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Creating Automated Reports with PayPal’s Payflow Pro

, 2 Dec 2010
A guide to creating automated reports with PayPal's Payflow Pro

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One of the most critical aspects of managing a business is obtaining a clear picture of the money that comes in and goes out. PayPal’s Payflow Pro (and its underlying Reporting API) enables you to get a clear picture of the payments received by and sent from your PayPal account.

The Reporting API lets you automate payment reports to and from your PayPal account by writing XML queries against PayPal’s reporting database. In this article, you will learn about PayPal’s Payflow Pro tool, including its benefits, its requirements, its pricing, and where you can find additional information on using the tool. You will also see a short code example that illustrates how to write queries against this database.

What Is Payflow Pro?

Payflow Pro provides a payment gateway solution that you can use with any PayPal Internet merchant account to process credit card transactions online. You also have the option to extend the tool with additional services for a nominal fee. These services include recurring billing and fraud protection, and the ability to set up standard and custom reports through an XML API.

  • PayPal’s Reporting API lets you develop Web and desktop apps that create, schedule, and run Payflow reports. Payflow Pro lets you run several different kinds of reports:
  • A Daily Activity Report
  • A Settlement Report
  • A Shipping and Billing Report
  • A Fraud Protection Report
  • A Recurring Billing Report

Acquiring and Setting up Payflow Pro

It’s easy to integrate and set up Payflow Pro. PayPal hosts all its developer-related tools at the PayPal X – Developer Network (see the sidebar, “PayPal’s Developer Site”).

Payflow Pro is available on all major web server platforms and in a variety of formats. For example, it is available as a .NET or Java library, or you can integrate its API into your own app.

To obtain and install Payflow Pro:

  1. Download the Payflow SDK appropriate for your platform.
  2. Extract the files to a local directory.
  3. Configure your firewall.
  4. Read the Readme.txt file. This file includes integration information and samples that show you how to use your version of the Payflow client application in your development environment.

(You can find a more detailed set of instructions in the Payflow Pro Reporting Developer’s Guide available at Payflow Pro).

Downloading the Documentation

The aforementioned developer’s guide includes a lot of great information. In addition to highly detailed setup and installation instructions, it also describes key aspects of using the Reporting API and walks you through numerous practical examples of coding against the Reporting API and using Payflow Pro in general.

You can also directly access many other guides and tools at Payflow Pro, including the following:

  • Payflow Pro SDKs
  • Payflow Pro Developers Guide
  • Express Checkout for Payflow Pro
  • Payflow Pro XMLPay Developer’s Guide
  • Reporting Developer’s Guide

Once you acquaint yourself with the relevant documentation, you can begin testing your implementation of the Reporting APIs using the PayPal Sandbox (see the sidebar, Testing Your PayPal Apps).

Buying Payflow Pro

  • Payflow Pro is only available for developers in the US and Canada. PayPal charges the following for the tool:
  • A one-time set-up fee of USD$249.00
  • Up to 1000 transactions per month for only USD$59.95
  • Additional transactions are only USD$0.10 each

For more information, see Payflow Pro Gateway Pricing or the Payflow Payment Gateway.

Writing Code Against the Reporting API

It’s easy to use leverage PayPal’s Reporting API from Payflow Pro. You can find a lot of practical coding examples in the aforementioned Payflow Pro Reporting Developer’s Guide. For example, this code shows you how to run a Daily Activity Report with a page size of 50 lines for a given date:

<?</span />xml</span /> version</span />="</span />1.0"</span /> encoding</span />="</span />UTF-8"</span />?</span />></span />
<</span />reportingEngineRequest</span />></span />
<</span />authRequest</span />></span />
<</span />user</span />></span />User<</span />/</span />user</span />></span />
<</span />vendor</span />></span />Vendor<</span />/</span />vendor</span />></span />
<</span />partner</span />></span />Partner<</span />/</span />partner</span />></span />
<</span />password</span />></span />Password<</span />/</span />password</span />></span />
<</span />/</span />authRequest</span />></span />
<</span />runReportRequest</span />></span />
<</span />reportName</span />></span />DailyActivityReport<</span />/</span />reportName</span />></span />
<</span />reportParam</span />></span />
<</span />paramName</span />></span />report_date<</span />/</span />paramName</span />></span />
<</span />paramValue</span />></span />2007-09-07<</span />/</span />paramValue</span />></span />
<</span />/</span />reportParam</span />></span />
<</span />pageSize</span />></span />50<</span />/</span />pageSize</span />></span />
<</span />/</span />runReportRequest</span />></span />
<</span />/</span />reportingEngineRequest</span />></span />

Other tasks you can accomplish using the Reporting API include:

  • Managing report templates
  • Running reports on demand, by report name, or template name
  • Obtaining report information
  • Managing report template schedules
  • Performing searches

Again, see The PayPal Reporting Developer’s Guide for these and other practical and easy-to-use examples.

Getting Help

If you need more information on anything from account authentication to basic website payments to code samples to testing, visit the PayPal X Developer Network Discussion Forums.

Sidebar: PayPal’s Developer Site

The PayPal Developer’s site has tons of great information on developing apps for PayPal, including discussion forums, frequently updated blogs, tutorials, documentation, and code samples. It also provides developer tools geared specifically toward developers who use PayPal.

Sidebar: Testing Your PayPal Apps

The PayPal Sandbox site works exactly like PayPal’s live site—but no real money changes hands. For details, see the PayPal Sandbox.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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