JSON File Connector for Power BI

In this article you will learn how to integrate JSON File data in Power BI without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to JSON File). JSON File Connector can be used to extract and output JSON data stored in local files or direct JSON String (variables or DB columns). JSON Connector also supports JSONPath to filter data from nested array/sub-documents. This Connector is optimized to work with very large files..

Using JSON 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  Documentation 

Video Tutorial - Integrate JSON File data in Power BI

This video covers following and more so watch carefully. After watching this video follow the steps described in this article.

  • How to download / install required driver for JSON File integration in Power BI
  • How to configure connection for JSON File
  • Features about JSON Driver (Authentication / Query Language / Examples / Driver UI)
  • Using JSON File Connection in Power BI

Create ODBC Data Source (DSN) based on ZappySys JSON Driver

To get data from JsonFile using Power BI we first need to create a DSN (Data Source) which will access data from JsonFile. 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 API Driver

    ZappySys API Driver
    Create new User DSN for ZappySys API 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. 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.json (will read only single reponse.json file)
    C:\SSIS\Test\j*.json (all files starting with file name)
    C:\SSIS\Test\*.json (all files with .json Extension and located under folder subfolder)
    

  5. Now enter JSONPath expression in Array Filter textbox to extract only specific part of JSON file as below ($.value[*] will get content of value attribute from JSON document. Value attribute is array of JSON 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.


    Click on Test Connection button to view whether the Test Connection is SUCCESSFUL or Not.

    $.value[*]
    ZappySys ODBC Driver - Configure JSON 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 JSON Driver

  7. Click OK to finish creating the data source

  8. That's it; we are done. In a few clicks we configured the call to JSON File using ZappySys JSON File Connector

Read JSON File data in Power BI using 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 JsonFileDSN and continue:

    JsonFileDSN
    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:

    JsonFileDSN
    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, finally, use extracted data from JSON File in a Power BI report:
    Power Bi Extracted DSN Table Data

Import JSON File data into Power BI from SQL Query

If you wish to import JSON 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 JSON File data into Power BI using SQL Query (ODBC Data source)

Import JSON 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 JSON 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 JSON 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 JSON 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 JSON File via ZappySys Data Gateway.

Step-By-Step - How to query JSON File API in SQL Server

  1. First read this article carefully, How to query JSON 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 JSON File Data Source in Data Gateway and defined linked server (Change name below).
    Select * from OPENQUERY([JSON FILE_LINKED_SERVER],'SELECT * FROM Customers')
    Select * from OPENQUERY(
    [JSON FILE_LINKED_SERVER],
    'SELECT * FROM Customers'
    )
    DirectQuery option for Power BI (Read JSON File Data Example using SQL Server Linked Server and ZappySys Data Gateway)


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

  7. Click OK and Load data ... That's it. Now your JSON 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 JSON 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 JSON 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 JSON 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 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 JSON File in Power BI and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download JSON 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 JSON File Connector for Power BI Documentation 


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