The Azure DataMarket is perhaps one of the less well known services offered as part of Windows Azure. The DataMarket contains both free and paid-for data subscriptions that can be accessed using a variety of tools.
The DataMarket does not appear anywhere on the Azure portal. To access it you need to create a separate account. You do that at https://datamarket.azure.com/ . Once you have established an account you can subscribe to any of the various data that have been published.
Of course there’s a whole slew of ways to create and consume applications & data in the DataMarket. The About page will get you started on the basic’s and direct the hardcore geeks to where they need to be, check the end of this post for more info on Developing for the DataMarket. In this post i’ll share a simple integration point that comes in form of a (Community Technology Preview) plugin for Excel.
Microsoft Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket Add-in for Excel (CTP 3)
This Excel plugin provides a simple experience allowing you to discover datasets published on the Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket or in your instance of Microsoft Codename “Data Hub” right within Excel. Users can browse and search for a rich set of datasets within a tool they already use.
- Download the Excel Plugin Now
- Get free subscriptions available on the DataMarket
- Get trial subscriptions available on the DataMarket
- Get paid subscriptions available on the DataMarket
With only a couple of clicks, the user can query their datasets and import the data as a table into Excel. Once in the workbook, the data can be visualized, joined with other data sources (including owned/on premise data) or exported to be used in other applications.
How to Use the Plugin
- Signing-in and browsing your datasets
The add-in got installed as extension to Microsoft Excel. During the installation process a button with the title “Import data from DataMarket” got added to the “Data” tab in the Excel ribbon:
By clicking on the button the following sign-in experience/window is brought up:
This window introduces the DataMarket, Data Hub (the private information marketplace) and offers links to various resources:
- Learn More: Opens the browser with more information about the Marketplace and Data Hub.
- Privacy statement: Opens the browser showing the privacy statement for this add-in.
The main purpose of this window is to help you sign-in to your list of subscribed datasets. When you click Sign In or Create Account, a browser window will appear that will allow you to sign in with your Live ID and connect to the DataMarket to allow access to the add-in. If you don’t have a Live ID, you may sign up for one at this time and create a DataMarket account.
Once you have signed in and given consent to allow access to your account, the add-in load your subscribed datasets. The window turns into a view similar to the one below:
- Browsing and buying datasets (applies only when connected to DataMarket)
The window that displays all of your subscribed datasets exposes a “Browse” button. Clicking that button opens the DataMarket marketplace in a browser window:
In this window you find a list of all the datasets that are available through DataMarket. Additional it allows filtering them by category and to search for specific datasets by providing free-form text in the search box.
Once you have found a dataset that you would like to explore further you can click on the title of that dataset.
After clicking the link a page is shown that exposes details of the dataset and allows also buying the dataset.
- Importing data into the workbook
Each of your subscribed datasets exposes an “Import data” link. Clicking that link opens the querying/import experience window.
The top of the window hosts a drop down box where you can select what subset of the dataset you are interested in. Lots of datasets expose a multitude of sets or functions from which you can choose.
Additional for each of the sets/functions you have the following options (where all of them are optional):
- Filter results: Add conditions to filter the data that is being imported into the workbook.
- Sort results: Specify how the results should be sorted before being imported into the workbook.
- Limit number of results: Allows you to limit the number of rows that should be imported into the workbook.
- Specify returned fields: Limit the number of fields that are being imported. Some datasets expose a large number of fields and in some scenarios you might only want to import a subset of them.
At the bottom of the window is an “Import data” button. Clicking this button will download the data and import it into your Excel workbook.
Finally, just in case you think I forgot the really fun stuff:
- Microsoft PowerPivot For Excel 2013
Learn how to use Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2013, with this and other DataMarket data, to create compelling self-service BI solutions.
- Learn How To Use This Data In Visual Studio
Learn how to seamlessly consume DataMarket data in Visual Studio with strongly-typed data access and full IntelliSense support to ease development.
The Windows Azure™ Marketplace enables developers to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions for both trusted public domain and premium commercial data through a common security, billing, auditing and authentication model. Easily consume information using a single, consistent REST based API for all data and/or leverage the benefits of selling through Microsoft to accelerate ROI and reach new customers by selling your application on the Marketplace.