We are pleased to announce the availability of the SerioPlus ODBC Driver. The driver allows SerioPlus customers to use third-party applications such as Access to write their own reports, whilst enjoying all the benefits of a hosted solution.
It works wherever you are, over the Internet, through firewalls. Proxies are supported.
What follows assumes an existing knowledge of using ODBC-based report writers, which I know many customers have in depth, having seen the reports they have created for themselves prior to switching to SerioPlus.
We are delighted to say they can now run these reports on SerioPlus.
Testing and Compatibility
In this release, we have focused mainly on ensuring compatibility with
- MSQRY32.exe (the query tool in Microsoft Office 2010)
- Access 2010 (please read the notes below)
If you use an earlier version of Office we recommend an upgrade to the latest version.
The driver is free to use now for anyone with a SerioPlus account, from December there will be a charge in order to cover the significant bandwidth that is used by some applications (notably Access)
Just download the latest tools from the Plustools download area. Contact support if have not yet bookmarked this.
Setup is like any other ODBC driver. Simply use the pre-existing SerioPlus ODBC profile which is installed when you install the client tools, or setup your own as you would any other ODBC data source.
About the Driver
The driver limits the amount of rows you can download in a single query to 3000, to prevent excessive loading on the SerioPlus servers. Experienced SQL users will know that this is not really a restriction – use the SQL language to aggregate rows on the server prior to download, and retrieval arguments to select just the portion of data you are interested in.
The driver also limits the amount of time a single query can take to 90 seconds. As above, this isn't really a restriction – design your queries intelligently and they will execute in a few seconds or less.
Serio has a number of long string columns. The ODBC driver limits these to the first 4K of content.
The driver has no update capability. If you try to modify data the results will be unpredictable – this is by design.
You cannot use the driver to create tables, indices or stored procedures – this is by design. It's a read-only source.
Special Notes for MS Access Users
If you have pre-existing queries, these queries will be bound to a data source name (the actual name will have been set by you when you created it). Simply create a SerioPlus ODBC profile with the same name to run your queries.
If you are importing tables LINK to the tables. If you import them Access will try to download the entire data in the database onto your computer.
Without doubt, the best way to work with Access is to write focused queries and to have a good understanding of SQL. Having tried customer Access queries designed to look at service level performance, these run quickly and in seconds because they are well designed. If you design your own properly you will enjoy the same results. Used in this way Access is very powerful indeed.
Pivot tables are fully supported.
'Invalid Descriptor Index'
If you get this error, it means you have a long string in the middle of a SELECT list, when such columns should always be at the end.
For example, this query is correct and will run without error
select issue_no, issue_desc
from issue where log_date > '2010-09-06'.
This query will produce an 'invalid descriptor index' error
select issue_desc, issue_no
from issue where log_date > '2010-09-06'.
If you get this error, please re-design your query.
SerioPlus ODBC FAQ
Q: I downloaded the latest plustools, but there is nothing that says 'ODBC'. Is there an install problem?
A: The install creates an ODBC driver, and the ability to create an SerioPlus ODBC data source. There is no 'ODBC' icon as such, it's just like any other ODBC driver – it works with your reporting software.
Q: I keep getting 'unrecognised Account Code/Pin' when I try to connect.
A: You entered your Account Code or Account Key incorrectly when you setup your SerioPlus ODBC connection. Please re-enter these details.
Q: I have a Proxy, how do I set-up the driver?
A: Enter your Proxy details into SerioClient, and ensure that SerioClient works.
Q: I've got more than 3000 Incidents, can I still use this ODBC driver?
A: Yes. Use the SQL query language to create results on the SerioPlus server, and then only download these results. It's really what SQL was designed for. Most properly-designed reports download no more than a few hundred rows.
Q: Will you make this work with earlier versions of MS Office and MS Access?
A: It may work with earlier versions. However, we will only look at problems with the latest versions of the Microsoft products.
Q: I really want to download more than 3000 rows.
A: In that case, download them in batches of 3000. However, it should not be necessary to download entire databases in order to generate reports.
Q: Is the driver 64-bit or 32-bit?
A: It's a 32-bit driver, which means that you'll need to use 32-bit applications for best results.
Q: I've never written a report before, but I'd like to learn. Where do I start?
A: Access is a good place to start because there are a lot of web sites dedicated to novice users. Firebird is a good starter database. It's free to download, and comes with a simple starter database and has an active user forum. Once you learn how to construct SQL queries, apply what you've learned to SerioPlus.