CSV Connector for Tableau

In this article you will learn how to integrate CSV data in Tableau without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to CSV). CSV Connector can be used to extract and output CSV data from Web URL/REST API web service calls (Web URL) or direct CSV String (variables or DB columns) or local CSV files data..

Using CSV Connector you will be able to connect, read, and write data from within Tableau. Follow the steps below to see how we would accomplish that.

Download  Documentation 

Create Data Source in ZappySys Data Gateway based on ZappySys CSV Driver

  1. Download and install ZappySys ODBC PowerPack.

  2. Search for gateway in start menu and Open ZappySys Data Gateway:
    Open ZappySys Data Gateway

  3. Go to Users Tab to add our first Gateway user. Click Add; we will give it a name tdsuser and enter password you like to give. Check Admin option and click OK to save. We will use these details later when we create linked server:
    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add User

  4. Now we are ready to add a data source. Click Add, give data source a name (Copy this name somewhere, we will need it later) and then select Native - ZappySys CSV Driver. Finally, click OK. And it will create the Data Set for it and open the ZS driver UI.

    CSVDSN
    Native - ZappySys CSV Driver
    ZappySys Data Gateway - Add CSV Data Source

  5. Select Url or File.

    Read CSV API in Tableau

    • Paste the following Url. In this example, We are using Zip format CSV File URL, but you need to refer your CSV File/URL.

      https://zappysys.com/downloads/files/test/cust-1.csv.zip
      Click on Test Connection button to view whether the Test Connection is SUCCESSFUL or Not. ZappySys ODBC Driver - Configure CSV Driver

    Read CSV File in Tableau

    • You can use pass single file or multiple file path using wildcard pattern in path and you can use select single file by clicking [...] path button or multiple file using wildcard pattern in path.

      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)
      
      C:\SSIS\Test\reponse.csv (will read only single reponse.csv file)
      C:\SSIS\Test\j*.csv (all files starting with file name j)
      C:\SSIS\Test\*.csv (all files with .csv Extension and located under folder subfolder)
      
      Click on Test Connection button to view whether the Test Connection is SUCCESSFUL or Not. ZappySys ODBC Driver - Configure CSV Driver

  6. Once you configured a data source, you can preview data. Hit Preview tab, and use similar settings to preview data:
    ZappySys ODBC Driver - Preview CSV Driver

  7. Click OK to finish creating the data source

  8. That's it; we are done. In a few clicks we configured the read the CSV data using ZappySys CSV Connector.

Read data in SQL Server from the ZappySys Data Gateway

  1. To read the data in SQL Server the first thing you have to do is create a Linked Server. Go to SQL Server Management Studio and configure it in a similar way:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server

  2. Then click on Security option and configure username we created in ZappySys Data Gateway in one of the previous steps:
    SSMS SQL Server Configure Linked Server User Name

  3. Optional: Under the Server Options, Enable RPC and RPC Out and Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).

    RPC and MSDTC Settings

    You need to enable RPC Out if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME] rather than OPENQUERY.
    If don't enabled it, you will encounter the Server 'MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME' is not configured for RPC error.

    Query Example:

    EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]


    If you plan to use 'INSERT INTO...EXEC(....) AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]' in that case you need to Disable Promotion of Distributed Transactions(MSDTC).
    If don't disabled it, you will encounter the The operation could not be performed because OLE DB provider "SQLNCLI11" for linked server "MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME" was unable to begin a distributed transaction. error.

    Query Example:

    Insert Into dbo.Products
     EXEC('Select * from Products') AT [MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME]
    


  4. Finally, open a new query and execute a query we saved in one of the previous steps:

    SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY([MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME], 'SELECT * FROM Products');

    SSMS SQL Server Query Data Results

Create Linked Server using Code

In previous section you saw how to create a Linked Server from UI. You can do similar action by code too (see below). Run below script after changing necessary parameters. Assuming your Data Source name on ZappySys Data Gateway UI is 'CsvDSN'

    USE [master]
    GO
    --///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    --Run below code in SSMS to create Linked Server and use ZappySys Drivers in SQL Server
    --///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    //Replace YOUR_GATEWAY_USER, YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD
    //Replace localhost with IP/Machine name if ZappySys Gateway Running on different machine other than SQL Server
    //Replace Port 5000 if you configured gateway on a different port


    --1. Configure your gateway service as per this article https://zappysys.com/links?id=10036
    
    --2. Make sure you have SQL Server Installed. You can download FREE SQL Server Express Edition from here if you dont want to buy Paid version https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-editions-express

    --Uncomment below if you like to drop linked server if it already exists
    --EXEC master.dbo.sp_dropserver @server=N'LS_CsvDSN', @droplogins='droplogins'

    --3. Create new linked server
    
    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedserver
      @server = N'LS_CsvDSN'  --Linked server name (this will be used in OPENQUERY sql
    , @srvproduct=N''
    , @provider=N'SQLNCLI11'
    , @datasrc=N'localhost,5000' --//Machine / Port where Gateway service is running
    , @provstr=N'Network Library=DBMSSOCN;'
    , @catalog=N'CsvDSN' --Data source name you gave on Gateway service settings

    --4. Attach gateway login with linked server

    EXEC master.dbo.sp_addlinkedsrvlogin
      @rmtsrvname=N'LS_CsvDSN'  --linked server name
    , @useself=N'False'
    , @locallogin=NULL
    , @rmtuser=N'YOUR_GATEWAY_USER' --enter your Gateway user name
    , @rmtpassword='YOUR_GATEWAY_PASSWORD'  --enter your Gateway user's password
    GO

    --5. Enable RPC OUT (This is Optional - Only needed if you plan to use EXEC(...) AT YourLinkedServerName rather than OPENQUERY
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_CsvDSN', 'rpc', true;
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_CsvDSN', 'rpc out', true;

    --Disable MSDTC - Below needed to support INSERT INTO from EXEC AT statement
    EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_CsvDSN', 'remote proc transaction promotion', false;
    
    --Increase query timeout if query is going to take longer than 10 mins (Default timeout is 600 seconds)
    --EXEC sp_serveroption 'LS_CsvDSN', 'query timeout', 1200;
    GO

Create View in SQL Server

Finally, use this or similar query in a view or stored procedure, which you will be able to use in Tableau. We will create a view to return invoices:

  1. CREATE VIEW vwApiInvoices AS
     SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY([MY_LINKED_SERVER_NAME], 'SELECT * FROM Invoices')

Read data in Tableau from SQL Server

Actually, we will be getting data from SQL Server which in turn will be getting data from ZappySys Data Gateway data source. Let's begin and see how to accomplish that:

  1. Open Tableau Desktop and click File > New
  2. To create new Connection click More > Microsoft SQL Server > Enter your credentials to connect to SQL Server (in our example before we used tdsuser): Tableau connect to SQL Server
  3. Once connection is created for SQL Server we can read CSV data 3 different ways:
    1. Query View which contains OPENQUERY to Linked Server for CSV data
    2. Use direct SQL Query using OPENQUERY
    3. Use Stored Procedure (Mostly useful to parameterize calls
  4. See below example to pull data from CSV in Tableau using SQL View approach: Create data source in Tableau
  5. Once your data sources are created you can click on Sheet1 and drag fields to create visualizations for Tableau Dashboard: Create data source in Tableau

Passing Parameters to CSV calls in Tableau (Dynamic SQL)

Now let's look at scenario where you have to pass parameters to build Dynamic Dashboard. You can try to insert Parameters in your Direct SQL when you build Dynamic SQL but we found some issues with that so we are going to suggest Stored Procedure approach. For more information on Known issue on Dynamic Metadata Check this post.
  1. First lets create a stored procedure in SQL Server for Parameter Example. Notice how we added WITH RESULT SETS in the code to describe metadata.
    --DROP PROC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry
    --GO
    /*
    Purpose: Parameterize CSV call via SQL. Call ZappySys Drivers inside SQL Server.
    */
    CREATE PROC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry
    	@country varchar(100) 
    AS 
    
    DECLARE @sql varchar(max)
    --//Escape single ticks carefully
    SET @sql =  'SELECT OrderID,CustomerID,Country,Quantity FROM $
    WITH (Src=''https://services.odata.org/V3/Northwind/Northwind.svc/Invoices?$format=json@filter=Country eq '+ @country +'''
    	 ,Filter=''$.value[*]''
    	 ,DataFormat=''OData''
    )'
    
    DECLARE @sqlFull varchar(max)
    SET @sqlFull='SELECT * FROM OPENQUERY( [LS] , ''' + REPLACE( @sql, '''', '''''' ) + ''' )'
    PRINT @sqlFull --//For DEBUG purpose
    
    EXECUTE (@sqlFull) 
    WITH RESULT SETS ( 
     (OrderID int,CustomerID varchar(100),Country varchar(100),Quantity int) --//describe first result. If you don't do this then wont work in Tableau 
    )
    GO
    -- Example call
    EXEC dbo.usp_GetInvoicesByCountry @country='Germany'
  2. Once you create a stored procedure go to Tableau datasource and select Database which contains the stored procedure we just created.
  3. Now find your stored proc and drag it on the datasource pane. You will see parameters UI as below. You can create new parameter - Select New Parameter under Value Column. Parameterize Tableau CSV datasource (Stored Procedure Parameters)
  4. Thats it now you can reuse your parameterized datasource anywhere in Dashboard.
  5. If you have need to select Parameters from predefined values rather than free text then edit your parameter and select List option. Define values you like to select from as below. Allow Tableau Parameter selection from multiple values
  6. When you create Tableau Dashboard you will see Parameter dropdown (If you selected List) elase you may see Textbox to enter custom value. Tableau Dashboard Example - REST API Source with Parameterized Datasource

Firewall settings

So far we have assumed that Gateway is running on the same machine as SQL Server. However there will be a case when ZappySys ODBC PowerPack is installed on a different machine than SQL Server. In such case you may have to perform additional Firewall configurations. On most computers firewall settings wont allow outside traffic to ZappySys Data Gateway. In such case perform following steps to allow other machines to connect to Gateway.

Method-1 (Preferred)

If you are using newer version of ZappySys Data Gateway then adding firewall rule is just a single click.

  1. Search for gateway in start menu and open ZappySys Data Gateway.
  2. Go to Firewall Tab and click Add Firewall Rule button like below. This will create Firewall rule to all Inbound Traffic on Port 5000 (Unless you changed it). Allow Inbound Traffic - Add Firewall Rule for ZappySys Data Gateway

Method-2 Here is another way to add / edit Inbound Traffic rule in windows firewall. Use below method if you choose to customize your rule (for advanced users).
  1. Search for Windows Firewall Advanced Security in start menu.
  2. Under Inbound Rules > Right click and click [New Rule] >> Click Next
  3. Select Port on Rule Type >> Click Next
  4. Click on TCP and enter port number under specified local port as 5000 (use different one if you changed Default port) >> Click Next
  5. Select Profile (i.e. Private, Public) >> Click Next
  6. Enter Rule name [i.e. ZappySys Data Gateway – Allow Inbound ] >> Click Next
  7. Click OK to save the rule
SQL Server Firewall Allow Inbound Data Gateway

Configuring pagination in the CSV Driver

ZappySys CSV Driver equips users with powerful tools for seamless data extraction and management from REST APIs, leveraging advanced pagination methods for enhanced efficiency. These options are designed to handle various types of pagination structures commonly used in APIs. Below are the detailed descriptions of these options:

  1. Page-based Pagination: This method works by retrieving data in fixed-size pages from the Rest API. It allows you to specify the page size and navigate through the results by requesting different page numbers, ensuring that you can access all the data in a structured manner.

  2. Offset-based Pagination: With this approach, you can extract data by specifying the starting point or offset from which to begin retrieving data. It allows you to define the number of records to skip and fetch subsequent data accordingly, providing precise control over the data extraction process.

  3. Cursor-based Pagination: This technique involves using a cursor or a marker that points to a specific position in the dataset. It enables you to retrieve data starting from the position indicated by the cursor and proceed to subsequent segments, ensuring that you capture all the relevant information without missing any records.

  4. Token-based Pagination: In this method, a token serves as a unique identifier for a specific data segment. It allows you to access the next set of data by using the token provided in the response from the previous request. This ensures that you can systematically retrieve all the data segments without duplication or omission.

Utilizing these comprehensive pagination features in the ZappySys CSV Driver facilitates efficient data management and extraction from REST APIs, optimizing the integration and analysis of extensive datasets.

For more detailed steps, please refer to this link: How to do REST API Pagination in SSIS / ODBC Drivers

ZappySys Authentication

ZappySys offers various authentication methods to securely access data from various sources. These authentication methods include OAuth, Basic Authentication, Token-based Authentication, and more, allowing users to connect to a wide range of data sources securely.

ZappySys Authentication is a robust system that facilitates secure access to data from a diverse range of sources. It includes a variety of authentication methods tailored to meet the specific requirements of different data platforms and services. These authentication methods may involve:

  1. OAuth: ZappySys supports OAuth for authentication, which allows users to grant limited access to their data without revealing their credentials. It's commonly used for applications that require access to user account information.

  2. Basic Authentication: This method involves sending a username and password with every request. ZappySys allows users to securely access data using this traditional authentication approach.

  3. Token-based Authentication: ZappySys enables users to utilize tokens for authentication. This method involves exchanging a unique token with each request to authenticate the user's identity without revealing sensitive information.

By implementing these authentication methods, ZappySys ensures the secure and reliable retrieval of data from various sources, providing users with the necessary tools to access and integrate data securely and efficiently. For more comprehensive details on the authentication process, please refer to the official ZappySys documentation or reach out to their support team for further assistance.

For more details, please refer to this link: ZappySys Connections

Create Custom Stored 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 Stored 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 Stored Procedure

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

  3. Select the created Stored Procedure and write the your desired stored procedure and Save it and it will create the custom stored 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 Stored Procedure

  4. That's it now go to Preview Tab and Execute your Stored 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 Stored Procedure

  5. Let's generate the SQL Server Query Code to make the API call using stored 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 stored 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 stored 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 stored procedure and provide you the response.
    ZappySys Driver - Generate SQL Server Query

Conclusion

In this article we discussed how to connect to CSV in Tableau and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download CSV Connector for Tableau 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 CSV Connector for Tableau Documentation 


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