I normally keep up with the latest changes in the Raiser’s Edge version. I thought that the jump from 7.81 to 7.82 was not that great. I knew that there were fixes so that RE would work with Office 2007, there were some more changes to optional modules (I was only really familiar with events), there were new names for items in query and export, another change to Gift Aid and that was about it. At least that was it until I saw an item on the conference pages talking about the new Batch API code that had been made available. What?? Batch API! This is something that I have been asking for forever and it completely threw me when I just stumbled across it.
What does this mean? Well in so many scenarios it is preferable to be able to import gifts into a batch and not directly into the gifts themselves. If you only ever use batch for mass gift entry and use none of the auditing facilities, none of the validation routines, none of the linking to events, proposals etc then maybe the Batch API functionality is not going to be so useful to you as you can clearly just add gifts en masse via the regular gifts part of the API.
For everyone else however the Batch API opens up a really useful module. You now have the ability to take a spreadsheet or another data source and “import” those gifts into batch. You can then use batch exactly the same way as you would otherwise.
The alternative is to create very complicated validation requirements in the code so that manual review is not required. These validation routines would otherwise be done in batch either automatically or by somebody checking through each gift before posting. Of course it is possible to create your own “batch” so that before the gifts are imported you display them in a grid but this is a lot of work for a module that already exists.
So it is truly a revolution that Blackbaud opened the Batch API up. For me it was a big change and one that Blackbaud should have highlighted more prominently. This is definitely a big selling point of the API and one I can strike from my list of how to improve the API. Now to deal with the other items on the list…