[ic] Mas 90/200 help

Ethan Rowe ethan at endpoint.com
Wed Jul 28 09:04:57 EDT 2004

AirDelights.com wrote:

>anyone currently or ever use Mas 90/200 with Interchange cart?  Is there a
>better system for importing orders and processing credit cards than Mas 90?

>steve at airdelights.com

I worked with an older (perhaps 3 years behind) version of MAS90, which 
had some degree of integration with a custom-built SQL-Server/Paradox 
publication sales system.  We put up a new website (http://www.nbp.org) 
using Interchange, with an online bookstore and ability to accept online 
donations; the Interchange-based site replaced the old SQL 
Server/Paradox system (which was one of the goals in pursuing the 
project).  We were able to pretty easily take the same integration tools 
developed for the MAS90/pub-sales system and, with a little tweaking, 
use them in the same fashion for the Interchange system.

However, I would not say it was pleasant to use MAS90 in this fashion, 
by any means.  I don't have much familiarity with more recent versions 
of MAS90/MAS200, so it may be that the possibilities for systems 
integration have improved in the last few years.  For the project 
described above, an import tool had been built using MAS90's Visual 
Integrator module, with which we could import customer and invoice data 
from CSV files generated by the publication sales system; thus, I just 
needed to understand the workflow rules involved for what data was 
included in those CSV files at what time, and design a facility to get 
that information out of our website database.  In fact, I didn't use 
Interchange to do it; instead, I modified the Paradox reports previously 
used to generate the files to pull the information out of the website 
database (PostgreSQL) in the proper format.  Having substantially more 
experience with Interchange now, I don't think it would be difficult 
tois  design a custom tool for generating the files in the Interchange 
Administration facility.

In any case, the complexity of working with MAS90/200 and Interchange 
depends on a number of things.  Where do you keep your products 
information, inventory information, etc.?  If you do not need MAS90/200 
to keep products/inventory, and just need to get the sales data to the 
A/R module for accounting purposes, then it's not terribly complicated 
(but the data exchange process needs, at least in my experience, manual 
operation rather than automatic; that may be different in newer 
versions, and certainly MAS200 would be better than MAS90 since it uses 
SQL Server rather than MAS90's unreliable, awkward flat-file database 
system).  If you want MAS90/200 to have all the inventory/products 
information and serve as the master database for such data, it will take 
more work to get that information out of MAS90 on a periodic basis to 
update the database behind Interchange.  It is possible to access 
Mas90/200 database via ODBC, so you could have the server running 
Interchange refresh its information in some fashion on a scheduled 
basis, conceivably, though I suspect the data model for Mas90/200 is 
nightmarish for the uninitiated.

Finally, if you want to have some sort of online sales offering and you 
need Mas90/200 to have all the information, you're going to need a bunch 
of requirements analysis and systems analysis to figure out the best 
solution, regardless of what you choose to handle the online store 
component (be it Interchange, osCommerce, or some expensive service like 
ProCart or Kurant StoreSense).

Hope this helps.
Ethan Rowe
End Point Corporation
ethan at endpoint.com

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