Connect to Twitter as an External Data Source using PolyBase

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Twitter ODBC Driver

The Twitter ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from Twitter, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

With the Twitter ODBC Driver accessing live Tweets, Followers, Messages, Searches, etc. is as easy as querying a database.



Use the CData ODBC Driver for Twitter and PolyBase to create an external data source in SQL Server 2019 with access to live Twitter data.

PolyBase for SQL Server allows you to query external data by using the same Transact-SQL syntax used to query a database table. When paired with the CData ODBC Driver for Twitter, you get access to your Twitter data directly alongside your SQL Server data. This article walks through creating an external data source and external tables to grant access to live Twitter data using T-SQL queries.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Twitter data using PolyBase due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SQL Server to Twitter, the driver pushes down supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Twitter and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. And with PolyBase, you can also join SQL Server data with Twitter data, using a single query to pull data from distributed sources.

Connect to Twitter

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. To create an external data source in SQL Server using PolyBase, configure a System DSN (CData Twitter Sys is created automatically).

All tables require authentication. You can connect using your User and Password or OAuth. To authenticate using OAuth, you can use the embedded OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL or you can register an app to obtain your own.

If you intend to communicate with Twitter only as the currently authenticated user, then you can obtain the OAuthAccessToken and OAuthAccessTokenSecret directly by registering an app.

See the Getting Started chapter in the help documentation for a guide to using OAuth.

Click "Test Connection" to ensure that the DSN is connected to Twitter properly. Navigate to the Tables tab to review the table definitions for Twitter.

Create an External Data Source for Twitter Data

After configuring the connection, you need to create a master encryption key and a credential database for the external data source.

Creating a Master Encryption Key

Execute the following SQL command to create a new master key, 'ENCRYPTION,' to encrypt the credentials for the external data source.

CREATE MASTER KEY ENCRYPTION BY PASSWORD = 'password';

Creating a Credential Database

Execute the following SQL command to create credentials for the external data source connected to Twitter data.

NOTE: Since Twitter does not require a User or Password to authenticate, you may use whatever values you wish for IDENTITY and SECRET.

CREATE DATABASE SCOPED CREDENTIAL twitter_creds
WITH IDENTITY = 'username', SECRET = 'password';

Create an External Data Source for Twitter

Execute the following SQL command to create an external data source for Twitter with PolyBase, using the DSN and credentials configured earlier.

For Twitter, set SERVERNAME to 'localhost' or '127.0.0.1' and leave PORT empty. PUSHDOWN is set to ON by default, meaning the ODBC Driver can leverage server-side processing for complex queries.

CREATE EXTERNAL DATA SOURCE cdata_twitter_source
WITH ( 
  LOCATION = 'odbc://SERVERNAME[:PORT]',
  CONNECTION_OPTIONS = 'DSN=CData Twitter Sys',
  -- PUSHDOWN = ON | OFF,
  CREDENTIAL = twitter_creds
);

Create External Tables for Twitter

After creating the external data source, use CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statements to link to Twitter data from your SQL Server instance. The table column definitions must match those exposed by the CData ODBC Driver for Twitter. You can refer to the Tables tab of the DSN Configuration Wizard to see the table definition.

Sample CREATE TABLE Statement

The statement to create an external table based on a Twitter Tweets would look similar to the following:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE Tweets(
  From_User_Name [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  Retweet_Count [nvarchar](255) NULL,
  ...
) WITH ( 
  LOCATION='Tweets',
  DATA_SOURCE=cdata_twitter_source
);

Having created external tables for Twitter in your SQL Server instance, you are now able to query local and remote data simultaneously. Thanks to built-in query processing in the CData ODBC Driver, you know that as much query processing as possible is being pushed to Twitter, freeing up local resources and computing power. Download a free, 30-day trial of the ODBC Driver for Twitter and start working with live Twitter data alongside your SQL Server data today.