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Sandbox Access Guide

a guide to accessing and using "developer sandbox" accounts on third party platforms

Published onJun 30, 2023
Sandbox Access Guide

When developing a Parsons connector, it’s helpful to be able to test your changes against a non-production account. We have set up test accounts with some vendors which you can use for testing by following the steps below. We also maintain a list of vendors with free accounts below that you can use as sandboxes.

Accessing and Using Credentials

Step 1: Request Access

Request access to the test account (usually in the form of an API key) by emailing [email protected] or messaging Shauna. Please provide your GitHub username and some context for your request. Why do you need the account credentials? What are you testing? If a community member recommended you request an account from us, you can include their name here. See Connector-Specific Guidance for additional information we may need to give you access to a specific sandbox.

An example request might look something like “Hi, I’m Ana (abc123 on github), I want to work on the ActionNetwork connector but I don’t know how to test it. At the contributor meeting Betty linked me here and said I should ask you.”

Step 2: Save and Use the Credentials

When using your credentials, please store them as environmental variables rather than including them directly in your code. If you use them in your code and accidentally include them as part of a pull request, we will need to generate new credentials. Let’s try to avoid that hassle!

You can set environmental variables with the following commands:


Some environmental variables may need to be explicitly loaded into scripts for use, but most will not. This is because each Parsons connector automatically looks in the environment for specific variables and uses them when initializing the connector. For example, the Zoom connector looks for ZOOM_API_KEY and ZOOM_API_SECRET. Check the documentation for the precise names of the environmental variables it looks for.

In rare cases you may need to load the environmental variables yourself within the script. You can do so with the following code:

import os

General Best Practices

Since the sandbox accounts are shared with multiple people, we ask contributors to observe some guidelines:

  • Use clear naming conventions when creating test data. Either prefix or suffix data with your initials or use another identifier.

  • Only add mock data to the test account, never real data (especially if there are fields for contact information).

  • Try to limit the amount of data you push in/pull out of the account to only the amount that you need.

  • Leave test data that looks like it was created by someone else in the same state that you found it.

  • Delete test data when you finish testing.

  • Be mindful when sending requests to third party platforms. We don’t want to burden them or to have our account suspended and rate-limited. If you accidentally over-requested from the third-party platform and have been suspended or rate-limited in a way that does not expire after a day or less, please reach out to us so we can try to get access again.

Connector-Specific Guidance

API Keys Available

The following connectors have sandbox API keys available. Some connectors have specific best practices or additional information to send along when you request the key from us.

ActionKit: No additional information needed, but please be mindful that this sandbox is shared across many organizations, not just Parsons-affiliated organizations. Be extra careful not to modify existing data.

ActionNetwork: In order to access the ActionNetwork sandbox account, we’ll need the email address associated with your ActionNetwork account. Please make an ActionNetwork account if you don’t have one already, and include the associated email in your access request to us.

ControlShift: Please limit your testing to pushing and pulling data in and out and do not use the account for sending mass texts. (The sandbox account has an associated phone number, but it is unnecessary for Parsons testing.)

Hustle: No connector-specific guidance.

Mobilize: No connector-specific guidance.

Strive: No connector-specific guidance.

Create Your Own Sandbox

The following connectors are confirmed to have free accounts which can be used to make sandboxes.

Airtable: You can create free accounts on the Airtable website.

Braintree: You can create free sandbox accounts on the Braintree website.

Github: You can create free accounts on the Github website.

Salesforce: You can create free developer accounts directly on the Salesforce website, which you can use to create a sandbox.

Twilio: You can create a free account on the Twilio website which gets you access to their test credentials.

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