Connector Best Practices | Yext Hitchhikers Platform
What You’ll Learn
In this section, you will learn:
- When to use the various Data Connectors
- Important things to keep in mind when leveraging Data Connectors
You’ve learned a lot about Data Connectors at this point. If you’ve skipped all of the units until now, the tl;dr is that Data Connectors are designed to make building your Knowledge Graph easy and fast.
That said, there are some important things you should keep in mind as you navigate through your options.
Different types of update methods make sense for different types of entities
There is not a silver bullet when it comes to updating your data. Typically, the “best” way to integrate the data is also the most upfront work so you need to weigh the cost/benefit of that with your team when choosing your solution.
Generally speaking, an API integration that pulls data directly from the source where it’s inputted or authored is the “best”. It will mean that your data is updated with little lag. API integrations can require work from your IT team or agency, so our out-of-the-box Apps are often the next best thing. Don’t see an App for your data source? Let us know in the Community and we’ll look into it.
After that, you should consider manual file uploads or the Crawler. For super-structured entity types, like locations or doctors, the manual file upload might be your best option and you can do things like set up saved upload configurations to make the ongoing effort and maintenance less work. In other cases, a Crawler might be a good option especially if you’re just getting started, creating a demo, or you’re pulling in long-form, unstructured content. More info on when to use and not to use the Crawler can be found in the Crawler module.
One time imports can be powerful!
Don’t be afraid to use Data Connectors for a one-time import of your data. This is especially useful to give you a starting point, even if it means you need to clean up your data. For example, let’s say you want to pull in your Wealth Advisers to get started. But, the pages aren’t structured well and the source system you use doesn’t let you easily export so you’re having trouble generating a flat-file for upload. You can set up a crawler, sync the data to entities, and then export the content to excel to manipulate the content and clean it up a bit. Then you have your flat file and you can be ready to go!
Entity IDs are very important
We covered unique identifiers in the Ways to Update Data in Yext unit but the importance of the Entity ID cannot be understated!
Unique identifiers are how systems know whether to add, update, or delete records. We trigger updates to existing entities based on IDs. So, you want to make sure that when making adjustments to your configurations that you are using extra caution around the IDs, otherwise there can be unintended consequences of entities not being updated, or the wrong entities being updated.