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Analyze Dynamics CRM Data in R

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

Access Dynamics CRM 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 CRM and the RJDBC package to work with remote Dynamics CRM 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 CRM and visualize Dynamics CRM 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 CRM as a JDBC Data Source

You will need the following information to connect to Dynamics CRM as a JDBC data source:

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.dynamicscrm.DynamicsCRMDriver
  • 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 CRM:

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

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

The connection string options meet the authentication and connection requirements of different Dynamics CRM instances. To connect to your instance, set the User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, to valid Dynamics CRM user credentials and set the Url to a valid Dynamics CRM server organization root. Additionally, set the CRMVersion property to 'CRM2011+' or 'CRMOnline'. IFD configurations are supported as well; set InternetFacingDeployment to true.

Additionally, you can provide the security token service (STS) or AD FS endpoint in the STSURL property. This value can be retrieved with the GetSTSUrl stored procedure. Office 365 users can connect to the default STS URL by simply setting CRMVersion.

Built-in Connection String Designer

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

java -jar cdata.jdbc.dynamicscrm.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:dynamicscrm:User=myuseraccount;Password=mypassword;URL=https://myOrg.crm.dynamics.com/;CRM Version=CRM Online;")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Dynamics CRM 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 CRM API:

account <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT Contact.FirstName, SUM(Account.NumberOfEmployees) FROM Contact, Account GROUP BY Contact.FirstName")

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

View(account)

Plot Dynamics CRM Data

You can now analyze Dynamics CRM 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(account$NumberOfEmployees, main="Dynamics CRM Account", names.arg = account$FirstName, horiz=TRUE)