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Monitoring my car with SquaredUp: a 3-part series

Dave Clarke
Senior Product Manager, SquaredUp

As a Product Manager at SquaredUp, I'm always on the lookout for innovative ways to use our products and visualize unusual data. The introduction of our Web API feature couldn't have come at a better time—I could finally create a dashboard for my car! Alongside the launch of our WebAPI integration we also announced a dashboard competition, which means I had the chance to win some cool swag too! 🎉

Ford provide the FordPass app which allows you to see some information about the car remotely, for example the fuel level or the tyre pressures but it’s fairly limited in what’s shown when compared to the data returned by the API, for example door and window status, security messages etc. In addition, SquaredUp allows me to configure monitoring and notifications for any available metric, for example alerting me when fuel is running low.

My Ford dashboard showing me all the key info about my car, built using SquaredUp’s Web API data source.

Join me on an exciting three-part series where I'll share the step-by-step process of building this dashboard using SquaredUp's Web API integration. We'll dive into the technical details, explore our range of visualizations, and leverage the power of SquaredUp to create an awesome dashboard.

If you're eager to join the ranks of the #DataJedi with your very own t-shirt, I have good news—the competition is still running! Make sure to check out the details here for more information.

Enter the competition

The dashboard

In this first post we’ll explore how to setup the Web API integration to consume data from an external API. We’ll focus on:

Step 1: Adding the data source

To start dashboarding external data we need to add a Data Source. In SquaredUp, Data Sources allow you to fetch data on-demand. There’s over 80 out of the box data sources for tools such as Dynatrace, GitHub, Salesforce and more. Learn more about Data Sources.

  1. In your workspace, select the + button next to DATA SOURCES
  2. Search for Web API and select it
  3. Enetr the configuration as required:
    • Base URL: the URL of our API, in this case it's the FordPass API
    • Query arguments: here we add the VIN number of the car
    • Header: this allows us to add an API-Key header to our requests
  4. You can also test the configuration here by selecting Test endpoint and entering a basic request, e.g. /vehicle/info
  5. Click Add. You should now see a screen saying the data source is connected.
    • You won’t see any objects on this page as that is not currently supported for our Web API data source.

Step 2: Creating my first tile

Now we’ve got a connected data source we can start to query some data and build a dashboard.

  1. In the same workspace, select the + button next to DASHBOARDS to create a new dashboard.
  2. Select Data to open our tile editor.
  3. Under Data Source, select the new data source you just added.
  4. From the list of data stream, select HTTP Request and click Next.
  5. On this screen you can configure the request to be made
    • Endpoint path: /vehicle/info
  6. Scroll down and hit Send
  7. If everything has been configured correctly you’ll see a JSON preview of the response
  8. To simplify the configuration, we’ll add a Path to data: vehicleStatus
    • Note: This helps to unfold the response, for example if the JSON result includes all the data you need under a results property you can specify that here.

Step 3: Customizing visualizations

SquaredUp automatically picks a visualization based on the data in the tile, but you may need to adjust this or select different data to show - on to the next step!

  1. Under Visualization select the Gauge visualization.
  2. By default SquaredUp has picked a numerical property to show, but we want to select something else. Using the Data Mapping panel, for Value, lets select Distance to Empty.
    • If you have lots of columns, you can search this field by typing, e.g. distance.
  3. We can also configure the Range and Label for this visualization.
  4. Let’s set the range to 0 → 500 as I know that’s roughly the range a full tank offers!
  5. We can also set the label to ‘kilometers’ as that’s the unit that the API returns.
  6. Finally, hit Save!

In the next part of this series we’ll look at formatting and customizing data using the SQL Analytics feature. For example in the above tile we’re showing the value as kilometers but perhaps we want to show miles instead.

Learn more

What's next?

This blog forms part of a three-part series where I showcase just how easy it is to build dashboards in SquaredUp using our Web API integration and our recently re-designed tile editing experience, centered around building a dashboard for my car.

In the next part we’ll take a look how you can use our SQL Analytics feature to format and customize data with ease.

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Dave Clarke
Senior Product Manager, SquaredUp

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