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Integrate JSON Services into Automated Tasks with Microsoft Flow

Use the CData Cloud Hub to create a virtual SQL Server database for JSON services and integrate live JSON services into your Microsoft Flow tasks.

Microsoft Flow is an online workflow service that automates events (known as workflows) across the most common apps and services. When paired with the CData Cloud Hub, you get instant, cloud-to-cloud access to JSON services for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to connect to the Cloud Hub from Microsoft Flow and integrate live JSON services into your workflows and tasks.

The CData Cloud Hub provides a pure SQL, cloud-to-cloud interface for JSON, allowing you to easily integrate with live JSON services in Microsoft Flow — without replicating the data. The CData Cloud Hub looks exactly like a SQL Server database to Microsoft Flow and uses optimized data processing out of the box to push all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to JSON, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return JSON services.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for JSON Services

CData Cloud Hub uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Cloud Hub and click Databases.
  2. Select "JSON" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to JSON.

    See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation to authenticate to your data source: The data provider models JSON APIs as bidirectional database tables and JSON files as read-only views (local files, files stored on popular cloud services, and FTP servers). The major authentication schemes are supported, including HTTP Basic, Digest, NTLM, OAuth, and FTP. See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation for authentication guides.

    After setting the URI and providing any authentication values, set DataModel to more closely match the data representation to the structure of your data.

    The DataModel property is the controlling property over how your data is represented into tables and toggles the following basic configurations.

    • Document (default): Model a top-level, document view of your JSON data. The data provider returns nested elements as aggregates of data.
    • FlattenedDocuments: Implicitly join nested documents and their parents into a single table.
    • Relational: Return individual, related tables from hierarchical data. The tables contain a primary key and a foreign key that links to the parent document.

    See the Modeling JSON Data chapter for more information on configuring the relational representation. You will also find the sample data used in the following examples. The data includes entries for people, the cars they own, and various maintenance services performed on those cars.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to the CData Cloud Hub

To use the Cloud Hub to integrate JSON services into your Flow tasks, you need a new SQL Server connection:

  1. Log in to Microsoft Flow
  2. Click Data -> Connections -> New connection
  3. Select SQL Server
  4. In the connection wizard:

    • Choose to connect directly
    • Set SQL server name to the address of your Cloud Hub instance (myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Set SQL database name to the name of the virtual JSON database you created earlier (like jsondb)
    • Set the Username and Password and click Create

Integrating JSON Services into MS Flow Tasks

With the connection to the Cloud Hub configured, you are ready to integrate live JSON services into your Microsoft Flow tasks.

  1. Log in to Microsoft Flow
  2. Click My flows -> New and choose to create the flow from blank or template
  3. Add (or configure) a SQL Server action (like Get rows) and configure the action to connect to your Cloud Hub connection
  4. Select a Table to work with (from the drop-down menu) and configure any advanced options (like filters, orders, etc)
  5. Configure any actions to follow and test, then save the flow

SQL Access to JSON Services from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live JSON services from Microsoft Flow tasks. You can create more connections and workflows to drive business — all without replicating JSON services.

To get SQL data access to 100+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Cloud Hub.