Saturday, July 11, 2015

SugarCRM/SuiteCRM Programming Examples

This is a long post about programming against he SugarCRM/SuiteCRM SOAP server. It's all technical so if you came by for some light, witty banter I'm sorry to disappoint you.

The Problem

So a buddy of mine approached me with a problem. He's migrating data from a custom CRM to SuiteCRM. The old CRM has ten years worth of data, mostly consisting of 147,000+ files. My buddy can handle the custom modules, importing the data and all that but he's a point-and-click kinda' guy and he's not going to point-and-click his way through 147,000+ uploads. That's where I came into the picture; I fix technical problems for businesses (I do more than that, but that's a post for a later time).

So I start digging through the SugarCRM/SuiteCRM docs. They've got quite a bit of documentation but it's not very useful. Much like Javadocs or man pages; they're reference documentation, which is great if you already know the topic and want to look something up, but lousy if you need to learn the topic. Examples of programming this CRM I found around the net helped some but left out some important points that tripped me up for awhile, hence this blog post.

So here's the setup: one SuiteCRM server running in a VM; two external drives, one holding 147,000+ files (about 3/4 of a terabyte), the other holding the files for the SuiteCRM installation, a custom module called Assignments, and an SQLite database holding information about which file(s) goes with which Assignment.

My job was to write a program which will do the following:
  • read the database to determine which Assignment a file belongs to
  • create a Document (set_entry()
  • upload the document (set_document_revision())
  • get the assignment id (get_entry_list())
  • set a relationship between the Assignment and the new uploaded Document (set_relationship())
  • update the database with a status
I have some illustrative code up on GitHub. It's not runnable code. It's just two files: the main program and the SuiteCRM code. I left out things like the logging code and the database code. Those are unique to my situation and would just muddy the message I'm trying to get across.

So, let's walk through this:

Initialize SuiteCRM SOAP Object

Our constructor looks like this:

class SugarCrmSoap{
      var $sess;
      var $sess_id;
      var $soapclient;
      var $log;
      var $soap_url;
      var $login_params;

      function SugarCrmSoap(){
        $this->soap_url = '';
        $this->login_params = array(
            'user_name' => 'admin',
            'password'  => md5('admin'),
            'version'   => '.01'
        // the trace option allows for better debugging
        $this->soapclient = new SoapClient($this->soap_url, array('trace' => 1));
        return $this->soapclient;

(Yeah, I'm not too keen on how Blogger formats code. If anyone knows how to do better, let me know)

The soap_url is really important; it determines which version of the interface you use. While that may be obvious, most of the examples I saw didn't include which version of the SOAP interface they were using. This meant when I copypasta their code, I ended passing the wrong parameters in the wrong positions. :-/

The trace option is very useful. We'll see what that does at the end.


We need to create a Session and get its ID to pass around for authenticating. That's easy enough to do:
function login(){
  $result = $this->soapclient->login($this->login_params);
  $this->sess_id= $result->id ;
  return $this->sess;

Main Loop

Now we're ready to do the work. We create a new document by passing in the name of the file to set_entry() like this:

 function processFile($filename) {
  try {
  //Creating new Document '$filename'
  $result = $this->soapclient
                 ->set_entry( $this->sess_id,
                                        array ( 'name'  => 'new_with_id',
                                                'value' => true
                                        array ( 'name'  => 'document_name',
                                                'value' => $filename
          return $result->id;
    } catch (Exception $e) {
      $this->catchError("processFile", $e);

Then we upload the file by setting a new Document Revision. The $docID is from the previous function and $rec is just an array of information about the file.

function uploadFile($docID, $revision=1, $rec) {
  try {
    // file_get_content spits out a warning about there being no file
    // then successfully gets the content. :-? Hence the
    // warning suppression
    $file_contents = @file_get_contents($rec['full_path']);

    $docArray = array( 'id'       => $docID,
                       'file'     => base64_encode($file_contents),
                       'document_name' => basename($rec['file_title']),
                       'filename' => $rec['file_title'],
                       'revision' => $revision,
                       'assignment_no' => $rec['assignment_no']

    $result = $this->soapclient->set_document_revision ( $this->sess_id, $docArray);

    //New document_revision_id is $result->id"
    return $result->id;

  } catch (Exception $e) {
    $this->catchError("uploadFile", $e);
    return (-1);


When you upload a document, say example.jpg, SuiteCRM does not store a jpeg file called example.jpg. It stores a base 64 encoded file with a filename that looks like a UUID. I assume this lets them track revisions better.

Setting the Relationship

We finally get to the most important part of this program: setting a relationship between a (custom module) Assignment and the Document we just uploaded. As you might guess that means getting the assignment_id:

function getAssignments($query='', $offset=0, $maxnum=0, $orderby=''){
  try {
  $result = $this->soapclient->get_entry_list(
  return $result;
  } catch (Exception $e) {
    $this->catchError("getAssignments", $e);

This essentially does an SQL query on the back end. The $query parameter is the WHEN clause of that query minus the 'WHEN'. 

This function returns the entire Assignment entry. The id is found thusly:

$assignment = $sugar->getAssignments($assignStr, 0, 1, '');

$assignId = $assignment->entry_list[0]->id;

And finally, we are ready for the final step: setting the relationship! SuiteCRM does some weird internal stuff to set relationships; it's not as simple as a 1-to-many database relationship. Oh no, that would be too easy!  This is the whole reason we have to go through their SOAP server.
Our function for that is fairly straight forward:

function setAssignmentDocumentRelationship($assignId, $docId) {
try {
  //setting relationship for assignment id $assignId and document id $docId
  $result = $this->soapclient->set_relationship(
  return $result;
} catch (Exception $e) {
      $this->catchError("setAssignmentDocumentRelationship", $e);

Since an Assignment can have several Documents associated with it, I could have passed in several $docIds in the fifth parameter but that would have added complexity to the main program that I didn't feel was justified. 

Capturing errors

Remember up above when we initialized our SOAP object and we set 'trace' => 1? With that set, we can capture the headers of the last request which lets us write error functions like this one:

function catchError($function, $e) {

 $this->log->error( "====== REQUEST HEADERS =====");

 if ($function != 'uploadFile') {
   $this->log->error( "========= REQUEST ==========");
 $this->log->error( "====== RESPONSE HEADERS =====");

 $this->log->error( "========= RESPONSE ==========");

 $this->log->error("$function error: $e()");
 // continue on
 throw new Exception($e);


The reason for the if ($function != 'uploadFile') is if an error occurs while we're uploading, the entire contents of the base-64 encoded file will appear in the log and you don't want that, believe me!


That's it; how to upload files and set relationships via SuiteCRM's SOAP server. Easy once someone shows you how, eh? ;-)

In my opinion the SuiteCRM documentation is not very helpful, the other examples I've seen were either out of date or missing some important information (I hope I'm not!) and I've heard grumblings that getting information about programming this stuff is very hard to come by. I hope this helps someone. 

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