WDC Multiple Tables Tutorial

Important: Tableau Web Data Connector 2.0 (this version) is being deprecated at Tableau 2023.1 and eventually retired. We will still support WDC 2.0 until its last compatible version of Tableau (Tableau 2022.4) goes End of Life and is no longer supported.

For information about Tableau Web Data Connector 3.0, see the WDC 3.0 documentation.

This tutorial builds on the connector created in the basic tutorial. Ensure that you understand the concepts in the basic tutorial before you continue.

By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to store data in multiple tables and pass user input to your connector.

You’ll learn how to:

To see the source code for the completed connector, look for the earthquakeMultitable files in the Examples directory.

Before you get started

This tutorial builds on the USGS Earthquake feed connector created in the tutorial. Before you get started, you’ll need to make a copy of the connector that you can edit.

  1. Copy the earthquakeUSGS files from the Examples directory and the js directory to the top-level directory for the repository. (This is the same directory as the README.)

  2. Rename the files to earthquakeMultitable.html and earthquakeMultitable.js.

  3. Edit the earthquakeMultitable.html file to point to the renamed earthquakeMultitable.js file:

    <script src="earthquakeMultitable.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Create the user interface

The existing connector interface doesn’t do very much–it’s just a button that you can click to run the connector. To illustrate how to pass user input data to your connector, let’s add a form so that you can specify the date range for which you want to get earthquake data.

Open the earthquakeMultitable.html file, and copy the following code immediately above the <button> element:

<h2>Get Earthquake Data for a Time Range</h2>
	<div class="form-inline">
		<label for="start-date-one" class="text-center">Start Date</label>
		<label for="end-date-one">End Date</label>
	<div class="form-inline">
		<input type="text" class="form-control" id="start-date-one" value="2016-05-08">
		<input type="text" class="form-control" id="end-date-one" value="2016-05-15">

This is a simple form with a label and text fields where you can enter date values. Additionally, there are some <div> elements and classes on each element to use Bootstrap styling. If you load the page in a browser, the result looks like this:

"The connector interface displays four input fields with labels for date ranges."

Store connection data

Now that you’ve updated the user interface, it’s time to consume the user input data in the JavaScript code. We’re going to get the values from the input fields and store them in a tableau.connectionData variable for use later.

Open the earthquakeMultitable.js file, and replace the $(document).ready function with the following code :

$(document).ready(function() {
    $("#submitButton").click(function() {
        var dateObj = {
            startDate: $('#start-date-one').val().trim(),
            endDate: $('#end-date-one').val().trim(),

        function isValidDate(dateStr) {
            var d = new Date(dateStr);
            return !isNaN(d.getDate());

        if (isValidDate(dateObj.startDate) && isValidDate(dateObj.endDate)) {
            tableau.connectionData = JSON.stringify(dateObj);
            tableau.connectionName = "USGS Earthquake Feed";
        } else {
            $('#errorMsg').html("Enter valid dates. For example, 2016-05-08.");

Some things to note about the code:

The tableau.connectionData variable is the important piece here. It is created by the WDC so that you can pass data to the getSchema and getData functions. It is important to note that the tableau.connectionData variable only accepts string values.

Get Multiple Table Schemas

In this part of the tutorial, you modify the getSchema code to create two table schemas and pass them to the schemaCallback in an array parameter.

Replace the myConnector.getSchema function with the following code:

myConnector.getSchema = function(schemaCallback) {
	// Schema for magnitude and place data
	var mag_place_cols = [{
		id: "id",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.string
	}, {
		id: "mag",
		alias: "magnitude",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.float
	}, {
		id: "title",
		alias: "title",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.string
	}, {
		id: "lat",
		alias: "latitude",
		columnRole: "dimension",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.float
	}, {
		id: "lon",
		alias: "longitude",
		columnRole: "dimension",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.float

	var magPlaceTable = {
		id: "magPlace",
		alias: "Magnitude and Place Data",
		columns: mag_place_cols

	// Schema for time and URL data
	var time_url_cols = [{
		id: "id",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.string
	}, {
		id: "time",
		alias: "time",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.date
	}, {
		id: "url",
		alias: "url",
		dataType: tableau.dataTypeEnum.string

	var timeUrlTable = {
		id: "timeUrl",
		alias: "Time and URL Data",
		columns: time_url_cols
	schemaCallback([magPlaceTable, timeUrlTable]);

Here’s what’s happening in the code:

Get data for each table

When you create multiple table schemas, the WDC API calls the getData function once for each schema. As a result, you need a way to change the call to the USGS Earthquake API for each table. The easiest way to do this is to use the table.tableInfo.id value that we set in the table schemas.

Replace the myConnector.getData function with the following code:

myConnector.getData = function(table, doneCallback) {
	var dateObj = JSON.parse(tableau.connectionData),
		dateString = "starttime=" + dateObj.startDate + "&endtime=" + dateObj.endDate,
		apiCall = "http://earthquake.usgs.gov/fdsnws/event/1/query?format=geojson&" + dateString + "&minmagnitude=4.5";

	$.getJSON(apiCall, function(resp) {
		var feat = resp.features,
			tableData = [];

		var i = 0;

		if (table.tableInfo.id == "magPlace") {
			for (i = 0, len = feat.length; i < len; i++) {
					"id": feat[i].id,
					"mag": feat[i].properties.mag,
					"title": feat[i].properties.title,
					"lon": feat[i].geometry.coordinates[0],
					"lat": feat[i].geometry.coordinates[1]

		if (table.tableInfo.id == "timeUrl") {
			for (i = 0, len = feat.length; i < len; i++) {
					"id": feat[i].id,
					"url": feat[i].properties.url,
					"time": new Date(feat[i].properties.time) // Convert to a date format from epoch time


Let’s take a look at what’s going on here:

See it in action

That’s it for the coding part of this tutorial. Time to test your connector in the simulator like you did in the Get Started section and the basic tutorial.

When you’re done, try to open your connector in Tableau. Once you open your connector in Tableau, you can drag the Magnitude and Place Data table and the Time and URL Data table to the pane where it says Drag tables here. You can ensure that the tables are joined properly on the id field by clicking the overlapping circles to display the join information.

"Join multiple connector tables in Tableau."

Want to check your work? See the source code in the Examples directory.

Now you’re definitely ready to make your own connector!

You might also want to learn about incremental refresh and authentication. See the WDC Node.js Proxy with OAuth Tutorial.