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Analyze Microsoft CDS Data in R

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

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

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

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.cds.CDSDriver
  • 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 Microsoft CDS:

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

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

You can connect without setting any connection properties for your user credentials. Below are the minimum connection properties required to connect.

  • InitiateOAuth: Set this to GETANDREFRESH. You can use InitiateOAuth to avoid repeating the OAuth exchange and manually setting the OAuthAccessToken.
  • OrganizationUrl: Set this to the organization URL you are connecting to, such as https://myorganization.crm.dynamics.com.
  • Tenant (optional): Set this if you wish to authenticate to a different tenant than your default. This is required to work with an organization not on your default Tenant.

When you connect the Common Data Service OAuth endpoint opens in your default browser. Log in and grant permissions. The OAuth process completes automatically.

Built-in Connection String Designer

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

java -jar cdata.jdbc.cds.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:cds:OrganizationUrl=https://myaccount.crm.dynamics.com/InitiateOAuth=GETANDREFRESH")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Microsoft CDS 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 Microsoft CDS API:

accounts <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT AccountId, Name FROM Accounts WHERE Name = 'MyAccount'")

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

View(accounts)

Plot Microsoft CDS Data

You can now analyze Microsoft CDS 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$Name, main="Microsoft CDS Accounts", names.arg = accounts$AccountId, horiz=TRUE)