How easy is it to build integrations to Cisco Spark? I think it can be very simple, and our partners seem to agree.

 

Over the past few months, my co-worker, Joe Hruska, and I have been doing everything we can to educate the Cisco Partner community on all things Spark. In addition to running the “Spark Your Collaboration” Webinar series, we’ve had the opportunity to take our training on the road across cities throughout the US. Replays of the webinars are available here.

 

One of the best parts of the live road show events was the extensive audience interaction. Attendees were able to get their hands dirty in a lab environment to help them understand the latest features and the flexibility and ease of use of the Spark and Tropo APIs.

 

When the students arrive in class, I think many of them hear the acronym API and assume that means high complexity. Most of our partner System Engineers are not programmers by trade, and I can sympathize with that considering it’s been 20 years since the last time I had to write code – college days.  Instead of assuming they had programming experience, we built our training using Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers like IFTTT, Zapier and Built.io to create some great Spark & Tropo integrations - all graphically.  The Spark (and in some cases Tropo) APIs along with hundreds of other provider’s APIs have been built into these amazing tools and really let anybody get started building integrations.  The participants were amazed at how easy building something against the APIs could be.

 

As part of our training we asked participants to take the information they learned and build their own integrations. We wanted to see if after our 2-hour API lab they could be creative and build something on their own. If they did, and posted a public blog or video about their integration, they earned a programmable BB-8 Sphero robot! We called it the “Bot 4 Bot Program.” We didn’t know how many SEs would take us up on this but we were very pleased with the many great ideas that were submitted and below you can see their public posts:

 

 

Congratulations to all the programmers. We love your creativity and your BB-8 will be coming soon!!