Objectif Lune joins Upland Software.Learn more >

Back to all How-tos

Extracting data from a database in a data mapping configuration

Original Author: Rodrigue Noubissie


Sometimes, the information and data that is required to build a form is scattered across multiple data sources such as Database Management Systems (DBMS) and it is often a challenge to get all the required data in one source. Luckily, the OL Connect DataMapper can use the JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) driver to connect to these third-party DBMS. JDBC makes it possible to establish a connection with a database, send SQL statements and process the results.

This article specifically discusses the following database sources:

  1. Microsoft SQL Database
  2. Other sources, using Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) or Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), such as
    • Microsoft Access
    • Microsoft Excel
    • CSV lookup

1. From a Microsoft SQL Database

The first part of this guide aims to provide the steps that are required to retrieve data from a remote Microsoft SQL Server using the Action step in the DataMapper.

Prerequisites for Microsoft SQL

To ensure a successful connection to Microsoft SQL Server, the below configurations should be made on the machine running your SQL Server instance:

  1. You need to enable mixed mode security when you install Microsoft SQL Server so that you can connect using a user name and password.
  2. The JDBC driver only works with the TCP/IP protocol which is disabled by default on SQL Express. You need to enable the TCP/IP Protocol from the SQL Server Configuration Manager that ships with SQL Express and re-start the SQL Server service. Look under SQL Server Network Configuration >Protocols for SQLEXPRESS > TCP/IP >Enable.
  3. Set the TCP Port by right-clicking on “TCP/IP”, then click on “Properties” and click on the “IP Addresses” tab. The Default port is 1433.

  1. Restart the SQL Server Service to apply the changes.
  2. Add TCIP Port 1433 and UDP Port 1434 in your firewall Inbound Rules.
  3. Allow remote connection to the SQL Server. Log into your Microsoft SQL Server instance from SQL Server Management Studio. Right-click the server and click on Properties.
  4. Navigate to Connections and ensure that Allow remote connections to this server is checked.

Processing SQL Statements with JDBC

In this example, we are supplied with a CSV data file, which contains information about customers’ orders’ details such as the OrderID, CustomerID and Shipping Address and dates details; but what is missing from the CSV data file is the actual customer’s name (CompanyName) and a contact name (ContactName). This information is available in the Customers Table of the Northwind database, which resides on a Microsoft SQL Server.

In general, to process any SQL statement with JDBC, you follow these steps: * Establish a connection to the database on the SQL Server. * Create a statement. * Execute the query. * Process the ResultSet object. * Close the connection.

Example: The below script establishes a connection to the Northwind database on a local SQL Server, and queries the [Customers] table using the CustomerID field taken from the CSV data file. We’ll use this example script in DataMapper in order to grab the necessary data from the database.

var connectionURL = "jdbc:sqlserver://localhost\\SQLEXPRESS:1433;integratedSecurity=false;databaseName=Northwind";
var custID = data.extract('CustomerID',0).trim();

  var sqlConnection = db.connect(connectionURL, "username", "password");
  var sqlQuery = "SELECT * FROM [dbo].[Customers] where CustomerID=" + "'" + custID + "'";
  resultSet = sqlConnection.createStatement().executeQuery(sqlQuery);

The documentation on how to build the Connection URL is available on the MSDN website.

Example application in OL Connect DataMapper

In this example, we have a CSV data file of customers’ orders, which does not include the actual customers’ name and contact details. Instead, this information resides in a remote Microsoft SQL Database table. This example will demonstrate how the companyName and contactName fields can be retrieved from the [dbo].[Customers] table of the [Northwind] database.

The first step is to load the CSV in the DataMapper, then Add Extract Step to perform a standard extraction:

Now that the order details have been extracted, we can use the customerID field, common between the CSV data file and the [dbo].[Customers] table, in a SQL SELECT statement to then retrieve the corresponding customer’s details such as companyName and contactName.

For instance, in Microsoft SQL Management Studio, we would normally run the below SELECT statement to retrieve the CompanyName and ContactName of the order where the CustomerID is ‘HANAR’:

SELECT CustomerID, CompanyName, ContactName FROM [Northwind].[dbo].[Customers]
WHERE	CustomerID = 'HANAR'

We can execute the same command in the DataMapper with the following steps:

After the above Extract step, add an Action step to open a connection to the SQL database, then query the relevant table and save the result of the query in the resultSet with the following script:

var connectionURL = "jdbc:sqlserver://;serverName=Server\instanceName;integratedSecurity=false;databaseName=Northwind";
var custID = data.extract('CustomerID',0).trim(); // Get custID from current data file.
	var sqlConnection = db.connect(connectionURL, "sqlUserName", "sqlPassword");
var sqlQuery = "SELECT [CompanyName],[ContactName] FROM [dbo].[Customers] where CustomerID=" + "'" + custID + "'";
	resultSet = sqlConnection.createStatement().executeQuery(sqlQuery);

Once we have a resultSet, we can now extract the relevant CompanyName and `ContactName` from it.
It can be necessary to make sure the resultSet is not empty. After resultSet.next(), check the current row with getRow(). If it returns 0, then no data was included in the resultSet. If getRow()>=1, then you have at least one row.

To do this, simply add an Extract Step. A new field named Field is automatically added in the Data Model. To rename the field, click on the Order and Rename icon in the Field Definition window under the Extract Step properties.

Make sure the Field Definition Mode is set to JavaScript and insert the following expression to extract the CompanyName:

let companyName;
companyName = resultSer.getRow() ? resultSet.getString("CompanyName") : "";

To extract the ContactName, right-click on the above Extract step, select “Add a Step” and then select “Add Extract Field”. Rename the field, set its Definition Mode to JavaScript and insert the following expression:

let contactName;
contactName = resultSer.getRow() ? resultSet.getString("ContactName"): "";

Note: In case where the ResultSet is empty, instead of returning the
empty string, you may choose to output a default value or run another

Finally close the ResultSet and the SQL connection as well:



2. Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel and CSV Lookup

This can somewhat be considered an addendum, which covers additional code required for specific databases. In this section you’ll get information on prerequisites for these other databases (mostly the ODBC engine) as well as particular code required for each source type. Other than the variations in the query code, the rest of the methodology to access this information from the DataMapper should be identical.


Since OL Connect is a 64-bit application, we will need the following:

  • Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 for 64-bit Windows
  • 64-bit DSN

Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 for 64-bit Windows

Download and install Microsoft Access Database Engine 2010 for 64-bit Windows from the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=13255

Note that launching the installation of a Microsoft Access Database Engine in the usual way, on a machine with an Office installation architecture different from the current one (e.g. 32-bit on 64-bit), may cause the installation to fail.


To have it run properly, you need to launch it from a command line with the “/passive” argument specified:

Create 64-bit Data Source Names (DSN)

To create a 64-bit System DSN:

  • Open the Windows Control Panel and navigate to Administrative Tools > ODBC Data Source(64-bit)
  • Click on the “System DSN” tab and click on Add
  • Select the driver that corresponds to your file type
    • For Access files, select Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb*.accdb)
    • For CSV files, select Microsoft Text Driver (*.txt*.csv)
    • For Excel files, select Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls*.xlsx*.xlsm*.xlsb)
  • Click Finish to select your Access, CSV or Excel file
  • Give your DSN a name. We will call it “SalesRep” for this example.


Building JDBC-ODBC Connection URL

The JDBC-ODBC Bridge allows Java applications to use the JDBC API with many existing ODBC drivers. The general form of the connection URL for Access, Excel and CSV files is "jdbc:odbc:DSN_Name" where DSN_Name is the ODB Data Source Name. Hence, to connect to either of the above databases, we can use the following code:

Querying a Microsoft Access Database

Once we have a JDBC connection object, we can then use it to create statements and execute queries, which will return a result set. For a Microsoft Access database, the code is as follows:

var connectionURL = "jdbc:odbc:SalesRepsAccess";
var repID = record.fields.RepID;

var accessConnection = db.connect(connectionURL,"","");
var accessQuery = "SELECT * FROM SalesReps WHERE RepID=" + "'" + repID + "'";
resultSet = accessConnection.createStatement().executeQuery(accessQuery);

Querying a Microsoft Excel Database

Querying a Microsoft Excel database is similar to the procedure for Access, the only difference here is that the Microsoft Excel Sheet name you are querying from must be followed by the $ sign and enclosed in square brackets:

var connectionURL = "jdbc:odbc:SalesRepsExcel";
var repID = record.fields.RepID;

var excelConnection = db.connect(connectionURL,"","");
var excelQuery = "SELECT * FROM [SalesReps$] WHERE RepID=" + "'" + repID + "'";
resultSet = excelConnection.createStatement().executeQuery(excelQuery);

Querying a CSV file

The code for querying a CSV file is similar with the only difference that the table name to query from is the actual CSV file name and it must be enclosed in double quotes:

var connectionURL = "jdbc:odbc:SalesRepsCSV";
var repID = record.fields.RepID;

var csvConnection = db.connect(connectionURL,"","");
var csvQuery = "SELECT * FROM \"SalesReps.csv\" WHERE RepID=" + "'" + repID + "'";
resultSet = csvConnection.createStatement().executeQuery(csvQuery);

Testing out the solution

Use this datamapper to test the implementation of this solution and use the sample data in the format preferred (Access, CSV, Excel, PDF).

Retrieving data from a Result Set

The above query returns a result set object. We can then use the methods of the ResultSet object, such as getString(), to retrieve the desired data.

Reference JDBC Basics



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *