Analyze Zendesk Data in R

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Zendesk ODBC Driver

The Zendesk ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live Zendesk project management data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Zendesk like you would a database - read, write, and update Tickets, Groups, Users, Schedules, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Create data visualizations and use high-performance statistical functions to analyze Zendesk data in Microsoft R Open.

Access Zendesk data with pure R script and standard SQL. You can use the CData ODBC Driver for Zendesk and the RODBC package to work with remote Zendesk 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 Zendesk data and visualize Zendesk data in R.

Install R

You can complement the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open (MRO).

Connect to Zendesk as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to Zendesk follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments.

Connecting to Zendesk

To connect, set the URL and provide authentication. The URL is your Zendesk Support URL: https://{subdomain}.zendesk.com.

Authenticating to Zendesk

You can authenticate using the Basic or OAuth methods.

Using Basic Authentication

To use Basic authentication, specify your email address and password or your email address and an API token. Set User to your email address and follow the steps below to provide the Password or ApiToken.

  • Enable password access in the Zendesk Support admin interface at Admin > Channels > API.
  • Manage API tokens in the Zendesk Support Admin interface at Admin > Channels > API. More than one token can be active at the same time. Deleting a token deactivates it permanently.

Using OAuth Authentication

See the Getting Started guide in the CData driver documentation for an authentication guide.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for Zendesk in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData Zendesk Source] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for Zendesk Description = My Description URL = https://subdomain.zendesk.com User = my@email.com Password = test123

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Load the RODBC Package

To use the driver, download the RODBC package. In RStudio, click Tools -> Install Packages and enter RODBC in the Packages box.

After installing the RODBC package, the following line loads the package:

library(RODBC)

Note: This article uses RODBC version 1.3-12. Using Microsoft R Open, you can test with the same version, using the checkpoint capabilities of Microsoft's MRAN repository. The checkpoint command enables you to install packages from a snapshot of the CRAN repository, hosted on the MRAN repository. The snapshot taken Jan. 1, 2016 contains version 1.3-12.

library(checkpoint) checkpoint("2016-01-01")

Connect to Zendesk Data as an ODBC Data Source

You can connect to a DSN in R with the following line:

conn <- odbcConnect("CData Zendesk Source")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Zendesk APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:

sqlTables(conn)

Execute SQL Queries

Use the sqlQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the Zendesk API.

tickets <- sqlQuery(conn, "SELECT Id, Subject FROM Tickets", believeNRows=FALSE, rows_at_time=1)

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

View(tickets)

Plot Zendesk Data

You can now analyze Zendesk 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(tickets$Subject, main="Zendesk Tickets", names.arg = tickets$Id, horiz=TRUE)