Develop a Microsoft Word Mergefield Replacer for SF Data

Task:

The task was to develop a Microsoft Word mergefield replacer that pulls data from SuccessFactors HR SOAP API (SAP).ย  With that data we are replacing mergefields in word documents and finally saved on a network share. The tool must be multilingual and in addition be connected to LDAP (Microsofts AD) for user authentication.

Technologies used:

  • PHP
  • Javascript/JQuery
  • AJAX/JSON
  • Bash-Scripting
  • SOAP/XML

Report:

This is a perfect example on how software requirements change over time. At first, the idea was that the customers HR department is using the tool for only a couple of documents and employees at a time. Now they literally use it for mass-mailings. As a result I had to change quite a bit of code for performance and user experience, introducing session caches.

Another challenge was the rather ancient PHP version on the customers web-server where many fancy functions like a JSON or XML parser did not exist or did not work the way I needed it. Special attention is put on privacy (employee blacklists) and special characters as German and French speaking users are using the tool.

Lessons learned:

Requirements can be liquid