Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

The Basics of OLEDB Setup

The Basics of OLEDB Setup

First, a confession: I'm a Microsoft SQL Server plebe. Oh, sure, I've written plenty of SQL commands for Access, Foxpro and even an occasional Oracle database, but the needs of more than one client called out for me to tackle SQL Server.

Have you traveled down this road yet? Maybe you've tried to set up an OLEDB connection only to be stymied by the terminology, or perhaps connection failures stopped you? You're not alone. I searched through multiple books, Books Online and the Allaire Forums without success. Judging from the comments of others I met in the forums, setting up an OLEDB connection has caused quite a few programmers to lose their sanity.

Like many ColdFusion programmers, I would normally just turn to ODBC links to handle the connection for me. When I moved into SQL Server, though, I decided to upgrade my skill with the CFQUERY command and take advantage of the multiple databases that the design of SQL Server allows (much more so than Access does). I also wanted to reduce the number of Data Source Names (DSNs) that I had to rely on and remember.

ODBC Limitations
You may already know this, but you can't code an ODBC DSN to use a SQL Server database, other than the default database associated with that DSN. Consider for instance:

<cfquery datasource="vipclient" dbname="pubs" dbtype="ODBC" username="myid"
password="mypsw">SELECT * FROM tblSecurity</cfquery>

This will work just fine if your ODBC link is, indeed, pointing at the "pubs" database in setup and all other items (like username and password) are correct. What if we change the database name, however, as in this example:

<cfquery datasource="vipclient" dbname="personnel" dbtype="ODBC" username="myid"
password="mypsw">SELECT * FROM tblHumans</cfquery>

Now your code will crash with an "Invalid object name tblHumans'" error. Think database security is the problem? Because your ODBC link is set to the "pubs" database, if you change the username and password to the "personnel" database, you'll get a different error: "Cannot open database requested."

Cue the Knight In Shining Armor...
OLEDB, on the other hand, will handle this task with ease. With one OLEDB link and the username and password for each database, you can access all of your SQL Server databases on that server! Unfortunately, you need to jump a hurdle and squish a bug to get it working properly.

Kicking and screaming, I turned a few more hairs gray as I fought to get OLEDB working on my development LAN, a Microsoft Small Business Server 4.5, IIS 4.0 intranet running single-user ColdFusion Server 4.5 and SQL Server 7.0. After I figured out the process, I assisted my ISP in successfully establishing an OLEDB link on their CF Server 4.5. Now let's get your connection working.

Step by Step
To follow along, you'll need access to the ColdFusion Server Administrator. You should already have SQL Server running with at least one database containing at least one table. Finally, make sure you know the username and password for that SQL Server database.

In the ColdFusion Administrator, select OLE DB from the menu. The first input form you receive looks simple enough (see Figure 1), asking only for a DSN and a Provider. After entering the DSN you want to refer to this connection by, make sure "SQLOLEDB" is listed in the provider box and click the Add button.

Problem No. 1
The next form you receive, seen here in Figure 2, is the one that causes the pain. It's unclear just what is being asked for as inputs and there's no useful help information anywhere to be found.

Note: If I may interject here (and do please listen up, Allaire!)....When you have a form that is entirely utilitarian, please put a description of the terms below the form and include both a description of the field and an example of what should go in that field.

Part of the problem is that this form has a bug in it, if I may use that term somewhat loosely. While the DSN carried over fine, the Provider field didn't. The Provider field should have been prefilled in for you with "SQLOLEDB," the option you chose in the first form.

That one piece of information, that little bug, is the first of two obstacles that stand in the way of aspiring OLEDB administrators. Finish filling out this form with a description (not required, but useful for resolving short-term memory lapses), the name of the SQL Server and the database you'll be using the most often.

Problem No. 2
Before you press Update, however, we need to move into the CF Settings area for a moment to resolve the second obstacle: the username and password. Settle down, you security purists; I'll make things right in a bit. Click on the "CF Settings" button to expand the form, then refer to Figure 3.

Enter the username and password to access the SQL Server database, then press the "Update" button. You should have a "Verified" indicator on the right side of your new connection when your list of OLEDB DSNs is displayed. If you want to be absolutely sure that this connection is working, click on the Verify link. Congratulations! You've successfully established an OLEDB link!

Don't Compromise Security!
Feeling a little nervous about having your username and password hard-coded in the connection? You should be. Anyone can easily get access to your database because of this, so let's fix it. Realize, though, that this was a necessary step for us to ensure that our connection was working. You could have left it off and used a <CFQUERY> command to test the link, but as long as we're here, why not make sure?

Return to the list of OLEDB DSNs if you're not there already, then click on your DSN to edit it. Click again on the "CF Settings" button and remove the username and password, then press the "Update" button.

Now when you return to your OLEDB DSN list, you'll see that your connection has failed (see Figure 4). This isn't a problem! It simply means that CF Administrator couldn't verify that the link worked because SQL Server's security is preventing access. This is a good thing.

Your OLEDB connection is finished and ready for use. Remember to supply the username and password whenever you submit a <CFQUERY> using the OLEDB DSN. I would recommend that you keep the DSN, username and password in your Application.cfm file as variables and use the variable names in your CFQUERYs.

Speed Benchmarks?
I first got the idea to pursue OLE- DB from Ben Forta. Ben had used OLEDB connections, of course, but he admitted that setup could be less painful. When I informed him that I'd not only figured out the trick to get OLEDB going but that I would be submitting this article on it for publication as well, he suggested that I run some benchmarks to show speed differences between ODBC and OLEDB.

Well, I did run some comparisons...but my MBA prevents me from reporting those statistics because I didn't adhere to any form of scientific method and time prevents me from going back and doing it all over again! I did find that OLEDB was a little faster than ODBC to the same SQL Server database. Specifying the database name instead of relying on the OLEDB connection to fill in the default database also seemed to speed it up. Perhaps another day we can pursue speed, but I think that's fodder for a new article and outside the scope of this one.

Summary
Speed issues aside, the primary reason that I wanted to get OLEDB up and running was to have a single DSN that could be used to access multiple databases - and OLEDB succeeds in that respect. Now that the mystery is cleared up and the Administrator bug is identified, I'd be willing to bet the OLEDB flood-gates will open to more flexible SQL Server access for a great number of CF programmers.

More Stories By Randy Smith

Randy L. Smith is president/CEO of Midwest Computer Programming and Internet (www.mcpi.com), an Internet/intranet database solution provider based in Hudson, Wisconsin. He has been developing large-scale, Web-based applications for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes, as well as state and federal entities, since 1993. Randy has been working in the computer industry since 1978, and with ColdFusion since 1996.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.