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Analyze Dynamics 365 Business Central Data in R

Use standard R functions and the development environment of your choice to analyze Dynamics 365 Business Central data with the CData JDBC Driver for Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Access Dynamics 365 Business Central data with pure R script and standard SQL on any machine where R and Java can be installed. You can use the CData JDBC Driver for Dynamics 365 Business Central and the RJDBC package to work with remote Dynamics 365 Business Central data in R. By using the CData Driver, you are leveraging a driver written for industry-proven standards to access your data in the popular, open-source R language. This article shows how to use the driver to execute SQL queries to Dynamics 365 Business Central and visualize Dynamics 365 Business Central data by calling standard R functions.

Install R

You can match the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running open R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open 3.2.3, which is preconfigured to install packages from the Jan. 1, 2016 snapshot of the CRAN repository. This snapshot ensures reproducibility.

Load the RJDBC Package

To use the driver, download the RJDBC package. After installing the RJDBC package, the following line loads the package:

library(RJDBC)

Connect to Dynamics 365 Business Central as a JDBC Data Source

You will need the following information to connect to Dynamics 365 Business Central as a JDBC data source:

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.d365businesscentral.D365BusinessCentralDriver
  • Classpath: Set this to the location of the driver JAR. By default this is the lib subfolder of the installation folder.

The DBI functions, such as dbConnect and dbSendQuery, provide a unified interface for writing data access code in R. Use the following line to initialize a DBI driver that can make JDBC requests to the CData JDBC Driver for Dynamics 365 Business Central:

driver <- JDBC(driverClass = "cdata.jdbc.d365businesscentral.D365BusinessCentralDriver", classPath = "MyInstallationDir\lib\cdata.jdbc.d365businesscentral.jar", identifier.quote = "'")

You can now use DBI functions to connect to Dynamics 365 Business Central and execute SQL queries. Initialize the JDBC connection with the dbConnect function.

To authenticate to Dynamics 365 Business Central, you must provide the User and AccessKey properties.

To obtain the User and AccessKey values, navigate to the Users page in Dynamics 365 Business Central and then click on Edit. The User Name and Web Service Access Key values are what you will enter as the User and AccessKey connection string properties. Note that the User Name is not your email address. It is a shortened user name.

To connect to data, specify OrganizationUrl. If you have multiple companies in your organization, you must also specify the Company to indicate which company you would like to connect to. Company does not need to be specified if you have only one company.

Built-in Connection String Designer

For assistance in constructing the JDBC URL, use the connection string designer built into the Dynamics 365 Business Central JDBC Driver. Either double-click the JAR file or execute the jar file from the command-line.

java -jar cdata.jdbc.d365businesscentral.jar

Fill in the connection properties and copy the connection string to the clipboard.

Below is a sample dbConnect call, including a typical JDBC connection string:

conn <- dbConnect(driver,"jdbc:d365businesscentral:OrganizationUrl=https://myaccount.financials.dynamics.com/;")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Dynamics 365 Business Central APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:

dbListTables(conn)

Execute SQL Queries

You can use the dbGetQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the Dynamics 365 Business Central API:

accounts <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT accountid, Name FROM Accounts")

You can view the results in a data viewer window with the following command:

View(accounts)

Plot Dynamics 365 Business Central Data

You can now analyze Dynamics 365 Business Central data with any of the data visualization packages available in the CRAN repository. You can create simple bar plots with the built-in bar plot function:

par(las=2,ps=10,mar=c(5,15,4,2)) barplot(accounts$Name, main="Dynamics 365 Business Central Accounts", names.arg = accounts$accountid, horiz=TRUE)