Facebook Search Task
Facebook Search Task extracts a list of Facebook pages or places based on a given query text.
Configuring Facebook Search Task
Similarly to adding other SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) tasks, the Facebook Search Task shown in Figure 1 can be added into the Control Flow pane in the following manner;
- Drag-and-drop the Facebook Search Task into the Control Flow, or
- Double clicking the Facebook Search Task
By default the Facebook Search Task will throw validation errors shown in Figure 2.
To resolve the validation errors, we need to configure the Facebook Search Task by using its editor (Facebook Search Task Editor).
The Facebook Search Task has five parameters:
- Text – Facebook page or place to search for. It has a maximum character value of 500 and default value is trevornoah
- Count – Number of Facebook pages or places to return. The maximum value is 100 and the default value is 5
- Save To – Path wherein the generated file will be stored. If you can, try to keep the length of the path as short as possible.
- Search For – Specifies the type of Facebook search. The default search type is page.
- Save As – Only JSON file type is supported. There are many tools and applications available on the internet to deserialise the JSON file. We recommend also considering using JSON built-in functions in SQL Server 2016.
Set Absolute Values
Providing absolute values for the parameters refers to hardcoding the values into the textboxes. This basically means that everytime you execute the task you have to manually set the Text parameter value like I have manually entered visualstudio shown in Figure 4.
Dynamically Set Values using Expressions
Instead of manually capturing values for the parameters, we can dynamically set them using package expressions. Expressions reads data from package variables at runtime. To configure expressions, click the Ex button. This will open up a Choose Variable dialog box. You can then select the variable you want to use and click the OK button.
Once you have clicked the OK button, you will be redirected back to the Facebook Search Task with textboxes set to variable names.
Executing Facebook Search Task
The execution of the Facebook Search Task is usually quick. Similarly to executing other SSIS tasks, the simplest way of executing Facebook Search Task is to right-click your mouse button, navigate to and click Execute Task option as shown in Figure 7.
If the configuration is done correctly, the Facebook Search Task execution should be successful as shown in Figure 8.
The file generated after executing the Facebook Search Task is shown in Figure 9 and it is prefixed with SST_FBSearch_ followed by a date and time stamp.
A preview of the data contained in the file shown in Figure 9 is shown in Figure 10.
Additional Informational & Progress Events
As the Facebook Search Task is being executed, it is important to take note of two additional information events that will appear in the Execution Results tab in the designer. As indicated in Figure 11, these two informational events basically describe the parameter values that are being used during task execution. This information could be useful during troubleshooting, especially in cases where Expressions are used to set parameter values. Finally, during package execution, the package will constantly report on the progress of the execution.