Error handling, soft fails, and retries in integration

Error handling, soft fails, and retries in integration

Author -  Alana Stephens

Error handling, soft fails, and retries in integration

Flow can be configured to handle the concept of error handling, soft fails, and retries in integration for most expected error conditions.

This is useful for if your system logs errors that may be rectified if the process was retried multiple times.  For example, a database or web service connection might fail on first attempt but would succeed if retried in a few minutes; if the error persisted then notification is needed but if the problem had been addressed independently then no alert from Flow would be required.

Apart from the use of status or retry values, Flow can control when subsequent attempts will occur.  In particular, some meaningful period of delay needs to be included so that the cause of any error has an opportunity to be fixed. However, it is not necessary to delay all processing and other records can be attempted in the meantime.

For an example of soft fail and retry read our Customer insight for Tegel Foods here:

http://www.flowsoftware.co.nz/company/blog/article/customer-insight-tegel

Technical Considerations

By default, Flow manages database activity on a commit or roll-back basis:

·         If a Flow action succeeds then all corresponding database updates are saved (“committed”) to the database(s);

·         However, if the Flow action encounters an error – any error, not necessarily a database-related error – then all database updates from that action will be cancelled (i.e. “rolled back”).

The “roll-back” behaviour in a database environment is necessary to maintain data integrity within a database: For example, it would not always be acceptable to write an Order header to a database and then leave it there if an error occurred when trying to save the corresponding Order lines and one or more of them failed to be written; In those circumstances the roll-back would undo the header and any of the lines that had preceded the error, as a set of related updates.

Unless the default configuration of Flow is adjusted, then the roll-back behaviour will prevent the updating of status value or the incrementing of a retry counter, if these are to be saved back to a database record when an error has occurred.

Flow provides a “Transaction Commit” Action Step that can be used to help manage the updates to a database.  An update that is ahead of the Transaction Commit will remain even if an error occurs, whereas an update after the Transaction Commit will be rolled back.  This difference will be used to create a pattern of Action Steps that will provide soft fail/retry behaviour.

Flow Software Limited is a software company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, specialising in the development, marketing, and support of Integration and EDI software.

 

Further information can be found at www.flowsoftware.com

 

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