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									               Informix User Forum 2006

   Building Informix Data-
Driven Applications with .Net
                      Sean R. Durity
               Manager of IT
        CornerCap Investment Counsel

   Washington, D.C.                December 8-9, 2006

•   The IBM Informix ADO.Net Driver
•   ADO.Net Driver Basics (with examples)
•   Building A Real Application (demo)
•   Q&A
      The Informix ADO.Net Driver
•   Current version is Client SDK 2.90TC6
•   Now installed by default, must have .Net framework 1st
    (works with either 1.1 or 2.0 framework)
•   Namespace is IBM.Data.Informix - reference the library
•   Client SDK must be installed on any client that will use
    the driver (not self-contained in the .dll)
•   Current documentation and examples are better than the
    previous ones; reference guide twice as long
•   Objects are similar to Microsoft‟s Sql* objects, but use
    “Ifx” prefix (IfxConnection, IfxCommand, etc.)
    The Informix ADO.Net Driver

• Installation Issues
  – If you have the older driver (2.81), you should either
    install into the same directory or remove the
    previous installation first. I could not get the two
    versions to peacefully co-exist.
  – There is a stored procedure creation script that must
    be run once against the sysmaster database (as user
    „informix‟). Otherwise, features like the DataAdapter
    wizard won‟t connect. Script is
    $INFORMIXDIR/etc/cdotnet.sql on any client
    The Informix ADO.Net Driver

• New features in 2.90
  – Adds an IfxDataAdapter Configure Data
    Adapter wizard
  – Adds new types including IfxDateTime,
    IfxDecimal, IfxBlob, and IfxClob
  – Supports IPv6 protocol
The Informix ADO.Net Driver Basics
• Connection String (getting a connection)
  – Semi-colon delimited list of attributes put into the
    ConnectionString property of the IfxConnection object
     string ConnectionString = "Host=" + HOST + "; " +
                 "Service=" + SERVICENUM + "; " +
                 "Server=" + SERVER + "; " +
                 "Database=" + DATABASE + "; " +
                 "User Id=" + USER + "; " +
                 "Password=" + PASSWORD + "; ";
     IfxConnection conn = new IfxConnection();
     conn.ConnectionString = ConnectionString;
     try {
     } catch (IfxException ex) { }
The Informix ADO.Net Driver Basics
• Executing an insert, update or delete
  IfxCommand cmd = new IfxCommand("insert into test
     values (1, 2, ‘ABC’)",bconn.conn);
  cmd.CommandTimeout = 200; //seconds allowed for
     command to finish, default is 30
  try {
     int rows = cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();
  catch (IfxException ex) {
     Console.WriteLine("Error "+ex.Message);
The Informix ADO.Net Driver Basics
• Iterating through a SELECT‟s result set one-time
  IfxCommand cmd = new IfxCommand("select * from
  try {
     IfxDataReader dr = cmd.ExecuteReader();
     while (dr.Read()) {
            int a = dr.GetInt32(0);
            int b = Convert.ToInt32(dr["b"]);
            string c = (String)dr[2];
  catch (IfxException ex) {
     Console.WriteLine("Error "+ex.Message);
 The Informix ADO.Net Driver Basics
• Executing a Stored Procedure with “in” parameter
  IfxCommand cmd = new
  cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;
     //from System.Data
  cmd.Parameters.Add("in_parameter",2); //many ways
     to create these
  try {
  catch (IfxException ifxe) {
     Console.WriteLine("Error "+ifxe.Message);
                ADO.Net 2.0
• MicroSoft fixed some underlying problems with
  its DataSet implementation (indexing). For large
  DataSets it can provide an order of magnitude
  performance improvement.
  – Note: the current Informix driver has its own
    performance problems marshaling data from
    unmanaged to managed code. This also impacts the
    performance of large DataSets.
• Driver Availability from IBM – Open Beta just
  announced on (12/02/2006)
      Building Data Applications

• The DataSet
  – Microsoft‟s disconnected database object –
    like an in-memory database
  – One or more DataTables
    • Each DataTable has a DataAdapter that interacts
      with the actual data store
  – Can have primary keys, relations, etc.
  – Derived from ComponentModel, so it is
    available in the Designer as graphical object
DataSet Diagram
        Framework Considerations
• Concurrency checking
   – Could be implemented with interface and concurrency column
• Data binding – built-in can be flaky and not always bi-
• Data caching and lazy instantiation
• Can‟t make DataSets “global” and still use designer-
  aided binding
• How to define relations between objects
• Null field checking; null objects allowed?
• How to send data across the wire in n-tier architecture
• Open source .Net ORM frameworks (like nHibernate) still
  emerging – no Informix-specific implementations that I
  have found
DevForce Framework from IdeaBlade
            DevForce Editions
• Express – Free version: ORM, UI DataBinding,
  RAD features, one-click deployment, royalty free
• Professional – support for stored procedures,
  databinding to 3rd party controls, multiple
  database connections, support
• Enterprise – Business Objects Server for n-tier
  deployment, disconnected or offline
  functionality, distributed transactions, web
  services objects (at CornerCap, we use this one)
  DevForce Framework Particulars
• Uses OleDb for ORM (must run coledb script
  against sysmaster)
• No direct support for serial datatype, but I have
  Informix id generator code I am willing to share
• Includes its own object query language for
  writing queries (will probably move to LINQ.
  Pass-thru sql allowed.)
• Uses .Net Remoting for moving objects between
• Concepts Guide is a must-read; other
  documentation, videos, and samples are good
   DevForce – How Does it Work?
• ORM tool generates a DataRow class for each
  table/object (e.g., PlayerDataRow)
• Generates a descendent class from the DataRow
  (Player). This is where your custom code goes
• PersistenceManager class handles interactions
  with the database (no data adapters)
• BindingManagers handle UI binding
• Business objects have relationships that allow
  for “dot navigation” of properties from related
• Let‟s go to the demo!
• Other Resources
  – DevForce framework (,
    especially read the Concepts Guide!
  – DevForce user group (
  – Expert C# 2005 Business Objects, 2nd ed.
    Rockford Lhotka (CSLA framework, if you
    want to do more of your own building. Many
    of the ideas are incorporated into DevForce)
  – IdeaBlade contact – Lisa Martin
               Informix User Forum 2006

   Building Informix Data-
Driven Applications with .Net
                      Sean R. Durity

   Washington, D.C.                December 8-9, 2006

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