Tableau XML File Connector
In this article you will learn how to integrate
Using XML File 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.
Driver mentioned in this article is part of ODBC PowerPack which is a collection of high-performance Drivers for various API data source (i.e. REST API, JSON, XML, CSV, Amazon S3 and many more). Using familiar SQL query language you can make live connections and read/write data from API sources or JSON / XML / CSV Files inside SQL Server (T-SQL) or your favorite Reporting (i.e. Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, SSRS, MicroStrategy, Excel, MS Access), ETL Tools (i.e. Informatica, Talend, Pentaho, SSIS). You can also call our drivers from programming languages such as JAVA, C#, Python, PowerShell etc.
If you are new to ODBC and ZappySys ODBC PowerPack then check the following links to get started.
Create Data Source in ZappySys Data Gateway based on ZappySys XML Driver
Download and install ZappySys ODBC PowerPack.
Search for gateway in start menu and Open ZappySys Data Gateway:
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:
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 XML Driver. Finally, click OK.
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.xml (will read only single reponse.xml file) C:\SSIS\Test\j*.xml (all files starting with file name j) C:\SSIS\Test\*.xml (all files with .xml Extension and located under folder subfolder)
Now enter Path expression in Array Filter textbox to extract only specific part of XML file as below ($.feed.entry[*] will get content of entry attribute from XML document. Entry attribute is array of XML documents so we have to use [*] to indicate we want all records of that array)
NOTE: Here, We are using our desired filter, but you need to select your desired filter based on your requirement.
Click on Test Connection button to view whether the Test Connection is SUCCESSFUL or Not.$.feed.entry[*]
Once you configured a data source, you can preview data. Hit Preview tab, and use similar settings to preview data:
Click OK to finish creating the data source.
That's it; we are done. In a few clicks we configured the call to XML File using ZappySys XML File Connector.
Read data in SQL Server from the ZappySys Data Gateway data source
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:
Then click on Security option and configure username we created in ZappySys Data Gateway in one of the previous steps:
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');
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:
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:
- Open Tableau Desktop and click File > New
- To create new Connection click More > Microsoft SQL Server > Enter your credentials to connect to SQL Server (in our example before we used tdsuser):
Once connection is created for SQL Server we can read REST API data 3 different ways:
- Query View which contains OPENQUERY to Linked Server for REST API data
- Use direct SQL Query using OPENQUERY
- Use Stored Procedure (Mostly useful to parameterize calls
- See below example to pull data from REST API in Tableau using SQL View approach:
- Once your data sources are created you can click on Sheet1 and drag fields to create visualizations for Tableau Dashboard:
Passing Parameters to REST API 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.
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 REST API 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'
- Once you create a stored procedure go to Tableau datasource and select Database which contains the stored procedure we just created.
- 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.
- Thats it now you can reuse your parameterized datasource anywhere in Dashboard.
- 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.
- When you create Tableau Dashboard you will see Parameter dropdown (If you selected List) elase you may see Textbox to enter custom value.
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.
- Search for gateway in start menu and open ZappySys Data Gateway.
- 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).
- Search for Windows Firewall Advanced Security in start menu.
- Under Inbound Rules > Right click and click [New Rule] >> Click Next
- Select Port on Rule Type >> Click Next
- Click on TCP and enter port number under specified local port as 5000 (use different one if you changed Default port) >> Click Next
- Select Profile (i.e. Private, Public) >> Click Next
- Enter Rule name [i.e. ZappySys Data Gateway – Allow Inbound ] >> Click Next
- Click OK to save the rule
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
Go to Custom Objects Tab and Click on Add button and Select Add Procedure:
Enter the desired Procedure name and click on OK:
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>';
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';
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.
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.
Go to Custom Objects Tab and Click on Add button and Select Add Table:
Enter the desired Table name and click on OK:
And it will open the New Query Window Click on Cancel to close that window and go to Custom Objects Tab.
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'
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"
ConclusionIn this article we discussed how to connect to XML File in Tableau and integrate data without any coding. Click here to Download XML File 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).
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