Natively Connect to JSON Services in PHP

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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.



The CData ODBC Driver for JSON enables you to create PHP applications on Linux/UNIX machines with connectivity to JSON services. Leverage the native support for ODBC in PHP.

Drop the CData ODBC Driver for JSON into your LAMP or WAMP stack to build JSON-connected Web applications. This article shows how to use PHP's ODBC built-in functions to connect to JSON services, execute queries, and output the results.

Using the CData ODBC Drivers on a UNIX/Linux Machine

The CData ODBC Drivers are supported in various Red Hat-based and Debian-based systems, including Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora. There are also several libraries and packages that are required, many of which may be installed by default, depending on your system. For more information on the supported versions of Linux operating systems and the required libraries, please refer to the "Getting Started" section in the help documentation (installed and found online).

Installing the Driver Manager

Before installing the driver, check that your system has a driver manager. For this article, you will use unixODBC, a free and open source ODBC driver manager that is widely supported.

For Debian-based systems like Ubuntu, you can install unixODBC with the APT package manager:

$ sudo apt-get install unixODBC unixODBC-dev

For systems based on Red Hat Linux, you can install unixODBC with yum or dnf:

$ sudo yum install unixODBC unixODBC-devel

The unixODBC driver manager reads information about drivers from an odbcinst.ini file and about data sources from an odbc.ini file. You can determine the location of the configuration files on your system by entering the following command into a terminal:

$ odbcinst -j

The output of the command will display the locations of the configuration files for ODBC data sources and registered ODBC drivers. User data sources can only be accessed by the user account whose home folder the odbc.ini is located in. System data sources can be accessed by all users. Below is an example of the output of this command:

DRIVERS............: /etc/odbcinst.ini SYSTEM DATA SOURCES: /etc/odbc.ini FILE DATA SOURCES..: /etc/ODBCDataSources USER DATA SOURCES..: /home/myuser/.odbc.ini SQLULEN Size.......: 8 SQLLEN Size........: 8 SQLSETPOSIROW Size.: 8

Installing the Driver

You can download the driver in standard package formats: the Debian .deb package format or the .rpm file format. Once you have downloaded the file, you can install the driver from the terminal.

The driver installer registers the driver with unixODBC and creates a system DSN, which can be used later in any tools or applications that support ODBC connectivity.

For Debian-based systems like Ubuntu, run the following command with sudo or as root: $ dpkg -i /path/to/package.deb

For Red Hat systems or other systems that support .rpms, run the following command with sudo or as root: $ rpm -i /path/to/package.rpm

Once the driver is installed, you can list the registered drivers and defined data sources using the unixODBC driver manager:

List the Registered Driver(s)

$ odbcinst -q -d CData ODBC Driver for JSON ...

List the Defined Data Source(s)

$ odbcinst -q -s CData JSON Source ...

To use the CData ODBC Driver for JSON with unixODBC, ensure that the driver is configured to use UTF-16. To do so, edit the INI file for the driver (cdata.odbc.json.ini), which can be found in the lib folder in the installation location (typically /opt/cdata/cdata-odbc-driver-for-json), as follows:

cdata.odbc.json.ini

... [Driver] DriverManagerEncoding = UTF-16

Modifying the DSN

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. Additionally, you can create user-specific DSNs that will not require root access to modify in $HOME/.odbc.ini.

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.

/etc/odbc.ini or $HOME/.odbc.ini

[CData JSON Source] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for JSON Description = My Description URI = C:/people.json DataModel = Relational

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

Establish a Connection

Open the connection to JSON by calling the odbc_connect or odbc_pconnect methods. To close connections, use odbc_close or odbc_close_all.

$conn = odbc_connect("CData ODBC JSON Source","user","password");

Connections opened with odbc_connect are closed when the script ends. Connections opened with the odbc_pconnect method are still open after the script ends. This enables other scripts to share that connection when they connect with the same credentials. By sharing connections among your scripts, you can save system resources and queries execute faster.

$conn = odbc_pconnect("CData ODBC JSON Source","user","password"); ... odbc_close($conn); //persistent connection must be closed explicitly

Create Prepared Statements

Create prepared statements and parameterized queries with the odbc_prepare function.

$query = odbc_prepare($conn, "SELECT * FROM people WHERE [ personal.name.last ] = ?");

Execute Queries

Execute prepared statements with odbc_execute.

$conn = odbc_connect("CData ODBC JSON Source","user","password"); $query = odbc_prepare($conn, "SELECT * FROM people WHERE [ personal.name.last ] = ?"); $success = odbc_execute($query, array('Roberts'));

Execute nonparameterized queries with odbc_exec.

$conn = odbc_connect("CData ODBC JSON Source","user","password"); $query = odbc_exec($conn, "SELECT [people].[personal.age] AS age, [people].[personal.gender] AS gender, [people].[personal.name.first] AS first_name, [people].[personal.name.last] AS last_name, [vehicles].[model], FROM [people] JOIN [vehicles] ON [people].[_id] = [vehicles].[people_id]");

Process Results

Access a row in the result set as an array with the odbc_fetch_array function.

$conn = odbc_connect("CData ODBC JSON services Source","user","password"); $query = odbc_exec($conn, "SELECT [people].[personal.age] AS age, [people].[personal.gender] AS gender, [people].[personal.name.first] AS first_name, [people].[personal.name.last] AS last_name, [vehicles].[model], FROM [people] JOIN [vehicles] ON [people].[_id] = [vehicles].[people_id]"); while($row = odbc_fetch_array($query)){ echo $row["[ personal.name.first ]"] . "\n"; }

Display the result set in an HTML table with the odbc_result_all function.

$conn = odbc_connect("CData ODBC JSON services Source","user","password"); $query = odbc_prepare($conn, "SELECT * FROM people WHERE [ personal.name.last ] = ?"); $success = odbc_execute($query, array('Roberts')); if($success) odbc_result_all($query);

More Example Queries

You will find complete information on the SQL queries supported by the driver in the help documentation. The code examples above are JSON-specific adaptations of the PHP community documentation for all ODBC functions.