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Frequently Asked Questions


How to connect to the MySQL database from Microsoft Programs
How The Category Specific Templates Works?






How to connect to the MySQL database from Microsoft Programs

MySQL is compatible with the ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity) standard, and even offers its own ODBC drivers (known as MyODBC) free for download from the MySQL site (http://www.mysql.com/). MyODBC makes it possible to incorporate MySQL into quite a few interesting applications, including Microsoft Access. In this article, We’ll demonstrate just how easy it is to install and configure MyODBC and subsequently use Microsoft Access to manage MySQL data.

MyODBC Installation
The first step in the MyODBC installation process is to go to the MySQL Website and download the latest version of the MyODBC drivers. They are located at: http://www.mysql.com/downloads/api-myodbc.html. Incidentally, the drivers are available for all Windows, UNIX, and Solaris platforms. However, since the demonstration will be devoted specifically to integration with MS Access, it is assumed that either the correct Windows version of the drivers will be downloaded. To summarize the installation process:

  • Download the drivers from the URL given above.
  • Unzip it using your favorite ZIP package. WinZip (http://www.winzip.com) is particularly popular solution.
  • Click on Setup.exe. This will begin the installation process.
  • A Welcome prompt will appear. Click Continue.
  • A Install Drivers prompt will appear. Highlight the MySQL driver in the Available ODBC Drivers box and press OK.
  • Installation of the various files will begin. If you get an error referring to the MFC30.dll file, please read the Note found below. Otherwise, proceed to next step.
  • A ‘Data Sources’ prompt will appear. Just press Close for now.
  • A Setup Succeeded! prompt appears. Congratulations, MyODBC is now installed.

Note: Installation problems relating to the MFC30.dll file are often encountered when installing MyODBC. If error messages appear while installing MyODBC, there are two options:
1. Restart Windows in Safe Mode (Press F8 during reboot). Once rebooted, perform the installation process as outlined above. Then reboot once more, this time normally.
2. Edit the odbc.inf file, deleting the line (only do this if using Windows 98/NT): "MFC" = 1, mfc30.dll,,,, 1995-07-11, ,,, ,,,,,, 322832,,,,,.

Now The installation part is complete.

Updating the ODBC Data Sources
The client machine must be able to communicate with the MySQL database before it can be incorporated into an Access project. This is accomplished by adding it to the ODBC Data Source Administrator (ODBC DSA). The ODBC DSA can be accessed by clicking on the ODBC Data Sources (32bit) icon located in the "Control Panel" folder or by clicking on "Administrative Tools" in the control panel then Data Sources (ODBC).

Clicking on the icon will result in the appearance of a window very similar to the one shown in Figure (1). Click on the System DSN tab found at the top of the window, and then click on the Add... button to add a new data source.

Figure (1) The ODBC Data Sources window.

Clicking on the Add button will produce a Create New Data Source prompt. The user is requested to select a driver for which a new data source should be set up. Scroll down and highlight the one that says MySQL. Click Finish. This in turn will produce a new window, which contains a series of text fields relevant to this new data source. Although all text fields are in some way relevant to the data source, there are a few which are particularly important:

Windows DSN Name
The Data Source Name (DSN) is the name used to represent the data source that is to be made available. Typically we assign this the same name as the database, or choose a name that unmistakably refers to that database.

MySQL Host (name or IP)
This is the hostname assigned to connect to the MySQL database specified in the field "MySQL database name" (see below). Of course, this hostname should be the same as the host from which this client will connect, or the connection will fail.

MySQL database name

This is the name of the database made available via ODBC.

This is the user name assigned to connect to the MySQL database specified in the field "MySQL database name".

This is the password assigned to connect to the MySQL database specified in the field MySQL database name.

Fill each of these in which the correct information as it applies to the parameters you specified when setting up the database. Click the OK button, and you will see that the database data source has been added to the data source list. It is now ready to be used by Access, or any other MyODBC-capable application.

Interface between MySQL and Microsoft Access Example

Now we will explain how to import the newly ODBC-accessible MySQL database into Access. Also, preliminary information regarding making concurrent updates to the MySQL database through an Access GUI is provided.

The Microsoft Access GUI
Synchronizing the MySQL database to an Access GUI is actually a fairly simple procedure. The first steps is simply to fire up MS Access. Upon doing so, the user will be greeted with a screen very similar to the one shown in Figure (2).

Figure (2) Microsoft Access Welcome Window.

Choose the radio button labeled Blank Access Database, and press OK. A new window will appear, prompting for a location in which to save the new database. Name the new database as the database name with the extension ".mdb", for example "mewsoft.mdb" where "mewsoft" is the name of the database used in this article, and navigate to the location where the database should be saved. Press "Create" to save the database.

The database will be saved, and a new window will subsequently appear. This window will be very similar to the one shown in Figure (3).

Figure (3) New database window

At this point, the MySQL database can be connected to via ODBC, and its structure and contents updated to the "mewsoft.mdb" Access database.

Importing and Linking the Data Source
There are essentially two functions provided by MS Access which are used to associate the MS Access database with the data source, each accessible via the File-->Get External Data submenu:

The Import option should be used if any data found in the data source will be subsequently used exclusively in MS Access. That is to say that no other applications will have the data source data available to them.

Link Tables
The Link Tables option should be used if the data found in the data source will be updated using applications other than the MS Access. This is likely the choice that the user will want to employ, since it is the intention that MS Access will update the data stored within the MySQL database server in addition to its own internal tables.

Therefore, choose Link Tables from the Get External Data submenu. Doing so will create a "link" between the data source tables and MS Access. Any information updated using the Access Interface, will automatically update the MySQL database, making the information immediately available from any application using that data. Choosing Link Tables will result in the familiar looking navigation window to appear. However, nothing will actually be selected in the window. Instead, go to the Files of type drop-down menu located at the bottom of the window, and choose ODBC Databases(). This is illustrated in Figure (4).

Figure (4) Choosing ODBC Databases()

Doing so will cause yet another window to appear. Choosing the tab entitled Machine Data Source will produce a window very similar to that shown in Figure (5). Notice that the database DSN is included in the data source name listing. Click on the database DSN and press OK. This will produce one final window, which lists all of the tables found in the database. Click on any table to select or click on Select All to select all tables and press OK. The window will close and the original database window Shown in Figure (3) will reappear, this time including the names of those tables chosen in the window. Next to each table name will be a globe with an arrow pointing to it. This signifies that these tables have been linked to those found in the data source.

Note: The client machine must be connected to the Internet, otherwise it will be impossible for MS Access to update the new database with the information found in the data source tables.

Figure (5) Machine Data Source window

Double-click the clients table name, and window will appear displaying the table structure. Notice that the columns are the same as those found within the MySQL  table.

Congratulations. An ODBC connection to a MySQL database has been successfully carried out.

Next we will show how inserting information into the linked tables via the Access database will cause the MySQL database to be simultaneously updated.

Updating The Database
Figure (6) shows a GUI created using the MS Access New Object->Auto Form. You also can create any GUI using MS Access Form Wizard. After creating this GUI, you can use it to insert or edit records.

Figure (6) MS Access Users Table GUI.

Create a GUI similar to the one shown above for each table, and experiment with inserting information into it. Immediately upon doing so, connect to the MySQL database. The tables will be updated with the information entered using the MS Access GUI immediately. Figure (7) shows the Users table as seen from MS Access after entering with some records. 

Figure (7) View of the Users table from MS Access.

Please take your time to experiment with MS Access. Please note we do not support any third party products like MySQL, MyODBC, MS Access, etc.


How The Category Specific Templates Works?

The system allow you to create a specific template for each individual category. All you need is to copy the template listing.html or create one and rename it in the following format:


Where Cat_ID is the category ID number you want to create the template. For example, if you want to create a template for the category that has the ID number 20, then create the template file with the name :


and place it in the templates directory. Make sure to change the file permissions to writeable so you can edit it from your Admin.


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