Analyze JSON Services with Power Pivot

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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.



This article walks you through the process of using the CData ODBC Driver for JSON from Power Pivot. You will use the Table Import Wizard to load JSON services. You can visually build the import query or use any SQL supported by the driver.

The ODBC protocol is used by a wide variety of Business Intelligence (BI) and reporting tools to get access to different databases. The CData ODBC Driver for JSON brings the same power and ease of use to JSON services. This article uses the driver to import JSON services into Power Pivot.

Connect to JSON 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.

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.

Connect from Power Pivot

Follow the steps below to connect to the DSN in Power Pivot.

  1. In Excel, click the Power Pivot Window icon on the Power Pivot tab to open Power Pivot.
  2. Launch the Table Import Wizard: Click the Get External Data from Other Data Sources button.
  3. Select the OLEDB/ODBC source option.
  4. Click Build to open the Data Link Properties dialog.
  5. In the Provider tab, select the Microsoft OLEDB Provider for ODBC Drivers option.
  6. In the Connection tab, select the Use Data Source Name option and then select the JSON DSN in the menu.

Select and Filter Tables and Views

Follow the steps below to use the wizard to import JSON tables. As you use the wizard to select, filter, and sort columns of JSON tables, Power Pivot generates the query to be executed.

  1. After selecting the DSN in the Table Import Wizard, select the option to select from a list of tables.

  2. Click Preview & Filter to select specific columns, sort data, and visually build filters. To include or exclude columns, select and clear the option next to the column name.

    To filter based on column values, click the down arrow button next to the column name. In the resulting dialog, select or clear the column values you want to filter. Alternatively, click Number Filters or Text Filters and then select a comparison operator. In the resulting dialog, build the filter criteria.

  3. Return to the Select Tables and Views page of the wizard. You can access filters by clicking the Applied Filters link in the Filter Details column.

Import and Filter with SQL

You can also import with an SQL query. The driver supports the standard SQL, allowing Excel to communicate with JSON APIs.

  1. After selecting the DSN in the Table Import Wizard, select the option to write a query.
  2. In the SQL Statement box, enter the query. Click Validate to check that the syntax of the query is valid. Click Design to preview the results and adjust the query before import.

  3. Finish the wizard to import the data for your chosen query.

Refresh On Demand

Connectivity to JSON APIs enables real-time analysis. To immediately update your workbook with any changes, click Refresh.