Tableau Cloud and Oracle Synonyms: Undefined Binding Issue and How to Fix It!

Blog | January 19, 2024 | By Shaswath Thunga Devaraj URS

Tableau Cloud and Oracle Synonyms Integration

Data Visualization with Tableau and Oracle

Tableau is amazing when it comes to data visualization, and few other platforms, if any, compare when it comes to connecting, visualizing, and sharing data in an engaging and interactive way. Similarly, Oracle is a widely used, powerful relational database management system that supports stored procedures and complex SQL capabilities. However, when using Tableau to visualize Oracle data, we sometimes encounter strange refresh issues if our data source is pointing to a synonym instead of the underlying table.

Oracle has this feature which lets you create “synonyms,” (think nicknames) for actual tables. This helps with code organization, but Tableau Cloud doesn’t understand them as well as Tableau Desktop. We get this error because Tableau requires the actual table name and schema to refresh the extract, rather than just the synonym name.

Understanding the Undefined Binding Issue

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide

Optimizing Tableau Cloud for Oracle Synonyms

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Here’s a screenshot of the error – called undefined binding – which we get when we try to refresh the extract in Tableau Cloud.

Screenshot of the error – called undefined binding

To fix things, we need to know if our data source is a real table or a synonym. To check the object type of the table/view that is being used in the extract, we may use the below query.

Select from DBA objects
Select from DBA Object name

If the object type returns as “SYNONYM” instead of “TABLE”, we may be able to resolve the error by pointing the Tableau extract directly to the underlying table.

Oracle’s Power in Database Management

Challenges with Tableau and Oracle Synonyms

Tableau’s Data Visualization Excellence

As shown in the example above, in the Tableau Desktop, we can edit the data source connection to point directly to the schema and table name rather than using the synonym. We can then republish the data source to Tableau Cloud and refresh again. The extract should now refresh successfully.

extract should now refresh successfully

By paying attention to specific Oracle objects used for Tableau extracts we can save time and effort troubleshooting. Using table and view names directly instead of synonyms helps avoid the “undefined binding” errors during extract refreshes.

Together, Tableau and Oracle can deliver tremendous visibility into data when configured properly.

Stay tuned for more!

About the Author
Shaswath is a highly skilled software engineer with proficiency in Alteryx, Oracle, Snowflake, Teradata, and Tableau. His experience encompasses the information technology and services sector where he applies his expertise in data transformation, analytics, and visualization to provide valuable insights for clients.
Shaswath Thunga Devaraj URSTechnical Lead - Visual Analytics | USEReady