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Connect to JSON Services in Google Apps Script

Use CData Connect Cloud to access JSON services in Google Apps Script.

Google Apps Script gives you the ability to create custom functionality within your Google documents, including Google Sheets, Google Docs, and more. With CData Connect Cloud, you get a MySQL interface for any of the 200+ sources supported by CData, including JSON. The MySQL protocol is natively supported through the JDBC service in Google Apps Script, so by utilizing Connect Cloud, you gain access to live JSON services within your Google documents.

This article shows how to create a virtual database for JSON in Connect Cloud and provides sample scripting for processing JSON services in a Google Spreadsheet.

Our script only reads data from a specified table, but you can easily extend the script to incorporate update functionality.

Create a Virtual MySQL Database for JSON Services

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

  1. Login to Connect Cloud 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.

With the virtual database created, you are ready to connect to JSON services from any MySQL client.

Connect to JSON Services with Apps Script

At this point, you should have configured a virtual database for JSON in Connect Cloud. All that is left now is to use Google Apps Script to access Connect Cloud and work with your JSON services in Google Sheets.

In this section, you will create a script (with a menu option to call the script) to populate a spreadsheet with JSON services. We have created a sample script and explained the different parts. You can view the raw script at the end of the article.

1. Create an Empty Script

To create a script for your Google Sheet, click Tools Script editor from the Google Sheets menu:

2. Declare Class Variables

Create a handful of class variables to be available for any functions created in the script.

//replace the variables in this block with real values as needed
var address = 'myinstance.cdatacloud.net:port';
var user = 'CLOUD_HUB_USER';
var userPwd = 'CLOUD_HUB_PASSWORD';
var db = 'jsondb';
var serverSslCert = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';
var clientSslCert = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';
var clientSslKey  = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';

var dbUrl = 'jdbc:mysql://' + address + '/' + db + '?useSSL=true';

3. Add a Menu Option

This function adds a menu option to your Google Sheet, allowing you to use the UI to call your function.

function onOpen() {
  var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();
  var menuItems = [
    {name: 'Write data to a sheet', functionName: 'connectToJSONData'}
  ];
  spreadsheet.addMenu('JSON Services', menuItems);
} 

4. Write a Helper Function

This function is used to find the first empty row in a spreadsheet.

/*
 * Finds the first empty row in a spreadsheet by scanning an array of columns
 * @return The row number of the first empty row.
 */
function getFirstEmptyRowByColumnArray(spreadSheet, column) {
  var column = spreadSheet.getRange(column + ":" + column);
  var values = column.getValues(); // get all data in one call
  var ct = 0;
  while ( values[ct] && values[ct][0] != "" ) {
    ct++;
  }
  return (ct+1);
}

5. Write a Function to Write JSON Services to a Spreadsheet

The function below writes the JSON services, using the Google Apps Script JDBC functionality to connect to Connect Cloud, SELECT data, and populate a spreadsheet. When the script is run, two input boxes will appear:

The first one asks the user to input the name of a sheet to hold the data (if the spreadsheet does not exist, the function creates it).

The second asks the user to input the name of a JSON table to read. If an invalid table is chosen, an error message appears and the function is exited.

Note, while the function is designed for use as a menu option, you can extend it for use as a spreadsheet formula.

/*
 * Reads data from a specified JSON 'table' and writes it to the specified sheet.
 *    (If the specified sheet does not exist, it is created.)
 */
function connectToJSONData() {
  var thisWorkbook = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();

  //select a sheet and create it if it does not exist
  var selectedSheet = Browser.inputBox('Which sheet would you like the data to post to?',Browser.Buttons.OK_CANCEL);
  if (selectedSheet == 'cancel')
    return;

  if (thisWorkbook.getSheetByName(selectedSheet) == null)
    thisWorkbook.insertSheet(selectedSheet);
  var resultSheet = thisWorkbook.getSheetByName(selectedSheet);
  var rowNum = 2;

  //select a JSON 'table'
  var table = Browser.inputBox('Which table would you like to pull data from?',Browser.Buttons.OK_CANCEL);
  if (table == 'cancel')
    return;

  var conn = Jdbc.getConnection(dbUrl, {
    user: user, 
    password: userPwd, 
    _serverSslCertificate: serverSslCert,
    _clientSslCertificate: clientSslCert,
    _clientSslKey:         clientSslKey
  );

  //confirm that var table is a valid table/view
  var dbMetaData = conn.getMetaData();
  var tableSet = dbMetaData.getTables(null, null, table, null);
  var validTable = false;
  while (tableSet.next()) {
    var tempTable = tableSet.getString(3);
    if (table.toUpperCase() == tempTable.toUpperCase()){
      table = tempTable;
      validTable = true;
      break;
    }
  } 
  tableSet.close();
  if (!validTable) {
    Browser.msgBox("Invalid table name: " + table, Browser.Buttons.OK);
    return;
  }

  var stmt = conn.createStatement();

  var results = stmt.executeQuery('SELECT * FROM ' + table);
  var rsmd = results.getMetaData();
  var numCols = rsmd.getColumnCount();

  //if the sheet is empty, populate the first row with the headers
  var firstEmptyRow = getFirstEmptyRowByColumnArray(resultSheet, "A");
  if (firstEmptyRow == 1) {
    //collect column names
    var headers = new Array(new Array(numCols));
    for (var col = 0; col < numCols; col++){
      headers[0][col] = rsmd.getColumnName(col+1);
    }
    resultSheet.getRange(1, 1, headers.length, headers[0].length).setValues(headers);
  } else {
    rowNum = firstEmptyRow;
  }

  //write rows of JSON services to the sheet
  var values = new Array(new Array(numCols));
  while (results.next()) {
    for (var col = 0; col < numCols; col++) {
      values[0][col] = results.getString(col + 1);
    }
    resultSheet.getRange(rowNum, 1, 1, numCols).setValues(values);
    rowNum++;
  }

  results.close();
  stmt.close();
}
  

When the function is completed, you have a spreadsheet populated with your JSON services, and you can now leverage all of the calculating, graphing, and charting functionality of Google Sheets anywhere you have access to the Internet.


Complete Google Apps Script

//replace the variables in this block with real values as needed
var address = 'myinstance.cdatacloud.net:port';
var user = 'CLOUD_HUB_USER';
var userPwd = 'CLOUD_HUB_PASSWORD';
var db = 'jsondb';
var serverSslCert = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';
var clientSslCert = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';
var clientSslKey  = '-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----';

var dbUrl = 'jdbc:mysql://' + address + '/' + db + '?useSSL=true';

function onOpen() {
  var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();
  var menuItems = [
    {name: 'Write table data to a sheet', functionName: 'connectToJSONData'}
  ];
  spreadsheet.addMenu('JSON Services', menuItems);
}

/*
 * Finds the first empty row in a spreadsheet by scanning an array of columns
 * @return The row number of the first empty row.
 */
function getFirstEmptyRowByColumnArray(spreadSheet, column) {
  var column = spreadSheet.getRange(column + ":" + column);
  var values = column.getValues(); // get all data in one call
  var ct = 0;
  while ( values[ct] && values[ct][0] != "" ) {
    ct++;
  }
  return (ct+1);
}

/*
 * Reads data from a specified 'table' and writes it to the specified sheet.
 *    (If the specified sheet does not exist, it is created.)
 */
function connectToJSONData() {
  var thisWorkbook = SpreadsheetApp.getActive();

  //select a sheet and create it if it does not exist
  var selectedSheet = Browser.inputBox('Which sheet would you like the data to post to?',Browser.Buttons.OK_CANCEL);
  if (selectedSheet == 'cancel')
    return;

  if (thisWorkbook.getSheetByName(selectedSheet) == null)
    thisWorkbook.insertSheet(selectedSheet);
  var resultSheet = thisWorkbook.getSheetByName(selectedSheet);
  var rowNum = 2;

  //select a JSON 'table'
  var table = Browser.inputBox('Which table would you like to pull data from?',Browser.Buttons.OK_CANCEL);
  if (table == 'cancel')
    return;

  var conn = Jdbc.getConnection(dbUrl, {
    user: user, 
    password: userPwd, 
    _serverSslCertificate: serverSslCert,
    _clientSslCertificate: clientSslCert,
    _clientSslKey:         clientSslKey
  );

  //confirm that var table is a valid table/view
  var dbMetaData = conn.getMetaData();
  var tableSet = dbMetaData.getTables(null, null, table, null);
  var validTable = false;
  while (tableSet.next()) {
    var tempTable = tableSet.getString(3);
    if (table.toUpperCase() == tempTable.toUpperCase()){
      table = tempTable;
      validTable = true;
      break;
    }
  } 
  tableSet.close();
  if (!validTable) {
    Browser.msgBox("Invalid table name: " + table, Browser.Buttons.OK);
    return;
  }

  var stmt = conn.createStatement();

  var results = stmt.executeQuery('SELECT * FROM ' + table);
  var rsmd = results.getMetaData();
  var numCols = rsmd.getColumnCount();

  //if the sheet is empty, populate the first row with the headers
  var firstEmptyRow = getFirstEmptyRowByColumnArray(resultSheet, "A");
  if (firstEmptyRow == 1) {
    //collect column names
    var headers = new Array(new Array(numCols));
    for (var col = 0; col < numCols; col++){
      headers[0][col] = rsmd.getColumnName(col+1);
    }
    resultSheet.getRange(1, 1, headers.length, headers[0].length).setValues(headers);
  } else {
    rowNum = firstEmptyRow;
  }

  //write rows of JSON services to the sheet
  var values = new Array(new Array(numCols));
  while (results.next()) {
    for (var col = 0; col < numCols; col++) {
      values[0][col] = results.getString(col + 1);
    }
    resultSheet.getRange(rowNum, 1, 1, numCols).setValues(values);
    rowNum++;
  }

  results.close();
  stmt.close();
}