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Access a #JSON #API via #SQL server

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Let’s say you want to access a JSON based API, and import that data into SQL server, then your first thought, is that you’re going to need to write some form of application to do this, which calls the API, converts the JSON response to an object, then changes the object into SQL statements and … oh dear, where did the day go?

This great bit of code, sent to me by Tim Sant at Pickles Auctions shows you how to do the whole process within SQL server, so you don’t need any separate application.

The first part, is basically some AJAX preformed from within the SQL server using a COM object MSXML2.XMLHTTP

Declare @Object as Int;
Declare @ResponseText as Varchar(8000);
Declare @Rego as Varchar(15), @State as Varchar(3), @SiteURL as Varchar(500);

Set @Rego = 'AI38WB'
Set @State = 'NSW'
set @SiteURL =  'https://www.regcheck.org.uk/api/reg.asmx/CheckAustralia?RegistrationNumber=' + @Rego + '&State=' + @State + '&username=xxxx'

Print @SiteURL

Exec sp_OACreate 'MSXML2.XMLHTTP', @Object OUT;
Exec sp_OAMethod @Object, 'open', NULL, 'get',
                 @SiteURL, --Your Web Service Url (invoked)
                 'false'
Exec sp_OAMethod @Object, 'send'
Exec sp_OAMethod @Object, 'responseText', @ResponseText OUTPUT

--Select @ResponseText

Select * from parseJSON(@ResponseText)

Exec sp_OADestroy @Object

The API here is an Australian Registration number lookup, but any (http://www.carregistrationapi.com/) – but any JSON returning API is relevant here.

The next part is some really crazy string parsing code that can convert the JSON into a format more suitable for SQL queries.

	CREATE FUNCTION dbo.parseJSON( @JSON NVARCHAR(MAX))
	RETURNS @hierarchy TABLE
	  (
	   element_id INT IDENTITY(1, 1) NOT NULL, /* internal surrogate primary key gives the order of parsing and the list order */
	   sequenceNo [int] NULL, /* the place in the sequence for the element */
	   parent_ID INT,/* if the element has a parent then it is in this column. The document is the ultimate parent, so you can get the structure from recursing from the document */
	   Object_ID INT,/* each list or object has an object id. This ties all elements to a parent. Lists are treated as objects here */
	   NAME NVARCHAR(2000),/* the name of the object */
	   StringValue NVARCHAR(MAX) NOT NULL,/*the string representation of the value of the element. */
	   ValueType VARCHAR(10) NOT null /* the declared type of the value represented as a string in StringValue*/
	  )
	AS
	BEGIN
	  DECLARE
	    @FirstObject INT, --the index of the first open bracket found in the JSON string
	    @OpenDelimiter INT,--the index of the next open bracket found in the JSON string
	    @NextOpenDelimiter INT,--the index of subsequent open bracket found in the JSON string
	    @NextCloseDelimiter INT,--the index of subsequent close bracket found in the JSON string
	    @Type NVARCHAR(10),--whether it denotes an object or an array
	    @NextCloseDelimiterChar CHAR(1),--either a '}' or a ']'
	    @Contents NVARCHAR(MAX), --the unparsed contents of the bracketed expression
	    @Start INT, --index of the start of the token that you are parsing
	    @end INT,--index of the end of the token that you are parsing
	    @param INT,--the parameter at the end of the next Object/Array token
	    @EndOfName INT,--the index of the start of the parameter at end of Object/Array token
	    @token NVARCHAR(200),--either a string or object
	    @value NVARCHAR(MAX), -- the value as a string
	    @SequenceNo int, -- the sequence number within a list
	    @name NVARCHAR(200), --the name as a string
	    @parent_ID INT,--the next parent ID to allocate
	    @lenJSON INT,--the current length of the JSON String
	    @characters NCHAR(36),--used to convert hex to decimal
	    @result BIGINT,--the value of the hex symbol being parsed
	    @index SMALLINT,--used for parsing the hex value
	    @Escape INT --the index of the next escape character
	    
	  DECLARE @Strings TABLE /* in this temporary table we keep all strings, even the names of the elements, since they are 'escaped' in a different way, and may contain, unescaped, brackets denoting objects or lists. These are replaced in the JSON string by tokens representing the string */
	    (
	     String_ID INT IDENTITY(1, 1),
	     StringValue NVARCHAR(MAX)
	    )
	  SELECT--initialise the characters to convert hex to ascii
	    @characters='0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz',
	    @SequenceNo=0, --set the sequence no. to something sensible.
	  /* firstly we process all strings. This is done because [{} and ] aren't escaped in strings, which complicates an iterative parse. */
	    @parent_ID=0;
	  WHILE 1=1 --forever until there is nothing more to do
	    BEGIN
	      SELECT
	        @start=PATINDEX('%[^a-zA-Z]["]%', @json collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin);--next delimited string
	      IF @start=0 BREAK --no more so drop through the WHILE loop
	      IF SUBSTRING(@json, @start+1, 1)='"' 
	        BEGIN --Delimited Name
	          SET @start=@Start+1;
	          SET @end=PATINDEX('%[^\]["]%', RIGHT(@json, LEN(@json+'|')-@start) collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin);
	        END
	      IF @end=0 --no end delimiter to last string
	        BREAK --no more
	      SELECT @token=SUBSTRING(@json, @start+1, @end-1)
	      --now put in the escaped control characters
	      SELECT @token=REPLACE(@token, FROMString, TOString)
	      FROM
	        (SELECT
	          '\"' AS FromString, '"' AS ToString
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\\', '\'
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\/', '/'
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\b', CHAR(08)
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\f', CHAR(12)
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\n', CHAR(10)
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\r', CHAR(13)
	         UNION ALL SELECT '\t', CHAR(09)
	        ) substitutions
	      SELECT @result=0, @escape=1
	  --Begin to take out any hex escape codes
	      WHILE @escape>0
	        BEGIN
	          SELECT @index=0,
	          --find the next hex escape sequence
	          @escape=PATINDEX('%\x[0-9a-f][0-9a-f][0-9a-f][0-9a-f]%', @token collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)
	          IF @escape>0 --if there is one
	            BEGIN
	              WHILE @index<4 --there are always four digits to a \x sequence   
	                BEGIN
	                  SELECT --determine its value
	                    @result=@result+POWER(16, @index)
	                    *(CHARINDEX(SUBSTRING(@token, @escape+2+3-@index, 1),
	                                @characters)-1), @index=@index+1 ;
	         
	                END
	                -- and replace the hex sequence by its unicode value
	              SELECT @token=STUFF(@token, @escape, 6, NCHAR(@result))
	            END
	        END
	      --now store the string away 
	      INSERT INTO @Strings (StringValue) SELECT @token
	      -- and replace the string with a token
	      SELECT @JSON=STUFF(@json, @start, @end+1,
	                    '@string'+CONVERT(NVARCHAR(5), @@identity))
	    END
	  -- all strings are now removed. Now we find the first leaf.  
	  WHILE 1=1  --forever until there is nothing more to do
	  BEGIN
	 
	  SELECT @parent_ID=@parent_ID+1
	  --find the first object or list by looking for the open bracket
	  SELECT @FirstObject=PATINDEX('%[{[[]%', @json collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)--object or array
	  IF @FirstObject = 0 BREAK
	  IF (SUBSTRING(@json, @FirstObject, 1)='{') 
	    SELECT @NextCloseDelimiterChar='}', @type='object'
	  ELSE 
	    SELECT @NextCloseDelimiterChar=']', @type='array'
	  SELECT @OpenDelimiter=@firstObject
	  WHILE 1=1 --find the innermost object or list...
	    BEGIN
	      SELECT
	        @lenJSON=LEN(@JSON+'|')-1
	  --find the matching close-delimiter proceeding after the open-delimiter
	      SELECT
	        @NextCloseDelimiter=CHARINDEX(@NextCloseDelimiterChar, @json,
	                                      @OpenDelimiter+1)
	  --is there an intervening open-delimiter of either type
	      SELECT @NextOpenDelimiter=PATINDEX('%[{[[]%',
	             RIGHT(@json, @lenJSON-@OpenDelimiter)collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)--object
	      IF @NextOpenDelimiter=0 
	        BREAK
	      SELECT @NextOpenDelimiter=@NextOpenDelimiter+@OpenDelimiter
	      IF @NextCloseDelimiter<@NextOpenDelimiter 
	        BREAK
	      IF SUBSTRING(@json, @NextOpenDelimiter, 1)='{' 
	        SELECT @NextCloseDelimiterChar='}', @type='object'
	      ELSE 
	        SELECT @NextCloseDelimiterChar=']', @type='array'
	      SELECT @OpenDelimiter=@NextOpenDelimiter
	    END
	  ---and parse out the list or name/value pairs
	  SELECT
	    @contents=SUBSTRING(@json, @OpenDelimiter+1,
	                        @NextCloseDelimiter-@OpenDelimiter-1)
	  SELECT
	    @JSON=STUFF(@json, @OpenDelimiter,
	                @NextCloseDelimiter-@OpenDelimiter+1,
	                '@'+@type+CONVERT(NVARCHAR(5), @parent_ID))
	  WHILE (PATINDEX('%[A-Za-z0-9@+.e]%', @contents collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin))<>0 
	    BEGIN
	      IF @Type='Object' --it will be a 0-n list containing a string followed by a string, number,boolean, or null
	        BEGIN
	          SELECT
	            @SequenceNo=0,@end=CHARINDEX(':', ' '+@contents)--if there is anything, it will be a string-based name.
	          SELECT  @start=PATINDEX('%[^A-Za-z@][@]%', ' '+@contents collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)--AAAAAAAA
	          SELECT @token=SUBSTRING(' '+@contents, @start+1, @End-@Start-1),
	            @endofname=PATINDEX('%[0-9]%', @token collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin),
	            @param=RIGHT(@token, LEN(@token)-@endofname+1)
	          SELECT
	            @token=LEFT(@token, @endofname-1),
	            @Contents=RIGHT(' '+@contents, LEN(' '+@contents+'|')-@end-1)
	          SELECT  @name=stringvalue FROM @strings
	            WHERE string_id=@param --fetch the name
	        END
	      ELSE 
	        SELECT @Name=null,@SequenceNo=@SequenceNo+1 
	      SELECT
	        @end=CHARINDEX(',', @contents)-- a string-token, object-token, list-token, number,boolean, or null
	      IF @end=0 
	        SELECT  @end=PATINDEX('%[A-Za-z0-9@+.e][^A-Za-z0-9@+.e]%', @Contents+' ' collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)
	          +1
	       SELECT
	        @start=PATINDEX('%[^A-Za-z0-9@+.e][A-Za-z0-9@+.e]%', ' '+@contents collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)
	      --select @start,@end, LEN(@contents+'|'), @contents  
	      SELECT
	        @Value=RTRIM(SUBSTRING(@contents, @start, @End-@Start)),
	        @Contents=RIGHT(@contents+' ', LEN(@contents+'|')-@end)
	      IF SUBSTRING(@value, 1, 7)='@object' 
	        INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	          (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, Object_ID, ValueType)
	          SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, SUBSTRING(@value, 8, 5),
	            SUBSTRING(@value, 8, 5), 'object' 
	      ELSE 
	        IF SUBSTRING(@value, 1, 6)='@array' 
	          INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	            (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, Object_ID, ValueType)
	            SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, SUBSTRING(@value, 7, 5),
	              SUBSTRING(@value, 7, 5), 'array' 
	        ELSE 
	          IF SUBSTRING(@value, 1, 7)='@string' 
	            INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	              (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, ValueType)
	              SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, stringvalue, 'string'
	              FROM @strings
	              WHERE string_id=SUBSTRING(@value, 8, 5)
	          ELSE 
	            IF @value IN ('true', 'false') 
	              INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	                (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, ValueType)
	                SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, @value, 'boolean'
	            ELSE
	              IF @value='null' 
	                INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	                  (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, ValueType)
	                  SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, @value, 'null'
	              ELSE
	                IF PATINDEX('%[^0-9]%', @value collate SQL_Latin1_General_CP850_Bin)>0 
	                  INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	                    (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, ValueType)
	                    SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, @value, 'real'
	                ELSE
	                  INSERT INTO @hierarchy
	                    (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, ValueType)
	                    SELECT @name, @SequenceNo, @parent_ID, @value, 'int'
	      if @Contents=' ' Select @SequenceNo=0
	    END
	  END
	INSERT INTO @hierarchy (NAME, SequenceNo, parent_ID, StringValue, Object_ID, ValueType)
	  SELECT '-',1, NULL, '', @parent_id-1, @type
	--
	   RETURN
	END
GO
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