|By Randy Smith||
|June 22, 2000 12:00 AM EDT||
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context with p...
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 464
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Dec. 1, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 506
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 385
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 146
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 448
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Dec. 1, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 453
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Dec. 1, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 551
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Dec. 1, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 358
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Dec. 1, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 312
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 478
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 376
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Dec. 1, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 518
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 140
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Dec. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 582
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Dec. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 485
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 399
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 399
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Dec. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 257
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 515
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 624