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Visualize FedEx Data in Tableau

The CData ODBC driver for FedEx enables you integrate FedEx data into Tableau dashboards.

The CData ODBC Driver for FedEx enables you to access live FedEx data in business intelligence tools like Tableau. In this article, you will integrate FedEx data into a dashboard that reflects changes to FedEx data in real time.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live FedEx data in Tableau due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau to FedEx, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to FedEx 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 visualize and analyze FedEx data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to FedEx as an ODBC Data Source

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.

There are five pieces of information needed in order to authenticate its actions with the FedEx service. This information is below.

  • Server: This controls the URL where the requests should be sent. Common testing options for this are: "https://gatewaybeta.fedex.com:443/xml", "https://wsbeta.fedex.com:443/xml", "https://gatewaybeta.fedex.com:443/web-service", and "https://wsbeta.fedex.com:443/web-service"
  • DeveloperKey: This is the identifier part of the authentication key for the sender's identity. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • Password: This is the secret part of the authentication key for the sender's identity. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • AccountNumber: This valid 9-digit FedEx account number is used for logging into the FedEx server.
  • MeterNumber: This value is used for submitting requests to FedEx. This value will be provided to you by FedEx after registration.
  • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required if one intends to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

The Cache Database

Many of the useful tasks available from FedEx require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilizes a cache database to make these requests. You must set the cache connection properties:

  • CacheProvider: The specific database you are using to cache with. For example, org.sqlite.JDBC.
  • CacheConnection: The connection string to be passed to the cache provider. For example, jdbc:sqlite:C:\users\username\documents\fedexcache.db

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.

Add FedEx Data to a Dashboard

  1. Click Connect to Data -> More Servers -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData FedEx Source).
  2. In the Database menu, select CData.
  3. In the Table box, enter a table name or click New Custom SQL to enter an SQL query. This article retrieves the Senders table.
  4. Drag the table onto the join area. At this point, you can include multiple tables, leveraging the built-in SQL engine to process complex data requests.
  5. In the Connection menu, select the Live option, so that you skip loading a copy of the data into Tableau and instead work on real-time data. The optimized data processing native to CData ODBC drivers enables unmatched performance in live connectivity.
  6. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData driver discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  7. Drop the FirstName column in the Dimensions pane onto the dashboard. When you select dimensions, Tableau builds a query to the driver. The results are grouped based on that dimension. In Tableau, the raw query is automatically modified as you select dimensions and measures.
  8. Drag the Phone column in the Measures field onto the Detail and Color buttons. Tableau executes the following query:

    SELECT FirstName, SUM(Phone) FROM Senders GROUP BY FirstName

    When you select a measure, Tableau executes a command to the driver to calculate a summary function, such as SUM, AVG, etc., on the grouped values. The SQL engine (embedded within the driver) is leveraged to process the aggregation of the data, where needed, providing a seamless experience in Tableau, regardless of the data source.

    To change the summary function, open the Phone menu and select the summary you want in the Measure command.

  9. You can create other charts using dimensions and measures to build SQL queries visually:

With the CData ODBC Driver for FedEx, you get live connectivity to your FedEx data, allowing you to build real-time charts, graphs, and more.