Metadata Enumeration


Connection metadata refers to the set of APIs Tableau uses to model Catalog/Schema/Table hierarchy, as well as table column details like name, type and constraints. When connecting to a data source Tableau needs to start by enumerating the hierarchy and related entities. When selecting a table, or connecting to an existing saved connection, the column level info needs to be queried as well.

ODBC Metadata Enumeration

ODBC capabilities determine the method Tableau uses to read ODBC metadata. Note that the scenarios below are in order and the scenario that returns results first is used, all others are skipped. The detailed logs of reading ODBC metadata are logged with SQLODBCProtocol::ReadMetadataImpl keyword. You should be able to find those log lines in tabprotosrv log file with Debug level logging.

  1. Full “select *” using SQLPrepare only, which ensures the query is parsed but not executed. Conditions: CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_PREPARED_QUERY = false AND CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPRESS_SELECT_STAR = false Example query: SELECT * FROM default.testv1_batters

  2. Row-limiting “select *” with WHERE 1=0. Conditions: CAP_QUERY_WHERE_FALSE_METADATA = true AND (CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_PREPARED_QUERY = false OR CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_EXECUTED_QUERY = false) Example query: SELECT * FROM default.testv1_batters WHERE 1=0

  3. Row-limiting “select *” with TOP 0 / LIMIT 0. Conditions: CAP_QUERY_TOP_0_METADATA = true AND (CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_PREPARED_QUERY = false OR CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_EXECUTED_QUERY = false) Example query: SELECT * FROM default.testv1_batters LIMIT 0

  4. Querying table metadata directly from SQLColumns, which is fast, but can be less reliable. Conditions: CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_SQLCOLUMNS_API = false

  5. Full “select *” query Conditions: CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_PREPARED_QUERY = false OR CAP_ODBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_EXECUTED_QUERY = false Example query: SELECT * FROM default.testv1_batters

JDBC Metadata Enumeration

There are several JDBC capabilities controlling JDBC metadata enumeration and are all prefixed with CAP_JDBC_METADATA_. When metadata is enumerated by a SQL query, it will be logged with keyword grpc-protocol-read-query-metadata. When reading the metadata of columns from a table, the event will be logged with keyword grpc-protocol-read-table-metadata.

Without any of below capabilities being set, our default behavior is to use JDBC APIs like getCatalogs, getSchemas, getTables, and getColumns from DatabaseMetaData.

  1. Set CAP_JDBC_METADATA_SUPPRESS_PREPARED_QUERY to true to disable SQLPrepare query, query will include a WHERE 1=0 clause in order to read metadata.

  2. Set CAP_JDBC_METADATA_USE_RESULTSET_FOR_TABLE to true to read metadata using an empty result set, example query as select * from <tableName> where 1=0. Turn this capability off to read the metadata of ResultSet for a particular table.

  3. Set CAP_JDBC_METADATA_READ_FOREIGNKEYS to false to disable reading foreign key metadata.

  4. Set CAP_JDBC_METADATA_READ_PRIMARYKEYS to false to disable reading primary key metadata.

  5. Set CAP_JDBC_METADATA_GET_INDEX_INFO to false to disable reading index info.

For all Tableau connector capabilities, please refer to capabilities documentation.

Catalog Hierarchy

The Tableau platform refers to ODBC and JDBC Catalog as Database in the SDK. It also uses the term Database by default in the product UI.

Connectors do not call JDBC setCatalog or send a USE <Catalog> query. When the user selects Database it should be passed on the ODBC connection string or JDBC url/properties as appropriate.

Tableau only sends Schema.Table queries, not the fully qualified table names, which is why passing the Database value as a part of the connection is required. See Tableau product documentation for more details on the cross-database join scenario.

This value can be retrieved via the connectionHelper.attributeDatabase key in the connection builder/properties builder step. It is also required to include dbname in the connection normalizer as well if Database is supported.