Tag Archives: SQL

CSI/Syteline Stored Procedure Report

I generally like having custom reports within the system but it can be spendy to do a bunch of customized reports for trivial tasks. One issue I faced was with reports (in version ~9) where the data was good, but the layout wasn’t in a dataview (Vouchers Payable, Aging reports, etc). I could get around this myself by running a query inside of SQL Server Management Studio, but that got me thinking: why not just allow users themselves to execute the stored procedures that generate the data from within Excel? This gets around two issues, first is that it is not a customized report as the user is running the same routine that CSI does and secondly they needed to get it into Excel anyway, so in a way I’m skipping the “middle man”.

The first thing to do is to collect the list of parameters needed to run the report. This can be gotten rather easily by “printing” the report and then going to Background Task History and pulling the task parameters:

I then make a note of those and execute the stored procedure inside of SSMS using those parameters, but an important note here: do not leave any of the values as “null” as Excel cannot pass null values to the stored procedure (as I am doing it without any code). After some cleanup I have something like this:

This is also good because the parameters are in the sequence needed for Excel, as we’ll see in this next step where we will put the parameters on a separate tab. Although ranges are required for Excel, and it “kinda sorta” doesn’t do nulls, I’d found that putting a double single quote in the cell accomplishes what I need it to (note: shows up as a single ‘ when viewing the spreadsheet):

Next we can put the query together in Excel, be sure to use “From Microsoft Query” because otherwise we will not be able to pass parameters (dynamically) to the stored procedure:

If needed on the next step add a connector to the database server (“New Data Source”), then select the connector and click OK. On the next step click Cancel and then Yes to edit it in Microsoft Query. Click Close and then click the SQL button:

Then click the Definition tab and then Edit Query. The formatting on this can be a smidge tricky since there are multiple parameters, but you’ll want a question mark for each parameter going to the stored procedure, so in this case I’ll enter a query like this:

{call Rpt_VouchersPayableSp (?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?)}

After you click OK you will get a warning that it can’t be represented graphically, click OK again and you will be prompted to fill out the parameters, just click OK on all of them (leaving them blank). Even if it comes back with no data that’s okay, just go up to File->Return Data to Excel.

When it goes to Excel it will re-prompt for parameters. In this case, it will more than likely want real data or it will error out and dump the query and you’ll have to restart from the Data Connector step. I will usually key this in and fix it afterward, though you can set it up properly at this step by selecting the cells on the Parameters sheet, just be sure to click ‘Use this value’:

Hopefully that ran through okay, but this then gets to up a permission issue that I ran into. For users running these stored procedures the only database access I wanted them to have was to the stored procedures themselves. However, when I tried to run it as the user I would get ODBC errors in Excel and in SQL I would get errors like:

Get DataType failed for StoredProcedureParameter
Property DataType is not available for StoredProcedureParameter

This post put me on the right path. The issue is that many CSI stored procedures have custom data types and the user needs to have View Definition permission to the schema where the data types are scoped to, in this case ‘dbo’. So I give the user Execute permission on the stored procedure and View Definition to the dbo schema and then the user can run the query inside of Excel with minimal permissions.

[Note that some of the data returned by these stored procedures can be ungainly. For the Vouchers Payable report I ended up making a new copy of the stored procedure and cleaning up the outputs. This is rather trivial and the advantage here is that as the stored procedure changes the Excel output will change accordingly without having to change anything on the spreadsheet].

CSI/Syteline “Customer Since”

One of the more lightly requested modifications to the Customers form in Syteline was for there to be a way to tell how long someone had been a customer (for credit check purposes). I rigged this up to work by first adding a field for CreateDate to the Customers form (which is easy since it’s already in the IDO for the form):

I then execute a SQL query to change the CreateDate to be the “customer since” date (going forward these should be the same, but for legacy customers the date would just be whenever they were added to the database):

UPDATE customer_mst SET CreateDate='1/1/20' WHERE cust_num='TEST' AND site_ref='TESTDB';

Notes in CSI / Syteline

With our implementation of CSI/Syteline it was important to bring over our work instructions which meant extracting the notes out of the old system and putting them into the new one. The issue here is that there is no real method to do this within the system so direct SQL access is required in order to pull this off.

Please keep in mind that being a SQL DBA is one of my many part time jobs and not a specialty, so some of these steps may not have been as efficient as they could have been.

For our two different production systems the notes were stored using two different ways, though the process for putting them into CSI was basically the same:

  • For JDE our notes were integrated into the routing line and due to the structure they required some re-processing. Fortunately these routers were very stable so I didn’t have to worry about a “live migration” of the notes. Using a brief piece of code I extracted the lines and formatted them to Excel (although theoretically the same steps could be accomplished in Excel without using code).
  • For our JobBOSS notes I needed to be able to pull these over at or near go-live. This meant that I had to do some very light processing of the note text within Visual Studio.

In CSI there are three tables of importance:

  1. NoteHeaders – in this table is a list of what “token” goes to which table. Since these are work instructions on the router the notes will be associated with the jobroute table. The important step here is that at least one note needs to be created to generate this entry. There are other possible ways, but this is the simplest method: make a note on an operation line, and then check in the NoteHeaders table to see what number goes to jobroute. The note can then be deleted.
  2. SpecificNotes – This table will have the note text (and note title) that will contain the work instructions
  3. ObjectNotes – This table will have the note key associated with the note text in the SpecificNotes table, the table the notes goes to (using the number from the NoteHeaders table) and the row pointer to the record in the table that it is associated with.

A complicating factor for our JobBOSS implementation is that we were required to rework and/or resequence the router lines (for instance something that was “Op100-CNC” in JobBOSS might be “Op80-Mill” in CSI). If nothing was changed on the routers it would be possible to “brute force” the note entry by adding all the notes, pulling the row pointers in sequence and then building a query from that to add the associations in the ObjectNotes table (because if I had 100 router lines, and 100 notes then I’d know that the 50th note in the SpecificNotes table goes to the 50th record in the jobroute table). However due to the changing router I had to handle the notes using the same code in C# in Visual Studio that I was using to put the routers together, since only that code knew what the sequence would be.

The first step then was to extract the router lines from JobBOSS. I used a LINQ query like this:

var operations = from o in jo.Job_Operations
                 join o2 in jo.Jobs on o.Job equals o2.Job1
                 join o3 in jo.Materials on o2.Part_Number equals o3.Material1
                 where o.Status.Trim().Equals("T") && o2.Priority<9 && o3.Status.Trim().Equals("Active")&&o2.Part_Number!=null
                 orderby o3.Material1,o.Sequence
                 select new { o.Job,o3.Material1,o.Sequence,o.Description,o.Est_Setup_Hrs,o.Inside_Oper,o.Operation_Service,

The “where” clause is limiting the jobBOSS jobs to be pulled over to templates (“T”) that go to Active part numbers.

Many, many lines of code later I get to the note section. Due to the nature of the notes tables I was unable to get the code to insert the notes directly into the database and instead had to write out a query out to a text file that I then ran in SSMS. I cycled through each line in the router and wrote out an Insert query for each note:

string sqlCmd = "INSERT INTO[SpecificNotes](SpecificNoteToken, NoteContent, NoteDesc, NoteExistsFlag, " +
"CreatedBy, UpdatedBy, CreateDate, RecordDate, RowPointer, InWorkflow)" +
"values((SELECT ISNULL(MAX(SpecificNoteToken) + 1, 0) from dbo.[SpecificNotes]),'" +
n.NoteText + "','WORK INSTRUCTIONS', 0, 'sa', 'sa', DEFAULT, DEFAULT, DEFAULT, 0);";

I wrote the lines of text out as they were generated and then copied the contents of the resulting file and pasted them into SSMS. Before running it I had to put the text “SET IDENTITY_INSERT SpecificNotes ON” at the beginning and “SET IDENTITY_INSERT SpecificNotes OFF” at the end.

With my notes added to the database I then rerun the code to generate the Current Operations lines. This time, a different piece of code in the routine goes out to find a note that is now in the CSI database that matches the note line held by the object of the Current Operation line:

//get notes from CSI
var snotes = from s in si.SpecificNotes
            select new { s.NoteContent, s.SpecificNoteToken };
List<sNotes> sNoteList = new List<sNotes>();
foreach (var s in snotes)
                sNoteList.Add(new sNotes());
                sNoteList.Last().Token = (int)s.SpecificNoteToken;
                sNoteList.Last().Note = s.NoteContent.Trim().Replace("'", "''"); ;
//Marry the notes in the note DB to the process lines, OYE!
foreach (var n in syteCurrOps2)
                foreach (var s in sNoteList)
                    if (!s.Used)
                        //Note: essential that the notes read out of the database match the ones inserted (i.e. avoid whitespace issues!)
                        if (n.NoteText.Trim().Equals(s.Note))
                        { n.NoteNum = s.Token; s.Used = true; worker.ReportProgress(i++); break; } 

Now that I know which note in the database goes to which router lines, I need a line in the ObjectNotes table to match them up. Restating a key point here, a normal note must be manually added to a Current Operation line so that CSI will know which table the note is associated with. Just add a line and then query the lines in the NoteHeaders table to see what number must be used on the SQL Insert lines for the ObjectNotes table:

In this case in the code I have a number 4 in the insert statement, but I would want to change it to a 1:

//NOTE: change #4# below to the number specified in the NoteHeaderToken field in the NoteHeaders table
//      This number is set when the "sample" note was created earlier (which is why a sample note must be created before insert)
string sqlCmd = "INSERT INTO [ObjectNotes](ObjectNoteToken,NoteHeaderToken,RefRowPointer,NoteType,SpecificNoteToken," +
"NoteExistsFlag,CreatedBy,UpdatedBy,CreateDate,RecordDate,RowPointer,InWorkflow)" +
"values((SELECT ISNULL(MAX(ObjectNoteToken) + 1, 0) from dbo.[ObjectNotes]),4,'" + n.RefRow + "',0," + n.NoteNum + ",0," +

Just as with the notes query, I write this query list out to a text file so that they can be run in SSMS (and again setting the “SET IDENTITY_INSERT SpecificNotes ON/OFF” lines before/after the query).

The last step is that since all these notes were entered in SQL and not the interface, CSI needs to know which specific Current Operation lines have notes. We do this by setting the bit operator for the NoteExistsFlag field to one. So again, I just dump out a a series of lines to put into SSMS to update all of the lines based on the row pointers for the lines that now have notes:

foreach (var n in syteCurrOps2)
        if (!n.RefRow.Equals("") && n.NoteNum > 0)
              string sqlCmd = "UPDATE jobroute_mst SET NoteExistsFlag=1 WHERE RowPointer='" + n.RefRow+ "';";
          else if (n.RefRow.Equals("") && n.NoteNum > 0)
              logger("Rowless line: " + "Item: " + n.Item + " Seq " + n.Seq);

So in the end there are three sets of SQL codes exported, one for each of the two related Notes tables, and one for the table that is having the notes added to it. The last line of code in that snippet logs lines that the code thinks should have a note, but couldn’t find one. This typically happened due to odd characters (‘,”,*, etc.) or white space mismatch issues, but over all it was quite reliable.

Slightly off topic, but you may see the “worker.ReportProgress” line in some of the code. Due to the fact that some of the queries took a long time to run I had to put my main methods into new threads (multi-threading). Every now and then in the code I put these ReportProgress lines in so that my (very) inexact progress meter would update on the interface to let me know it was running (and to give me some idea of where it was at in the execution process). So under my code for my “export button” I had something like this to launch the Current Operation export process:

//extracts have to launch in new a thread so that the parent thread won't hang and progress can be tracked
worker.WorkerSupportsCancellation = true;
worker.WorkerReportsProgress = true; 
if (comboBoxExpType.Text.Equals("CurrentOps"))
                worker.DoWork += new DoWorkEventHandler(exportCurrentOps);
worker.RunWorkerCompleted += new RunWorkerCompletedEventHandler(worker_RunWorkerCompleted);
worker.ProgressChanged += new ProgressChangedEventHandler(worker_ProgressChanged);

Great Moments in Database Design

I am by no means an expert DBA, but the design mentality behind a product that my company uses leaves me scratching my head.  This product which shall go unnamed (Exact JobBOSS) has a variety of faults, but none more perplexing than their ‘double keying’ of tables.

Now I’m not talking about a compound key here.  No, this is where they’ve gone through and put the key in twice, such as this example from the ‘Address’ table:

JobBoss Address Key
No problem they’re the same (green), until they’re not! (red)

The logic behind this design decision is somewhat puzzling. I guess they figure that a user may want, for example, a new customer to have an old customer’s Address number? Not only does that not make any sense on it’s face, but A) The user has no control over how this number is assigned and (the kicker) B) This second key is allowed to be null within the database. Only the application rules keep a catastrophic event from occurring in making sure that this second ‘key’ is not null.

Now you might be wondering: what’s the big deal if this second key is null, after all, there’s a primary key on the table already. Here we get to square the circle of this puzzling design decision because as it turns out other tables do not ‘key up’ to the primary key of the table, but the second, fake, ‘key’. Here’s the create code from a table that ‘keys up’ to the Address table (emphasis mine):

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[RptPref] WITH NOCHECK ADD CONSTRAINT [FK_Addr_on_RptP] FOREIGN KEY([Address]) REFERENCES [dbo].[Address] ([Address])

Not [Address].[AddressKey], but [Address].[Address]?!?*  Obviously there’s two issues that immediately spring to mind in such a situation, both of which the developer is attempting to control strictly through their Franken-code.  The first is, like I stated above, the field can be null.  What if this record is not inserted properly and it is null?  Fun times I’m sure!

The second issue is that since the field is not a key, there can be more than one record with that same value.  Is their code tight enough to prevent this possible corruption issue?  Like much to do with this product, you’ll have to take it on trust!

Addendum: I should also point out a basic programmatic issue with this whole design methodology.  If I want to modify records in a table which contains a column that is referenced as a key in a different table, but isn’t a key in the source table that I want to modify, there’s no (easy) way to catch this.  In the back of my mind, I’m thinking that maybe the database was designed as a complicated mess in order to make it semi-proprietary.

*(I should point out that the database for this product is small enough that it’s feasible to make a (tiny) entity chart of it within Visual Studio; but beware that easily half the tables will appear to have no relationship with any other table because of situations like the above (‘keying up’ to a possible null non-key, that’s actually never supposed to be null)).

**(While I ranting about JobBOSS I figured I’d bring to light the package’s great love of the ‘rtl70.bpl access violation’ errors that it is prone to getting.  I long thought that it was an issue with my installation, but I’m now convinced that they’ve coded the Delphi portions with little to no error handling (is there no ‘try/catch’ in Delphi?)).

Resetting The Raiser’s Edge Password

I notice that Blackbaud now has a utility out that handles Supervisor password resets without going through the faxing rigamarole, but when I had to do this I don’t know if that would have been a big help anyway as my customer A) Needed supervisor access to Raiser’s Edge right away and B) They had fired the one employee who had both supervisor access and was the Blackbaud support user.

The two things I did have though was administrator access to the Raiser’s Edge MS SQL database and the SQL Server Management Studio.  My quick and dirty fix was to open the database (re7), open ‘tables’ and then find the ‘USERS’ table (dbo.USERS).  I then right-clicked the table and then chose ‘open table’.  There is one other thing that’s needed for this procedure at this point: a password that is known.  In this case I had the one’s below:

I’ll point out that I put no energy into checking out the hashing code used (i.e., can the PASSWORD field be blank?  Are the passwords hashed the same on every RE install?, etc.).  In this case all I did was copied the PASSWORD hash field from an account whose password was known to the Supervisor PASSWORD field.  (It goes without saying that I also backed the database up first (right click the database->tasks->Back Up…))