Windows Multi-DBMS Programming

Evaluating the tools for multiple databases

Michael D. Reilly

July 31, 1996

3 Min Read
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Evaluating the tools for multiple databases

Dozens of books cover a specific databasepackage, but most treat their topic in isolation. Yet companies usually havemore than one critical database, and rarely do all the databases run on onedatabase management system (DBMS) or OS. Companies with multiple databases havetools for writing user interface applications that combine data from thedatabases. To produce useful, efficient applications, your challenge is to matchthe tools to the server database. Ken North's Windows Multi-DBMSProgramming: Using C++, Visual Basic, ODBC, OLE2, and Tools for DBMSProjects helps meet that challenge for Microsoft Windows-based applications.

North starts with an introduction to Windows programming concepts and thendiscusses prevalent database architectures in the corporate environment. Hequickly moves into the core topic of multidatabase programming, covering issuessuch as interoperability, gateways and routers, and distributed objects.

This how-to book reviews tools, explaining servers and database engines indetail, including Microsoft SQL Server, Watcom SQL, Quadbase SQL, R:BASE SQL,Raima's Database Server, Gupta SQLBase, and Integra VDB. The author selectedthese software packages because they all offer a SQL programming interface forWindows client applications. Nevertheless, the omission of products such asOracle is surprising. The product descriptions are detailed, down to commandstrings for setting up databases, and instructions for using the DBMS software.

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is a major topic, and North gives it alengthy chapter. It's a good introduction if you haven't worked with ODBC; evenif you have, it's a good refresher course and reference. Qelib also gets anentire chapter. As with the OBDC chapter, plenty of reference tables and tipsillustrate how to use Qelib. The other part of the client/server equation ischoosing data access and data presentation tools. The author covers such toolsas Microsoft Excel and Word, Lotus 1-2-3, Crystal Reports, and Gupta Quest. Thechapter's comprehensive tables let you compare each tool's functions, features,and commands.

Moving from data access and presentation tools, the author explainsdeveloper-oriented tools, such as Asymetrix InfoModeler, AppWare, SQLView, andProtoGen+, and how they help you design database applications. The next topic isclient/server toolkits. The author discusses Powersoft's PowerBuilder, GuptaSQLWindows, and ObjectView, and points out that they can help integrate datafrom diverse sources.

You can use one category of software for standalone databases or as theclient for larger databases. The two products that exemplify this category areMicrosoft's Access and FoxPro. North points out some interesting benefits,including prototyping on a desktop and then moving the server component to alarge DBMS. Developing client/server applications with these tools can reducethe amount of code you have to write. In a logical progression, the author thenproceeds to programming tools such as Visual Basic (VB), C++, and Object Linkingand Embedding (OLE) 2.0.

Windows Multi-DBMS Programming condenses a small library of usefulinformation for database application developers. North compares tools withoutshowing bias. For example, the tables listing available API calls can help youselect the right tool for a specific purpose.

One criticism is that the section on server DBMSs misses the mark. Exceptfor Microsoft SQL Server, the products North discusses do not seem to beaffecting the corporate world. Gupta has allied with Microsoft, and Watcom withSybase, to produce departmental rather than enterprise servers. This sectionwould be more valuable it if covered methods of connecting to Oracle, Informix,Ingres, Sybase, and other industrial-strength databases. But if you want to stayin a Windows environment all the way, this book is a good place to start.

Windows Multi-DBMS Programming: Using C++, Visual Basic, ODBC, OLE2, andTools for DBMS Projects

Author: Ken NorthPublisher: John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1995; ISBN 0-471-01676-4Price: $59.95, 757 pages, CD ROM

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