Tableau OCF Connector: Overview

Alation Cloud Service Applies to Alation Cloud Service instances of Alation

Customer Managed Applies to customer-managed instances of Alation

The Tableau OCF connector was developed by Alation and is available as a Zip file that can be uploaded and installed in Manage Connectors.

To download the Tableau OCF connector package, go to the Alation Connector Hub available from the Customer Portal. Go to Customer Portal > Connectors > Alation Connector Hub. Only Alation users with access to the Customer Portal can access the Alation Connector Hub. If you don’t have access to the Customer Portal, contact Alation Support.

This connector should be used to catalog Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud as a BI source in Alation. It extracts Tableau objects such as sites, projects, workbooks, views (worksheets, dashboards), fields, data sources, data source fields, databases, and tables. Users will be able to find Tableau metadata using the Search features, curate Tableau object pages, and understand the business transformation (lineage) of their data from the Alation user interface.


For Alation Cloud Service customers, Alation offers additional capabilities with the Tableau OCF connector. See Alation Anywhere for Tableau for more details.


The following administrators are required to install this connector:

  • Alation Server Admin

    • Installs the connector

    • Creates a Tableau BI source

    • Provisions Alation API tokens

  • Tableau user with the site administrator role

    • On Tableau Server, enables the Metadata API


      On Tableau Online, this API is enabled by default.

    • Provides host and authentication information


The table below lists the features available with this connector:



Tableau Server

Tableau Online


Basic authentication

Authentication to Tableau using a service account (username and password)


Authentication using the SSL protocol

Personal access token

Authentication with a personal access token

Active Directory

Authentication with Active Directory as the identity store


LDAP, MFA, or SAML authentication

Extracted metadata objects


Catalog sites

Site filtering

Ability to include or exclude specific sites


Catalog projects in a site

Project filtering

Ability to include or exclude specific projects


Catalog workbooks

Dashboards and reports

Catalog reports (views)—sheets and dashboards

Tableau stories and flows

Ability to catalog tableau stories and flows

Report filtering

Ability to include or exclude specific reports

Report columns

Catalog dimensions, measures, and measure expressions

Report owner

Owner or author who created the report

Data sources or Published data sources

Catalog published data sources used in reports

Embedded Data sources or Unpublished data sources

Catalog unpublished or embedded data sources used in reports

Data source columns

Catalog data source columns (fields)

Databases and tables

Extract information about databases and tables used as data sources


Extracts users that have the same username in Tableau as they do in Alation


Extract read permissions information for Tableau objects


Catalog applications


Catalog dataflows


Catalog datasets

Source comments

Catalog source comments (descriptions)—available from Alation version 2022.3

Source comments are supported for projects, workbooks, published data sources, report columns, and data source columns


Owner or author who created a workbook, view, data source, or project. The Owner value is extracted from connector version 1.5.0.


Project owner value is extracted from connector version 1.6.1

Alation catalog features

Metadata extraction

Ability to extract the metadata

Extract image previews

Ability to show a thumbnail image of workbooks and reports

Report lineage

Ability to auto-generate lineage for reports.

Alation Version 2023.1.1 and connector version 1.4.0 or newer supports column-level lineage.

Report popularity

Display the popularity value for extracted report objects

Workbook popularity

Display the popularity value for extracted workbooks

Security replication

Replicate access control to reports and dashboards (permission mirroring)

Multi-domain user extraction

Extract permission information for users in different domains

Tableau Object Mapping

The following diagram shows how extracted Tableau objects map onto Alation objects:



Report Popularity :

  • Report Popularity in Alation is calculated using the “Views“ column in Tableau UI (as shown in the image). Views in Tableau is the number of the times a View or a Sheet was viewed by a user.

  • Popularity of a view(calculated within a workbook) is calculated as [ (View-count of the view)/(View-count of the view with maximum view-count in the workbook) ] * 100.

  • View popularity in Alation

  • View counts in Tableau


Workbook popularity:

  • Workbook popularity is supported from Tableau OCF Connector version 1.6.8.

  • The view count of workbook in Tableau is calculated as the sum of the view counts of the individual view within the workbook.

  • Popularity of a workbook(calculated within a project(project-level)) is calculated as [ (View-count of the workbook)/(View-count of the workbook with maximum view-count in the project) ] * 100.

  • Workbook popularity in Alation

  • Workbook view counts in Tableau


Display the SQL Query Under the Connections Tab for CustomSQL-Based Data Source

  • Extracting and displaying the SQL query that references a DatabaseTable or BIConnection is supported from Tableau OCF Connector version 1.7.1

  • If the table or connection is referenced in multiple SQL queries, all the SQL queries will be is displayed.

  • The SQL query is displayed under the Connections tab of the BI Source catalog page in Alation.

  • Supported RDBMS data sources are SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, and Snowflake. Cross-System Lineage is supported for all the supported RDBMS data sources except Snowflake.

    • For Snowflake, the Metadata API does not return a database hostname which is required by the Lineage-Service to generate Cross-System Lineage.

    • The table names used in the custom SQL queries must be fully qualified. Example - <schema_name>.<table_name> OR <database_name>.<schema_name>.<table_name>.

    • If the table names are not fully qualified, TMP will be displayed on the RDBMS table or Cross-System Lineage generation will be failed.

    • Custom SQL query for Postgres with schema in the query.

    • Custom SQL query for Postgres without schema in the query.

    • Column-Level-Lineage is not supported for CustomSQL-based Data Sources. This is a limitation in the Tableau Metadata API, which does not return the database table or connection column.