Publish and Share USPS Data Dashboards with Tableau Server

The CData ODBC driver for USPS enables you integrate USPS data into Tableau dashboards.

Integrate connectivity to USPS data into your enterprise reporting capabilities. The CData ODBC Driver for USPS enables you to access live USPS data in business intelligence tools like Tableau Server. Connectivity to USPS APIs enables you to monitor changes to your data in real time. Other members of your organization can access your dashboards from a Web browser and get updates from their mobile phone.

This article walks through the process of configuring a DSN on the client and server machines, publishing a data source for USPS to Tableau Server, and publishing an entire Workbook to Tableau Server (including the data source). If you publish a data source, you will be able to create new, refreshable workbooks in Tableau Server.

Connect to USPS as an ODBC Data Source

To create a data source or workbook in Tableau Desktop and publish the data source or workbook to Tableau server, you will need to configure a DSN on each machine (Desktop and Server), specifying connection properties and creating DSNs using the same name on each machine. Information for connecting to USPS follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments.

To authenticate with USPS, set the following connection properties.

  • PostageProvider: The postage provider to use to process requests. Available options are ENDICIA and STAMPS. If unspecified, this property will default to ENDICIA.
  • UseSandbox: This controls whether live or test requests are sent to the production or sandbox servers. If set to true, the Password, AccountNumber, and StampsUserId properties are ignored.
  • StampsUserId: This value is used for logging into authentication to the Stamps servers. This value is not applicable for Endicia and is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • Password: This value is used for logging into Endicia and Stamps servers. If the postage provider is Endicia, this will be the pass phrase associated with your postage account. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • AccountNumber: The shipper's account number. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

The Cache Database

Many of the useful task available from USPS require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilize a cache database to make requests. Set the cache connection properties in order to use the cache:

  • CacheLocation: The path to the cache location, for which a connection will be configured with the default cache provider. For example, C:\users\username\documents\uspscache

As an alternative to CacheLocation, set the combination of CacheConnection and CacheProvider to configure a cache connection using a provider separate from the default.

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 are installing the CData ODBC Driver for USPS on Windows, DSN configuration is the last step of the driver installation. If you already have the driver installed, or you wish to configure new DSNs, you can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for USPS 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 USPS Source] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for USPS Description = My Description PostageProvider = ENDICIA RequestId = 12345 Password = 'abcdefghijklmnopqr' AccountNumber = '12A3B4C'

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Publish the USPS Data Source to Tableau Server

With the connections to USPS data configured, you are ready to publish a USPS data source on Tableau, ready to be leveraged by users in your organization to create workbooks based on USPS data.

Create and Publish a Data Source

  1. In the Connect pane, click More -> Other Databases (ODBC). Select CData USPS Sys, the system DSN.

    The driver installation automatically creates matching user and system DSNs: The system DSN is needed to connect from Tableau Server.

  2. In the Database menu, select CData.
  3. In the Table box, enter a table name or click New Custom SQL to enter an SQL query.
  4. Drag the table onto the join area.
  5. From the Server menu, click Publish Data Source -> (YOUR DATA SOURCE).
  6. Enter the URL to the server. For most instances, you will authenticate with the Tableau Server username and password. Other authentication scenarios can be found below:
    • If Tableau is configured to use Kerberos and your computer has valid Active Directory credentials, Tableau connects to the server.
    • If Tableau is configured to use SAML, a login prompt for your external identity provider is displayed.
    • If Tableau is configured to use Active Directory, enter your Windows username and password.
  7. In the resulting dialog, set the Project, Data Source, and other properties. If you want to schedule refreshes, select Embedded Password in the Authentication menu. Click Publish.

You and other users in your organization can now create and share workbooks based on the published data source.

Refresh Workbooks

With a system DSN configured on the client (Tableau Desktop) machine and server (Tableau Server) machine, you can refresh workbooks connected to the USPS data source. From the Web interface for Tableau Sever, click Data -> (YOUR DATA SOURCE) -> Refresh.

Publish a Completed Workbook with USPS Data to Tableau Server

If you have a specific Workbook that you wish to share with your organization, you can create the Workbook on Tableau Desktop and publish the Workbook directly to Tableau Server.

  1. To connect to USPS and select data, follow steps 1-5 above.
  2. Click Server -> Sign in and configure the connection to the server. For most instances, you will authenticate with the Tableau Server username and password. Other authentication scenarios can be found below:
    • If Tableau is configured to use Kerberos and your computer has valid Active Directory credentials, Tableau connects to the server.
    • If Tableau is configured to use SAML, a login prompt for your external identity provider is displayed.
    • If Tableau is configured to use Active Directory, enter your Windows username and password.
  3. With the data selected, select dimensions and measures to visualize and select a type of chart or graph to build your visualization(s).
  4. Once the Workbook is complete, click Server -> Publish Workbook to publish the Workbook to Tableau Server.
  5. In the resulting dialog, set the Project, Name, Description and other properties. If you want to schedule refreshes, click Edit under Data Sources and change the Authentication option to Embedded Password. Click Publish.

You and other users in your organization can now review the published workbook from Tableau Server.