Integrating Data Sources with Mendix

Developers often need to connect their applications to different data sources to extend their capabilities and functionality. Integrating third-party or external data sources is crucial in data analytics initiatives as organizations look for strategic insight from beyond their firms. However, according to McKinsey, only a few companies take full advantage of data produced outside their walls. And one of the major reasons is the complexity of integrating data sources with their systems and apps.

As a leading low-code application development solution, Mendix recognizes the need to integrate data sources with your application. A well-structured plan for connecting data sources can deliver a competitive edge. As a result, Mendix, through its connectors, empowers enterprises to discover, understand, and immediately integrate data sources securely to Mendix Connect. But what tools does Mendix offer for integrating data sources? And how do you integrate data sources with Mendix? Let’s find out.

Tools for Integrating Data Sources with Mendix

The Mendix low-code development platform offers several tools connecting data sources. They include the following:

  • Web services. Mendix lets you publish microflows as a web service operation. You can call external web services from the microflows
  • Database integration. Mendix provides a Database Connector that lets you configure direct JDBC integrations to the database of your choice for executing stored procedures and SQL queries.
  • Connectors. Mendix’s purpose-built connector modules deliver easy-to-use microflow activities connected with third-party services. Some examples of connector modules include Redis, Kafka, and SAP, while third-party services include Salesforce, Twitter, and Slack.
  • REST services. Mendix allows you to publish entities and microflows as REST operations and resources and call external REST APIs directly from your microflows.
  • Mappings. Mendix mappings let you use visual specifications of how external messages are translated to and from entities in your Mendix app
  • OData. The OData tool allows you to publish data in your Mendix app in a standard REST format for simplified use in business analytics tooling.
  • Connector Kit. This kit allows for an easy, reusable, and generic way of adding custom integrations using Java to Mendix.
  • Mendix Connect. Formerly known as Data Hub, Mendix Connect lets you connect external data resources into a company-specific catalog and use them in Mendix apps (through external entities) and business intelligence (BI) tools (OData).
  • Message definitions. They enable you to specify what messages you exchange with different external data sources and systems. Message definitions can be based on JSON snippets, entities defined in your domain model, or XML schemas.

How to Integrate Data Sources with Mendix.

Here are the steps to follow when integrating data sources with Mendix:

Step 1: Identify Data Sources

Ask yourself, what data sources do I need to integrate with Mendix? This is the most basic step, as it helps you list all the data sources you want to integrate. Some common data sources you may wish to connect include REST APIs, web services, and databases.

Step 2: Configure the Identified Data Sources

While Mendix is compatible with many data sources, they often need to be configured to enable Mendix to connect to them. So, once you have identified the data sources, you must configure them to allow Mendix to integrate seamlessly with them. Usually, it involves establishing the necessary credentials and connection parameters, such as database name, port number, and server address.

Important Note: You must set the parameters correctly because Mendix will use them to connect with those data sources. Otherwise, you’ll be unable to integrate them with Mendix, missing out on many opportunities associated with integration data sources with Mendix.

Step 3: Create Your Data Models

Once everything is configured, the next step involves creating your data models. In this step, you define entities, attributes, and associations that reflect the data in the identified sources. Entities represent the various data types that will be modified and stored in your Mendix app, whereas attributes define the specific features of each entity.

On the other hand, associations or relationships define how different entities relate. For instance, two entities may have a one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many relationship.

The created data models are crucial as they are the foundation of your app’s data structure. They offer a way to manage and organize data from the identified sources.

Step 4: Develop Data Mappings

The next step is creating data mappings for the models you created in the previous step. Quickly mapping external data formats to the entities you built in your app is key to integrating data sources with Mendix. Data mappings define the data in the identified sources and map it to that data in your Mendix entities.

It involves defining mappings between the data source and target entity attributes. Mendix offers data mapping tools to make this process easier. For instance, you can simply drag and drop attributes from the data source to the target entity. Also, Mendix gives you advanced control over the mappings and an easy-to-understand visual editor to define your data mappings.

Step 5: Retrieve and Display Data

Another key step to integrating data sources with Mendix is retrieving and displaying data. Data mappings ensure that data is retrieved from the identified data sources correctly and can be displayed and modified in your Mendix app. Mendix provides built-in tools and features for retrieving data from different sources, such as widgets and microflows.

Step 6: Test and Refine the Integration

Integrating data sources with Mendix is crucial and helps you access large chunks of data from external sources. However, you must ensure the integration is secure and functional to avoid exposing your data to cyber threats. Also, it’s essential to ensure the data is retrieved and displayed correctly.

So, you should test the integration to ensure it works as expected. This may involve modifying your data retrieval settings, mappings, or models.

Final Thoughts

Integrating data sources with Mendix is crucial. It helps unlock your IT landscape by bringing data from different sources to your company’s fingertips, driving better, data-driven decisions. Also, your company can gain valuable insights from multiple data streams and streamline its processes based on these insights. Mendix provides numerous tools to ease the process of integrating data sources. Also, the process is straightforward, enabling easy integration of data sources with the Mendix low-code platform.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your full potential today by integrating data sources with Mendix

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Author: Indium
Indium Software is a leading digital engineering company that provides Application Engineering, Cloud Engineering, Data and Analytics, DevOps, Digital Assurance, and Gaming services. We assist companies in their digital transformation journey at every stage of digital adoption, allowing them to become market leaders.