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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software
Build/Test Connection String (Tool)

Purpose Of The Tool

If you're an experienced developer, you're probably like me...you've come up with more SQL, Access®, and Excel® connection strings than you can remember. Working in an environment you control can be fun, especially with new versions of a SQL server or other data source; but the real "fun" comes when you have to get your connection information, i.e., ID, password, server name, etc., from an inexperienced administrator who also sets it up for you--permissions and all! Oh, and how about when you've just changed to a new dev. environment? Wouldn't it be nice sometimes to have a quick, easy way to build and test a connection string in a known-good environment? And wouldn't it be nice when you get a connection string working to simply click a button and place it on your system clipboard so you could paste it into the development environment you're working with? That's what this little tool is all about.

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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool To Build and Test A Connection string for SQL, Access, Excel Start The Tool

On the opening screen or "WELCOME" tab, go to the "Tools" menu, then select the option to "Build Data Source Connection String." When this configuration option is selected, you will see an image something like the one shown at right.
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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for MSFT SQL Using The Tool For MSFT SQL

Perhaps the easiest way to see what happens is to run through using the tool. At right, we've clicked the check box at top for "MSFT SQL" and the screen is changed to show what you'll need to deal with or provide. You'll need to fill in all the blanks except the bottom one where you can "Add to connection string." The data in question should be provided to you by the afore-mentioned administrator, or you'll know what's required here if you are doing double duty as the DB admin. Now comes the best part. Once you've entered this information, you can click the "Test Connection String" to see if it works. If it doesn't work, you'll see something like the message shown below.

ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for MSFT SQL Failure Message

That's bad! On the other hand, if it does work, you'll see something like this message.

ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for MSFT SQL Success Koplah

Once you've received a "Success" message, you can click the "Show the connection string" button to see how the string reads. You can also click the button to copy the connection string to the clipboard. And, of course, you can click the "Exit" button to leave this tool when you're finished.

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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for OLE DB use
Using The Tool With OLE DB

When you click on the checkbox for OLE Db, you'll see an informational message like the one at right. Basically, the problem is that OLE Db can be used for many different data base connections and that means we don't know what you're going to need to use. So...you fill in the text boxes with the data you need to use, then click the "Test" button until you get it right. Then you can click the button to copy your connection string to the clipboard so you can use it in your development environment.

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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for old Access db



Using The Tool With Pre-2007 Access®

Prior to Microsoft Office® 2007 the Access® database used the Jet.OleDB 4.0 engine. Hence, in the example at right, you'll see that when the checkbox for the older Access® database is checked, you get a screen like this to fill in. Now, you can choose which type of security fits your immediate need. If you check the box to "Use Jet Security" and click the "MSFT Access" button, you'll find that it requires the entry of a user ID, but in either event you'll need a password. Finally, you'll have to supply--and you can browse for it to be sure you get it right--the path to the Access DB file. You can, of course, add a parameter or other information to the connection string using the final text box.

Now click the "Test" button and see what happens. The results will be just as shown for the SQL connection string above.

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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for current Access db



Using The Tool With Office 2007 and Later Access®

With Microsoft Office® 2007 the Access® database changed to the Microsoft.ACE.OleDB engine. Hence, in the example at right, you'll see that when the checkbox for the new Access® database is checked, you get a screen like this to fill in. Now, you can choose which type of security fits your immediate need. If you check the box to "Use Jet Security" and click the "MSFT Access" button, you'll find that it requires the entry of a user ID, but in either event you'll need a password. Finally, you'll have to supply--and you can browse for it to be sure you get it right--the path to the Access DB file. You can, of course, add a parameter or other information to the connection string using the final text box.

Now click the "Test" button and see what happens. The results will be just as shown for the SQL connection string above.

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ITSBITS Catapult Garage Software Tool to Build and Test A Connection String for current Access db



Using The Tool With Office 2007 and Later Excel®

With Microsoft Office® 2007 the Excel® spreadsheet changed to the Microsoft.ACE.OleDB engine. Hence, in the example at right, you'll see that when the checkbox for Excel® is checked, you get a screen like this to fill in. If your spreadsheet has a headerline, click the check box for that. Next, you can fill in a user ID and password (as appropriate), but in either case you'll have to supply--and you can browse for it to be sure you get it right--the path to the Excel file. You can, of course, add a parameter or other information to the connection string using the final text box and a semi-colon delimiter.

Now click the "Test" button and see what happens. The results will be just as shown for the SQL connection string above.

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