API - Data Sourcing

 
How do you source data?
 
All the icons, widgets and charts behave very similar. 
 
  • You can simply punch data directly into the widgets and save it (This data is stored in a static file and is updated when you manually change the widget data)
  • You can use SQL to pull information from various databases
  • You can store your data in Google Spreadsheet and write SQL to pull information into the widgets
  • You can use the pre-built data adapters for various third party services like Facebook, Twitter etc
  • You can write your own data providers and host it on your servers and have InfoCaptor pull data through HTTP Get or HTTP Post
 
What format should you send data?
 
 
Prototype mode : Double click the object or use Right click and select "Edit Text"
 
To put it simply, the data format is exactly what you see when you punch data into any widget (we will refer to all icons, boxes and charts as widgets)
 
For example
 
Consider this bar chart
When you double click on the chart it presents a grid where you can modify the rows and cols and actual numbers. When you apply, it changes the data in bar chart.
 
 
 
When you right click and select "Edit Text" it shows the data in raw text.
 
This is exactly how the data is actually stored for each widget. Just plain text.  The grid data entry interface is just a convenient layer on top of this.
 
Same is true for all the icon,boxes,sticky notes, bar, pie, gantt, dials, speedometers etc widgets
 
So for the above bar chart, the data is split in two rows
 
  1. labels:j,f,m,a,x
  2. column1:100,45,45,26,21
 
If we directly edit the text and add a third row
 
3. column2:50,20,26,29,0
 
We get the double bar chart
 
 
See, it is so easy to actually prototype.
 
But how do you source real data from other custom/private/obscure webservices?
 
Let us take the simplest example.
 
Consider you defined a php script on your server that generates the above data dynamically every time you invoke in your browser.
 
So all you have to do is make sure the php script generates the data exactly the way you see in the prototype mode. It should generate three rows of data thats it.
 
With this mode of prototyping and real data sourcing you can eliminate lot of data sourcing issues as it is a perfect "what you see is how you should source" system.
 
You can configure your data sourcing URLs either as HTTP Get Output as Text  or HTTP Post and both are explained in detail in the Webservices section
 
And when you define it as HTTP URL, just make sure you select the data source as "Text".
 
 
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