Accessing an existing database

    Contents
    1. Introduction
    2. The setup
    3. Connection setup
    4. Querying objects
    5. Writing objects
    6. Managed types

Introduction

ABEL has a special backend to read and write existing databases.This backend was designed to use ABEL alongside EiffelStore with very little setup.

The drawback of this approach is that the backend has some of the limitations of EiffelStore:

  • Only flat classes can be stored and retrieved.
  • The class name must match the type name in lowercase, and each attribute must match a column name.
  • ABEL treats all objects as values without identity (like expanded types). There is a mechanism however to override this default.
  • There is no concept of a root status.

The setup

Let's assume a simple EiffelStore application for managing a (very simple) MySQL customer database.The database consists of a single table created by the following SQL statement:

CREATE TABLE customer ( id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY AUTO_INCREMENT, first_name VARCHAR (100), last_name VARCHAR (100), age INTEGER )

In your Eiffel code you have a class which matches the table:

class CUSTOMER inherit ANY redefine out end create make feature -- Access id: INTEGER -- The customer ID. first_name: STRING -- The customer's first name. last_name: STRING -- The customer's last name. age: INTEGER -- The age of the customer. feature -- Element change set_age (an_age: like age) -- Set `age' to `an_age' do age := an_age end feature -- Output out: STRING -- String output of `Current'. do Result := id.out + ": " + first_name + " " + last_name + " " + age.out + "%N" end feature {NONE} -- Initialization make (an_id: like id; first: like first_name; last: like last_name; an_age: like age) -- Initialization for `Current'. do id := an_id first_name := first last_name := last age := an_age end end

Connection setup

Because we're using an existing MySQL database, we need to choose the PS_MYSQL_RELATIONAL_REPOSITORY_FACTORY for initialization.

class TUTORIAL create make feature -- Access repository: PS_REPOSITORY feature {NONE} -- Initialization make -- Set up the repository. local factory: PS_MYSQL_RELATIONAL_REPOSITORY_FACTORY do create factory.make -- Feel free to change the login credentials. factory.set_database ("my_database") factory.set_user ("root") factory.set_password ("1234") repository := factory.new_repository end end

That's it. You're now ready to read and write table records using the repository.

Querying objects

With the newly created repository, we can now query for CUSTOMER objects.The procedure is the same as seen in Basic operations.

print_customers -- Print all customers. local query: PS_QUERY [CUSTOMER] do create query.make repository.execute_query (query) across query as cursor loop print (cursor.item) end if query.has_error then print ("An error occurred!%N") end query.close end

Writing objects

You can also use ABEL to write or update customers, although the semantics are a bit different compared to other backends.ABEL by default treats every object as a value tuple without identity (like an expanded type).The reason is that the primary key of an object is usually stored directly inside the object, and a user may change it and thus mess with ABEL's internal data structures.

The implication of this is that a user is only allowed to call {PS_TRANSACTION}.insert to write an object.The semantics of insert is to insert a new record if no other record with the same primary key exists, or else to update the existing record.This might be confusing at first sight, but it is in line with the semantics of ABEL as seen in Dealing with references.

The following code shows how to insert and update objects.

insert_customer -- Insert a new customer. local albo: CUSTOMER transaction: PS_TRANSACTION do -- Assume 42 is an valid, unused primary key. create albo.make (42, "Albo", "Bitossi", 1) transaction := repository.new_transaction if not transaction.has_error then -- This results in an insert, because -- according to our previous assumption -- there is no record with primary key 42 transaction.insert (albo) end -- Cleanup and error handling. if not transaction.has_error then transaction.commit end if transaction.has_error then print ("An error occurred.%N") end end update_customer -- Update an existing customer. local factory: PS_CRITERION_FACTORY query: PS_QUERY [CUSTOMER] transaction: PS_TRANSACTION do create query.make query.set_criterion (factory ("id", "=", 42)) transaction := repository.new_transaction if not transaction.has_error then transaction.execute_query (query) end across query as cursor loop cursor.item.set_age (2) -- The result is an update, because an object -- with primary key 42 is already present. transaction.insert (cursor.item) end -- Cleanup and error handling query.close if not transaction.has_error then transaction.commit end if transaction.has_error then print ("An error occurred!%N") end end

Managed types

Maybe you realized the weak spot in the previous section:We assumed that a primary key does not exist yet.This is a very dangerous assumption, especially in a multi-user setting.The way to resolve this issue is to usually to declare the primary key column as auto-incremented and let the database handle primary key generation.

It is possible to use this facility in ABEL by declaring a type as "managed" and specifying the primary key column.This only works for tables which actually have an auto-incremented integer primary key column.

There are some changes when declaring a type as managed:

  • ABEL will keep track of object identity. Thus it is possible (and recommended) to use {PS_TRANSACTION}.update.
  • As ABEL now takes care of primary keys, it is not allowed to change the primary key of an object. If it happens anyway, an error will be returned.
  • To insert a new object, you can just set the primary key attribute to zero. The database will then generate a new key.
  • After a successful insert, ABEL will update the Eiffel object with the new primary key.

Our customer database table fulfills all requirements for ABEL to manage its primary key handling, thus we can rewrite the above examples:

class TUTORIAL create make feature -- Access repository: PS_REPOSITORY generated_id: INTEGER -- The ID generated by the database. feature {NONE} -- Initialization make -- Set up the repository. local factory: PS_MYSQL_RELATIONAL_REPOSITORY_FACTORY do create factory.make factory.set_database ("my_database") factory.set_user ("root") factory.set_password ("1234") -- Tell ABEL to manage the `CUSTOMER' type. factory.manage ({CUSTOMER}, "id") repository := factory.new_repository insert_customer update_customer end feature -- Tutorial functions insert_customer -- Insert a new customer. local albo: CUSTOMER transaction: PS_TRANSACTION do -- Note that the ID is now set to 0. create albo.make (0, "Albo", "Bitossi", 1) transaction := repository.new_transaction if not transaction.has_error then -- The next statement will be an insert in any case. transaction.insert (albo) end -- The generated ID is now stored in `albo' generated_id := albo.id -- Cleanup and error handling. if not transaction.has_error then transaction.commit end if transaction.has_error then print ("An error occurred.%N") end end update_customer -- Update an existing customer. local factory: PS_CRITERION_FACTORY query: PS_QUERY [CUSTOMER] transaction: PS_TRANSACTION do create factory create query.make query.set_criterion (factory ("id", "=", generated_id)) transaction := repository.new_transaction if not transaction.has_error then transaction.execute_query (query) end across query as cursor loop cursor.item.set_age (3) -- It is possible to call update. transaction.update (cursor.item) end -- Cleanup and error handling query.close if not transaction.has_error then transaction.commit end if transaction.has_error then print ("An error occurred!%N") end end end

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