Learning to build a Tableau Web Data Connector takes a fair bit of time.

So far, the shortest tutorial we found on the web is this 3 part series. You'll end up learning Tableau's evolving WDC SDK and browser simulator, and then build your own user interface, API connector, and finally deploy to a server if you run into Cross Domain issues. Phew.

Turns out, Blockspring is far and away the fastest and cheapest option to build a Tableau WDC. Here are four ways to automate all of your Tableau data pulls and get back to 'seeing data' stat.


Launch a WDC for any API (comprehensive)


Here's how you launch a WDC for any API while writing minimal code. Blockspring handles Tableau's SDK, builds you a UI, and deploys the connector automatically.


Recap steps:

  1. Open the Blockspring code editor.
  2. Write code to make a request to your API and click Publish.
  3. Make sure you mark your connector as Tabular Data.
  4. Open Tableau and click on Web Data Connector.
  5. Paste in your connector's WDC URL.
  6. Click test run and inspect your data.
  7. Import into Tableau.


Find a prebuilt WDC (easiest)


Fastest option if your API is already on the Blockspring platform. Search and use. No code.


Recap steps:

  1. Open Tableau and click on Web Data Connector.
  2. Type in blockspring.com as the WDC URL. Tableau might flash a "not a web data connector" warning. No biggie.
  3. Choose your API of choice (or search for it).
  4. Choose your dimensions, metrics, and filters.
  5. Click test run and inspect your data.
  6. Import into Tableau.


Launch a WDC w/ an API URL (easy)


If you already know the API URL you'd like to connect to, this is an easy no-code option. Note - this needs to be a GET request.


Recap steps:

  1. Open Tableau and click on Web Data Connector.
  2. Paste in the following WDC URL: https://t.blockspring.com/blocks/xml-json-explorer
  3. Paste in your API URL and click test run.
  4. If the API doesn't return tabular data, change your starting key path until it does.
  5. Import into Tableau.


Launch a WDC that Incrementally Collects Data (powerful, pricier)


If you need to save data over time (eg daily Facebook shares), you'll want to use Blockspring Tableservice. This saves you from having to data warehouse (eg launch a database and do ETL) or build a WDC.


Recap steps:

  1. Open Blockspring Tableservice.
  2. Set up your collection. Make sure to choose your refresh period.
  3. For your collection, click 'Open' and find the Tableau WDC URL.
  4. Open Tableau and click on Web Data Connector.
  5. Paste in your WDC URL.
  6. Click test run and inspect your data.
  7. Import into Tableau.

Get Started with Blockspring