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Open Source Software

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

PHP is an extremely popular open source scripting language. When the language itself is an open source, many open source products use it.  Unfortunately, PHP5 is a new version of PHP and most of the open source products are written with PHP4. In addition, most of the open source software written in PHP is written for open source databases, such as MySQL, SQL Lite and PostgreSQL.

However, open source products that work with PHP5 and Oracle do exist and this chapter is devoted to one such product, Tim Strehle’s wonderful, Oracle Editor.

Oracle Editor is a general purpose web form used for querying, inserting, deleting or updating any Oracle table. The form is created dynamically for each table, and the interface is extremely natural and easy to use. This tool is an open source tool and can be downloaded free of charge from http://tim.digicol.de/oraedit.  

Oracle Editor is written as one large PHP script named OracleEditor.php. All a person needs to do is download the script and place it into a directory visible by the Apache web server.

On one PC, it is available in the /PHP/util directory and is invoked by pointing the browser to the following URL:

http://localhost/PHP/util/OracleEditor.php.

The directory /PHP is not a real directory on this system, it is a virtual directory, defined for the Apache web server by using the following directives in the configuration file:

Alias /PHP "/doc/PHP/"
<Directory "/doc/PHP">
allow from all
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
</Directory>

So, what happens when OracleEditor.php is invoked?  An ordinary login screen appears, like many that were shown earlier in this book:

The author of the product advises the user to protect this page with an additional protection mechanism such as .htaccess or SSL, but this may be unnecessary because there does exist, after all, Oracle’s own authorization.  The user must already have username and password to login to the database, so requiring a login twice is pointless. So, now the user can login using the highly secure username and password combination, namely SCOTT/TIGER:

All that remains to do is to select the table to work on in the “FROM” field and the editing can begin. Here it what the editing looks like, shown on the table DEPT:

The first column allows the user to select an update or delete operation on the existing row.  Immediately after the last row of the table, an “insert new row” link appears which brings up an additional row of the table and inserts the entered values into the database. Here is what the screen looks like:

A value or a function can be entered; the script works with both. Clicking on the insert button inserts the row into the database. Clicking on the “Delete” link in the first column brings up a similar screen:

Clicking on the delete button purges the newly created shipping department in Miami, leaving the table in its original state. Oracle Editor is written using the OCI8 module in the auto-commit mode. This means that there is no rollback. Once the delete button is pressed, the record is deleted and the change is automatically committed.

The script can also export the table in one of the three most popular formats: XML, CSV or HTML. This looks like the following:

The created file is called dbexport.csv (extensions are xml or html for the other two formats) and is saved to the user’s directory of choice. All column values are enclosed with double quotes and separated by a comma, which is ideal for SQL*Loader, MS Excel or some other spreadsheet processor, like the one within the SUN Microsystems OpenOffice software suite.

There is however a quirk within this tool; the return from the export page back to editor page is not smooth or easy.  The user has to follow the link for the manual SQL entry and from there back to the automatically populated SQL. The table has to be chosen again and the SQL re-executed. If the intention is to return back to the exact rows that were in the editor window before saving the table, this will not happen.

The philosophy of the tool is one of screen editor; edit a table, save the modifications into a file and get out.  This philosophy is consistent with the name, an admirable quality in the age of very resounding and meaningless marketing names leaving possible users wondering about the purpose of the software.

The manual entry mode allows the entry of any SQL statement, with no rollback, but does not allow the editing of the results. Results can only be edited when the SQL is generated automatically. Here is what the window for the manual SQL entry looks like:

Oracle Editor is a very convenient tool for editing small tables on the fly without the need for writing cumbersome DML statements manually and has many convenient options. It is not a general data entry tool and cannot be used instead of Oracle Forms or similar products.

The source code of the script has 1700+ rows and reading it is a highly advanced exercise and would not be very meaningful for a book that is intended to be an introduction into using PHP5 with Oracle. OracleEditor.php is written using PHP4 and works with any PHP newer than 4.1.0 with session support and OCI8 support. In particular, it works well with PHP5.

SEE CODE DEPOT FOR FULL SCRIPTS


The above book excerpt is from  "Easy Oracle PHP: Creating Dynamic Web Pages with Oracle Data". 

You can buy it direct from the publisher for 50%-off and get instant access to the code depot of Oracle tuning scripts:

http://www.rampant-books.com/book_2005_2_php_oracle.htm

 


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