This document describes how channel profiles are configured within nChannel.

Creating a Channel Profile

Right now, the only way to create a new channel profile is to do so in the context of creating a new Automation Profile. This can be done by clicking "New" on the Automation Profile dashboard at<account number>/automations.

This wizard will take you through the following process:

  1. Create a new or select an existing channel profile to represent your sales channel.
  2. If new
    1. Authenticate with the endpoint. The method of authentication will depend on which channel and its requirements.
    2. Configure any channel profile settings. This can be changed or configured later. (See below.)
  3. Create a new or select an existing channel profile to represent your fulfillment channel.
  4. If new...
    1. Authenticate with the endpoint. The method of authentication will depend on which channel and its requirements.
    2. Configure any channel profile settings. This can be changed or configured later. (See below.)

At this point there is no feature to create a single ad hoc channel profile, but it is in the product roadmap.

Editing a Channel Profile

Channel profiles can be edited from the Account Settings application under "Channel Profiles". Here you'll see a list of each channel profile associated with your account, sorted by channel (e.g. Shopify, NetSuite).

All channel profiles have the following sections:

  • Primary Settings
  • Channel Settings
  • Channel Action Configuration
  • Remote ID Management

The contents of these settings will likely vary from channel to channel. Some settings represent foundational platform functionality that is global across all channels/channel profiles. Other settings represent channel-specific functionality, made available by the channel developer when the channel was written.

Primary Settings

The Primary Settings section contains the following available configuration options:

  • Channel - Read only property that reminds the user which channel this profile is associated with. This cannot be changed.
  • Name - The way this channel profile will be represented through the rest of the nChannel application. When creating a channel profile, this will default to the same name as the channel. If you have more than one profile for the same channel (e.g. two Shopify stores), it's highly recommended you name them differently and clearly. Duplicate names are allowed and will be difficult to separate.
  • Description - This field should be used to add notes to the user about the channel profile. Perhaps the name isn't descriptive enough without additional context. The description is not required, and it only displays in limited places.

Channel Settings

The Channel Settings section contains two important sets of features: channel authentication and channel profile settings. (It would be more clear to name this section Channel Profile Settings, but this update has not been made yet.)

Every endpoint that nChannel integrates to has different requirements for authentication. Some require an Oauth handshake. Others just require a token or user credentials for connection. The channel is developed with these requirements in mind.

nChannel provides a framework for the channel developer to expose those authentication parameters in a standard way. They do so during channel development time. By the time you see a channel available in the application, those options are set, unless an update is made to the channel. However, this means you can expect some consistency in how authentication works across channels. For example, because Oauth is based on a standard, you can expect the Oauth options to look almost identical across all Oauth-enabled channels.

Every channel will have some kind of authentication settings.

This section may also include channel profile settings that aren't related to authentication. If available, these are settings that will affect every action associated with this channel, globally speaking. If the channel developer has determined that some value (or set of values) is important for every call made to that endpoint system, they will show here. Which settings (or if any are required) will vary from channel to channel.

Channel Action Configuration

The channel action configuration provides settings that are scoped to a specific action available on the channel. This is also a good way to see exactly which actions are supported by the channel.

At this point, the only settings typically available for channel actions at the profile level are the settings related to business reference configuration. This will likely grow over time.

Remote ID Management

nChannel stores and manages Remote IDs at the channel profile level. This cannot be changed. Therefore, the channel profile configuration screen gives you the abilities required to configure/deal with remote IDs.

Once you've set your business reference configuration (or if you go with the default), nChannel will need to load up the cross-reference of business references and remote IDs. This helps the system know when to update versus create a new record in the endpoint system.

Whenever a data flow that uses this channel profile is made active, the "REFRESH" action is automatically enabled. This means nChannel will constantly ping the endpoint asking for new records to store in the Remote ID/Business Reference cross-reference table. It does this proactively, so it doesn't have to do so when a new request to create or update comes across in real time.

This section displays if any REFRESH actions are active, and points to the specific data flows that have caused them to activate. It also gives you the ability to manually trigger a FULL REFRESH. Caution should be taken when doing this. It will result in making many calls to the endpoint and adding many transactions to Visibility. It equates to a "GET All Records" call, without sending those records across to a different endpoint.

Scope of Configuration Settings

There are a lot of different settings available when configuring nChannel, and it's important to understand the scope of each different type of setting. This section will describe those settings/configuration options from most broad to most specific scope.

The channel developer has a lot of discretion to decide how different configuration options are scoped, and it's a very difficult job. If there are recommendations for how to rescope a setting, please file a Help Desk ticket or Feature Request to make sure those requests are evaluated.

Account Settings (Most Broad)

Account settings are the most broad in your account. They are applied everywhere inside the nChannel account (number seen in the URL). That said, you will not see any account settings specific to an endpoint.

Channel Profile Settings

Channel profile settings apply to every call made to an instance of an endpoint. (Remember a channel profile represents a connection to one instance of one endpoint.) Every channel profile will at least have authentication settings of some variety, but some may also have additional settings.

These settings tend to get set once, when initially setting up the channel profile, and are rarely changed later.

Channel Action Settings

Channel Action settings (if any are available) will impact every instance of the channel action being called for that specific action. Remember a channel profile may be hooked up to more than one data flow. (For example, if you have a single ERP channel profile integrated to three separate eCommerce store profiles.) These settings would apply to all instances of that action being called when that profile is used.

Data Flow Settings

Data Flow settings are configured inside an Automation Profile, which represents a set of data flows between two channel profiles. These settings are specific to calling THAT action in THAT data flow. Most configuration options related to an action are going to be found here, because it creates the most granularity for the person configuring the nChannel account.