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Building and Certifying a Tableau ODBC Connector

Building and Certifying a Tableau ODBC Connector

October 02, 2015 0 Comments

Sumit Sarkar demystifies some of the confusion around Tableau certification for third party ODBC drivers.

DataDirect has unrivaled experience building ODBC connectors for Tableau for impressive organizations like VoltDB, Hewlett Packard, NetSuite, ServiceNow and COINS with the DataDirect OpenAccess SDK. But there’s a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt out there about third-party ODBC drivers for Tableau, and I frequently have ISVs approaching me with the question, “How do I know this will work?” 

As a trusted Tableau technology partner, we want to set the record straight. Configuring third party ODBC drivers is fully documented by Tableau.

Many of the customizations are related to differences in SQL syntax generated by Tableau and capabilities across available ODBC drivers and data sources. Tableau has two types of customizations that can be configured in a Tableau data source file: Tableau specific capabilities and ODBC API calls to SQLGetInfo. The naming of these customizations follows a convention of 'CAP_' for Tableau capabilities and 'SQL_' for the SQLGetInfo API calls. 

In other cases, you’ll see customization name=’odbc-connect-string-extras’ which are simply passing driver connection properties to the ODBC connection string in lieu of configuration from the ODBC Administrator. For example, refer to Appendix D for SQLLite Customizations.

For a specific example, check out this article written by Prashant Khare from DataDirect R&D on how to customize and brand ODBC connectors built on DataDirect OpenAccess SDK for use with Tableau.  He walks through the step by step process to customize the Tableau data connectivity experience. 

TDC File for the DataDirect OpenAccess Tableau Connector:

The following example TDC file contains the customizations that are applicable to OpenAccess drivers. The connection customization section in the TDC file will have the Driver and DBMS/vendor names that the ODBC driver returns. Tableau uses this information to associate specific connection customizations with a single type of ODBC data source.

<connection-customization class='genericodbc' enabled='true' version='8.3'>
<vendor name='OpenAccess' />
<driver name='DataDirect OpenAccess SDK 8.0' />
               <customization name='CAP_CREATE_TEMP_TABLES' value='no' />
               <customization name='CAP_ISOLATION_LEVEL_READ_COMMITTED' value='no' />


In addition to data visualization, we also run millions of tests in our QA labs that include commercial off the shelf (COTS) applications across data integration, enterprise reporting, data preparation and data federation. So the question you should really be asking is, “how do I know whether my ODBC client will work across the full range of ODBC applications that are important to our customers?” 

Any questions?

If you’re interested in building an ODBC driver to use with Tableau or another tool, go ahead and contact us, leave a comment below, or tweet me: @SAsInSumit. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Sumit Sakar

Sumit Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar is a Chief Data Evangelist at Progress, with over 10 years experience working in the data connectivity field. The world's leading consultant on open data standards connectivity with cloud data, Sumit's interests include performance tuning of the data access layer for which he has developed a patent pending technology for its analysis; business intelligence and data warehousing for SaaS platforms; and data connectivity for aPaaS environments, with a focus on standards such as ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET and ODATA. He is an IBM Certified Consultant for IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and TDWI member. He has presented sessions on data connectivity at various conferences including Dreamforce, Oracle OpenWorld, Strata Hadoop, MongoDB World and SAP Analytics and Business Objects Conference, among many others. 

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