Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DTP Article Series Introduction (Reposted)

Hi all...

I am going to be writing about some of the cool things you can do with the Data Tools Project (DTP) and how you can set up your own connection profiles for a variety of purposes. My goal with this series of articles is to provide a baseline for more people to understand the DTP frameworks for connectivity so they may build on them or use them in any way they see that's useful.

DTP is more than databases. Anyone who's played with BIRT realizes that ODA, which is a part of DTP Connectivity, shows the potential for accessing a variety of data sources, from comma separated files and XML to the variety of databases we support today through the DTP Enablement project. Though SQL is cool, it's nice to have the ability to have a consistent interface to your data when you're working in Eclipse.

So I'm going to break this into a series of articles and try to post fairly regularly -- probably one a week or so -- to cover the various bits and pieces of the DTP Connectivity frameworks and how a developer could use these bits and pieces in their own tools.

We're going to cover Driver Templates and Driver Definitions first, which might seem a bit odd considering what I said just a couple of paragraphs ago about DTP being more than just databases. However, Sybase has used driver templates in a few ways beyond just for JDBC drivers. We used them to describe properties of a security specification that could then be expanded on by adopters and users for their own purposes. Templates can be anything you want them to be and we'll cover some possible uses of the driver framework in the first series of articles.

Once we've covered drivers, we'll start talking about catalog loaders. Unlike drivers, catalog loaders are definitely a database-specific thing at this point, leveraging the Database Definition and SQL Model from the DTP Model Base project to populate a rich EMF model with JDBC-related information about a particular database. This allows you to do a variety of cool things with the SQL model.

And lastly, but definitely not least, we'll then cover the connection profile framework. Here's another area, like the driver framework, where you're not limited to databases. A connection profile can connect to a JDBC database, a CSV file, an XML file, or whatever you'd like to browse. By integrating with the Platform's Common Navigator Framework, you can integrate with file systems or FTP providers, or application servers, or newsgroups if you want to make a newsgroup reader -- pretty much anything you can connect to and pull back information from, you can make a connection profile for.

So as you can see, there's a lot of functionality available in DTP. I'll do what I can to help write about the various aspects of DTP Connectivity that you may not have known about.

As always, if you have questions, post them in the comments, post them on the newsgroup, post them on the mailing list -- wherever it's convenient for you to do so. And we'll do our best to get them answered in a timely manner.

Thanks for your time! Next week we'll start talking about the Driver framework.

--Fitz

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