Web Data Connector

This article describes web data connectors, what to do before you use a connector, and how to connect Tableau to a web data connector.

Use a web data connector

You can use a web data connector to connect to data that is accessible over HTTP and that doesn't already have a connector. A web data connector is an HTML file that includes JavaScript code. You can create your own web data connector or use one that has been created by someone else. The web data connector must be hosted on a web server running locally on your computer, on a web server in your domain, or on a third-party web server.

Test and vet the web data connector

You should use a web data connector that you trust. If you are unfamiliar with the web data connector, you or your Tableau Server administrator should test and vet the web data connector before you use it. For more information, see Testing and Vetting Web Data Connectors in the Tableau Server Help.

How to use a web data connector on Tableau Server and Tableau Online

When you use a web data connector, Tableau creates an extract of the data that the connector accesses. You can refresh the extract in Tableau Desktop.

When you publish the data source or workbook to Tableau Server, you cannot refresh the extract on Tableau Server unless the web data connector is added to the safe list on Tableau Server. If the connector requires credentials to sign in to the web-based data source, you need to ensure that the credentials are embedded with the data source. For more information, see Web Data Connectors in Tableau Server in the Tableau Server Help.

After the web data connector has been tested and vetted, the server administrator can add the URL for the connector to the safe list on the server. The server administrator should give this URL to you and to anyone else who wants to use the connector in a workbook.

If you open a workbook on Tableau Server that was created using a web data connector, but the connector has not been added to the safe list on Tableau Server, and you want to be able to refresh the extract on Tableau Server, follow the process for testing, vetting, and adding the connector to the safe list. If the connector requires credentials to sign in, you need to ensure that the credentials are embedded with the data source. You can then refresh your data on Tableau Server.

When you publish to Tableau Online, as a security measure, Tableau Online can't connect to or refresh an extract created by a web data connector. To refresh some web data connector extracts, you can use Tableau Bridge. For more information, see When to use Tableau Bridge to keep data fresh in the Tableau Online Help.

When you publish to Tableau Public, because you can't add a web data connector to Tableau Public, you can't refresh web data connector extracts directly on Tableau Public.

Connect to the data source

  1. Start Tableau and under Connect, select Web Data Connector. For a complete list of data connections, select More under To a Server.

  2. Enter the URL of the web data connector that you want to connect to, and then press Enter.

    Note: If you enter a URL to a website, rather than to a web data connector, an error message will appear.

  3. If the connector displays a webpage, enter any information that you're prompted for, and then submit the page.

  4. Wait while the connector retrieves your data and imports it into Tableau as an extract.

  5. Select the sheet tab to start your analysis.

Web data connector data source example

An example of a web data connector data source is shown below. The first time you connect to a web data connector, the connection page outlines how to connect to the web data connector.

After you connect to a web data connector, on the connection page, you can do the following:

  • View a history of all the web data connectors that you've connected to, or clear the history, in the drop-down list in the address bar.

  • View your five most recently used connectors under Recent Connectors.

  • Select links at the bottom on the window to learn more about web data connectors:

    • What's this? links to an overview of this feature.

    • Use a connector links to this topic.

    • Build a connector links to the Web Data Connector SDK, which provides tools and documentation for building a web data connector.

Optional settings

After you connect, you can make the following configuration changes to the data source before you start your analysis.

  • Sort fields and rows – From the Sort fields drop-down list, select how you want to sort the columns in the grid or metadata grid. Sort the row values by selecting the sort button next to the column name.

  • Rename or hide columns – Select the column header drop-down arrow and select the option you want.

  • Split columns – Depending on how the data is structured, you can split the columns in your data into new fields. For more information, see Split a Field into Multiple Fields.

  • Create calculations – Create a new calculation based on an existing field in the data source.

  • Copy values – Copy values in the grid by selecting the values and then pressing Ctrl+C. Alternatively, to copy values in the metadata grid, select the values, right-click, and then select Copy.

  • Add new or edit other data sources – Select the drop-down arrow next to the data source.

Tableau support for Web Data Connector

Tableau provides limited customer support for connections using the Web Data Connector. Tableau does not provide support for connectors or for other programs written to interface with the WDC API. However, you can submit questions and ask for help on the Tableau developer community forums.

Tableau does provide support for the WDC library and SDK though. If you find an issue with the WDC library, the simulator, or any of the developer samples, submit an issue on Github.


See also

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