FormKeep to BigQuery

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

What is FormKeep?

FormKeep provides form endpoints that designers and developers can use when they don’t want to build and maintain forms themselves.

What is Google BigQuery?

Google BigQuery is a data warehouse that delivers super-fast results from SQL queries, which it accomplishes using a powerful engine dubbed Dremel. With BigQuery, there's no spinning up (and down) clusters of machines as you work with your data. With that said, it's clear why some claim that BigQuery prioritizes querying over administration. It's super fast, and that's the reason why most folks use it.

Getting data out of FormKeep

FormKeep makes its data available through webhooks, which you can set up on FormKeep's Webhooks tab. You provide a URL to send the data to and write your script to POST data to this URL as it's generated.

Preparing FormKeep data

If you don't already have a data structure in which to store the data you retrieve, you'll have to create a schema for your data tables. Then, for each value in the response, you'll need to identify a predefined datatype (INTEGER, DATETIME, etc.) and build a table that can receive them. FormKeep should provide documentation that tells you what fields are provided by each endpoint, along with their corresponding datatypes.

Complicating things is the fact that the records retrieved from the source may not always be "flat" – some of the objects may actually be lists. This means you'll likely have to create additional tables to capture the unpredictable cardinality in each record.

Loading data into Google BigQuery

Google offers an overview document that covers loading data into BigQuery. Use the bq command-line tool, and in particular the bq load command, to upload data to your datasets and define schema and data type information. You can learn how to use bq from the Quickstart guide for bq. Iterate through the process as many times as it takes to load all of your tables into BigQuery.

Keeping FormKeep data 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'll have to keep an eye out for any changes to FormKeep's webhooks implementation.

Other data warehouse options

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

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 FormKeep data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Google BigQuery data warehouse.