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Connect to Live BigCommerce Data in MicroStrategy through CData Connect Cloud

Create a virtual database for BigCommerce in CData Connect Cloud and connect to it from MicroStrategy.

MicroStrategy is an analytics and mobility platform that enables data-driven innovation. When you pair MicroStrategy with CData Connect Cloud, you gain database-like access to live BigCommerce data from MicroStrategy, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. In this article, we walk through creating a virtual database for BigCommerce in Connect Cloud and connecting to Connect Cloud in MicroStrategy to create a simple visualization of BigCommerce data.

As a cloud-based integration platform, Connect Cloud is ideal for working with cloud-based BI and analytics tools. With no servers to configure or data proxies to set up, you can simply use the web-based UI to create a virtual database for BigCommerce and connect from MicroStrategy to start performing analytics based on live BigCommerce data.

Configuring Connect Cloud

To work with live BigCommerce data in MicroStrategy, we need to create a virtual database for BigCommerce in Connect Cloud.

Create a Virtual MySQL Database for BigCommerce in Connect Cloud

CData Connect Cloud uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and create virtual databases.

  1. Open Connect Cloud and click Databases
  2. Select "BigCommerce" from Available Data Sources
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to BigCommerce

    BigCommerce authentication is based on the standard OAuth flow. To authenticate, you must initially create an app via the Big Commerce developer platform where you can obtain an OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL. These three parameters will be set as connection properties to your driver.

    Additionally, in order to connect to your BigCommerce Store, you will need your StoreId. To find your Store Id please follow these steps:

    1. Log in to your BigCommerce account.
    2. From the Home Page, select Advanced Settings > API Accounts.
    3. Click Create API Account.
    4. A text box named API Path will appear on your screen.
    5. Inside you can see a URL of the following structure: https://api.bigcommerce.com/stores/{Store Id}/v3.
    6. As demonstrated above, your Store Id will be between the 'stores/' and '/v3' path paramters.
    7. Once you have retrieved your Store Id you can either click Cancel or proceed in creating an API Account in case you do not have one already.
  4. Click Test Database
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions

Connect to and Visualize BigCommerce Data Using MicroStrategy

You can connect to BigCommerce in MicroStrategy by adding a data source based on the native MySQL functionality. Once you have created a data source, you can build dynamic visualizations of BigCommerce data in MicroStrategy.

  1. Open MicroStrategy and select your project.
  2. Click Add External Data, select Databases, and use Select Tables as the Import Option.
  3. In the Import from Tables wizard, click to add a new Data Source.
  4. Select MySQL in the Database menu and select MySQL 5.x in the Version menu.
  5. Set the connection properties as follows:
    • Server Name: the URL for your Connect Cloud instance (i.e.: myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Port Number: the port for your Connect Cloud MySQL service (3306 by default)
    • Database Name: the name of your virtual BigCommerce database (i.e.: BigCommerce1)
    • User: a Connect Cloud user with permissions to access your BigCommerce database
    • Password: the password for your Connect Cloud user
    • Data Source Name: a name for the new external data source, like "Connect Cloud BigCommerce"
  6. Expand the menu for the new data source and choose "Edit Catalog Options"
  7. Edit the "SQL statement retreive columns ..." query to include TABLE_SCHEMA = '#?Schema_Name?#' in the WHERE clause, and click Apply and then OK (the complete query is below).

    SELECT DISTINCT 
      TABLE_SCHEMA NAME_SPACE, 
      TABLE_NAME TAB_NAME, 
      COLUMN_NAME COL_NAME, 
      (CASE 
        WHEN 
          (DATA_TYPE LIKE '%char' AND (CHARACTER_SET_NAME='utf8' OR CHARACTER_SET_NAME='ucs2')) 
        THEN 
          CONCAT('n',DATA_TYPE) 
        ELSE 
          DATA_TYPE 
      END) DATA_TYPE, 
      CHARACTER_MAXIMUM_LENGTH DATA_LEN, 
      NUMERIC_PRECISION DATA_PREC, 
      NUMERIC_SCALE DATA_SCALE 
    FROM 
      INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS 
    WHERE 
      TABLE_NAME 
    IN 
      (#TABLE_LIST#) AND TABLE_SCHEMA='#?Schema_Name?#' 
    ORDER BY 
      1,2,3
    
  8. Select the new data source and select the Namespace that corresponds to your virtual BigCommerce database (like BigCommerce1).
  9. Drag tables into the pane to import them. Note: Since we create a live connection, we can import whole tables and utilize the filtering and aggregation features native to the MicroStrategy products to customize our datasets.
  10. Click Finish, choose the option to connect live, save the query, and choose the option to create a new dossier. Live connections are possible and effective, thanks to high-performance data processing native to CData Connect Cloud.
  11. Choose a visualization, choose fields to display, and apply any filters to create a new visualization of BigCommerce data. Data types are discovered automatically through dynamic metadata discovery. Where possible, the complex queries generated by the filters and aggregations will be pushed down to BigCommerce, while any unsupported operations (which can include SQL functions and JOIN operations) will be managed by the CData SQL engine embedded in Connect Cloud.
  12. Once you have finished configuring the dossier, click File -> Save.

Using CData Connect Cloud with MicroStrategy, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on BigCommerce data. For more information on creating virtual databases for BigCommerce (and more than 200 other data sources), visit the Connect Cloud page. Sign up for a free trial and start working with live BigCommerce data in MicroStrategy.