ODBC to FFenics

ODBC Connectivity, ELFs , Windows API etc.

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ODBC to FFenics

Postby Dick Frost » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:00 pm

Is there now, or is there likely to be, any way to access Ffenics data from other languages via ODBC, or whatever ?

One of the systems which I am thinking abut converting to Ffenics presently uses Linkease to get to the DFD data ...
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Re: ODBC to FFenics

Postby Pete Tabord » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:04 pm

Hi Dick

Short answer is 'no'. There is a whole load of technical reasoning and practical experience for making that decision.

It works far better in practice if you design/redesign the app to 'pump' data out over an OLEDB connection to the SQL database. This can be automated and 'real time'. Or simply move the critical forms to the SQL server in question (although that may still have performance issues).

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Re: ODBC to FFenics

Postby Graham Smith » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:56 pm

Dick,

There was an OLEDB provider introduced with DFW6.5 that would allow just what you propose and it was, arguably, a failure.

It did exactly what is said and that was allow people to read and, within limits, write to DFW data files. But it was extremely slow and people somehow expected it to behave like SQL server and perform just as if you were accessing the data from the database software itself. In the end, few tried to use it and fewer still continued to use it.

In the long run, Pete has the right idea. You can accomplish more by doing exports and imports or by writing data to an intermediary table on something like SQL Server.
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Re: ODBC to FFenics

Postby Dick Frost » Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:05 pm

Pete and Graham,

Thank you for the replies. I will see what I can figure out as to other ways to accomplish what I need to do.

This application is for a chemical blending facility. There is a plant data entry system (wireless laser barcode scanners) which requires access to "live" data from orders, production batches, batch formulas, and inventory, as well as being able to save the scanned data for processing. I am not too crazy about the "pumping" data to an SQL database, mostly because of having to try to keep two databases synchronized ..... but I will think about it some more.

Since Graham brought up the exporting/importing topic, I do have a few questions about exports:

Can a stored export be run from a procedure ? (I haven't found any way to do it yet)

Is there any chance of improving the data export method from procedures ? (wishful thinking)

Alternately, is there any chance for a converter (like the ones for PDF, RTF,HTML, Excel) only which just creates a plain ASCII text file ?

Thanks, Dick
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Re: ODBC to FFenics

Postby Pete Tabord » Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:09 pm

Hi Dick

If you are contemplating imports and exports, instead of using actual imports and exports, why not create tables on the SQL server, build Ff forms over them, and just use ordinary procedures to transfer the data? Its exactly the same on the flowchart as an import/export process, except that the formatting is (largely) invisible to you.

i.e. if you were exporting from Ff to the other system, you would run a Ff export to create a file, then run an 'other system' import to bring the data in the file on to the main data structure with appropriate validation etc. With the above method the only difference is that the 'file' is a SQL table.

You can of course reverse the process to bring data in to Ff, and you can even automate it if you have a machine running a procedure that checks for data in the 'transfer' table every few seconds.

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Re: ODBC to FFenics

Postby Dick Frost » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:28 pm

Hi Pete,

Sorry, I misguided you when I brought up what should have been a separate topic under this post.

My first topic, which was what started this post, concerned "live" access to data stored in Ffenics from another language, which is something I will continue to work on. I didn't ever think export/import was a possibility for this.

The second topic I had was just some questions about EXPORTS in general ..... I have many places where I just need to get the data out to an old flat file .... I think I understand how the export stuff works in a Ffenics procedure (of which there have been several "usability" comments), and how TextOutLn works, but I just wanted to check on possible alternatives. I also understand that I could install an SQL server (which at present I don't have), build an SQL table, build a Ffenics form over the SQL table, write a procedure to put the data into the SQL table , and write an SQL query to select the data out to a flat file ....

My main question here was:

Is there any way to run a "saved export" from a procedure ?

One of my other questions was really more of a suggestion ... how about a converter (like the ones for PDF, RTF, HTML, Excel) which just creates a flat file ?

Thanks for your help, Dick
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