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request push api example 1 fogbugz

October 23, 2007

One of the interesting and likely overlooked new features in

HelpSpot version 2 is the Request Push API. I talked a bit about it the other day, but it's kind of an abstract thing and so I wanted to be sure to get a few sample implementations out as soon as possible.

The Request Push API allows staff to easily push requests out of HelpSpot and to other systems. There are a lot of potential uses for this, but the obvious one for software folks is pushing requests to a bug tracker. I know many pure software shops use bug trackers as help desk tools, but this isn't a viable solution for many companies with more formal help desks (where "normal" people don't want to see anything about bugs). Before now with pretty much all help desk tools the staff was forced to convey bugs reported by customers by using the bug tracker (nobody likes that, not help desk staff or developers) or communicating it outside of either system via email, etc.

Request Push changes this equation by keeping that communication between the systems and within the help desk software. The help desk staff simply click a button, add a comment and the request goes off to the bug tracker, in this case FogBugz. The API logs the bug with FogBugz and also keeps track of the returned case ID. This allows help desk staff to check on the progress of a bug from within HelpSpot right from the request which reported the bug. This is great if you need to get back to a customer later on the status.

If you're interested in what this looks like you can check out the screenshots on the FogBugz sample API page.

FogBugz seemed a logical choice for the first implementation as I know a fair number of HelpSpot customers use it and their new API makes it easy to do. This is just a very basic example, I'm sure some customers will expand on it to do some really amazing things.

I'll probably do 3-4 more samples for the major bug trackers. Unfortunately many don't have API's or at least not nice clean documented ones so we'll see how it goes.

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