Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

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

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
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.