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Forms Services uses the SystemDataOleDb NET Framework classes to communicate with databases
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Setting Up a Connection to a Database When setting up the database connection, you can choose from a variety of ADO connection methods to talk with a SQL Server or Access database These access mechanisms include DSN-less, ODBC DSN (for Access only), OLE DB, or even a Data Link le (with le extension udl) InfoPath uses the My Data Sources folder in My Documents, so it s easy to create a new connection with Microsoft Of ce s built-in data source wizards In particular, the +Connect to New Data Source and +New SQL Server Connection ODC les, when double-clicked, launch a wizard that helps you create an Of ce Data Connection le (also called an ODC le) to the database without a need to know details on creating an ADO connection string The connection string itself can use standard security (where the credentials are stored in the form template) or a trusted security connection If you set up a connection string with a user name and password, InfoPath will ask if you re sure you want to save that sensitive information with the form template to which others will inevitably have access Typically, you will not want to bundle the credentials in the form unless, of course, that database user has very limited access Your best bet for high security is to use a trusted connection Details on connecting to a SQL Server or Access database are beyond the scope of this book
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ODC les contain information on how a computer connects to a data source This le is not speci c to InfoPath but general to Microsoft Of ce as a whole Other Microsoft Of ce applications such as Excel and Access also use ODC les
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If you use SQL authentication to connect to your database, InfoPath will warn you that the user name and password are stored in plain text within the form template de nition (xsf) le We do not recommend embedding credentials Use a trusted connection whenever possible
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6: Retrieving Data from External Source s
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A database data connection is one of the few connections that can be used on the main data source It can also be used as a secondary connection and, therefore, with a secondary data source Designing a form (ie, the main data source) against a database involves the same steps as creating an equivalent secondary data connection version, with the exception of submit Secondary query data connections do not support submit However, it s important to realize that a database connection on the main data source always includes both query and submit; they are inseparable, although they seemingly appear as two separate adapters in the Data Connections dialog In this chapter we will focus only on the database query connection Submitting to a database will be brie y discussed in 8 As a result, we ll begin with an example using a secondary data connection
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Secondary database connections only allow for receiving data So only the main data connection can submit, but there s a caveat! The main connection cannot be only submit For a main database connection, query and submit always come together and are inseparable (There are ways to discourage submit or query functionality on a main database connection, but they re as simple as not visually showing Button controls to allow such actions) Since we ll introduce many new InfoPath-speci c concepts with this example, and to minimize distractions with a complicated scenario, let s take the classic Customers and Orders tables in the Northwind database (If you aren t familiar with the Northwind database, imagine a database for tracking your customers and their orders: a table for customers and another for their orders) The Northwind database is available on most SQL Server installations, so it s easy for you to follow along if you d like We start by creating a new blank form Next, let s add the secondary connection by using the Data Connections dialog, electing to Create a new connection to receive data, and selecting Database (refer back to Figure 63) The Data Connection Wizard for a database connection (see Figure 611) is quite visually different than the one we used for the XML le connection From this single dialog, we can perform the following actions to con gure this data connection
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