Publish XML-Connected Dashboards in Tableau Server

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XML Tableau Connector

The fastest and easiest way to connect Tableau to XML Documents data. Includes comprehensive high-performance data access, real-time integration, extensive metadata discovery, and robust SQL-92 support.



Use the CData Tableau Connector for XML and Tableau Server to visualize live XML data.

Tableau Server is a visual analytics platform transforming the way businesses use data to solve problems. When paired with the CData Tableau Connector for XML, you get access to live XML data within Tableau Server. This article shows how to connect to XML in Tableau Desktop, publish a Data Source to Tableau Server, and build a simple chart from that data.

The CData Tableau Connectors enable high-speed access to live XML data in Tableau Server. Once you install the connector, you simply authenticate with XML and you can immediately start building responsive, dynamic visualizations and dashboards. By surfacing XML data using native Tableau data types and handling complex filters, aggregations, & other operations automatically, CData Tableau Connectors grant seamless access to XML data.

NOTE: The CData Tableau Connectors require Tableau 2020.3 or higher. If you are using an older version of Tableau, you will need to use the CData JDBC Driver for XML. If you wish to connect to XML data in Tableau Online, you will need to use CData Connect Cloud.

Enable Connectivity to XML in Tableau Server

Start by installing the CData Tableau Connector on the machine hosting Tableau Server.

If your server is a Linux Machine:

  1. Create a directory for the connector files. For example: /opt/tableau/tableau_driver/connectors
  2. Update your Tableau configuration with the location of the directory: tsm configuration set -k native_api.connect_plugins_path -v /opt/tableau/tableau_driver/connectors --force-keys
  3. Copy cdata.xml.taco and cdata.tableau.xml.lic from the connector installation directory.
  4. Place the copies in the directory created above.
  5. Restart Tableau Server.

If your server is a Windows Machine:

  1. Create a directory for the connector files. For example: C:\Program Files\Tableau\Connectors
  2. Update your Tableau configuration with the location of the directory: tsm configuration set -k native_api.connect_plugins_path -v C:\Program Files\Tableau\Connectors --force-keys
  3. Copy cdata.xml.taco and cdata.tableau.xml.lic from the connector installation directory.
  4. Place the copies in the directory created above.
  5. Restart Tableau Server.

Next, install the CData Tableau Connector on the machine running Tableau Desktop. The connector will be installed to the correct location automatically.

Connect to XML in Tableau Desktop

Once the connectors are installed on the Server machine, we can configure a connection to XML in Tableau Desktop and publish a XML-based Data Source to Tableau Server.

  1. Open Tableau Desktop.
  2. Click More under Connect -> To a Server.
  3. Select "XML by CData".
  4. Configure the connection to the data.

    See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation to authenticate to your data source: The data provider models XML APIs as bidirectional database tables and XML 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 XML 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 XML 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.

  5. Click "Sign In".

Discover Schemas and Query Data

Once you establish the connection to XML data, you can configure which entities to visualize.

  1. Select CData from the Database pull-down menu.
  2. Select XML from the Schema pull-down menu.
  3. Drag the tables and views you wish to visualize onto the join area. You can include multiple tables.
  4. Select Update Now or Automatically Update. Update Now lets you preview the first 10,000 rows of the data source (or enter the number of rows you want to see in the Rows text box). Automatically Update auto-loads the changes in the preview area.

Publish Data to Tableau Server

After you configure the data you wish to visualize, you can publish the Data Source to a Tableau Server instance. In Tableau Desktop:

  1. Click Server -> Sign In.
  2. Enter the URL for your Tableau Server.
  3. Authenticate with Tableau Server credentials.
  4. Click Server -> Publish Data Source and select your data source.
  5. Click Publish.
  6. Select the Project, name the Data Source, and optionally add a description.
  7. Click Publish.

This creates a new entry under the server's data source list, from which you an change the data source's permissions, view its history, and perform other management tasks.

Note that workstation connected to the same server will be able to use the same source in Tableau Desktop, even if the connector isn't installed there. Also, workbooks created directly on Tableau Server (via the web interface) can use this source.

Visualize XML Data in Tableau Server

With the Data Source published to Tableau Server, you are ready to visualize XML data.

  1. Login to your Tableau Server instance.
  2. Connect to the remote source using the Search for Data -> Tableau Server in the Connect sidebar.
  3. Click the published Data Source.
  4. Click New Workbook.
  5. In the workbook, XML fields are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData Tableau Connector discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  6. Drag a field from the Dimensions or Measures area to Rows or Columns. Tableau creates column or row headers.
  7. Select one of the chart types from the Show Me tab. Tableau displays the chart type that you selected.

Using the CData Tableau Connector for XML with Tableau Server, you can easily create robust visualizations and reports on XML data. Download a free, 30-day trial and get started today.