Publish Reports with JSON Services in Crystal Reports

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JSON ODBC Driver

The JSON ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live JSON web services, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access JSON services like you would any standard database - read, write, and update etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Use the Report Wizard to design a report based on up-to-date JSON services.

Crystal Reports has many options for offloading data processing to remote data; this enables real-time reporting. The CData ODBC Driver for JSON brings this capability to Crystal Reports. This article shows how to create a report on JSON services that refreshes when you run the report.

Connect to JSON Services

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.

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.

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.

You can then follow the procedure below to use the Report Wizard to create the JSON connection.

  1. In a new report, click Create New Connection -> ODBC.

  2. In the resulting wizard, click Select Data Source and select the DSN in the Data Source Name menu.

Design a Report

After adding a ODBC connection to JSON, you can then use the Report Wizard to add JSON services to your report.

  1. Click File -> New -> Standard Report.
  2. Expand the ODBC node under Create New Connection and double-click Make a New Connection.
  3. Configure the data source by selecting the tables and fields needed in the report. This example uses the [ personal.name.first ] and [ personal.name.last ] columns from the people table.

You can then configure grouping, sorting, and summaries. For example, this article groups on [ personal.name.first ] and summarizes on [ personal.name.last ]. See the following section to use the aggregate and summary to create a chart.

Create a Chart

After selecting a column to group by, the Standard Report Creation Wizard presents the option to create a chart. Follow the steps below to create a chart that aggregates the values in the [ personal.name.first ] column.

  1. In the Standard Report Creation Wizard, select the Bar Chart option and select the column you grouped by, [ personal.name.first ] in this example, in the On Change Of menu.
  2. In the Show Summary menu, select the summary you created.
  3. Select filters and a template, as needed, to finish the wizard.

Preview the finished report to view the chart, populated with your data. If you want to filter out null values, use a SelectionFormula.

Working with Remote Data

To ensure that you see updates to volatile data, click File and clear the "Save Data with Report" option. As you interact with the report, for example, drilling down to hidden details, Crystal Reports executes SQL queries to retrieve the data needed to display the report. To reload data you have already retrieved, refresh or rerun the report.

You can offload processing onto the driver by hiding details elements and enabling server-side grouping. To do this, you will need to have selected a column to group on in the report creation wizard.

  1. Click File -> Report Options and select the Perform Grouping On Server option.
  2. Click Report -> Section Expert and select the Details section of your report. Select the Hide (Drill-Down OK) option.

When you preview your report with the hidden details, Crystal Reports executes a GROUP BY query. When you double-click a column in the chart to drill down to details, Crystal Reports executes a SELECT WHERE query that decreases load times by retrieving only the data needed.