Friday, February 17. 2012
Continue reading "Rendering PostGIS Raster graphics with LibreOffice Base Reports"
I was excited to learn from Pasha Golub's blog LibreOffice Base 3.5 now comes packaged with native PostgreSQL driver so no separate configuration is required.
The connection string syntax follows the old SBC native driver of prior OpenOffice versions we itemized in Using OpenOffice Base with PostgeSQL.
What I really wanted to do with it is experiment with its graphical rendering capabilities. As discussed in PSQL needs a better way of outputting bytea
one of the frequently asked questions on the PostGIS list by folks using the new not yet officially released (alpha5 recently released) functionality in PostGIS 2.0 is how to render rasters
with common variety tools. I suspected Base was a capable option, but had never tested it to confirm. Since I was installing new LibreOffice 3.5, I thought this might be a good test of its metal.
Sunday, November 14. 2010
Many people have been concerned with Oracle's stewardship of past Sun Microsystems open source projects.
There are Java, MySQL, OpenSolaris to name a few.
Why are people concerned? Perhaps the abandoning of projects such as OpenSolaris, the suing of Google over Java infringements, the marshalling out of many frontline contributors of core Open Source projects from Oracle, the idea of forking over license rights to a single company so they can relicense your code.
We have no idea.
All we know is that there is an awful lot of forking going on.
To Oracle's defense, many do feel that they have done a good job with progressing the advancements of some of the Open Source projects they have shepherded.
For example getting MySQL patches more quickly in place etc. For some projects where there is not much of a monetary incentive, many feel they have at best neglected e.g. OpenSolaris.
Perhaps it's more Oracle's size and the size that Sun was before takeover that has made people take notice that no Open Source project
is in stable hands when its ecosystem is predominantly controlled by the whims of one big gorilla.
One new fork we were quite interested to hear about is LibreOffice, which is a fork of OpenOffice.
In addition to the fork, there is a new organization
called Document Foundation to cradle the new project. Document Foundation is backed by many OpenOffice developers and corporate entities (Google, Novell,Canonical) to name a few.
The Document Foundation mission statement is outlined here. There is even a document foundation planet for LibreOfficerians to call home.
The LibreOffice starter screen looks similar to the OpenOffice starter screen, except instead of the flashy Oracle logo we have come to love and fear, it has a simple text Document Foundation below the basic multi-colored Libre Office title. Much the same tools
found in OpenOffice are present. The project has not forked too much in a user-centric way from its OpenOffice ancestor yet. The main changes so far are the promise of not having to hand over license assignment rights to a single company as described in
LibreOffice - A fresh page for OpenOffice as well as some general cleanup and introduction of plugins that had copy assignment issues such as some from RedHat and Go-OO. My favorite quote
listed in the above article is It feels like Oracle is "a mother who loves her child but is not aware that her child wants to walk alone." by André Schnabel. So perhaps Oracle's greatest contribution and legacy to Open Source and perhaps the biggest that any for-profit company
can make for an Open Source project is to force its offspring to grow feet to walk away.
In later posts we'll test drive Libreoffice with PostgreSQL to see how it compares to its OO ancestor and what additional surprises it has in store.
Though in future if Oracle does donate the trademark Openoffice name to the foundation, then
LibreOffice may go back to being called OpenOffice
. Personally I like LibreOffice better and the fact that the name change signals a change in governance.
Monday, June 28. 2010
Continue reading "Importing data into PostgreSQL using Open Office Base 3.2"
A while ago we demonstrated how to use Open Office Base to connect to a PostgreSQL server using both the native PostgreSQL SBC and the PostgreSQL JDBC driver.
The routine for doing the same in Open Office Base 3.2 is pretty much the same as it was in the 2.3 incarnation. In this excerpt, we'll demonstrate how to import data into PostgreSQL using Open Office Base, as we had promised to do in
Database Administration, Reporting, and Light Applicaton Development and some stumbling blocks to watch out for.
Command line lovers are probably scratching there head, why you want to do this. After all stumbling your way thru a commandline and typing stuff is much more fun and you can automate it after you are done.
For our needs, we get stupid excel or some other kind of tab delimeted data
from somebody, and we just want to cut and paste that data in our database. These files are usually small (under 5000 records) and the column names are never consistent. We don't want to fiddle with writing code to do these one off type exercises.
For other people, who are used to using GUIs or training people afraid of command lines, the use cases are painfully obvious, so we won't bore you.
Importing Data with Open Office Base Using copy and paste
Open Office has this fantastic feature called Copy and Paste (no kidding), and we will demonstrate in a bit, why their copy and paste is better than Microsoft Access's Copy and Paste particularly when you want to paste into some database other than a Microsoft one.
It is worthy of a metal if I dear say.
Monday, September 07. 2009
Continue reading "Database Administration, Reporting, and Light application development"
One of the most common questions people ask is Which tools work with PostgreSQL. In a sense the measure of a database's
maturity/popularity are the number of vendors willing to produce management and development tools for it. Luckily there are a lot of vendors producing tools for PostgreSQL and the list is growing.
One set of tools people are interested in are Database administration, ER diagramming, Query tools, and quickie application generators (RAD).
For this issue of our product showcase, we will not talk about one product, but several that fit in the aforementioned category.
All the listed products work with PostgreSQL and can be used for database administration and/or architecting or provide some sort of
light reporting/rapid application building suite. By light reporting/application building, we mean
a tool with a simple wizard that a novice can use to build somewhat functional applications in minutes or days. This rules out all-purpose development
things like raw PHP, .NET, Visual Studio, database drivers etc. Things we consider in this realm are things like OpenOffice Base and
MS Access. Most of these tools are either free or have 30-day try before you buy options.
You can't really say one tool is absolutely better than another since each has its own strengths and caters to slightly different audiences and also
you may like the way one tool does one important thing really well, though it may be mediocre in other respects. We also left out a lot of products we are not familiar with and may have gotten
some things wrong.
If we left out your favorite product and you feel it meets these criteria, or you feel we made any errors, please let us know, and we'll add or correct it.
We will be including Free open source as well as proprietary products in this mix. If we left out what you consider an
important criteria, please let us know and we'll try to squeeze it in somewhere.
Tuesday, December 16. 2008
Continue reading "Fusion Charts and PostgreSQL Part 1: Database Analysis of USDA DB"
In our Product Showcase section of this issue, we introduced Fusion Charts which is a flash-based
charting product that makes beautiful flash charts. It comes in both a free and a non-free more bells and whistles
In this 3-part series article we shall demonstrate using this with a PostgreSQL database, building a simple dashboard
with ASP.NET and PHP. We shall demonstrate both C# and VB.NET both using the PostgreSQL NPGSQL driver.
For this first part we shall simply load the database, do a quick analysis of what we've got to report on and create some views to help
us with our PHP and ASP.NET apps that will follow in parts 2 and 3.
We will be testing this on 8.3, but since the database is an old one, it should work just fine on older versions of
PostgreSQL. We'll try to refrain from using new features of PostgreSQL.
Wednesday, September 24. 2008
Continue reading "PgAdmin III 1.9 First Glance"
We've been playing around with the snapshot builds of PgAdmin III 1.9 and would like to summarize some
of the new nice features added. PgAdmin III 1.9 has not been released yet, but has a couple of neat features brewing.
For those interested in experimenting with the snapshot builds and src tarballs, you can download them from http://www.pgadmin.org/snapshots/
Monday, March 24. 2008
Continue reading "PuTTY for SSH Tunneling to PostgreSQL Server"
What is PuTTY
PuTTY was developed by Simon Tatham and is a very common light-weight MIT-Licensed
free and open source Secure Shell (SSH) client for connecting to Linux/Unix systems via a Teletype (TTY) terminal emulation mode console.
Currently there are ports for Microsoft Windows, other unix like systems,
and ports in progress for Mac OSX and Symbian mobile phone OS.
PuTTY fits into that class of tools we affectionately call Swiss Army Knives because it is
Light, Multi-Purpose, and Good Enough. As an added benefit it is free and open source with a generous license so it is commonly embedded in
PuTTY comes in handy both as an SSH terminal console and as a SSH Tunneling tool which allows you for example
to use PgAdmin III from a local windows workstation against a remote PostgreSQL server even in cases where the linux/unix PostgreSQL pg_hba.conf and postgresql.conf file only allow local connections or non-SSH traffic is blocked by
For more about the nuances
of configuring the pg_hba.conf PostgreSQL server file that controls user access check out Hubert Lubaczewski's “FATAL: Ident authentication failed”, or how cool ideas get bad usage schemas
In this article we shall cover how to use PuTTY's SSH Tunneling feature to access a remote PostgreSQL server that doesn't allow
remote connections. To make it a little more interesting we shall demonstrate how to do this for PgAdmin III.
Tuesday, December 18. 2007
Continue reading "Using OpenOffice Base 2.3.1 with PostgreSQL"
For those who are not familiar with OpenOffice Base. OpenOffice Base is the equivalent of Microsoft Access in the OpenOffice Open source suite. While it is not as feature rich as Microsoft Access, it has been getting increasingly better and has some unique features that even Microsoft Access lacks. Unfortuantely you can't just convert an access mdb to its format like you can with other Open office suite products - Word to Writer Writer to Word etc. However you can open MS Access databases in OOBase, but you can't take advantage of the forms and reports in an MS Access Database.
One thing I always liked about Microsoft Access was the ease with which you could link to various different kinds of datasources and generate rapid queries and so forth. Microsoft Access has a particular feature called Access Projects which ties it very closely with Microsoft SQL Server. What an MS Access Project does is connect you with a specific SQL Server database and allow you to browse all the objects, create forms and reports etc against the objects etc. Unfortunately MS Access Project only works with SQL Server. For other datasources you need to use linked tables and can't make design changes and browse a database as you can with Access Projects.
We had looked at Openoffice Base a while ago and thought they are making progress, but still not quite good enough to put to daily use. When we revisited Open Office Base recently, we were surprised to find a couple of neat nuggets.
- They now had a native SDBC driver for postgresql instead of having to rely on the jdbc or odbc driver. You can still use the jdbc and odbc bridges, and unfortunately for Mac OSX users, you are stuck using the jdbc driver.
- They have this Access Project like feature except it was better than Access in that it worked with other server side dbs. Any that had a driver - e.g. PostgreSQL, MySQL etc.
- It had a relational designer viewer similar to what Access had and when we opened up a PostgreSQL db it laid out all the relationships we had carefully defined before with foreign key constraints etc.
In the next couple of sections we'll lay out how to quickly setup OpenOffice, install the native PostgreSQL driver and JDBC PostgreSQL driver and connect to a PostgreSQL database in OpenOffice Base. Please forgive us for using Windows paths in this.
We figured it would be easier for people to follow since most users coming to this site are windows users and a lot of Linux users already use OO and paths are too different from Linux/Mac OSX installs.