The Channel framework lets you integrate origin services with Zendesk Support. It enables mirroring content between those origin services and Zendesk Support and agents to support customers on origin services through Zendesk Support.

In this tutorial, you'll build an integration service for WordPress. Zendesk Support will call the integration service periodically, converting WordPress blog comments into Zendesk Support tickets and comments. Agents can respond in Zendesk Support. The Channel framework sends these agent responses to the integration service, which creates corresponding comments in WordPress.

Contents

Difference between integrating with the Channel framework and the Zendesk REST API

Building an integration using the Zendesk REST API requires extensive knowledge of the Zendesk Support data model, and of course of the Zendesk API. Building an integration using the Channel framework doesn’t require any knowledge of the Zendesk Support data model or APIs. Instead, the integration exposes itself as a web service. It implements methods specified by Zendesk Support, but it doesn’t need to call it at all. The methods it exposes are not dependent on internal Zendesk Support details.

Intended audience

This tutorial is for developers building integrations between origin services and Zendesk Support. This is a intermediate-level tutorial that goes over basic Channel framework concepts. Basic JavaScript proficiency and knowledge of web technologies are required.

Prerequisites

This tutorial requires you to:

  • Install applications on your computer. (Note: We have not tested the instructions with role escalation. You may need extra configuration if you're sudoing.)
  • Use the curl command for testing.
  • Have access to a Zendesk Support account for testing

This tutorial uses WordPress as the origin service. To run everything in this tutorial, you need:

Refer to the installation instructions of these applications on how to install them.

Continue on Channel framework startup tutorial - Step 1: Setup the developer environment .

Known issues

This tutorial was created in 2017 and some information about WordPress is out of date.

Specifically, WordPress and mySQL have been changed behaviors since the tutorial was created a few years back:

  • the WordPress plugin used to do REST API calls is no longer necessary as of quite a while ago
  • the WordPress user needs to be updated for the mySQL connection to work
  • the way the service's code is written, you have to have a non-plain permalink specified under preferences. The value of "plain" is the default, so this needs to be changed by the WordPress administrator.

The recommended WordPress rest-api library is no longer maintained. According to WordPress, the plugin "hasn’t been tested with the latest 3 major releases of WordPress. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress."

The plug-in is no longer needed with the latest WordPress. The user is given a link to download.