Create Interactive Metabase Dashboards that Work with USPS Data

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CData Connect



Use CData Connect to create a virtual MySQL database for USPS data and create an interactive dashboard in Metabase from USPS data.

Metabase is an open source data visualization tool that allows users to create interactive dashboards. When paired with CData Connect Cloud, users can easily create visualizations and dashboards linked to live USPS data. This article describes how to create a virtual database for USPS and build a simple visualization using USPS data.

CData Connect provides a pure SQL interface for USPS, allowing you to easily integrate with live USPS data in Metabase — without replicating the data. Connect looks exactly like a MySQL database to Metabase 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 MySQL Database for USPS Data

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

  1. Log into Connect Cloud 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.

Connect to CData Connect from Metabase

After creating the virtual database, navigate to your Metabase instance. Use the MySQL interface to connect to CData Connect.

  1. Navigate to the administration screen (Settings -> Admin) and click "Add Database" from the "Databases" tab
  2. Configure the connection to CData Connect and click "Save"
    • Database type: Select "MySQL"
    • Name: Name the connection (e.g. "USPS (CData Connect)")
    • Host: The URL of your Connect instance (e.g. https://myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Port: The port of the MySQL endpoint for your Connect instance (e.g. 3306)
    • Database name: The name of the virtual database you just created (e.g. USPS1)
    • Username: A CData Connect username
    • Password: The password for the above CData Connect user
    • Click to Use a secure connection (SSL)

Query USPS Data with Metabase

Once you configure the connection to CData Connect, you can query USPS and build visualizations.

  1. Use the "Write SQL" tool to retrieve the USPS data
  2. Write a SQL query based on the virtual database, e.g.

    SELECT FirstName, Phone FROM Senders WHERE SenderID = '25'
  3. Navigate to the "Visualization" screen, choose a visualization, and configure the visualization

More Information & Free Trial

At this point, you have built a simple visualization from USPS data in Metabase. You can continue to work with live USPS data in Metabase just like you would any MySQL database. For more information on creating a virtual MySQL database for USPS (and more than 200 other data sources), visit the Connect Cloud page. Sign up for a free trial and start working with live USPS data in Metabase today.