Posts categorized “SQL Server”


Database Abstraction v0.8

When we began developing C# web applications, we found ourselves in the position of determining what the best way of accessing the database is. We evaluated several technologies…

  • NHibernate - May be very good, but it was overkill for what we were trying to do.
  • LINQ to SQL - This brings C#’s LINQ (Language-Integrated Query) to SQL databases. You create database-aware classes and use LINQ to select from collections, which LINQ to SQL converts to database access. This is a good abstraction, but it relies on SQL Server; as we typically deploy to PostgreSQL, this didn’t work. (We also couldn’t get DBLinq, a database-agnostic implementation, to work.)
  • ADO.NET - This is the tried-and-true database access methodology, released as part of the initial release of the .NET framework. The downside to this is that it encourages SQL in the code at the point of data retrieval; it does not provide a clean separation of data access from data processing.
  • EF Code First - This didn’t exist; it’s also very SQL Server-centric. Not faulting Microsoft for that, especially since they release a free version now; but, as we deploy on Linux, until they release a Linux version, SQL Server is not an option.

With our PHP applications, we had written a database service that read queries from XML files. Then, queries were accessed by name, with parameters passed via arrays. The one thing that ADO.NET has that was useful was the fact that it is based on interfaces. This means that if we wrote something that exposed, manipulated, and depended on IDataConnection (instead of SqlConnection, the SQL Server implementation of that interface), we could support any implementation of database. The SqlDataReader implements IDataReader as well. Our solution was becoming apparent.

Over time, we developed what is now the Database Abstraction project hosted on CodePlex (UPDATE: migrated project to GitHub). On Thursday, we released the first public release (although the DLLs are in the repository, and are usually current at every commit). If you are looking for a way to separate your data access from the rest of your code, or want a solution that’s database-agnostic, check it out. It supports SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and ODBC connections , using the data provider name to derive the proper connection to implement. There is also a Mock implementation to support unit tests; this mock can provide data, providing a useful way to test methods. Finally, there is a membership and role provider based on Database Abstraction; simply configure the connection string, create the database tables, and away you go! *

A pre-released version is already in production use in our PrayerTracker application, and others are being built around it. If this sounds like something that could help your project, certainly feel free to check it out!

* Oracle is omitted from this list, as their DLL had redistribution restrictions; this meant that the source code repository, upon check-out, would have build errors. There may be an Oracle implementation in the future (it would be trivial), but there is not one now.

** The membership and role providers are untested; they will be tested and tweaked by version 0.9.


Oracle SQL Developer Debian Package

Oracle SQL Developer is a Java-based tool that provides a graphical interface to a database. While it’s main focus is Oracle (of course), it can be hooked up, via JDBC, to many other databases, such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server. It’s similar to Toad, but is provided by Oracle at no cost.

Oracle provides SQL Developer in either an RPM, or a generic binary install. I like the ability to manage packages, but I’ve never had much luck at getting RPM to run on Ubuntu. I downloaded the RPM file, and, using alien, I converted the package to a .deb package (Debian package format) and installed it. It worked like a charm!

I haven’t tested it with gcj, but using Sun’s Java 6 update 7 from the Ubuntu repositories, it ran just fine. After you install the package, do a directory list on /usr/lib/jvm. You’re looking for the Sun JDK - if it’s installed, you’ll have a symlink java-6-sun that points to java-6-sun-1.6.0.07. Once you’ve determined the location of the JDK, run “sqldeveloper” from the command line - the program will prompt you for the path to your JDK. Enter it (probably /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun) and you’re good to go. (You have to install the package as root - but, for the rest of these steps, use your normal user, not root, as this puts settings in a .sqldeveloper directory off your home directory.) The package installs an icon in the “Programming” or “Development” group. Once you’ve told it where the JDK is, you can use this to launch it.

Download SQL Developer 1.5.1 Debian Package


Transferring Data Between Oracle and SQL Server

There are lots of “how to” articles on sharing data between Oracle and SQL Server. Most of these involve installing Oracle’s code base on the SQL Server machine, then using that instance to link tables within Oracle. This technique does not require that, thanks to a product from Oracle called Oracle Instant Client.

To set up the Oracle piece, download the packages for “Basic” and “ODBC Supplement”, and follow the instructions for installation, on the machine with SQL Server. (This is not an “install” per se - it’s basically an unzip.) Next, you’ll need to provide a TNSNAMES.ORA file - this can be any valid file, including a simple shell with an “ifile=” statement pointing to a common TNSNAMES.ORA file. Finally, set the environment variable TNS_ADMIN to point to the directory where this TNSNAMES.ORA file resides.

Now, you can easily create a DTS script through SQL Server to push or pull data however you’d like. Oracle Instant Client will appear in the drop-down list of providers, and you’ll be able to specify your connection the way you normally do (i.e., “DB01.WORLD”).

Happy migrating!