Using Parabola with Geckoboard enables you to connect to data sources and display metrics that we currently don't support amongst our pre-built integrations.
Before you start
Our suggestion would be to first explore using our Datasets integration directly as this is a much more powerful and flexible solution. You will need a web programmer’s help in setting things up initially. If Datasets isn't a feasible option for your particular requirements or situation, you should then definitely check out using Parabola with Geckoboard.
Understanding Datasets and how it’s used with Parabola
Coincidentally, Parabola too takes advantage of our Datasets integration to get data into Geckoboard. Basically, Parabola fetches data from a source and then pushes the results to Geckoboard.
Though you may not really require it for this setup, it'll definitely be helpful to get a more in-depth understanding of Datasets. You can check out our developer documentation.
Explaining the process with an example
To explain the basic process and setup, we’ll use an example, where we’ll fetch data from an Airtable table, perform some calculations, and push the results to Geckoboard via Parabola.
With Parabola, you can perform complex actions, such as combining and performing calculations on data from fetched from multiple Airtable tables/accounts or even from multiple data sources (e.g. data from Google Analytics, Stripe, and Magento together). After that, you can push the final results (metrics) to Geckoboard.
Our goal with this example is to display a leaderboard of sales agents and the total sales by the team on our Geckoboard dashboard.
We’ll be using the data coming from this Airtable table – a very simple Sales CRM: https://airtable.com/shrns6fsfmp0DSEOL
We’ve chosen Airtable as we currently don't have an integration with them. Here’s how the table looks:
Here’s the final result we want on Geckoboard:
Let’s jump right in!
Step 1: Connecting your Airtable to Parabola
To make things simpler, make sure you’re already logged into your Airtable account in your browser.
- Parabola offers a free plan with 1 publish ‘flow’ and manual runs. If you haven’t already, you can check out their plans and sign up for a free account.
- Once logged in, click on the default ‘Untitled’ flow and give it a name. If needed, of course, you can begin with a new flow from scratch.
- From the right hand list, drag and drop the ‘Airtable Import’ source onto the canvas. Hover of this 'step' (building block) and click on the ‘Settings/ Result` ⚙️ icon at the bottom and Authorize your Airtable with Parabola.
Parabola provide helpful tips and links to relevant documentation throughout their app. You’ll need your Airtable API key for this authorization and Parabola mentions just the required link from where you can fetch it.
- Make a note of the Airtable Base and the name of the table within it from where you want to fetch data. Then, head to Airtable’s API page: https://airtable.com/api and select your required base. Copy the base ID into Parabola, and then enter the required table name as shown below:
Click on ‘Show Updated Results’ to fetch the data into Parabola.
- By default, this will fetch all the rows and columns from the Airtable table into Parabola. For our demo, we don’t need the ‘id’ and ‘createdTime’ columns. So, we’ve removed these using the `Advanced Settings’ option. If you’re happy with the results, close the window using the ⅹ on the top right.
- Let’s do some calculations to arrive at the data we want. We want to display a leaderboard of the sales amount broken down by sales agent on our Geckoboard dashboard.
We’ll use Parabola’s 'Group By' feature to achieve this. Search for 'group by' in the right hand list and drag and drop it onto the canvas. Drag the arrow from 'Airtable Import' step to the 'Group By' step to pass data into the latter. Click on the 'Settings/ Result' ⚙️ icon under 'Group By'.
We'll 'Sum' the values under the 'Plan Value' column and then 'Group by' the 'Sales Agent' column. Once done, click on 'Show Updated Results'. Here are all these steps shown in the GIF below: We can already see the leaderboard beginning to take shape.
Close the window now using the x on the top right and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Pushing data from Parabola to Geckoboard
To make things simpler, make sure you’re already logged into your Geckoboard account in your browser.
Make sure the timezone set on your Geckoboard dashboard matches what’s set in Parabola and within your data source (i.e. Airtable in our example). Otherwise, you may have lagging data on your dashboard.
- Let’s now add the destination, Geckoboard, to push our data to. Search the right hand list for Geckoboard and drag and drop it on to the canvas.
- Pull the arrow from the 'Group By' step to the ‘Geckoboard’ step. Click on the 'Settings/ Result' ⚙️icon under the Geckoboard step.
- Click on 'Authorize'. Fetch your Geckoboard API key from here: https://app.geckoboard.com/account/details and fill it up in the Parabola input field.
- Give your dataset a name. This will be the name you see for your dataset within Geckoboard as well.
Datasets names should start and end with lowercase alphanumeric characters and may only contain lowercase alphanumeric characters, dots, hyphens, and underscores.
Example of a good dataset name: sales.by_agent
- Map your columns to the correct Datasets field type. The available field types are: Date, Datetime, Money, Number, Percentage, String (Text). The names are self-explanatory but we suggest having a quick read about the field types in our API reference.
For our example, we'll map 'Sales Agent' to 'Text' and 'Plan Value (sum)' to 'Money'. In the subsequent dropdown that pops up, we'll choose the 'Currency' as 'US Dollar'.
Click 'Show Updated Results'. The resulting values are what will be used to visualize as leaderboard, bar charts, line charts, number, table, geckometer (gauge), etc on Geckoboard and build your dashboards.
Once you’re happy with these resulting values, close the window now using the ⅹ.
- Publish the flow. And push your data to Geckoboard using the 'Run Now' button. You should see if it succeeded or not, along with some info on the pushed data or the error messages, under the ‘Run History’ section to the right.
If needed, you can use those error messages to troubleshoot what went wrong.
- Assuming all went well, hop on to your Geckoboard account now.
Click '+Add widget' -> Search for and choose Datasets, and select the 'sales.by_agent' dataset that we just created.
Don't worry in case you see a message saying 'Your dataset does not contain any date or datetime fields, which are required for a line chart.' or 'Your dataset does not contain the data required for this visualization'.
It only means the data we’ve pushed cannot build that particular visualization (usually line charts). But we should have the necessary data for building other visualizations such as Leaderboard and Number (which are the ones we want).
- Preview the dataset first using the dropdown next to the dataset name 'sales.by_agent' in the header. It should match what we saw and pushed from Parabola. You’ve successfully pushed data to Geckoboard at this stage.
Step 3: Visualizing the data and building your dashboard
We have a handy guide on building visualizations using datasets. Definitely worth a quick read.
- Let’s first build the Leaderboard. Select the Leaderboard visualization type from the top left. It should populate with the data from the dataset and show you a preview.
- We feel the
US$prefix is unnecessary, as is displaying the entire numeric value for e.g.
1,237. Lets fine-tune this to something more readable.
- Give the widget a title. And add the widget to your dashboard by clicking . Resize the widget as per your liking. You should have a Leaderboard of your sales by agent on your dashboard now. 😊
- Let’s move on to building the Number widget displaying our total sales.
Datasets itself offers a few aggregation features such as sum, average, min, max, latest, and more. While building your own Geckoboard datasets / Parabola flows, you can plan accordingly and make efficient and combined use of the calculations, number crunching, and aggregation options available in both Geckoboard and Parabola.
Keeping in mind the above tip, we’ll use the aggregations available in Datasets to our advantage and instead of performing any additional calculations or creating a separate flow within Parabola, we’ll simply aggregate (i.e. sum) the sales values of all the sales agent within Datasets itself and that’ll give us our total team sales.
- Add a new Datasets widget and select the required dataset. Select the Number visualization. And set the 'Field' to 'Plan Value' and the 'Aggregate' to 'Sum'.
- Fine-tune again as needed and give the widget a title. We’ll also set a Goal and finally add the widget to the dashboard.
- Resize the widget as needed. And with that, we have the widgets we want on the board.
Step 4: Automating the process
- Click on 'Schedule' in the right handle section next to 'Run History', and then 'Add Rule'.
- Configure the scheduler based on how often (e.g. every hour) you want the data to be fetched from Airtable and pushed to Geckoboard, the first run, last run, etc. Once you’re happy with the settings, save the rule.
Scheduling in Parabola requires a paid plan. You can check out their pricing options: https://parabola.io/pricing (make sure to scroll down on the page to understand how scheduling factors into the pricing).
Wrapping it up
And that’s it. You should have live data automatically displaying from Airtable on your Geckoboard dashboard. Depending on your scheduling (manual or automated), every time you make changes to the data within the Airtable table, it should automatically update on your Geckoboard dashboards.
Should you need a hand at any step, please feel free to get in touch with our awesome customer support team.