What is HostCon?
HostCon is a standard ‘WSDL’ web service that is available on all 5.2, 6.x, &7.x versions of EPro/Unified IP. The primary aim of the service is to provide a mechanism to allow agent scripts (originally it was designed for use with LYRICall, but the service is able to be used by anything) to enable them to directly read or write to an external database or data source.
The service can connect to multiple data source types :
- TE (EPro 5.2)
- DBI (EPro 6.x/UIP 6.5+)
- Web Services
Why use HostCon ?
HostCon was originally designed by Aspect as a way to collate user connections to external databases. Going back several years, if you have a 100 agent call centre and wanted to agent to write to your database, it was be necessary to write directly from each agent’s desktop and thus would require you to have 100 concurrent connections to that database. In the original design HostCon provided a means to allow users to share a common connection which would only connect to the database for each concurrent session and would allow common queries to be cached. This cut down on the number of concurrent sessions required, reduced the need to buy extra client licensing for the database and reduced the overall load on it.
Later HostCon was expanded to allow a more reliable way to update EPro call tables etc. in a multiple database environment – eg. If a System has both a Primary and Backup EPro/UIP Database, if using JDBC it was previously necessary to write to both databases separately – the DBI function of the HostCon service allows you to write once only to the DBI server which will then take care of the replication for you.
HostCon is the Aspect preferred method for writing updates to customer record data in call tables, both to the UIP database itself, as well as to customer databases out side of the UIP system.
How to set HostCon up
HostCon is installed by default on all systems as a standard Tomcat service, however in order for you to use it, it needs to be manually configured. Configuration files for HostCon are to be found in the following path*
D:\Program Files\Aspect Software\Unified IP\TOMCAT\webapps\ConcertoHostCon\
*Path is based on a UIP6.6 - may be different depending on your installation.
Steps to configure HostCon :
1. Fix Aspect’s spelling errors
Astonishingly, The primary HostCon interface that Aspect install is delivered (and has been now for at least the past 3 versions – I never got around to reporting this as a problem) with spelling mistakes in it’s core component, the WSDL file. These need to be corrected before you can use the interface, but the fix is very quick and easy.
a. Go to D:\Program Files\Aspect Software\Unified IP\TOMCAT\webapps\ConcertoHostCon\
b. Edit the file HostCon.WSDL using notepad
c. Use the REPLACE tool, replace all instances of ‘ocurrs’ with ‘occurs’.
d. Save the file.
Yep, it seems someone in Aspect cannot spell occurs.
2.Configure the HostConConfig.xml file
In the same path as above, there is also a file called HostConConfig.XML. This contains sample configurations for a very wide range of different database and data source types. All you need to do is to uncomment the section that you wish to use, modify the parameters so that they match your requirements and you are set.
-where x.x.x.x is the IP address of your database - the example above shows how to connect into the DBI, other examples in the XML file show how to setup for other database types.
Note: I have also noticed that the default Config file appears to have some ‘hidden’ chars in it that HostCon does not like and causes it to fail on startup. To rectify this I use the Microsoft "XML Notepad" application to update the file (rather than Notepad which I would normally use) and this corrected the problem for me.
3. Test the connectivity
Restart the Tomcat services and go to the following hostcon web page (this will appear on whichever servers are running the hostcon Tomcat service) :
Note the DataSources section – if you have nothing here, your configuration has not worked. If everything is ok and you should have at least one DataSource listed, and you should be able to click on the hyperlink provided (dbi) to see a list of the available tables in your DataSource.
Also note the WSDL hyperlink underneath the ‘uptime’ display, if you click on this you are shown the actual WSDL service path (http://x.x.x.x:8180/ConcertoHostCon/services/HostConPort?wsdl) that you would use to access the web service.
NOTE – If you having problems: If you are having problems at this stage, you will need to check the logs. It seems that under 6.6 there are a few issues here.
The logs are not in the correct place. They should be in ‘E:\Program Files\Aspect Software\Unified IP\Logs\epro\Portal\HostconWebService’ but nothing appears. Instead the system attempts to write to “D:\Program Files\Aspect Software\Unified IP\TOMCAT\logs\portal\hostcon”, but initially the ‘hostcon’ part of this path does not exist. Create it manually and you will start to get logs written. - this was true for version 6.6, may have been fixed now.
b. Logging Levels.
By Default logging is set to informational only, to change go to http://x.x.x.x:8180/ConcertoHostCon/loggers.jsp and click on the ‘INFO’ hyperlink to the right of each of the HostCon services (change to DEBUG).