Tableau has great connectivity that allows you to visualize data from virtually anywhere. In addition to its dozens of built-in connectors and additional partner-built connectors (available on Tableau Exchange(Link opens in a new window)), Tableau gives you the tools to build a customized connector with the Tableau Connector SDK.

Note: Connectors built using the Tableau Connector SDK are sometimes called plugins because they “plug into” Tableau so you can connect to your data.

About Tableau Connector SDK and connector files

You can use the Tableau Connector SDK to build and custom a connector. Partner-built connectors (whether built by you or someone else) typically support most of the same features as built-in Tableau connectors. These include defining a data source(Link opens in a new window), visualizing your data(Link opens in a new window), publishing to a server(Link opens in a new window) (if the server has the connector), and so on.

Each connector is made up of a set of XML and JavaScript files, zipped into a single packaged .jar file, and give a ".taco" file extension. This TACO file is signed by the developer using a trusted public certificate authority. The XML and JavaScript files are configuration files that describe:

  • UI elements needed to collect user input for creating a connection to a data source
  • Any dialect or customizations needed for the connection
  • How to connect using the ODBC or JDBC driver

A connector that is developed using the Tableau Connector SDK is appropriate for connecting to an ODBC or JDBC driver which interfaces using SQL. The underlying technology works well with relation databases.

Note: Partner-built connectors are not supported by Tableau. However, if you use a partner-built connector from the Tableau Exchange, click the Support link on that connector's page for help.

Build your own connector

To build your own customized connector, use the tools and instructions in the Tableau Connector SDK(Link opens in a new window) repository on GitHub.

Note:  If you find an issue with the SDK or any of the developer samples, submit an issue on GitHub(Link opens in a new window).

Submit a connector to the Tableau Exchange

If you would like to submit your connector to the Tableau Exchange, follow steps outlined in the Tableau Connector SDK.

Use a connector built with Tableau Connector SDK

After you build a connector with the Tableau Connector SDK, follow these steps to use it with Tableau:

  1. Download the connector file, [connector name].taco.
  2. Place the .taco file in the following directory (default location):
    For Tableau DesktopFor Tableau PrepFor Tableau Server
    • Windows - C:\Users\[Windows User]\Documents\My Tableau Repository\Connectors
    • macOS - /Users/[user]/Documents/My Tableau Repository/Connectors
    • Windows: C:\Users\[Windows User]\Documents\My Tableau Prep Repository\Connectors
    • MacOS: /Users//Documents/My Tableau Prep Repository/ConnectorsFor Tableau

    For flow web authoring, on Tableau Server:

    • /data/tabsvc/flowqueryservice/Connectors

    For Tableau Prep Conductor, on Tableau Server:

    • /data/tabsvc/flowprocessor/Connectors
    • C:\ProgramData\Tableau\Tableau Server\data\tabsvc\vizqlserver\Connectors
  3. Before you connect, install the ODBC or JDBC driver. Follow the driver installation instructions provided by the source of your data.

Once you've installed the connector, it will appear in the list of connectors in Tableau.

Connect Tableau to the data

  1. Start Tableau, and under Connect, select the name of the connector you just installed. For a complete list of data connectors, select More under To a Server.
  2. Enter the information that you’re prompted for, and then select Sign In.
  3. Wait while the connector retrieves your data into Tableau.
  4. Select the sheet tab to start your analysis.

About load order for connectors

Tableau loads connectors by directory in the following order:

  1. Built-in Tableau connectors
  2. Connectors located in "My Tableau Repository/Connectors" (including those added manually by the user and those downloaded from the Tableau Exchange(Link opens in a new window)).
  3. Any connectors in the dev path specified by "-DConnectPluginsPath"

If a connector has the same class as a connector that is registered already, the new connector will be rejected. This means that connectors loaded first have precedence when two connectors share the same class name.

See also

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