How to load data from Chargebee to PostgreSQL
Access your data on Chargebee
The first step in loading your Chargebee data to any kind of data warehouse solution is to access your data and start extracting it.
Chargebee has a well-designed API that can be used to access the platform programmatically. It is built around more than 20 different resources, something that indicates the richness of the platform and the API. These resources include things like Customers and Events. So, in the data, you will find from typical pages that do not change that often like customers, to time series data like events. You need to account the different types of data that are included and design your database schema accordingly.
Chargebee as any other REST API can be accessed over the web with HTTP requests. They also offer and maintain a large number of different SDKs for some of the most popular languages and frameworks.
In addition to the above, the things that you have to keep in mind when dealing with any API like the one Chargebee has, are:
- Rate limits. Every API has some rate limits that you have to respect.
- Authentication. You authenticate on Chargebee using an API key.
- Paging and dealing with a big amount of data. Platforms like Chargebee tend to generate a lot of data, as financial transactions and subscription management involve many different events that can happen. Pulling big volumes of data out of an API might be difficult, especially when you consider and respect any rate limits that the API has.
Chargebee is a subscription management and invoicing platform. You can use it to create many different types of subscriptions and scale the infrastructure needed easily. It also connects with a large number of payment gateways, so it also simplifies the process of switching from one payment vendor to the other.
Platforms like Chargebee hold a lot of valuable data about your company, the buying behavior of your customers can be found there and there’s a wealth of data waiting to be analyzed. By using Chargebee’s data you can calculate important KPIs like the churn rate and Lifetime Value of your customers.
Transform and prepare your Chargebee data for PostgreSQL
After you have accessed your data on Chargebee, you will have to transform it based on two main factors,
- The limitations of the database that the data will be loaded onto
- The type of analysis that you plan to perform
Each system has specific limitations on the data types and data structures that it supports. If for example, you want to push data into Google BigQuery, then you can send nested data like JSON directly. But when you are dealing with tabular data stores, like PostgreSQL, this is not an option. Instead, you will have to flatten out your data before loading it into the database.
Also, you have to choose the right data types. Again, depending on the system that you will send the data to and the data types that the API exposes to you, you will have to make the right choices. These choices are important because they can limit the expressivity of your queries and limit your analysts on what they can do directly out of the database.
Chargebee has a very rich data model, where many of the resources that you can access might have to flatten out and be pushed in more than one tables. Also, there is a wealth of time series data that is useful in understanding the behavior of your customer.
For the above reasons, you should model your database carefully before moving forward with the loading of Chargebee’s data into it.
Each table is a collection of columns with a predefined data type as an integer or VARCHAR. PostgreSQL, like any other SQL database, supports a wide range of different data types.
A typical strategy for loading data from a Chargebee source to a Postgres database is to create a schema where you will map each API endpoint to a table. Each key inside the Chargebee API endpoint response should be mapped to a column of that table and you should ensure the right conversion to a Postgres compatible data type.
Load data from Chargebee to PostgreSQL
For example, if an endpoint from Chargebee returns a value as String, you should convert it into a VARCHAR with a predefined max size or TEXT data type. tables can then be created on your database using the CREATE SQL statement.
Once you have defined your schema and you have created your tables with the proper data types, you can start loading data into your database.
The preferred way of adding larger datasets into a PostgreSQL database is by using the COPY command. COPY is copying data from a file on a file system that is accessible by the Postgres instance, in this way much larger datasets can be inserted into the database in less time. COPY requires physical access to a file system in order to load data.
Nowadays, with cloud-based, fully managed databases, getting direct access to a file system is not always possible. If this is the case and you cannot use a COPY statement, then another option is to use PREPARE together with INSERT, to end up with optimized and more performant INSERT queries.
Updating your Chargebee data on PostgreSQL
As you will be generating more data on Chargebee, you will need to update your older data on PostgreSQL. This includes new records together with updates to older records that for any reason have been updated on Chargebee.
You will need to periodically check Chargebee for new data and repeat the process that has been described previously while updating your currently available data if needed. Updating an already existing row on a PostgreSQL table is achieved by creating UPDATE statements.
Another issue that you need to take care of is the identification and removal of any duplicate records on your database. Either because Chargebee does not have a mechanism to identify new and updated records or because of errors on your data pipelines, duplicate records might be introduced to your database.
In general, ensuring the quality of the data that is inserted in your database is a big and difficult issue and PostgreSQL features like TRANSACTIONS can help tremendously, although they do not solve the problem in the general case.
The best way to load data from Chargebee to PostgreSQL
So far we just scraped the surface of what you can do with PostgreSQL and how to load data into it. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.
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