What is a Yellowfin Connector, and How do I Use One?

Third-Party Connectors in Yellowfin

Basic Overview:

As of Version 7.2, Yellowfin supports an open connector framework. This new feature enables users to connect to third-party web applications almost as if they were local Data Sources. Versions of Yellowfin 7.2 and higher come with the capability to install a range of third party API Connectors. This allows users to connect directly to third-party web applications including Xero, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Analytics, among many others. Once connected, users can manipulate web-based data as if it was present in an on-premise database.

Some Connectors are available through the Yellowfin Marketplace, while others can be developed by third parties.  Additionally, Connectors can come packaged as standalone units, or they can come pre-built with sample content. This sample content may include Views, Reports, and Dashboards. Connectors are constructed either as a .jar or .yfp package. These contain all of the necessary files needed to create and use the connector. 

Next Steps:

To get started with Connectors, we recommend that you consult the following articles. They will better equip you to set up specific connectors on your system.

Connector FAQ:

What is a “Connector”?

A connector is not the same thing as a database connection. A Yellowfin Connector interacts with an Application Programming Interface (API) instead of reporting through the use of SQL database queries (as our normal data sources do).

It basically talks to websites and programmatically asks that website for information. THIS is what makes Connectors so cool, they're not actually connecting to a database!

When your clients ask to connect to their database, they do not need a connector, they need a data source connection via a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) driver. A JDBC driver lets Yellowfin write SQL queries and talk directly to a database.

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

https://youtu.be/s7wmiS2mSXY?t=62 (3 minute video)

What is SQL (how we normally talk to data sources)?

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standard language for accessing and manipulating databases. It can be thought of conceptually as something of a programming language for databases.

What are some key points around Yellowfin Connectors?

  • Yellowfin published connectors come with “pre-built” content. That is, they have generic reports written that allow you to immediately visualize your data without you needing to do a bunch of legwork. 
  • Connectors let you blend your online data with your databases. EG: Link up Salesforce data to your internal accounting database.
  • They enable previously uncontactable sources of information to be tapped and taken advantage of

What Yellowfin Connectors are currently available?

Simply go to the Yellowfin website, then to “Marketplace” > “Connectors” for an up-to-date list. Or consult the Community Index of Available Connectors page. At the time this writing, the following connectors are available:

  • Expensify
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Ads
  • GitLab (Beta)
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Sheets
  • Instagram (Beta)
  • JSON Objects
  • MailChimp
  • RingCentral
  • Quickbooks (Beta)
  • Ring Central
  • SAML Bridge
  • Salesforce
  • SugarCRM
  • SurveyGizmo
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Twitter
  • World Weather Online
  • XE (Exchange rates)
  • Xero
  • Youtube Analytics
  • Zendesk

(Notice how these are all websites, that’s what Connectors do. Talk to websites.)

Things to remember about Yellowfin Connectors:

  • Connectors take weeks to months of development and consulting time to create. Keep this in mind when suggesting to clients we can create them a connector
  • A framework exists within Yellowfin that a client’s own development team can create their own connectors to APIs. Technical documents for this are available on request. (This is no small task)
  • It’s strongly recommended and in fact REQUIRED for some connectors that clients be on the September 2016 release or newer.
  • When your client says “I want to connect to my database” they don’t need a connector. They need a data source connection via a JDBC driver. Some examples of databases are: SQL, MySQL, “Sequel”, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Hive, Postgres. (These do not need connectors)

What Yellowfin “Connectors” are coming through over the next 12 months:

  • Zoho CRM
  • DynamicCRM
  • Zoho Support
  • Salesforce Support Desk
  • ServiceNow
  • FreshDesk
  • Jira
  • Pipedrive
  • Outlook Calendar
  • UseResponse

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