Data Connectors Overview| Hitchhikers Platform
What You’ll Learn
In this section, you will learn:
- How the Data Connectors Framework works
- Use Cases for Leveraging Data Connectors
As we covered in Ways to Update Data in Yext,the Data Connectors framework allows users to easily manage incoming data from a variety of sources.
A Connector is anything that takes data from a source and transforms it into entities in the Knowledge Graph. A source can be things like the Yext Site Crawler, an App like Google Merchant Center or Zendesk, or an API. Data Connectors are a programmatic way to take data from a source and transforming it into entities in the Knowledge Graph. Data pulled in from these sources can be used to create new entities, as well as update existing entities in the Knowledge Graph.
Data Connectors Framework Overview
The Connectors Framework follows the concept model of an “ETL” - Extract, Transform, Load.
- You will be able to “Extract” data from a list of data sources.
- Then, you will be able to “Transform” the data set to get it into the desired format — in this instance, the Yext entity format.
- Finally, you will “Load” the data into its destination — your Yext account.
Below we will go into more detail about each step of the Data Connector process.
In the ‘Extract’ phase you will choose the source that you want to pull data from, and specify which pieces of data you want to pull in from that source.
The first option is choosing the source that you want to pull data from. This can be a Crawler, API, Native Source, etc.
Then, you will perform any necessary steps to put the data into a generic table format. This process will vary depending on your sources — this can include selecting the query parameters you want to extract from an API response, or using a CSS selector to extract a specific element from a crawled page.
At this point your data will appear in a table format in the Yext platform. But before you load it in, we allow you to perform a series of transforms to ensure the data you’re pulling into the Knowledge Graph fits into the correct format and meets your formatting requirements and specifications.
This can include things like:
- Fix Capitalization
- Format Dates
- Find and Replace
- Remove Unwanted Characters
- And more
After specifying a transform, you will be able to see the result of the transform on the preview data. You can add as many transforms as you want or need before mapping their data to Yext fields.
Depending on the initial source of the data you may not need to perform any transforms. For example, if you used the Shopify App as the Data Connector source that will leverage a pre-saved configuration that will apply transformers for you.
Map and Load
Then, you will map each piece of data to fields in the Knowledge Graph that you want the data to feed into.
Then you will run your Connector. This is the final step where the data, which is now in a Yext-ready format, will be loaded into Yext to create or update entities.
Once the connector runs and the data is loaded into Yext you land on a Summary page that displays the total number of entities added, total number of entities that were updated. You will also be able to view and fix any errors that may have occurred.
Common Use Cases
Adding Content to your Search experience
One great use case for leveraging a Data Connector is pulling content into the Knowledge Graph to surface in Search experiences.
For example, let’s say you want to include your blog posts in your Search experience, but you manage and store those on your Wordpress site. You can set up a Crawler or API Connector that will pull in new blog posts as you publish in Wordpress and start including them in search.
Or, say you want to add Search to your Help Site to improve your search quality, or easily include content from other sources in search results, but you manage your help content in Zendesk or ServiceNow. You can set up the Zendesk or ServiceNow Data Connector to pull your help articles into the Knowledge Graph to surface in your Search experience.
You can also leverage apps like Shopify and Magento to pull product data from your product catalog into Yext, which you can use to power a rich ecommerce search experience with Yext Search.
Pulling Content to Manage Entities
Another use case for leveraging a Data Connector is if all of your information is already stored in another system and you are looking to manage it in Yext as well.
For example, if all of your locations are already stored in Google, you can leverage the Google Data Sync App to easily pull locations from your Google account into the Yext Knowledge Graph — making it faster and easier to get started with Yext.