Ready to get started?

Learn more about the CData JDBC Driver for USPS or download a free trial:

Download Now

Analyze USPS Data in R

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

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

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

  • Driver Class: Set this to cdata.jdbc.usps.USPSDriver
  • 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 USPS:

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

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

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.

Built-in Connection String Designer

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

java -jar cdata.jdbc.usps.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:usps:PostageProvider=ENDICIA; RequestId=12345; Password='abcdefghijklmnopqr'; AccountNumber='12A3B4C'")

Schema Discovery

The driver models USPS 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 USPS API:

senders <- dbGetQuery(conn,"SELECT FirstName, Phone FROM Senders WHERE SenderID = '25'")

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

View(senders)

Plot USPS Data

You can now analyze USPS 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(senders$Phone, main="USPS Senders", names.arg = senders$FirstName, horiz=TRUE)