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Use the CData ODBC Driver for JSON from SharePoint Excel Services

This article demonstrates how to use the CData ODBC Driver for JSON to connect to JSON services from Excel in on-premises editions of SharePoint. This technique allows SharePoint users to create reports, scorecards, and dashboards featuring JSON services in Excel.

The CData ODBC Driver for JSON can be accessed using the built-in data access tools in Excel. This article demonstrates how to use the CData ODBC Driver for JSON to connect to JSON services from Excel spreadsheets in on-premises editions of SharePoint.

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.

Configure Excel Services

Once the ODBC DSN is configured, you can configure Excel Services to use the DSN to connect. To do this, you will need to set up the OLE DB provider as a trusted data source. You will also want to decide if you want to use a Secure Store Service to enable single sign-on functionality with the ODBC driver. If you prefer, you can use the Excel Services Unattended account and skip to step 3 below.

  1. First, set up a secure store application to use single sign-on. In SharePoint Central Administration, go to Application Management -> Manage Service Applications. Select your secure store service application or create a new one. Click Manage on the Edit menu to begin editing the application.
  2. Create a new target application. You will be able to set the list of users who have access to this application. After the application is created, you will need to set the credentials on the application so that you can use this later for single sign-on.
  3. Navigate to Application Management -> Manage Service Applications in SharePoint Central Administration. Select the Excel Services application used by your organization or create one if it does not already exist. Click Manage. If you create a new app, check the option to add the service application's proxy to the farm's default proxy list.
  4. Click on Trusted Data Providers and add a new trusted provider. Set 'MSDASQL.1' for the Provider ID and leave the type as 'OLE DB'. Click OK to add this new provider to the list of trusted providers.

Connect to and Import JSON Services in Excel

After you have enabled and secured access to the DSN, you can access the data source from the ribbon in Excel.

  1. In an Excel spreadsheet, open the Data tab and click From Other Sources -> From Data Connection Wizard.
  2. Select 'Other/Advanced' for the type and on the next screen, select the 'Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers'. On the Connection tab, select CData JSON Sys, the system DSN. The driver installation automatically creates matching user and system DSNs: The system DSN is needed to connect from SharePoint.
  3. Select the table you would like to connect to.
  4. On the last step of the wizard, click the 'Authentication Settings' button. Select the 'Use a stored account' and enter the name of the secure store target application you created earlier. Or, if you want to use the Unattended Service Account, select None.
  5. After you finish the wizard, the data is imported into the spreadsheet. You can now update and save JSON services directly in SharePoint.