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TitleUsing Data Buffet: Automatic retrieval
AuthorPhillip Thorne
Question

Can I automatically or programmatically retrieve series from Data Buffet?

Answer

Data Buffet offers several options to view time series and to extract them for further processing.  In order of increasing automation for your workflow:

  • Examine data instantly in View mode
  • Collect, organize and transform series for repeated download with a Basket
  • Run the basket periodically or when triggered by adding a Schedule
  • Transmit (push) the basket output with a Scheduled Delivery
  • Pull series directly into Microsoft Excel using Moody's Analytics Power Tools for Microsoft Office

View and Basket modules

In View mode (accessible through the catalog and the main search box), one or more time series are tabulated within the Data Buffet window for immediate scrutiny. 

The next step is to create a Basket, which collects multiple series.  You can pick a date range, add optional fields, and impose conversions, transformations and formulas on them.  A basket can be saved for later use (look under the My Data tab in the left-hand pane).  Unlike View mode, you won't see the time series until you run the basket, creating basket output.  The output is a file in your chosen format (CSV, Excel, eViews, etc.) that you must download and open locally.

The attachments include one screengrab of the View module in action.

Schedules and deliveries

You can run a basket manually, but you can also configure it with a Schedule.  A schedule can run periodically or in response to a trigger series.  You'll probably want to define a Delivery, which will transmit the basket output to an email address or an FTP server.

If you do not define a delivery, the basket output is stored on Data Buffet, under menu:Tools » My Files » Schedule Files.  As it happens, manual output is cached here too, under Web Files

To configure a schedule, open the basket in the Data Buffet basket editor and follow the wizard.  The Schedules button is in the blue button-bar alongside Options and Find and Replace.  You can attach multiple schedules to one basket, multiple deliveries to one schedule, and multiple email addresses to a delivery; you can also choose multiple trigger series.

Similarly, you can create scheduled deliveries for Charts and Maps.

The attachments include three screengrabs of schedules and deliveries in action.

Moody's Analytics Power Tools for Microsoft Office

A scheduled basket is a push technique, but to pull data instead, use Power Tools for Excel, which embeds formulas in an Excel workbook and connects to Data Buffet.  It's like a basket with pizazz: you can place the formulas anywhere, add other formulas, gussy up with cell formatting; and then press one button to retrieve the latest values.

Power Tools is a triplet of Microsoft Office Add-ins for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.  Go to menu:Tools » Power Tools and follow the instructions to download and install.  (Add-ins are tricky at the best of times, and there are several ways the installation might fail.  Your own local IT staff can help.)

The easiest way to embed Power Tools formulas for specific time series is to add them as an optional basket field and download in Excel format.  The Power Tools formulas are just like any other Excel workbook formula, and can be combined with other programming.  By inspection, you can probably decipher the mnemonic, date, and number-of-periods arguments; but the latter arguments specially encode all the other options, and are essentially opaque.  Use the wizard instead.

Other techniques

Power Tools is the most advanced technique we supply.  There is no mechanism to link your own database (relational or time series) directly to Data Buffet: no bindings, hooks, remote procedure calls, or API.  However, you can use Excel formulas to create SQL INSERT and UPDATE statements to indirectly populate your database.




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