Automated Feed Processing

Automated Feed Processing

Concourse uses POST over HTTPS to allow for automated processing of feed files. This functionality allows you to control how frequently you run feeds and immediately receive information about what was successfully processed or had errors.

To begin, you should be familiar with how to create and process feeds manually, as the same file standard is used. From there, you'll need to create a request that periodically passes this data to Concourse.

Generating a valid request

Generating a valid feed processing request requires three pieces of information:

  1. Type of feed file to be processed
  2. Shared secret shown on the Admin > Tools > Feeds area of Concourse
  3. Feed file conforming to specifications found in our feed processing articles.

Concourse accepts a POST request to https://yourdomain.campusconcourse.com/process_feed_file containing three parameters:

  1. type (case-sensitive): One of the following:
    • System Data types - User, Course, Section, Registration
    • Data Removal types - DisableUser, MarkCourseForDeletion, DropRegistration
    • Syllabus Copy - CopyItem
    • Domain types - Campus, School, Department
    • Syllabus Content types - MeetingTime, ContactInformation, Description, Objective, Outcome, Material, Deliverable, Evaluation, CoursePolicy, InstitutionalPolicy, AdditionalItem, Schedule
    • Delete Locked Item types - DeleteMeetingTime, DeleteContactInformation, DeleteDescription, DeleteObjective, DeleteOutcome, DeleteMaterial, DeleteDeliverable, DeleteEvaluation, DeleteCoursePolicy, DeleteInstitutePolicy, DeleteAdditionalItem, DeleteSchedule
  2. file: Properly formatted feed file of type specified
  3. hmac: HMAC-SHA256 digest of feed file contents, using feed processing shared secret (see above) as the key

It is important to note that the request must be made to the secure URL as shown above. A log of processing activity (errors, updates, etc) will be returned as plaintext.

Example code

The attached post_feed.sh script contains an implementation of the above POST.

Usage:

post_feed.sh url type secret filename

Example:

$ ./post_feed.sh https://demo.campusconcourse.com/process_feed_file Course not_really_the_secret_123 course_feed.txt
Created: FEED_COURSE_1
Created: HISTORY_303B
Updated: BIOLOGY_190
$

Update: We have created an example PowerShell script as well; it is attached at the end of this article.

Certificates

The most common issue setting up automation is the inability to verify the SSL certificate. This page describes the cause and various solutions. In most cases adding the --cacert option will be the optimal resolution.

Time-outs

Often feed processing will be completed within seconds. However, if you are processing feeds with thousands of rows, and many of the rows are being used to create new users, courses, or content, they may take minutes and will likely time out using the default automated feed processing URL.

In order to reliably process feeds of this scale, you need to change the processing URL to include -notimeout after your organization's sub-domain (e.g. https://school-notimeout.campusconcourse.com/process_feed_file).

Further, even if only one feed is expected to take a long time, and only at certain times during the year, you should make sure all of your scripts utilize the notimeout URL to avoid a scenario in which a preceding feed is inadvertently not processed but the subsequent one is.

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