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I have a Web App that i have developed I am looking to develop a plugin for this app so that i can pull information from the users accounts package such as sage or quickbooks(offline version). Ideally I would like to do this without them having to have a static ip etc.

Unfortunately this is way over my head I currently have no idea on how to do this.

Please can some one guide me in the right direction I will probably use json data between the webapp and the client service that I will make and im fine with that part its just the initial connection that I am confused about.

Any help would be really really appreciated I hope this makes sense.

Thanks

Ash

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May I ask why you want to get sensitive financial data from your users, and how you are going to inform the users? This could be used to empty users' bank accounts so easily. I sincerely hope there is no way to do this as a web app. –  David Thornley Apr 18 '11 at 18:23
    
the actual application is an order management system that sends the users orders to there suppliers via xml interfaces and automatically places the orders they are then able to get tracking information, etc etc... for the orders they are already aware that we are going to pull such information –  ashga Apr 19 '11 at 9:54
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Bottom line: you need to write something that the user installs on his computer (either write a Browser plug in or an active x control.)

That Thing will get data from the local comp and push it to you.. (This can be trigged by your web app.)

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yep this is the bit i am having confusion with what technology can i use to build the thing and what is the process for the thing called :) active x i think its a bit of a pain i hae having to install them so dont want to make my clients suffer :( –  ashga Apr 18 '11 at 18:24
    
I would not install any such control or plugin on any computer I had control over. I assume ashga is of high moral character and wouldn't think of abusing this connection. However, I do think about abusing connections, and it looks to me like this would be a big and highly dangerous security hole. –  David Thornley Apr 18 '11 at 18:29
    
is there nay way i could protect the tunnel using encryption, certificates etc etc.....? –  ashga Apr 19 '11 at 7:18
    
@ashga: You can try, but it's still a potential vulnerability pointing right at my bank account information. Security isn't an easy thing to get right, and if you got something wrong, or had a breach of your security, things could go bad for me real fast. –  David Thornley Apr 19 '11 at 13:53
    
I think this is the best approach thanks guys! –  ashga Apr 20 '11 at 5:25
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Could you get the users to upload a file? In other words they need to save the data locally from their application, then in your web application they can upload it to you.

If this would work there is more info on SO: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/116353/uploading-files-in-ruby-on-rails

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unfortunatly this can't be done as it needs to be a realtime ish connection –  ashga Apr 18 '11 at 18:25
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Have you consider using the WebSockets in order to allows users to send information to the server? I know, it needs HTML 5 ready browsers, but its a small price to pay.

Here is an interesting link HTML5 - Web Sockets

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hmm this is interesting however most of my clients are on ie :( but in theory this would be perfect is there any old technology i could use to do something similar? potentially the client would keep the connection open to the server and the server would then access that connection when the client requests data from the web app front end. –  ashga Apr 18 '11 at 18:31
    
@ashga the old approach to emulate this kind of behavior is ye old polling , but as i come to understand its not a good practice. So, other than the plugin i dont see any other way to let your client give feedback without having to do something. –  guiman Apr 20 '11 at 2:58
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