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Integrate Live USPS Data into Custom Business Apps Built in PowerApps

Use the CData Cloud Hub to create a virtual SQL Server Database for USPS data and integrate live USPS data into apps built in Microsoft PowerApps.

PowerApps is a service for building and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile — without the time and expense of custom software development. When paired with the CData Cloud Hub, you get instant, cloud-to-cloud access to USPS data from the apps you build using PowerApps. This article shows how to connect the Cloud Hub from PowerApps and build an app based on live USPS data.

The CData Cloud Hub provides a pure SQL, cloud-to-cloud interface for USPS, allowing you to easily integrate with live USPS data in PowerApps — without replicating the data. The CData Cloud Hub looks exactly like a SQL Server database to PowerApps and uses optimized data processing out of the box to push all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to USPS, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return USPS data.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for USPS Data

CData Cloud Hub uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Cloud Hub and click Databases.
  2. Select "USPS" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to USPS.

    To authenticate with USPS, set the following connection properties.

    • PostageProvider: The postage provider to use to process requests. Available options are ENDICIA and STAMPS. If unspecified, this property will default to ENDICIA.
    • UseSandbox: This controls whether live or test requests are sent to the production or sandbox servers. If set to true, the Password, AccountNumber, and StampsUserId properties are ignored.
    • StampsUserId: This value is used for logging into authentication to the Stamps servers. This value is not applicable for Endicia and is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • Password: This value is used for logging into Endicia and Stamps servers. If the postage provider is Endicia, this will be the pass phrase associated with your postage account. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • AccountNumber: The shipper's account number. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
    • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required 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 task available from USPS require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilize a cache database to make requests. Set the cache connection properties in order to use the cache:

    • CacheLocation: The path to the cache location, for which a connection will be configured with the default cache provider. For example, C:\users\username\documents\uspscache

    As an alternative to CacheLocation, set the combination of CacheConnection and CacheProvider to configure a cache connection using a provider separate from the default.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to the CData Cloud Hub

To use the Cloud Hub to integrate USPS data into your PowerApps, you need a new SQL Server connection:

  1. Log in to PowerApps
  2. Click Data -> Connections -> New connection
  3. Select SQL Server
  4. In the connection wizard:

    • Choose to connect directly
    • Set SQL server name to the address of your Cloud Hub instance (myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Set SQL database name to the name of the virtual USPS database you created earlier (like uspsdb)
    • Set the Username and Password and click Create

Building a Data-Centric App for USPS Data

With the connection to the Cloud Hub configured, you are ready to integrate live USPS data into the apps you build in PowerApps.

  1. Log in to PowerApps
  2. Click Create, hover over "Start from data" and click Make this app
  3. Select the SQL Server connection you created
  4. Search for or choose a table to work with
  5. Click Connect
  6. Customize the newly created app just like you would any other, including changing the layout and setting the fields exposed in BrowseScreen, DetailScreen, and EditScreen

At this point, you have an app with read and write access to live USPS data that you can save and publish for use within your organization.

SQL Access to USPS Data from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live USPS data from Microsoft PowerApps. You can create more connections and apps to drive business — all without replicating USPS data.

To get SQL data access to 100+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Cloud Hub.