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Use the CData ODBC Driver for JSON in SAS for Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

Connect to real-time JSON services in SAS for reporting, analytics, and visualizations using the CData ODBC Driver for JSON.

SAS is a software suite developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. When you pair SAS with the CData ODBC Driver for JSON, you gain database-like access to live JSON services from SAS, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. This articles walks through creating a library for JSON in SAS and creating a simple report based on real-time JSON services.

The CData ODBC Driver offers unmatched performance for interacting with live JSON services in SAS due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SAS to JSON, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to JSON and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can easily visualize and analyze JSON services in SAS.

Connect to JSON as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to JSON follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments (the ODBC Driver for JSON must be installed on the machine hosting the SAS System).

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.

Windows

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.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for JSON in a Linux environment, 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.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData JSON Sys] 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).

Create a JSON Library in SAS

Connect to JSON in SAS by adding a library based on the CData ODBC Driver for JSON.

  1. Open SAS and expand Libraries in the Explorer pane.
  2. In the Active Libraries window, right-click and select New.
  3. Name your library (odbclib), select ODBC as the Engine, and click to Enable at startup (if you want the library to persist between sessions).
  4. Set Data Source to the DSN you previously configured and click OK.

Create a View from a JSON Query

SAS natively supports querying data either using a low-code, point-and-click Query tool or programmatically with PROC SQL and a custom SQL query. When you create a View in SAS, the defining query is executed each time the view is queried. This means that you always query live JSON services for reports, charts, and analytics.

Using the Query Tool

  1. In SAS, click Tools -> Query
  2. Select the table sources and the table(s) you wish to pull data from. Then, click OK.
  3. Select columns and right-click to add filtering, ordering, grouping, etc.
  4. Create a local view to contain the query results by right-clicking the SQL Query Tool window, selecting Show Query, and clicking Create View. Name the View and click OK.

Using PROC SQL

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC SQL to query the data and create a local view.
    NOTE: This procedure creates a view in the Work library. You can optionally specify a library in the create view statement.
    proc sql;
      create view people_view as
      select 
        [ personal.name.first ], 
        [ personal.name.last ] 
      from 
        odbclib.people 
      where 
        [ personal.name.last ] = 'Roberts';
    quit;
    
  3. Click Run -> Submit to execute the query and create a local view.

Report On or Visualize JSON Services in SAS

With a local view created, you can report, visualize, or otherwise analyze JSON services using the powerful SAS features. Print a simple report using PROC PRINT and create a basic graph based on the data using PROC GCHART.

Print an HTML Report

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC PRINT to print an HTML report for the JSON people data.
    proc print data=people;
      title "JSON people Data";
    run;
    

Print a Chart

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC GCHART to create a chart for the people data.
    proc gchart data=people;
      pie [ personal.name.first ] / sumvar=[ personal.name.last ]
          value=arrow
          percent=arrow
          noheading
          percent=inside plabel=(height=12pt)
          slice=inside value=none
          name='peopleChart';
    run;