Use the CData ODBC Driver for Facebook in SAS for Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

Ready to get started?

Download for a free trial:

Download Now

Learn more:

Facebook ODBC Driver

The Facebook ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live Facebook account data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Facebook data like you would a database - read, write, and update Facebook Posts, Groups, Events, Places, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Connect to real-time Facebook data in SAS for reporting, analytics, and visualizations using the CData ODBC Driver for Facebook.

SAS is a software suite developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. When you pair SAS with the CData ODBC Driver for Facebook, you gain database-like access to live Facebook data from SAS, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. This articles walks through creating a library for Facebook in SAS and creating a simple report based on real-time Facebook data.

The CData ODBC Driver offers unmatched performance for interacting with live Facebook data in SAS due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SAS to Facebook, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Facebook and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can easily visualize and analyze Facebook data in SAS.

Connect to Facebook as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to Facebook follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments (the ODBC Driver for Facebook must be installed on the machine hosting the SAS System).

Most tables require user authentication as well as application authentication. Facebook uses the OAuth authentication standard. To authenticate to Facebook, you can use the embedded OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL or you can obtain your own by registering an app with Facebook.

See the Getting Started chapter of the help documentation for a guide to using OAuth.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for Facebook in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData Facebook Sys] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for Facebook Description = My Description

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Create a Facebook Library in SAS

Connect to Facebook in SAS by adding a library based on the CData ODBC Driver for Facebook.

  1. Open SAS and expand Libraries in the Explorer pane.
  2. In the Active Libraries window, right-click and select New.
  3. Name your library (odbclib), select ODBC as the Engine, and click to Enable at startup (if you want the library to persist between sessions).
  4. Set Data Source to the DSN you previously configured and click OK.

Create a View from a Facebook Query

SAS natively supports querying data either using a low-code, point-and-click Query tool or programmatically with PROC SQL and a custom SQL query. When you create a View in SAS, the defining query is executed each time the view is queried. This means that you always query live Facebook data for reports, charts, and analytics.

Using the Query Tool

  1. In SAS, click Tools -> Query
  2. Select the table sources and the table(s) you wish to pull data from. Then, click OK.
  3. Select columns and right-click to add filtering, ordering, grouping, etc.
  4. Create a local view to contain the query results by right-clicking the SQL Query Tool window, selecting Show Query, and clicking Create View. Name the View and click OK.

Using PROC SQL

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC SQL to query the data and create a local view.
    NOTE: This procedure creates a view in the Work library. You can optionally specify a library in the create view statement.
    proc sql;
      create view posts_view as
      select 
        fromname, 
        likescount 
      from 
        odbclib.posts 
      where 
        Target = 'thesimpsons';
    quit;
    
  3. Click Run -> Submit to execute the query and create a local view.

Report On or Visualize Facebook Data in SAS

With a local view created, you can report, visualize, or otherwise analyze Facebook data using the powerful SAS features. Print a simple report using PROC PRINT and create a basic graph based on the data using PROC GCHART.

Print an HTML Report

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC PRINT to print an HTML report for the Facebook Posts data.
    proc print data=posts;
      title "Facebook Posts Data";
    run;
    

Print a Chart

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC GCHART to create a chart for the Posts data.
    proc gchart data=posts;
      pie fromname / sumvar=likescount
          value=arrow
          percent=arrow
          noheading
          percent=inside plabel=(height=12pt)
          slice=inside value=none
          name='PostsChart';
    run;