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How do I connect Power Query to Discourse?

Execute the following steps to connect Power Query to Discourse. You only need knowledge of Power Query and your own business.

Discourse is a cloud forum and mailing list management software application. Discourse can be used to increase community co-operation. The source is available as open source. Discourse runs for over 1,500 companies.

No technical knowledge is needed nor knowledge on the Discourse APIs to connect Discourse to Power Query. This step-by-step plan will tell you exactly which steps you need to go through on Invantive Cloud to create your own dashboard with data from Discourse.

The steps to connect Power Query to Discourse are:

  1. Register an Invantive Cloud account.
  2. Create a Discourse database.
  3. Make the Discourse database available through the Microsoft OData connector.
  4. Connect Power Query to Discourse through the connector.
  5. Load data from Discourse into Power Query.
  6. Build your dashboard.

Invantive Cloud offers a Discourse connector to download data from Discourse into Power Query, but there are over 75 other connectors available also for SQL, Power BI, Power Query or Azure Data Factory.

Do you have a large environment? For effective downloads, you can of course also filter the data using the filter step or the transform button in Power Query.

When you are having questions, please check the forums for Discourse. Every organisation is entitled to 1 hour of free training to help you get started. This free hour also applies to free plans.

Register Account on Invantive Cloud

Skip this step when you already have an account on Invantive Cloud. Otherwise execute the following steps one time to register an account on Invantive Cloud:

  1. Go to Invantive Cloud start page.

  2. Select the Log on-button.

  3. Select the Sign Up-button. Sign Up to Invantive Cloud.

  4. Enter your business email address. Enter business email address.

  5. Select the Next-button.

  6. Enter your personal data. Enter personal data.

  7. Select the Next-button.

  8. Enter your password and repeat the password you entered.

  9. Select the Next-button. Enter two identical passwords.

  10. You will receive a six-digit verification code by email within 2 minutes.

  11. Enter the six-digit verification code. Six-digit verification code to validate email address.

  12. Select the Sign Up-button.

  13. Log on now. Sign Up.

  14. Make sure you have an authentication app installed on your phone. Select the Next-button. Prepare TOTP-configuration.

  15. Add the displayed QR code to the authentication app, enter the current verification code, and choose "Finish". Scan QR-code into TOTP-app and enter current code.

  16. Skip registration of the organization. Skip company registration.

  17. Complete your personal information and choose "Save". Complete personal data.

  18. Go to the dashboard. Navigate to dashboard.

  19. The Invantive Cloud dashboard will be shown.

You now have a login code on Invantive Cloud with which you can set up the connection with Discourse and numerous other platforms. You will use the same Invantive login code and workflow for all other platforms.

Create Discourse database

In this step, we set up a database with data from Discourse. The database is "virtual" because it is not a traditional database, but is fed real-time from Discourse. Invantive Cloud provides Power Query with a real-time link to Discourse. The database will be used for all your Discourse reporting with Power Query. So you only need to perform these steps once.

You now have a login code on Invantive Cloud with which you can set up the connection with {0} and numerous other platforms. You will use the same Invantive login code and workflow for all other platforms.

  1. Click the Add Database button. Add database.

  2. Select Discourse from the list. Select Discourse connector.

  3. Please fill out the form with login information for Discourse.

  4. Select the OK-button.

Congratulations! You can now process data from Discourse within the Invantive Cloud website. You can do this for example with the interactive SQL editor.

Grant connection from Power Query access to Discourse

To retrieve the data from Power Query we create a link via Invantive Bridge Online. This creates a "bridge" between the cloud of Invantive and the standard OData connector that is available in every version of Power Query. You do not need to install anything locally: no connector, no ado.NET provider and no Power Query add-on neither.

Execute the following steps to safely use the data from Discourse outside of Invantive Cloud:

  1. Next to the database you will find an orange text requesting you to allow access from your current location (IP address). Select the nearby orange button.

  2. If you want to use the data through the web versions of Power Query, you must completely disable IP address checking by entering an asterisk ("*").

You are now ready to import the Discourse data into Power Query.

Configure Power Query connector for Discourse

You will now pull in Power Query data from Discourse through the established link.

Execute the following steps:

  1. Start Microsoft Power Query and click on "Get Data". Use Get Data in Power BI

  2. Choose "OData Feed." Choose OData feed

  3. Enter the Bridge Online URL of the Discourse database in the window. Select the OK-button. Configure OData URL for Invantive Bridge Online

  4. Sometimes Power Query does not accept the URL and a yellow warning sign appears. If so, add a '/' to the end of the URL and remove it again. Select the OK-button.

  5. A message about missing authentication will appear if you have not previously recorded your login credentials in Power Query.

  6. Select the "Basic" tab on the left. Configure Basic Authentication

  7. Enter the user name for Invantive Cloud.

  8. Enter the password that you have set for Invantive Cloud.

  9. You do not need to change the "Scope" under the "Choose which Level" menu unless you have specific reasons.

  10. Select the OK-button.

You only need to perform these steps for linking Discourse with Power Query once. From now on, you will find the linked data source in Power Query beneath "Recent Sources" in the menu.

Load Data in Power Query from Discourse

A list of Discourse tables appears for use in your dashboard. You can find these tables and their meaning on documentation.invantive.com. A limited number of tables from the Discourse documentation of Invantive are not visible from Power Query because they have parameters.

Execute the following steps to load data into your dashboard:

  1. Select the table you want to use in the Navigator. You can also select multiple tables at once.

  2. A preview of the data from Discourse appears to the right when you select a table.

  3. Select the OK-button.

  4. All data from all selected tables are loaded directly by the connector into Power Query.

  5. Loading can take a short or long time depending on the amount of data. The first time it takes noticeably longer anyway because the data is not yet in the "cache".

  6. Advanced Power Query users can use the "Transform" button to increase the loading speed from Power Query by applying filters.

The Discourse connection will cache the data. Your data will be stored encrypted. Power Query, especially during dashboard development, often retrieves the same data again. This cache provides a noticeable acceleration. The cached data is refreshed according to the duration you set at the virtual Discourse database. By default, the duration is set to 4 hours; therefore, you will receive the same data for 4 hours via the connection.

Build a Discourse Dashboard

In Power Query the data is now ready for use in the dashboard.

Now build your reports or dashboards.

Click "Refresh" to refresh the Discourse data from Invantive Bridge Online.

Additional features

After an initial success with new insights through a custom report or analysis on Discourse, you are going to create multiple dashboards on your Discourse data. It is then more efficient to use Microsoft data flows so that the data is shared between the different dashboards within the online Power Query platform.

You might also use other Invantive connectors for a report or analysis. For this you can follow the steps described above. All Power Query connectors of Invantive work identically; only the registration of the database depends on the data source.

Finally, using Invantive Cloud you can also build software in the form of small web applications. This software can use the data in your database.

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