Webhooks to Panoply

This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Webhooks and load it into Panoply. (If this manual process sounds onerous, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)

What are webhooks?

A webhook is a way for one application to provide other applications with real-time information. Webhooks send data through user-defined HTTP POST callbacks, which means an application that uses webhooks can POST data when an event occurs to a specified endpoint (web address).

What is Panoply?

Panoply is an end-to-end data platform that can spin up an Amazon Redshift instance in just a few clicks. It uses machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to learn, model, and automate standard data management activities performed by data scientists, data engineers, and analysts. It can import data with no schema, no modeling, and no configuration. With Panoply, you can use your favorite analysis, SQL, and visualization tools just as you would if you were creating a Redshift data warehouse on your own.

Getting data out of webhooks

Different applications have different ways to set up webhooks. Often, you can use a management console to define the webhook and specify the endpoint to which you want data delivered. You must make sure that the specified endpoint exists on your server.

What does webhook data look like?

Webhooks post data to your specified endpoints in JSON format. It's up to you to parse the JSON objects and decide how to load them into your data warehouse.

Loading data into Panoply

When you've identified all the columns you want to insert, use the Reshift CREATE TABLE statement to make a table in your data warehouse to receive the data.

Now you can replicate your data. It may seem as if the easiest way to do that (especially if there isn't much of it) is to build INSERT statements and add data to your table row by row. If you have any experience with SQL, this probably will be your first inclination. But beware! Redshift isn't optimized for inserting data one row at a time. If you have a high volume of data to be inserted, you should instead load the data into Amazon S3 and then use the Redshift COPY command to import it into Redshift.

Keeping data from webhooks up to date

Once you've set up the webhooks you want and have begun collecting data, you can relax – as long as everything continues to work correctly. You have to keep an eye on any changes your applications make to the data they deliver. You should also watch out for cases where your script doesn't recognize a new data type. And since you'll be responsible for maintaining your script, every time your users want slightly different information, you'll have to modify the script.

Other data warehouse options

Panoply 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, Google BigQuery, PostgreSQL, or Snowflake, which are RDBMSes that use similar SQL syntax. If you're interested in seeing the relevant steps for loading data into one of these platforms, check out To Redshift, To BigQuery, To Postgres, and To Snowflake.

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 solve this problem automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Webhooks data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Panoply data warehouse.