Harness your data with Data Studio Community Connectors

January 02, 2018

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Posted by Minhaz Kazi, Developer Advocate

Google Data Studio lets users build live, interactive dashboards with beautiful data visualizations, for free. Users can fetch their data from a variety of sources and create unlimited reports in Data Studio, with full editing and sharing capabilities.

Community Connectors is a new feature for Data Studio that lets you use Apps Script to build connectors to any internet accessible data source. You can share Community Connectors with other people so they can access their own data from within Data Studio.

For example, if you are providing a web-based service to your customers, you can create a Community Connector with a template dashboard to fetch data from your API. In just 3 to 4 clicks, your customers can log into your web app, authenticate with Data Studio, and see their individualized data displayed in a beautiful interactive dashboard.

Here's an example Data Studio dashboard that uses a Community Connector to show live data using the Stack Overflow API:

Try out this Stack Overflow Community Connector yourself or view the code.

Why build Community Connectors

  • Leverage Data Studio as a reporting platform for your customers.
    Provide significant value to your customers by providing them with a ready-made reporting platform. With a minimal development investment, you can rely on Data Studio as a free and powerful dashboarding and analysis solution for your customers.

  • Reach a larger audience and also monetize your connector.
    Publish and promote your Community Connector in the Data Studio Community Connector gallery that is visible to all Data Studio users. Published connectors are also directly accessible from the public Community Connector Gallery. There are also multiple approaches if you want to monetize your connector.

  • Develop customized enterprise solutions for your business.
    Fetch your business data from a variety of sources (e.g. BigQuery, CloudSQL, web API etc.) and create a customized solution specifically for your business. By providing templates with your connectors, you can significantly cut down dashboard building time.

  • Benefit from Apps Script features and use your existing code.
    Since Community Connectors are developed using Google Apps Script, you can benefit from features such as caching, storage, translation, authentication etc. If you already have a Google Sheets connector, it is easy to reuse that same code for a Community Connector.

  • Did we mention it's free?
    Data Studio is completely free to use. And there is no cost for developing or publishing Community Connectors.

How to build Community Connectors

The Get Started Guide can help you to build your first Community Connector. Since Apps Script is a subset of Javascript, you can easily build a connector even if you have not worked with Apps Script before.

You can also jump ahead and view specific steps of the typical development life cycle of a Community Connector:

  • Build: Write your connector code in Apps Script.
  • Use and test: Try out your connector in Data Studio.
  • Deploy: Create deployments for other users.
  • Share: Share your connector.

Publish your connector

You can keep your connector private or share them with other users. You also have the option to publish your connector. Publishing will feature your connector both in Data Studio as well as in the public Community Connector gallery. This enables you to reach all Data Studio users and showcase your service. Furthermore, we encourage you to submit your connector to our Open Source repo so that the community can benefit from it.

What next

If you have any interesting connector stories, ideas, or if you'd like to share some amazing reports you've created using Community Connectors, give us a shout or send us your story at community-connector-feedback@google.com.