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Prepare, Blend, and Analyze Gmail Data in Alteryx Designer

Build workflows to access live Gmail data for self-service data analytics.

The CData ODBC Driver for Gmail enables access to live data from Gmail under the ODBC standard, allowing you work with Gmail data in a wide variety of BI, reporting, and ETL tools and directly, using familiar SQL queries. This article shows how to connect to Gmail data using an ODBC connection in Alteryx Designer to perform self-service BI, data preparation, data blending, and advanced analytics.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Gmail data in Alteryx Designer due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Alteryx Designer to Gmail, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Gmail and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze Gmail data using native Alteryx data field types.

Connect to Gmail Data

  1. If you have not already done so, provide values for the required connection properties in the data source name (DSN). You can configure the DSN using the built-in Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator. This is also the last step of the driver installation. See the "Getting Started" chapter in the Help documentation for a guide to using the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure a DSN.

    There are two ways to authenticate to Gmail. Before selecting one, first ensure that you have enabled IMAP access in your Gmail account settings. See the "Connecting to Gmail" section under "Getting Started" in the installed documentation for a guide.

    The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, can be set to valid Gmail user credentials.

    Alternatively, instead of providing the Password, you can use the OAuth authentication standard. To access Google APIs on behalf on individual users, you can use the embedded credentials or you can register your own OAuth app.

    OAuth also enables you to use a service account to connect on behalf of users in a Google Apps domain. To authenticate with a service account, you will need to register an application to obtain the OAuth JWT values.

    In addition to the OAuth values, you will need to provide the User. See the "Getting Started" chapter in the help documentation for a guide to using OAuth.

    When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  2. Open Alteryx Designer and create a new workflow.
  3. Drag and drop a new input data tool onto the workflow.
  4. Click the new input data tool and under Connect a File or Database, select Database Connection -> New ODBC Connection.
  5. Select the DSN that you configured for use in Alteryx.
  6. In the wizard that opens, select the fields you wish to include in your query. Where possible, the complex queries generated by the filters and aggregations will be pushed down to Gmail, while any unsupported operations (which can include SQL functions and JOIN operations) will be managed client-side by the CData SQL engine embedded in the driver.
  7. If you wish to further customize your dataset, you can open the SQL Editor and modify the query manually, adding clauses, aggregations, and other operations to ensure that you are retrieving exactly the Gmail data you want.

With the query defined, you are ready to work with Gmail data in Alteryx Designer.

Perform Self-Service Analytics on Gmail Data

You are now ready to create a workflow to prepare, blend, and analyze Gmail data. The CData ODBC Driver performs dynamic metadata discovery, presenting data using Alteryx data field types and allowing you to leverage the Designer's tools to manipulate data as needed and build meaningful datasets. In the example below, you will cleanse and browse data.

  1. Add a data cleansing tool to the workflow and check the boxes in Replace Nulls to replace null text fields with blanks and replace null numeric fields with 0. You can also check the box in Remove Unwanted Characters to remove leading and trailing whitespace.
  2. Add a browse data tool to the workflow.
  3. Click to run the workflow (CTRL+R).
  4. Browse your cleansed Gmail data in the results view.

Thanks to built-in, high-performance data processing, you will be able to quickly cleanse, transform, and/or analyze your Gmail data with Alteryx.