SOAP API Connector for Power BI

In this article you will learn how to integrate SOAP API data in Power BI without coding in just a few clicks (live / bi-directional connection to SOAP API). SOAP Connector can be used to consume data from XML SOAP Service without any programming. It supports advanced filtering along with flexible approach to configure request parameters for web service..

Using SOAP API 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 SOAP API 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 SOAP API integration in Power BI
  • How to configure connection for SOAP API
  • Features about XML Driver (Authentication / Query Language / Examples / Driver UI)
  • Using SOAP API Connection in Power BI

What is SOAP Web Service?

If you are new to SOAP Web Service sometimes referred as XML Web Service then please read some concept about SOAP Web service standard from this link

There are two important aspects in SOAP Web service.

  1. Getting WSDL file or URL
  2. Knowing exact Web Service URL

What is WSDL

In very simple term WSDL (often pronounced as whiz-dull) is nothing but a document which describes Service metadata (e.g. Functions you can call, Request parameters, response structure etc). Some service simply give you WSDL as xml file you can download on local machine and then analyze or sometimes you may get direct URL (e.g. http://api.mycompany.com/hr-soap-service/?wsdl )

What is Service URL

Service URL is actual API URL you can call to get data. When you make a request to SOAP service url make sure following things.

  1. Use correct service URL (Its not same as WSDL url). If you are not sure about service URL contact API vendor or refer API documentation.
  2. Each service call you have to supply function you want to call. This can be done in 3 different ways.
    1. Pass via SOAPAction HTTP Header
    2. Pass via Url parameter or Url Path (http://myserver/service/function1  — http://myserver/service/?method=function1 )
    3. Pass via Request BODY
  3. Find out how to pass credentials. It can be done via Basic Authorization or WSS Security Header in the Request body. Check this link to learn more

Using SoapUI to test SOAP API call / Create Request Body XML

If you do not have WSDL file or URL handy then contact your API provider (sometimes you just have to add ?wsdl at the end of your Service URL to get WSDL so try that. Example: http://mycompany/myservice?wsdl ). If you don't know what is WSDL then in short, WSDL is Web service Description Language (i.e. XML file which describes your SOAP Service). WSDL helps to craft SOAP API request Body for ZappySys XML Driver. So Let's get started.

  1. Download and Install SoapUI (It’s a Free tool to test SOAP / REST Services)
  2. Open SoapUI and click SOAP button to create new SOAP Project
  3. Enter WSDL URL or File Path of WSDLFor example WSDL for our sample service can be accessed via this URL
    http://www.holidaywebservice.com/HolidayService_v2/HolidayService2.asmx?wsdl
    Create new SOAP API Project in SoapUI tool for SOAP API Testing
    Create new SOAP API Project in SoapUI tool for SOAP API Testing
  4. Once WSDL is loaded you will see possible operations you can call for your SOAP Web Service.
  5. If your web service requires credentials then you have to configure it. There are two common credential types for public services (SOAP WSS or BASIC )
    1. To use SOAP WSS Credentials select request node and enter UserId, Password, and WSS-PasswordType (PasswordText or PasswordHash)
      Configure SOAP WSS Credentials for SoapUI (SOAP API Testing Tool)
      Configure SOAP WSS Credentials for SoapUI (SOAP API Testing Tool)
    2. To use BASIC Auth Credentials select request node and double-click it. At the bottom click on Auth (Basic) and From Authorization dropdown click Add New and Select Basic. Configure Basic Authorization for SoapUI (SOAP API Testing Tool)
      Configure Basic Authorization for SoapUI (SOAP API Testing Tool)
  6. Now you can test your request first Double-click on the request node to open request editor.
  7. Change necessary parameters, remove optional or unwanted parameters. If you want to regenerate request you can click on Recreate default request toolbar icon. Create SOAP Request XML (With Optional Parameters)
    Create SOAP Request XML (With Optional Parameters)
  8. Once your SOAP Request XML is ready, Click the Play button in the toolbar to execute SOAP API Request and Response will appear in Right side panel. Test SOAP API using SoapUI Tool (Change Default XML Body / Parameters, Execute and See Response)
    Test SOAP API using SoapUI Tool (Change Default XML Body / Parameters, Execute and See Response)

Once you have tested your SOAP API in SoapUI tool, we are ready to use ZappySys SSIS Tasks/Components or ODBC Drivers to call SOAP API in SSIS or your preferred BI tool or Programming language.

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

To get data from Soapapi using Power BI we first need to create a DSN (Data Source) which will access data from Soapapi. 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. Configure API URL, Request Method and Request Body as below screen. Select Url or File and paste the following Url for this example OR you can load existing connection string as per this article.

    NOTE: Here i am using demo SOAP API URL, but you need to refer your own API documentation and based on that you need to use your own API URL and need to configure connection based on API Authentication type.
    http://www.holidaywebservice.com/HolidayService_v2/HolidayService2.asmx?wsdl

    ZappySys XML Driver - Calling SOAP API - Configure URL, Method, Body
    ZappySys XML Driver - Calling SOAP API - Configure URL, Method, Body

  5. (This step is Optional) If your SOAP API requires credentials then Select Connection Type to HTTP and configure as below.

    ZappySys XML Driver - Configure SOAP WSS Credentials or Basic Authorization (Userid, Password)
    ZappySys XML Driver - Configure SOAP WSS Credentials or Basic Authorization (Userid, Password)

  6. Configure-Request Headers as below (You can get it from Request > Raw tab from SoapUI after you test the request by clicking the Play button)

    Configure SOAP API Request Headers - ZappySys XML Driver
    Configure SOAP API Request Headers - ZappySys XML Driver

  7. Once credentials entered you can select Filter to extract data from the desired node. Make sure to select array node (see special icon) or select the node which contains all necessary columns if you don't have array node.

    Select Filter - Extract data from nested XML / SOAP API Response (Denormalize Hierarchy)
    Select Filter - Extract data from nested XML / SOAP API Response (Denormalize Hierarchy)

  8. If prompted select yes to treat selected node as Array (This is helpful when you expect one or more record for selected node)

    Treat selected node as XML Array Option for SOAP API Response XML
    Treat selected node as XML Array Option for SOAP API Response XML

  9. Once the data source has been configured, Go to Preview tab and click on preview data to view the data.
    You can create the default query, generated based on settings you entered in previous sections also, by using Query Builder. Attributes listed in WITH clause are optional. If you omit attribute in WITH clause it will use it from Properties tab.

    Preview SOAP API Response in ZappySys XML Driver
    Preview SOAP API Response in ZappySys XML Driver

  10. Click OK to finish creating the data source.

  11. That's it; we are done. In a few clicks we configured the call to SOAP API using ZappySys SOAP Connector.

Read SOAP API 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 SoapapiDSN and continue:

    SoapapiDSN
    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:

    SoapapiDSN
    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 SOAP API in a Power BI report:
    Power Bi Extracted DSN Table Data

Import SOAP API data into Power BI from SQL Query

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

Import SOAP API 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 SOAP API 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 SOAP API 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 SOAP API 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 SOAP API via ZappySys Data Gateway.

Step-By-Step - How to query SOAP API API in SQL Server

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


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

  7. Click OK and Load data ... That's it. Now your SOAP API 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 SOAP API 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 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 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

Configuring pagination in the XML Driver

ZappySys XML 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 XML 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 SOAP API in Power BI and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download SOAP API 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 SOAP API Connector for Power BI Documentation 


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Download SOAP API Connector for Power BI Documentation 

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