Bulk write API

What is Lexer’s Bulk Write API? 

The Bulk Write API allows you to upload large quantities of data into the hub yourself. There is some work required from Lexer to get you set up, but the overall process is much quicker than any other method available. 

Using the Bulk Write API requires some technical expertise so if you don't feel confident using these methods, please reach out to Success and discuss some alternatives. If you feel up to the task then let's dive in!

Some examples of use cases that are a perfect fit for the Bulk Write API: 

  1. You might have just started your Lexer journey and want to onboard all of your data. You’re happy to use our public schema to format your data as part of the initial setup. 
  2. You’re an existing Lexer user and want to add a new data source that matches our public schema. 
  3. You want to create a custom attribute from a CSV upload. 

This article covers the process of our Bulk Write API in comprehensive detail. The following sections are covered: 

Formatting your data

NDJSON formatting

To use our Bulk Write API, you will need to convert your file into Newline delimited JSON (NDJSON). NDJSON is a neat file format where each line is a complete JSON object. We need to use this format for a few reasons. It helps with validation of your data, allows for some amount of malformed data without completely rejecting the file, and allows for automatic loading of your data. This provides a great redundancy and faster onboarding of your data. The specification for NDJSON formatting can be found on Github.

For more information about the formatting requirements for your data, have a look at our Data section on Learn. The Data formatting and validation page would be a great place to start. You can also find our Github repository here.

File zipping

File zippingOur file preference is a Gzipped NDJSON file. Gzip is a free compression software that has a great compression ratio, making your files smaller, reducing the time to transfer your data. To learn more about Gzip and to access the free software, check it out here. If you Gzip your file, please make sure it has a .gz suffix, for example datarockstar_customers.ndjson.gz

We will also accept regular NDJSON files if you’d prefer not to use Gzip.

Upload your data into the Hub

The following process outlines how you can use the Bulk Write API to upload your data into the Hub. 

1. Create a new dataset

To learn more about Datasets, read the article on Learn here. You may not have the re-quired permissions to access datasets, if you don’t, please reach out to your Success Manager. 

The first step of the process is to set up a new dataset that you can load your data into. 

To do this:

         a) Navigate to Manage > Datasets

         b) Click on New Dataset.  

         c) Fill in the Name, Description and Dataset Type (select API_ENABLED).

Tip
It’s recommended to include the datasource name and data type in the description when creating your dataset.

         d) Click Save Dataset.

         e) Now that you have created the dataset, open it up by clicking View.

         f) Record the Dataset ID, you will need to use this when making the API call to create your upload

2. Format your data to fit the relevant Lexer Schema

There are a few things you need to know about your data before you jump into conversion. The most important being the type of data you want to upload. To identify the correct record type, have a look through the following list, if you need more detail about any of the record types, click the link to take you to the schema. 

Lexer schemas Record types

Customer Data

customer_record

Commerce Data

product

purchase

return

Marketing Data

email_subscribe

email_send

email_open

email_click

email_bounce

sms_subscribe

sms_send

sms_click

Choose the correct schema based on the data you would like to upload. Please reach out to your Success manager if you are having any trouble with this process, we are happy to help. Once chosen, convert your data into the appropriate format using the instructions. The schema details depend on the data you want to upload. Choose between the following: [.code]commerce_api[.code], [.code]marketing_api[.code], or [.code]customer_api[.code]. 

For a detailed description of all of our schemas, read through our documentation here, or find them in our Github repository here. You can clone the repository and install the required dependencies if you want to utilise local validation and have the ability. You don’t need a clone of the repository but it can be helpful. 

Got CSV files?
We have scripts dedicated to convert your CSV file to NDJSON (required for automatic loading). Our lexer-schemas repo has some handy tips, and we have a script ready to go for CSV conversions, see csv_to_ndjson.

3. Upload the file to your dataset

You’ve created a dataset, formatted your data and converted it to an NDJSON file. You’re nearly there! Next up, upload your data to the dataset. 

Before you are able to do this, you'll need an “Activity” API token. Our Authentication and API token creation article runs through the steps to create one.

To send your data, you will need to use our [.code]file_upload_api[.code]. We have a number of resources that can help you through the process of using our File Upload API. 

  • For a comprehensive overview of the process, the File Upload API article on Learn. 
  • For a granular overview of the API, the record types and sample payloads check out the API reference page
  • The Github repository has a great example script that validates your data prior to upload. 
To set up your upload properly, use the "destination" parameter in the File Upload API. You'll need to provide the Destination Dataset ID and specify the Record Type for the file you're uploading.

4. Check on the import using Logs and Datasets

Let’s start by checking that the job has successfully started in Logs. If you want to learn more about Logs, check out our Learn article here

         a) Navigate to Manage > Logs

         b) Check to see if your File Upload job has started. To find your job, click on the Job Type dropdown filter, select File Upload then click Apply on the right side of the page. Your File Upload job should be near the top of the list. If you can find your job, it will               have an In Progress pill shown under the status column. 

Now that we have confirmed the job has started we can monitor its progress. Once this job has finished it will trigger the creation of a Dataset Load job. 

Make sure the Dataset Load job has been created - If the destination is incorrect your dataset load job wont start. If you notice a dataset load job has not started you will need to repeat the previous steps and adjust the destination.

In Logs, click on Reset Filters. You can then select Dataset Load under the Job Type filter. 

Once the Dataset Load job has started and is showing an “In Progress” status, you know the destination was correct and your data has begun uploading to datasets. Congratulations, you’re nearly there!

At this stage you will need to wait until the Dataset Load job has been completed. 

5. Check your data integrity with Logs

The next step is some basic quality assurance. To verify the successful upload of your data, ensure that the expected volume of data has been correctly uploaded.

To do this, open up the Dataset Load job by clicking on the job. This will open the Log View which provides some detail about the job. At the bottom of this tab you will see the Stats table. Compare these record counts to the number of records you intended to upload. 

In this stats section pay particular attention to the Rejected records column. These will identify any potential problem areas that need to be addressed. 

Clear your records

We all make mistakes, if you have uploaded the wrong data you can remove it in Datasets. If you want more detail about datasets, check out our Learn article here

For a brief rundown of clearing your records follow these steps: 

         a) Navigate to Manage > Datasets

         b) Click on the target dataset. 

         c) Click on the View button.

         d) Click on the Jobs tab.

You will be able to see two buttons in the top right of the Jobs tab, Clear Data and Load Data

  • Clear Data: Starts a job that will remove data from the dataset, the dataset itself won't be deleted. This may take up an hour and can't be undone.
These actions can't be reversed. Please take care with the clear and load functions. If data is removed in the process, it cannot be restored through the Hub.

Where to from here?

Bulk data uploads could be the perfect solution to help you upload large volumes of data with a bit of autonomy and some validation along the way. If you are unsure about the best option, make sure you have a chat with your Success Manager so they can help you find the best solution for your business. This process helps you get the most out of your data as quickly as possible. Good luck and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you have any questions. 

Updated:
October 14, 2022
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