VSTO & .NET & Excel

November 8, 2011

Paradigma offer Valentina Office Server 5 connections for free!

Filed under: .NET & Excel, COM Add-ins, Excel, SQLite, Valentina DB, Valentina Office Server, VSTO & Excel — Dennis M Wallentin @ 4:43 pm

Paradigma announced today that they offer their Valentina Office Server 5 connections for free. The offer targets certain groups of users, including Small and Medium sized companies, and for certain tasks.

Not only that, under the same license conditions they also offer Valentina Studio + Valentina Report for free together with any Application Development Kit (ADK) or all ADKs.

The most interesting part of this free offer is, together with the Valentina Office Server itself, the Valentina Report tool. This makes it very attractive as report tools are usually not available for free.

For more information please see the following page at Paradigma’s site:

http://www.valentina-db.com/en/company/news/1-latest-news/257-paradigma-software-releases-free-business-ready-database-and-reports-server

Kind regards,
Dennis

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Excel & Valentina Database

Filed under: .NET & Excel, COM Add-ins, Excel, SQLite, Tools, Valentina DB, Valentina Office Server, VSTO & Excel — Dennis M Wallentin @ 1:42 am

Introducing the Valentina Database

I thought I would introduce the Valentina Database (Valentina DB) with this article and discuss how we can connect to it by using ODBC, both in VBA and in VB.NET.

For the last 11-12 months I have been using Valentina DB as an embedded database in all clients’ solutions where it requires some data storage. Some of them run 24/7 and up to this date no errors have been reported related to the database in use. It has mainly been used in managed COM add-ins (Shared add-ins and VSTO add-ins) and by using the .NET driver & APIs for the database.

Using the ODBC technology is still a common way. First of all, it’s a fast way to establish a connection to a data source. It’s also a reliable technology as it has been around for the last 20 years or so.

Actually, we can say exactly the same about the Valentina DB although it has been around “only” about 10 years. In addition, it’s a really fast and compact database with a small footprint. Therefore I find it to be a great companion when I need an embedded database solution. Valentina DB can also be connected to the Valentina Office Server on both x86 and x64 platforms.

Another advantage is, compared with other databases, that it targets a great number of operating system and development platforms. So per se it’s a true cross-platform database. I will later discuss in a coming article more details about developing .NET solutions by using the Valentina DB.

On several development platforms we have access to Valentina APIs library. It’s a quite powerful library. For instance, we can use APIs instead of using SQL the traditionally way, i.e. it’s like LINQ.

Valentina DB is also a maturity software as it has been around since the late 90’s. The general price level should not scare away anyone; expect those that looking for free options.

The company behind Valentina DB, Paradigma Software, offers a good support and maintenance a public mailing list for Q&A. The only thing that I regret is that the Valentina DB Wiki documentation is not yet complete. This is rather typical for small companies; they lack the man hours to keep up the pace with both their product(s) and the documentation to them.

What Paradigma Software says themselves about Valentina DB is:

  • Performs Queries x10 to x500 Faster than Other Databases
  • Convert from Old Relational Databases and Reduce Sizes by 1/3
  • Smart SQL Means Shorter, Easier to Read SQL Queries
  • Modern Post Relational Architecture
  • Connects with All Major Environments on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
  • Royalty Free Embedded Server Deployment

In addition to the Valentina DB product Paradigma Software also offers related tools such as the Valentina Pro Studio, which supports 18+ Valentina DB platforms. The Studio enables us to work with databases and also to connect to Valentina Office Servers. We can also use their excellent Valentina Reports to create highly customized reports both for Valentina DBs and also for SQLite DBs. Once installed Valentina Reports will be part of the Studio.

Valentina DB Homepage

Valentina DB Wiki

Connecting to a Valentina DB through VBA using ODBC

I have intentionally left out all comments of the code as it should be rather self-explanatory. What we need to do before using the licensed ODBC driver is to register it on the computer which requires us to create a user DSN or a File DSN.

In the first case I use a DSN file as the source for the connection string. It contains the following information:

[ODBC]
DRIVER=Valentina ODBC Driver
Database=C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Valentina DBs\FirstDB.vdb
IsDatabaseLocal=yes

In the second case I create the connection string in code. In both cases I use the Microsoft ADO library in order to work with the database and with its data.

'Make sure You set a reference to
'Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects Library x.x

Option Explicit

Sub Retrieve_Data_ValentinaDB_ADO_FILEDSN()

Dim adoConnection As ADODB.Connection
Dim adoRecordset As ADODB.Recordset

Dim wsTarget As Worksheet

Dim stSQL As String

Dim lnCountFields As Long

Set adoConnection = New ADODB.Connection
Set adoRecordset = New ADODB.Recordset

Set wsTarget = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets("Data")

stSQL = "SELECT * FROM Person"

adoConnection.Open ConnectionString:= _
"FileDSN=C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Valentina.dsn"

adoRecordset.Open Source:=stSQL, ActiveConnection:= _
"FileDSN=C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Valentina.dsn"

lnCountFields = adoRecordset.Fields.Count

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

For lnCountFields = 0 To lnCountFields - 1
wsTarget.Cells(1, lnCountFields + 1).Value = _
adoRecordset.Fields(lnCountFields).Name
Next

wsTarget.Cells(2, 1).CopyFromRecordset adoRecordset

adoRecordset.Close
adoConnection.Close

Set adoRecordset = Nothing
Set adoConnection = Nothing

End Sub

 

Sub Retrieve_Data_ValentinaDB_ADO_ODBC_Driver()

Dim adoConnection As ADODB.Connection
Dim adoRecordset As ADODB.Recordset

Dim wsTarget As Worksheet

Dim stSQL As String
Dim stConnection As String
Dim stDataBase As String

Dim lnCountFields As Long

Set adoConnection = New ADODB.Connection
Set adoRecordset = New ADODB.Recordset

Set wsTarget = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets("Data")

stDataBase = "C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Valentina DBs\FirstDB.vdb"
stConnection = "Driver={Valentina ODBC Driver};IsDatabaseLocal=yes;Database=" & _
stDataBase
stSQL = "SELECT * FROM Person"

adoConnection.Open ConnectionString:=stConnection

adoRecordset.Open Source:=stSQL, ActiveConnection:=stConnection

lnCountFields = adoRecordset.Fields.Count

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

For lnCountFields = 0 To lnCountFields - 1
wsTarget.Cells(1, lnCountFields + 1).Value = _
adoRecordset.Fields(lnCountFields).Name
Next

wsTarget.Cells(2, 1).CopyFromRecordset adoRecordset

adoRecordset.Close
adoConnection.Close

Set adoRecordset = Nothing
Set adoConnection = Nothing

End Sub

Connecting to a Valentina DB through VB.NET using ODBC

The ODBC driver can also be used in VB.NET but it exist a specific version of Valentina that explicit target the .NET platform. In general I recommend using it.

Although the following case shows how we can populate a worksheet with data based on the ODBC datareader I recommend to use classic ADO instead, like above, as we can dump all the data once via the method CopyFromRecordset.

Imports System
Imports System.Data
Imports System.Data.Odbc
Imports Excel = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel

Public Class Form1

Private Sub Button1_Click(sender As System.Object, e As System.EventArgs) _
Handles Button1.Click

'Snabbast är att använda classic ADO.

Dim odbcCon As OdbcConnection = Nothing
Dim odbcCom As OdbcCommand = Nothing
Dim odbcDataR As OdbcDataReader = Nothing

Dim stConnection As String = String.Empty
Dim stDatabase As String = "C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Valentina DBs\FirstDB.vdb;"
Dim stSQL As String = "SELECT * FROM Person"

stConnection = "Driver={Valentina ODBC Driver};IsDatabaseLocal=yes;Database=" + stDatabase

Dim stSoureFile As String = "C:\Users\Dennis Wallentin\Documents\Data\SalesData.xlsm"

Try
odbcCon = New OdbcConnection(stConnection)
odbcCom = New OdbcCommand(stSQL, odbcCon)
odbcCom.CommandType = CommandType.Text
odbcCon.Open()
odbcDataR = odbcCom.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior.CloseConnection)

'In order to dimension the array for field names the number of columns need to be retrieved.
Dim intColumnsCounter As Int32 = odbcDataR.FieldCount - 1

Dim FieldsArr(0, intColumnsCounter) As String

Dim intRowsCounter As Int32 = 0

'The DataReader is a forward-only and read-only recordset. Therefore we cannot
'know in advance the number of records it will return. The only possible solution
'is to estimate the max number of records and use it in the solution.
Dim intMaxRecords As Int32 = 10000

Dim DataArr(intMaxRecords, intColumnsCounter) As Object

'Populate the array of field names by using the DataReader's method 'GetName'.
For intNameCounter As Int32 = 0 To intColumnsCounter
FieldsArr(0, intNameCounter) = odbcDataR.GetName(intNameCounter)
Next

'Populate the array of records by reading all the records in the DataReader.
While odbcDataR.Read
For intRecordCounter As Int32 = 0 To intColumnsCounter
DataArr(intRowsCounter, intRecordCounter) = odbcDataR.Item(intRecordCounter)
Next
intRowsCounter = intRowsCounter + 1
End While

'Close both the connection and the DataReader.
odbcCon.Close()
odbcDataR.Close()

Dim xlApp As Excel.Application = New Excel.Application
Dim wbBook As Excel.Workbook = xlApp.Workbooks.Open(stSoureFile)
Dim wsSheet As Excel.Worksheet = TryCast(wbBook.Worksheets("Data"), Excel.Worksheet)

Dim xlCalc As Excel.XlCalculation = xlApp.Calculation
xlApp.Calculation = Excel.XlCalculation.xlCalculationManual

With wsSheet
.Range(.Cells(1, 1), .Cells(1, intColumnsCounter + 1)).Value = FieldsArr
.Range(.Cells(2, 1), .Cells(intRowsCounter + 2, intColumnsCounter + 1)).Value = DataArr
.UsedRange.Columns.AutoFit()
End With

With xlApp
.Visible = True
.UserControl = True
'Restore the calculation mode.
.Calculation = xlCalc
End With

Catch ex As Exception

MessageBox.Show(ex.ToString())

End Try

'Prepare variables for the Garbage Collector.
'Don't forget to do a proper release of alla COM objects.

odbcCom.Dispose()
odbcCon.Dispose()

odbcDataR = Nothing
odbcCom = Nothing
odbcCon = Nothing

End Sub

End Class

Valentina DB offers so much that I sometimes feels that only the sky is the limit. I learn every day something new about the database and its features and the more I learn the more impressed I am.

Enjoy!

Kind regards,
Dennis

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