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Replicate USPS Data for Use in Salesforce Connect

Replicate USPS 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 USPS data to a PostgreSQL database in Heroku, you gain access to USPS 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 USPS 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 USPS 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 USPS Connection

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

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

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

Configure Queries for Each USPS 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 [Senders]

to something customized and more complex, like this:

REPLICATE [Senders] SELECT [FirstName], [Phone] FROM [Senders] WHERE [SenderID] = 25

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 USPS data for use as external objects in Salesforce.

Connect to Your Replicated USPS Data as an External Data Source

Once your USPS 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 USPS 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 USPS 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 USPS Objects

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

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

Access USPS Data as Salesforce Objects

At this point, you will be able to connect to and work with your replicated USPS 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 USPS data alongside standard Salesforce objects.

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