus more inside the major cities, of course).
We had the usual problems you get with integration projects – mostly around communication problems. I can’t get into specifics about the project, but here’s some good rules of thumb if you’re doing integration projects:
- Communicate. Communicate often – the more the better. Whenever you have problems, ask!
- Agree on the inter-application communication protocols _early!_
- Write spikes to test the inter-application communication protocols. Evolve the spikes into test harnesses. Share the test harnesses!
- Run the test harnesses regularly to make sure the protocols haven’t been changed by accident.
- Provide test sandpits for your partner’s client software to come and play. Ask for the favour to be returned.
- Agree on an expected load profile, as well as Service Level Agreements. Work out how you will monitor it – remember that your partner may not be set up to deal with a sudden load spike, even if you are.
At the end of all this, turning the integration with Tourico on was somewhat of an anti-climax – we pushed the button marked “On”, and it just worked.
Now maybe I can get my life back for a bit. 🙂