Visualize JSON Services in TIBCO Spotfire through ODBC

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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 ODBC standard has ubiquitous support and makes self-service business intelligence easy. Use the ODBC Driver to load JSON services into TIBCO Spotfire.

This article walks you through using the CData ODBC Driver for JSON in TIBCO Spotfire. You will use the data import wizard to connect to a DSN (data source name) for Salesforce and build on the sample visualizations to create a simple dashboard.

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.

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.

Create Visualizations of JSON Tables

Follow the steps below to connect to the DSN and create real-time data visualizations:

  1. Click File -> Add Data Tables.
  2. Click Add -> Database.
  3. In the Data Source Type menu, select ODBC Provider and click Configure.
  4. Select the DSN.
  5. Select the tables that you want to add to the dashboard. This example uses people. You can also specify an SQL query. The driver supports the standard SQL syntax.
  6. If you want to work with the live data, click the Keep Data Table External option. This option enables your dashboards to reflect changes to the data in real time.

    If you want to load the data into memory and process the data locally, click the Import Data Table option. This option is better for offline use or if a slow network connection is making your dashboard less interactive.

  7. After adding tables, the Recommended Visualizations wizard is displayed. When you select a table, Spotfire uses the column data types to detect number, time, and category columns. This example uses [ personal.name.last ] in the Numbers section and [ personal.name.first ] in the Categories section.

After adding several visualizations in the Recommended Visualizations wizard, you can make other modifications to the dashboard. For example, you can zoom in on high probability opportunities by applying a filter on the page. To add a filter, click the Filter button. The available filters for each query are displayed in the Filters pane.