Azure Blob XML File Connector for Power BI

In this article you will learn how to integrate Azure Blob XML File data in Power BI without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to Azure Blob XML File). Azure Blob XML File Connector can be used to read XML Files stored in Azure Blob Container. Using this you can easily integrate Azure Blob Storage XML File data. It's supports latest security standards, and optimized for large data files. It also supports reading compressed files (e.g. GZip /Zip)..

Using Azure Blob XML File Connector you will be able to connect, read, and write data from within Power BI. Follow the steps below to see how we would accomplish that.

Download  Help File 

Create ODBC Data Source (DSN) based on ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver

To get data from AzureBlobXmlFile using Power BI we first need to create a DSN (Data Source) which will access data from AzureBlobXmlFile. We will later be able to read data using Power BI. Perform these steps:

  1. Install ZappySys ODBC PowerPack.

  2. Open ODBC Data Sources (x64):
    Open ODBC Data Source

  3. Create a User Data Source (User DSN) based on ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver

    ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver
    Create new System DSN for ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver
    You should create a System DSN (instead of a User DSN) if the client application is launched under a Windows System Account, e.g. as a Windows Service. If the client application is 32-bit (x86) running with a System DSN, use ODBC Data Sources (32-bit) instead of the 64-bit version.
  4. Create and configure a connection for the Azure Blob storage account.

    Create Azure Blob Storage Connection
  5. You can use select your desired single file by clicking [...] path button.

    mybucket/dbo.tblNames.xml
    dbo.tblNames.xml
    Read Azure Blob XML File data


    ----------OR----------

    You can also read the multiple files stored in Azure Blob Storage using wildcard pattern supported e.g. dbo.tblNames*.xml.

    Note: If you want to operation with multiple files then use wild card pattern as below 
    (when you use wild card pattern in source path then system will treat target path as folder regardless you end with slash)
    
    mybucket/dbo.tblNames.xml (will read only single .XML file)
    mybucket/dbo.tbl*.xml (all files starting with file name)
    mybucket/*.xml (all files with .xml Extension and located under folder subfolder)
    

    mybucket/dbo.tblNames*.xml
    Use wildcard pattern .* to read multiple Azure Blob Files data


    ----------OR----------

    You can also read the zip and gzip compressed files also without extracting it in using Azure Blob XML Source File Task.

    mybucket/dbo.tblNames*.gz
    Reading zip and gzip compressed files (stream mode)
  6. Now select/enter Path expression in Path textbox to extract only specific part of XML string as below ($.value[*] will get content of value attribute from XML document. Value attribute is array of XML documents so we have to use [*] to indicate we want all records of that array)

    NOTE: Here, We are using our desired filter, but you need to select your desired filter based on your requirement.
    Go to Preview Tab.

    Azure Blob XML Driver Select Filter
  7. Navigate to the Preview Tab and let's explore the different modes available to access the data.

    1. --- Using Direct Query ---

      Click on Preview Tab, Select Table from Tables Dropdown and select [value] and click Preview.
      ZappySys ODBC Driver - Preview Data
    2. --- Using Stored Procedure ---

      Note : For this you have to Save ODBC Driver configuration and then again reopen to configure same driver. For more information click here.
      Click on the Custom Objects Tab, Click on Add button and select Add Procedure and Enter an appropriate name and Click on OK button to create.
      ZappySys ODBC Driver - Custom Objects
      1. --- Without Parameters ---

        Now Stored Procedure can be created with or without parameters (see example below). If you use parameters then Set default value otherwise it may fail to compilation)
        ZappySys ODBC Driver : Without Parameters
      2. --- With Parameters ---

        Note : Here you can use Placeholder with Paramters in Stored Procedure. Example : SELECT * FROM $ WHERE OrderID = '<@OrderID, FUN_TRIM>' or CustId = '<@CustId>' and Total >= '<@Total>'
        ZappySys ODBC Driver : With Parameters
    3. --- Using Virtual Table ---

      Note : For this you have to Save ODBC Driver configuration and then again reopen to configure same driver. For more information click here.

      ZappySys APi Drivers support flexible Query language so you can override Default Properties you configured on Data Source such as URL, Body. This way you don't have to create multiple Data Sources if you like to read data from multiple EndPoints. However not every application support supplying custom SQL to driver so you can only select Table from list returned from driver.

      Many applications like MS Access, Informatica Designer wont give you option to specify custom SQL when you import Objects. In such case Virtual Table is very useful. You can create many Virtual Tables on the same Data Source (e.g. If you have 50 Buckets with slight variations you can create virtual tables with just URL as Parameter setting).

      vt__Customers
      DataPath=mybucket_1/customers.xml
      
      vt__Orders
      DataPath=mybucket_2/orders.xml
      
      vt__Products
      DataPath=mybucket_3/products.xml
      
      1. Click on the Custom Objects Tab, Click on Add button and select Add Table and Enter an appropriate name and Click on OK button to create.
        ZappySys ODBC Driver - Custom Objects
      2. Once you see Query Builder Window on screen Configure it.
        ZappySys ODBC Driver - Custom Objects : Virtual Table Query Builder
      3. Click on Preview Tab, Select Virtual Table(prefix with vt__) from Tables Dropdown or write SQL query with Virtual Table name and click Preview.
        ZappySys ODBC Driver - Custom Objects : Virtual Table Query Execute

  8. Click OK to finish creating the data source

  9. That's it; we are done. In a few clicks we configured the to Read the Azure Blob XML File data using ZappySys Azure Blob XML File Connector

Read Azure Blob XML File data in Power BI from ODBC

  1. Once you open Power BI Desktop click Get Data to get data from ODBC:
    Power Bi Get Data

  2. A window opens, and then search for "odbc" to get data from ODBC data source:
    Power Bi ODBC Get Data

  3. Another window opens and asks to select a Data Source we already created. Choose AzureBlobXmlFileDSN and continue:

    AzureBlobXmlFileDSN
    Power Bi Select ZappySys Driver DSN

  4. Most likely, you will be asked to authenticate to a newly created DSN. Just select Windows authentication option together with Use my current credentials option:

    AzureBlobXmlFileDSN
    Power Bi DSN Authenticaation

  5. Finally, you will be asked to select a table or view to get data from. Select one and load the data!
    Power Bi Load DSN Table Data

  6. Finally, use data extracted from Azure Blob XML File API in Power BI reports:
    Power Bi Extracted DSN Table Data

Import Azure Blob XML File data into Power BI from SQL Query

If you wish to import Azure Blob XML File data from SQL query rather than selecting table name then you can use advanced options during import steps (as below). After selecting DSN you can click on advanced options to see SQL Query editor.

Import Azure Blob XML File data into Power BI using SQL Query (ODBC Data source)

Import Azure Blob XML File data into Power BI using SQL Query (ODBC Data source)

If you type invalid SQL, Power BI may revert to table mode rather than import from Query. Make sure you do not use "$" it as a table name in SELECT...FROM $. You can use "_root_" instead (e.g., SELECT .. FROM _root_). Consider using Custom Object to wrap custom SQL in a Virtual Table. This way, you can see a virtual table in Table mode where you can import multiple objects using the same connection rather than creating a new connection for each custom SQL.

Edit Query / Using Parameters in Power BI (Dynamic Query)

In the real world, many values of your REST / SOAP API call may be coming from Parameters. If that's the case for you can try to edit script manually as below. In below example its calling SQL Query with POST method and passing some parameters. Notice below where paraAPIKey is Power BI Parameter (string type). You can use parameters anywhere in your script just like the normal variable.

Import Azure Blob XML File in Power BI - Using parameters in SQL Query (Edit code - Advanced Mode)

 

let
    vKey=paraAPIKey,
    Source = Odbc.Query(
    "dsn=ZS-OData Customers", 
    "SELECT * FROM value WITH (SRC='http://httpbin.org/post'," 
    & "METHOD='POST'," 
    & "HEADER='Content-Type:application/json'," 
    & "BODY=@'{""CallerId"":1111, ""ApiKey"":""" & vKey & """}')")
in
Source

Edit Query Settings after Import

There will be a time you need to change initial Query after dataset import in Power BI. Not to worry, just follow these steps to edit your SQL.

Edit Power BI Data Source SQL after SOAP Web Service Import

Edit Power BI Data Source SQL after REST / SOAP Web Service Import

Using DirectQuery Option rather than Import

So far we have seen how to Import Azure Blob XML File data into Power BI but what if you have too much data and you dont want to import but link it. Power BI Offers very useful feature for this scenario. Its called DirectQuery Option. In this section we will explore how to use DirectQuery along with ZappySys Drivers. Out of the box ZappySys Drivers wont work in ODBC Connection Mode so you have to use SQL Server Connection rather than ODBC if you wish to use Live data using DirectQuery option. See below step by step instructions to enable DirectQuery mode in Power BI for Azure Blob XML File data. Basically we will use ZappySys Data Gateway its part of ODBC PowerPack. We will then use Linked Server in SQL Server to Link API Service and then we will issue OPENROWSET queries from Power BI to SQL Server and it will then call Azure Blob XML File via ZappySys Data Gateway.

Step-By-Step - How to query Azure Blob XML File API in SQL Server

  1. First read this article carefully, How to query Azure Blob XML File API in SQL Server.
  2. Once linked server is configured we are ready to issue API query in Power BI.
  3. Click Get Data in Power BI, select SQL Server Database
  4. Enter your server name and any database name
  5. Select Mode as DirectQuery
  6. Click on Advanced and enter query like below (we are assuming you have created Azure Blob XML File Data Source in Data Gateway and defined linked server (Change name below).
    Select * from OPENQUERY([AZURE BLOB XML FILE_LINKED_SERVER],'SELECT * FROM Customers')
    Select * from OPENQUERY(
    [AZURE BLOB XML FILE_LINKED_SERVER],
    'SELECT * FROM Customers'
    )
    DirectQuery option for Power BI (Read Azure Blob XML File Data Example using SQL Server Linked Server and ZappySys Data Gateway)


    DirectQuery option for Power BI (Read Azure Blob XML File Data Example using SQL Server Linked Server and ZappySys Data Gateway)

  7. Click OK and Load data ... That's it. Now your Azure Blob XML File API data is linked rather than imported.

Working with Gateways in Power BI (Schedule Import)

If the data needs to be updated, it is necessary to create a gateway on-premises. In this new section, we will install a Power BI Gateway and in the next section schedule it to update the Azure Blob XML File information.
  1. In the last section, we Published the report. Power BI may ask you to SIGN IN.
    Sign in Power BI

    Sign in Power BI

  2. Select the Workspace and select Datasets
    Go do workspace and select dataset

    Go to workspace and dataset

  3. Right-click the report and select Settings.
    Define settings for Power BI report

    Specify settings for the report

  4. The system will ask for a Gateway. Stay here.
    add power bi gateway

    Add Power BI Gateway

  5. Use the following link to install a Data Gateway:
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/service-gateway-onprem
  6. Run the installer and press Next
    Initial gateway window for installation

    Gateway installer

  7. Select the option On-premises data gateway (recommended). This option allows access to multiple users and can be used by more applications than Power BI.
    Choose Power BI gateway

    Choose Power BI option

  8. The installer will show a warning message.
    Warning message gateway installation

    Warning message during installation

  9. Select the path to install and check the I accept the terms.
    accept terms

    Accept terms

  10. Specify the email address to use the gateway.
    Register email in gateway installation

    Register email address

  11. After entering the email, write the gateway name and a recovery key. Make sure to confirm the recovery key.
    Specify name and recovery key

    Enter recovery key

Manage gateways and configure the schedule

Once that the gateway is installed we will configure it and add the connection strings.
  1. The next step is to go to manage gateway
    Power BI - Manage Gateway Setting

    Power BI - Manage Gateway Setting

  2. In order to get the connection string, we will need the connection string of the ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver. In the first section of this post, we explained how to configure it. Press Copy Connection String
    ZappySys connection properties

    Connection properties

  3. Once that the data is copied, add a New data Source. In Data Source Name, enter the Data Source Name of the ZappySys Azure Blob XML Driver in step 13 and in Data Source Type, select ODBC. In connection string copy and paste from the clipboard of the step 13 and press Add.
    Zappy connection properties

    ZappySys connection properties in Power BI

  4. Once added the gateway. You can see the schedule refresh to On and Add another time to add the time where you want to refresh the data.
    Schedule gateway

    Schedule gateway

Create Custom Store Procedure in ZappySys Driver

You can create procedures to encapsulate custom logic and then only pass handful parameters rather than long SQL to execute your API call.

Steps to create Custom Store Procedure in ZappySys Driver. You can insert Placeholders anywhere inside Procedure Body. Read more about placeholders here

  1. Go to Custom Objects Tab and Click on Add button and Select Add Procedure:
    ZappySys Driver - Add Store Procedure

  2. Enter the desired Procedure name and click on OK:
    ZappySys Driver - Add Store Procedure Name

  3. Select the created Store Procedure and write the your desired store procedure and Save it and it will create the custom store procedure in the ZappySys Driver:
    Here is an example stored procedure for ZappySys Driver. You can insert Placeholders anywhere inside Procedure Body. Read more about placeholders here

    CREATE PROCEDURE [usp_get_orders]
        @fromdate = '<<yyyy-MM-dd,FUN_TODAY>>'
     AS
        SELECT * FROM Orders where OrderDate >= '<@fromdate>';
    

    ZappySys Driver - Create Custom Store Procedure

  4. That's it now go to Preview Tab and Execute your Store Procedure using Exec Command. In this example it will extract the orders from the date 1996-01-01:

    Exec usp_get_orders '1996-01-01';

    ZappySys Driver - Execute Custom Store Procedure

  5. Let's generate the SQL Server Query Code to make the API call using store procedure. Go to Code Generator Tab, select language as SQL Server and click on Generate button the generate the code.
    As we already created the linked server for this Data Source, in that you just need to copy the Select Query and need to use the linked server name which we have apply on the place of [MY_API_SERVICE] placeholder.

    SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY([MY_API_SERVICE], 'EXEC usp_get_orders @fromdate=''1996-07-30''')

    ZappySys Driver - Generate SQL Server Query

  6. Now go to SQL served and execute that query and it will make the API call using store procedure and provide you the response.
    ZappySys Driver - Generate SQL Server Query

Create Custom Virtual Table in ZappySys Driver

ZappySys API Drivers support flexible Query language so you can override Default Properties you configured on Data Source such as URL, Body. This way you don't have to create multiple Data Sources if you like to read data from multiple EndPoints. However not every application support supplying custom SQL to driver so you can only select Table from list returned from driver.

If you're dealing with Microsoft Access and need to import data from an SQL query, it's important to note that Access doesn't allow direct import of SQL queries. Instead, you can create custom objects (Virtual Tables) to handle the import process.

Many applications like MS Access, Informatica Designer wont give you option to specify custom SQL when you import Objects. In such case Virtual Table is very useful. You can create many Virtual Tables on the same Data Source (e.g. If you have 50 URLs with slight variations you can create virtual tables with just URL as Parameter setting.

  1. Go to Custom Objects Tab and Click on Add button and Select Add Table:
    ZappySys Driver - Add Table

  2. Enter the desired Table name and click on OK:
    ZappySys Driver - Add Table Name

  3. And it will open the New Query Window Click on Cancel to close that window and go to Custom Objects Tab.

  4. Select the created table, Select Text Type AS SQL and write the your desired SQL Query and Save it and it will create the custom table in the ZappySys Driver:
    Here is an example SQL query for ZappySys Driver. You can insert Placeholders also. Read more about placeholders here

    SELECT
      "ShipCountry",
      "OrderID",
      "CustomerID",
      "EmployeeID",
      "OrderDate",
      "RequiredDate",
      "ShippedDate",
      "ShipVia",
      "Freight",
      "ShipName",
      "ShipAddress",
      "ShipCity",
      "ShipRegion",
      "ShipPostalCode"
    FROM "Orders"
    Where "ShipCountry"='USA'

    ZappySys Driver - Create Custom Table

  5. That's it now go to Preview Tab and Execute your custom virtual table query. In this example it will extract the orders for the USA Shipping Country only:

    SELECT * FROM "vt__usa_orders_only"

    ZappySys Driver - Execute Custom Virtual Table Query

  6. Let's generate the SQL Server Query Code to make the API call using store procedure. Go to Code Generator Tab, select language as SQL Server and click on Generate button the generate the code.
    As we already created the linked server for this Data Source, in that you just need to copy the Select Query and need to use the linked server name which we have apply on the place of [MY_API_SERVICE] placeholder.

    SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY([MY_API_SERVICE], 'EXEC [usp_get_orders] ''1996-01-01''')

    ZappySys Driver - Generate SQL Server Query

  7. Now go to SQL served and execute that query and it will make the API call using store procedure and provide you the response.
    ZappySys Driver - Generate SQL Server Query

Conclusion

In this article we discussed how to connect to Azure Blob XML File in Power BI and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download Azure Blob XML File Connector for Power BI and try yourself see how easy it is. If you still have any question(s) then ask here or simply click on live chat icon below and ask our expert (see bottom-right corner of this page).

Download Azure Blob XML File Connector for Power BI Documentation 


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