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Replicate REST Data for Use in Salesforce Connect

Replicate REST data to a PostgreSQL database on Heroku and connect it to Salesforce using Salesforce Connect.

CData Sync is a stand-alone application that provides solutions for a variety of replication scenarios, such as replicating sandbox and production instances into your database. By replicating REST data to a PostgreSQL database in Heroku, you gain access to REST external objects (using Salesforce Connect) alongside standard Salesforce objects.

Requirements

For this replication example, you need the following:

  1. CData Sync (trial or licensed), along with a license (full or trial) for REST replication.
  2. A Heroku app with the Heroku Postgress and Heroku Connect add-ons provisioned.
  3. A Salesforce account.

Configure the Replication Destination

Using CData Sync, you can easily replicate REST data to a PostgreSQL database on Heroku. For this article, you need an existing PostgreSQL database on Heroku. To add your PostgreSQL database as a replication destination, navigate to the Connections tab.

  1. Click Add Connection.
  2. Select PostgreSQL as the destination and enter the necessary connection properties.

    To connect to PostgreSQL, set the Host, Port (the default port is 5432) and Database connection properties, then set the user and password you wish to use to authenticate to the server. If the Database property is not specified, the data provider connects to the user's default database.

  3. Click Test Connection to ensure the connection is configured properly.
  4. Click Save Changes.

Configure the REST Connection

You can configure a connection to REST from the Connections tab. To add a connection your REST data, navigate to the Connections tab.

  1. Click Add Connection.
  2. Select a source (REST).
  3. Configure the connection properties.

    See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation to authenticate to your data source: The data provider models REST APIs as bidirectional database tables and XML/JSON files as read-only views (local files, files stored on popular cloud services, and FTP servers). The major authentication schemes are supported, including HTTP Basic, Digest, NTLM, OAuth, and FTP. See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation for authentication guides.

    After setting the URI and providing any authentication values, set Format to "XML" or "JSON" and set DataModel to more closely match the data representation to the structure of your data.

    The DataModel property is the controlling property over how your data is represented into tables and toggles the following basic configurations.

    • Document (default): Model a top-level, document view of your REST data. The data provider returns nested elements as aggregates of data.
    • FlattenedDocuments: Implicitly join nested documents and their parents into a single table.
    • Relational: Return individual, related tables from hierarchical data. The tables contain a primary key and a foreign key that links to the parent document.

    See the Modeling REST Data chapter for more information on configuring the relational representation. You will also find the sample data used in the following examples. The data includes entries for people, the cars they own, and various maintenance services performed on those cars.

  4. Click Connect to ensure that the connection is configured properly.
  5. Click Save Changes.

Configure Queries for Each REST Instance

CData Sync enables you to control replication with a point-and-click interface. To configure a replication, navigate to the Jobs tab and click Add Job. Select the Source and Destination for your replication.

Replicate Entire Tables

To replicate an entire table, click Add Tables in the Tables section, choose the table(s) you wish to replicate, and click Add Selected Tables.

Customize Your Replication

You can use the Transform feature to customize your replication, whether you want to only replicate specific fields, compute new fields based on existing fields, and/or filter the results based on specific conditions:

  • Add or remove fields using the check boxes
  • Add computed fields to the bottom of the column listing
  • Add filters using the Filter section

As you make changes using the interface, the SQL query used for the replication changes, going from something simple, like this:

REPLICATE [people]

to something customized and more complex, like this:

REPLICATE [people] SELECT [[ personal.name.first ]], [[ personal.name.last ]] FROM [people] WHERE [[ personal.name.last ]] = Roberts

Schedule Your Replication

In the Schedule section, you can schedule a job to run automatically, configuring the job to run after specified intervals, ranging from once every 10 minutes to once every month.

Once you configure the replication job, click Save Changes. You can configure any number of jobs to replicate REST data for use as external objects in Salesforce.

Connect to Your Replicated REST Data as an External Data Source

Once your REST data is replicated to the PostgreSQL database on Heroku, configure the OData interface for Heroku and connect to the database as an external data source via Salesforce Connect.

Configure the OData Service for Heroku

The first part of connecting to REST data replicated to a PostgreSQL database on Heroku is configuring the Heroku External Objects for the database.

  1. In your Heroku dashboard, click the Heroku Connect Add-On.
  2. Select External Objects. (If this is the first time using Heroku External Object, you will be prompted to create the OData service's login credentials)
  3. View the OData service URL and credentials (noting the URL and credentials to be used later from Salesforce Connect).
  4. In Data Sources, select which replicated tables to share.

Refer to the Heroku documentation for more detailed instructions.

Configure an External Data Source in Salesforce

After the OData service for Heroku is configured, we can connect to the replicated REST data as an external data source from Salesforce Connect.

  1. In Salesforce, click Setup
  2. In the Administration section, click Data -> External Data Sources
  3. Set the data source parameter properties:
    • External Data Source: the name you wish to display in the Salesforce user interface
    • Name: a unique identifier for the API
    • Type: Salesforce Connect: OData 4.0
    • URL: Enter the OData endpoint from Heroku Connect (above)
    • Format: JSON
  4. Set Authentication:
    • Identity Type: Named Principal
    • Authentication Protocol: Password Authentication
    • Username: the Heroku Connect username
    • Password: the Heroku Connect password
  5. Click Save.

Synchronize REST Objects

After you have created the external data source in Salesforce, follow the steps below to create REST external objects that reflect any changes in the data source. You will synchronize the definitions for the REST external objects with the definitions for REST tables.

  1. Click the link for the external data source you created.
  2. Click Validate and Sync.
  3. Select the REST tables you want to work with as external objects and click Sync.

Access REST Data as Salesforce Objects

At this point, you will be able to connect to and work with your replicated REST entities as external objects just as you would with standard Salesforce objects, whether you are simply viewing the data or building related lists of external REST data alongside standard Salesforce objects.

Download a 30-day free trial of CData Sync and replicate your REST data for use with Salesforce Connect today!