5 Replies Latest reply on Sep 17, 2013 1:22 AM by Tamas Foldi

    Custom API support

    Richard Taylor



      Does tableau support custom APIs or drivers to access the database?


      We have a large multi-node server with the database sharded over many instances. This means that we can not use the out of the box database drivers supplied with Tableau. Is there an API which allows us to write an interface or driver for Tableau to access our server.




      Richard Taylor.

        • 1. Re: Custom API support
          Robert Morton

          Hi Richard,


          There is no such API yet. Data connectivity is one of several areas we are interested in helping our customers and partners extend and customize, but I cannot comment on a specific timeframe, roadmap or feature set for such an API in the future. I would however like to ask what aspects you are most interested in controlling? Is it the connectivity layer alone, or do you need control over the syntax of the SQL queries Tableau issues?



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          • 2. Re: Custom API support
            Richard Taylor

            Ideally we would just write the connectivity layer. We would need to generate REST API calls to our server and then translate the results back.


            We are currently testing Tableau Desktop against a single node instance which will allow us to get a feel for what functionality we need. For the purpose of this test we are using the Custom SQL query in the MySQL data connector. This allows us to filter to a feasible view on the data such as the past 7 day plus some other filters, this can then be cached locally in Tableau's high speed storage.

            If the only interaction with the source database is the initial fetch I guess we could write a simple OBDC adapter to convert the SQL we entered into the dialog into a REST API call for out server.

            This approach has obvious disadvantages in that we will collect a large number of custom connections which give different views on a much larger database. If these views include any time based filtering then they would need constant updating or new ones generating each week/month.



            • 3. Re: Custom API support
              Richard Taylor



              Our main issue atm seems to be that Tableau wants to work with a single rectangular data sets. Our main data is annotated with arbitrary numbers of tags and attributes. Our simple web search allows you to specify N tags + date rage and some other filters and pull back a results table. The values of the tags and filters are pulled from smaller tables in the database presented in the web ui and then used to make the data query.


              The problem here is that it's not possible to generate a rectangular data set without knowing the search parameters, in essence we are writing custom searches in the database connection.


              Is there a way tell Tableau about tables of parameters which can then be used to construct queries?



              • 4. Re: Custom API support
                Chris Gaines

                Robert any update on the custom API. We would need something like what was described by the OP before we could leverage Tableu.

                • 5. Re: Custom API support
                  Tamas Foldi

                  Robert, my team developed a lot of ODBC drivers for different data sources like SAP ERP. This drivers working fine from Tableau Desktop but not from the Server as Tableau does not support Customizing and Tuning ODBC Connections | Tableau Software


                  I will raise an idea for this, but if you have any workaround (like put this  TDC file contents to the server, or registry, whatever).


                  If you can share this I can release our ODBC driver development kit in open source, fine tuned for Tableau...