Data Export Specifications

SupportAbility can potentially provide custom CSV exports for invoices, debtors, creditors, timesheets or other related data.  To perform this integration work, our engineering team require clear and detailed specification documentation for each export required, so that we can ascertain an accurate scope of work and provide cost and time estimates for the engineering work required.


What is a specification?

Organisations generally require custom data exports from SupportAbility when they need to import that data into another system such as a finance or payroll system that we do not currently support.  So essentially information is being exported from SupportAbility and then imported into a third-party system.

Whenever integrations like this are developed, it is critical that both systems are talking the same language and in nearly all cases it is the importing software (the finance or payroll system) that determines the language of that conversation.  When building exports for third party systems, we require a specification document which outlines the language that the importing software uses and the rules required for successful communication.

Primary a specification details WHAT data fields need to be transmitted and HOW that data should be formatted and what the RULES are.


How to create an export specification

If you have been asked by SupportAbility to provide a data export specification, it is important that you list every data field that you require in the export (eg. name, date, etc...).  Then for each field, we need to know the following information:

  1. Field Name: The name of the field that you wish to use as the column header in the header row of the export
  2. Data Type: What is that type of data that will be going in this field.  Options Include:
    - TEXT: Textual data that can contain alphanumeric data as well as punctuation and other characters
    - INTEGER: A whole number (eg. 5)
    - DECIMAL (DECIMAL PLACES): A decimal numeric value (ie. DECIMAL(3) would be a decimal number with 3 decimal places.  eg. 3.056)
    - CURRENCY: A decimal numeric value with 2 decimal places (equivalent to DECIMAL(2))
    - DATE: A date (could potentially be formatted as 01/01/2017)
    - TIME: A time (could potentially be formatted as 15:45)
    - DATETIME: A date and time (could potentially be formatted as 20170101154500)
    - EMPTY: No value required or expected.  Always leave empty.
  3. Format / Sample: Provide formatting requirements and a sample of the various kinds of data that might go in this field (eg.  for a date field the format might be DD/MM/YYYY and the sample might be 01/01/2017)
  4. Description: Describe the purpose of this field and the information that needs to be entered (eg. The invoice date - the date the invoice was drawn)
  5. Max Length: The maximum number of characters allowed in this field.  Values will be truncated to the max length to ensure compliance.
  6. Mandatory: Is entering a value in this field compulsory.  Options include:
    - YES: This field must always contain data
    - NO: This field is only used when required and can remain empty in certain situations
    - DEPENDS: This field is mandatory in certain circumstances.  When using this option, use the Rules / Restrictions field to explain the details on when a value is mandatory and when it is not
  7. Rules Restrictions: Explain any other rules or restrictions for this field that we need to know.

Custom Export Specification Toolkit

Please download our SupportAbility Custom Export Specification Toolkit to help design your custom export and communicate your requirements.

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