This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from UserVoice and load it into Google BigQuery. (If this manual process sounds onerous, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)
What is UserVoice?
UserVoice automate the collection and management of product feedback. UserVoice’s SaaS platform comprises feedback collection, product roadmap prioritization, feedback management and moderation, communication tools, net promoter score, support ticketing, knowledge base, and advanced reporting.
What is Google BigQuery?
Google BigQuery is a data warehouse that delivers super-fast results from SQL queries, which it accomplishes using a powerful engine dubbed Dremel. With BigQuery, there's no spinning up (and down) clusters of machines as you work with your data. With that said, it's clear why some claim that BigQuery prioritizes querying over administration. It's super fast, and that's the reason why most folks use it.
Getting data out of UserVoice
UserVoice provides an API that lets developers retrieve data stored in the platform. For example, to retrieve a particular feedback record, you could call
Preparing UserVoice data
If you don't already have a data structure in which to store the data you retrieve, you'll have to create a schema for your data tables. Then, for each value in the response, you'll need to identify a predefined datatype (INTEGER, DATETIME, etc.) and build a table that can receive them. UserVoice's documentation should tell you what fields are provided by each endpoint, along with their corresponding datatypes.
Complicating things is the fact that the records retrieved from the source may not always be "flat" – some of the objects may actually be lists. In these cases you'll likely have to create additional tables to capture the unpredictable cardinality in each record.
Loading data into Google BigQuery
Google Cloud Platform offers a helpful guide for loading data into BigQuery. You can use the
bq command-line tool to upload the files to your awaiting datasets, adding the correct schema and data type information along the way. The
bq load command is your friend here. You can find the syntax in the bq command-line tool quickstart guide. Iterate through this process as many times as it takes to load all of your tables into BigQuery.
Keeping UserVoice data up to date
At this point you've coded up a script or written a program to get the data you want and successfully moved it into your data warehouse. But how will you load new or updated data? It's not a good idea to replicate all of your data each time you have updated records. That process would be painfully slow and resource-intensive.
The key is to build your script in such a way that it can identify incremental updates to your data. Thankfully, UserVoice's API results include date and time fields that allow you to identify records that are new since your last update (or since the newest record you've copied). Once you've taken new data into account, you can set your script up as a cron job or continuous loop to keep pulling down new data as it appears.
Other data warehouse options
BigQuery is great, but sometimes you need to optimize for different things when you're choosing a data warehouse. Some folks choose to go with Amazon Redshift, PostgreSQL, Snowflake, or Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, which are RDBMSes that use similar SQL syntax, or Panoply, which works with Redshift instances. Others choose a data lake, like Amazon S3. If you're interested in seeing the relevant steps for loading data into one of these platforms, check out To Redshift, To Postgres, To Snowflake, To Panoply, To Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and To S3.
Easier and faster alternatives
If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t be alarmed. If you have all the skills necessary to go through this process, chances are building and maintaining a script like this isn’t a very high-leverage use of your time.
Thankfully, products like Stitch were built to move data from UserVoice to Google BigQuery automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your UserVoice data via the API, structuring it in a way that's optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Google BigQuery data warehouse.