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Box Skills Invocation URL

Box Skills Invocation URL

When creating a new Box Skills application you will be asked to supply an invocation URL. The invocation is a location where Box will send an event notification payload when a file is uploaded, copied, or moved within a folder monitored by the Skills app.

This website or application that is listening for those notifications functions as a bridge between the file on Box and the system that is being employed to garner insight from the file, such as the machine learning system.

Invocation URL Requirements

The invocation URL should:

  • Be publicly available. Notifications cannot be sent to localhost.
  • Have code that is listening for HTTP POST requests directly to the URL. Box Skills will send the event notification via an `HTTP POST request.

Common Hosting Methods Behind an Invocation URL

There are a number of common hosting methods that are employed for an application that is behind the invocation URL.

Typically this middleware service will need to do the following:

  • Capture an event notification from Box.
  • Download the file from Box and send it to the processing system.
  • Listen for the response from the machine learning system.
  • Format the response from the machine learning system into a Box metadata format.
  • Apply the new metadata back to the file stored on Box.

Depending on security requirements and approved services at your company, we typically see these services hosted in a few ways:

Self HostedWhen external hosting services are not approved for use within the company, or where all application functions need to be hosted within your own servers. In this instance you will expose a URL publicly, which points to code hosted on your own servers.
Serverless FunctionDue to the nature of the sporadic event notifications sent through Skills, serverless functions such as AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, or Microsoft Azure Functions are a natural fit. The serverless function will only run, and be billed, when the event is being processed. The serverless function will be set up with a publicly exposed URL, which will be used as the invocation URL.
External Application HostingExternal application hosting solutions, such as Heroku or Firebase, are other viable options if serverless technology is not preferred. These applications will be hosted on their respective services and have an publicly exposed URL for the app that will be used as the invocation URL.