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Analyze FedEx Data in R

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

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

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

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.fedex.FedExDriver
  • 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 FedEx:

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

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

There are five pieces of information needed in order to authenticate its actions with the FedEx service. This information is below.

  • Server: This controls the URL where the requests should be sent. Common testing options for this are: "https://gatewaybeta.fedex.com:443/xml", "https://wsbeta.fedex.com:443/xml", "https://gatewaybeta.fedex.com:443/web-service", and "https://wsbeta.fedex.com:443/web-service"
  • DeveloperKey: This is the identifier part of the authentication key for the sender's identity. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • Password: This is the secret part of the authentication key for the sender's identity. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • AccountNumber: This valid 9-digit FedEx account number is used for logging into the FedEx server.
  • MeterNumber: This value is used for submitting requests to FedEx. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required if one intends to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

The Cache Database

Many of the useful tasks available from FedEx require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilizes a cache database to make these requests. You must set the cache connection properties:

  • CacheProvider: The specific database you are using to cache with. For example, org.sqlite.JDBC.
  • CacheConnection: The connection string to be passed to the cache provider. For example, jdbc:sqlite:C:\users\username\documents\fedexcache.db

Built-in Connection String Designer

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

java -jar cdata.jdbc.fedex.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:fedex:Server='https://gatewaybeta.fedex.com:443/xml';DeveloperKey='alsdkfjpqoewiru';Password='zxczxqqtyiuowkdlkn';AccountNumber='110371337';MeterNumber='240134349'; PrintLabelLocation='C:\users\username\documents\mylabels';CacheProvider='org.sqlite.JDBC';CacheConnection='jdbc:sqlite:C:\users\username\documents\fedexcache.db';")

Schema Discovery

The driver models FedEx 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 FedEx API:

senders <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT FirstName, Phone FROM Senders WHERE SenderID = ab26f704-5edf-4a9f-9e4c-25")

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

View(senders)

Plot FedEx Data

You can now analyze FedEx 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(senders$Phone, main="FedEx Senders", names.arg = senders$FirstName, horiz=TRUE)