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April 08, 2015

Create a Property Inspection Report from Podio

We’ve been seeing a lot of great uses of Podio and WebMerge lately and we wanted to highlight one in particular – a property inspection report.  Plus, we’ve built a new way for you to integrate Podio directly with WebMerge using their Webhooks feature!  Let’s set the stage.

In Podio, we’ve setup a new Workspace for your inspections and we’ve created a few different apps that we’ll be using to save our information.  For this demo we’ve setup Property Owners, Properties, and Inspections.  With the power of Podio we’re able to add relationships between each of these apps so that we can easily pull information across the board.  For example, each Property has a Property Owner and each Inspection is tied to a specific Property.

For our property we are just going to be collecting basic information about the property.  Address, owner, when it was built, etc.  Here’s what our Property app looks like:

The main piece of our setup (and the primary data source for our reports) is going to be the Inspections app.  Here we’ll select the Property we’re doing an inspection, answer some questions and upload pictures of the property to be saved for the report.

To control when the report is generated, we’ve added a “Status” category to our Inspection app.  This category field will allow us to keep the report pending until we’ve got all the information ready to go for the report.  You’ll see more on this in a little bit.  Here’s what the status field looks like:

Now that we’ve got our Podio apps setup and ready to go, let’s setup the report template in WebMerge.  As we mentioned, we have setup a script that will allow you to connect Podio directly with WebMerge.  This script is going to accept a webhook from Podio then pass long the data to your WebMerge document.  With this in mind, the field names you use in your document are going to need to follow what is used in Podio.  You can find these field names under the Developer page for your respective App.

One thing to note about the field names is that our system is going to use the External ID and if there are hyphens in the name, we are going to convert those to underscores (ie first-name would become first_name).

For the ease of building our template and testing, we’re going to setup our template using our own merge field names, then we’re going to use the Field Map to match the Podio fields with the fields we defined in our document.  Here’s what our simple report looks like:

Now that we’ve got our document template setup, go ahead and upload that to WebMerge, then on the Settings tab we want to turn on the Field Map under Advanced Settings.  Save and then you’ll see the Field Map tab appear.  On the Field Map we’re going to input the fields that are going to be coming from Podio.  Here’s what our Field Map looks like:

You’ll notice the we reference the fields like {$fields.bedroom} and {$fields.property.fields.address}.  When the data is sent to us, it is sent using array format with “fields” being the top level of each object.  So when we want the property address, we grab the value of the “property” field, then we need to grab “address” from that property’s fields.

Ok, we’ve now got everything setup except for the Webhook that is going to send us the data from Podio to WebMerge when the inspection report is updated.  To generate the URL for the webhook, we're going to use the following script to login to Podio.  This will allow you to grant access to WebMerge to grab your Podio data.  Go here:


When you go to this URL, you'll see a login link.  Go ahead and click that link and you'll be redirected to Podio.  On the next page, Podio is going to ask you to grant access to WebMerge.

After you login, you'll be redirected back to the webhook script.  You should see the "Webhook Builder" with a few text boxes for you to enter the settings for the webhook.

To build the webhook, you need to enter the Merge URL (which you can find on the Merge tab inside WebMerge) for the Document.  After you enter the URL, you'll notice that the generated Webhook URL is automatically updated to include the Merge URL.

The last piece of the Webhook URL is going to be the filter for the “Status” of the report.  We only want to create the report of someone updates that status to be “Generate Report”.  We're going to enter those values in the filter section of the builder.

That’s it!  Go ahead and copy & paste that Webhook URL as a New Hook for “item.update” in Podio (in the Developer page) for the Inspection app.  Make sure to click the Verify button and that will make the webhook live and ready for action!  Here’s what our merged document looks like for our example inspection:

With Podio and WebMerge, the possibilities are absolutely endless.  Can you think of ways that you could automate your document generation from Podio by leveraging WebMerge?

7 min read

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