Every day we hear from data source providers that have asked Tableau for advice on connectivity. Our answer is the SimbaEngine SDK™ and Simba’s Certified-for-Tableau Program. Using these tools, we have helped companies get a POC running in 5 Days and into production in as little as 6 weeks.

When you build an ODBC driver with the SimbaEngine SDK™, you can have Simba certify your driver for use with Tableau. The certification process will identify potential conflicts your driver could have with the Tableau workflow, and then give you the chance to fix or mitigate them. Tableau is the specific focus for the Simba Certified-for-Tableau test suite, but the certification process will do much more than just prepare your driver for Tableau. The Simba test coverage will harden your driver for use in any ODBC application.

The Simba Certified-for-Tableau process is multi-faceted. We ensure your driver reports valid information to Tableau about what the driver supports and we thoroughly test your driver to ensure that there are no gaps in the functionality you do support. We also create a custom TDC file to facilitate your Tableau connection, ensuring Tableau will not make unsupported queries which could cause errors for your customers.

Understanding Your Driver

The Simba Certified-for-Tableau process begins with an assessment: Our testing team evaluates your driver to understand exactly what it supports. We built the SimbaEngine SDK with which you developed your driver, so we have a head start on its design fundamentals. Now we need to understand any customizations you have built on top of the existing driver-development framework.

Some of the important customizations include:

  • Data types supported.
  • Conversions
  • Query syntaxes supported, for example TOP vs LIMIT.

Testing Your Driver

After evaluating your driver’s design and capabilities, we start testing. We focus tests on two main areas: Metadata and SQL.

Metadata-testing looks at the different types of information your driver reports about itself. We make sure there are no reporting inconsistencies, for instance, testing different ways of reporting the same data. We also compare what your driver does support and what it reports. For example, we ensure column metatada is reported correctly (and consistently) by the different ODBC API calls such as SQLColumns() and SQLDescribeCol(). We also check that your driver reports the types, functions, conversions, and SQL for which it was designed.

The next step is testing your driver’s functionality. We are experts in the many ways Tableau interfaces with drivers, including how Tableau discovers and responds to driver capabilities, and the types of SQL queries it uses.

Based on your TDC file (see below) and what your driver reports, Tableau will adjust how it operates. For example, if your driver does not support CAST, Tableau can use CONVERT instead. Our test suite is dynamic, and can accommodate this Tableau adjustment. We modify test queries in the same way that Tableau does. The Simba team puts your driver through an exhaustive test suite to make sure that all reported functionality is supported. Tableau can produce complex SQL queries. Our certification process gives you confidence that your driver can handle them.

Any failures? We analyze them to discover root cause and the severity of impact. We communicate with you throughout the process, keeping you up to date on testing progress and any issues discovered. The Simba team also submits a final report that details the types of failures discovered, as well as a complete listing of tests and results.

TDC Customization

Once we have assessed your driver’s reporting and functional capabilities, we create a customized TDC file. This file is based on the current state of your driver, and will help you recognize optimized performance in Tableau right away. This allows you to distribute the driver to your customers knowing that it will work correctly with Tableau immediately. You can update the TDC file as you implement fixes for any uncovered issues.

If our assessment of your driver finds many issues, we can collaborate with you on one or more additional rounds of testing. That effort will verify progress, and provide both you and the Simba team an updated picture of your driver’s capabilities.

There you have it, a quick overview of Simba’s Certified for Tableau Program. Once your ODBC driver has passed the Simba Certified-for-Tableau process, you can be confident that it will perform seamlessly with Tableau, and that its ODBC capabilities have been thoroughly tested, giving it the resilience to deal with any ODBC application..

To learn more, check out the Simba Certified-for-Tableau program web page, or contact Simba directly at solutions@simba.com.