Create a Data Profile

Overview

A data profile contains information about where data is located.

Background

Regardless of where your data is stored -- be it on a local machine, network, or Internet server, or a a combination of the three -- the report template must be able to connect to that data in order to create a report. When you set up a data profile, you're providing the means for accessing that data.

In order to create a data profile, you must know the following:

  • The place where the data is stored. This could be a path to file on your machine or local network, a URL to the desired file, or the name and type of the database server and the database name where the information is located.

  • The type of data source (XML or SQL).

  • A username and password, if required, for accessing the data source.

Depending upon the reports being run and the location of the data, you may need to create multiple data profiles, but keep in mind that one data profile can be used for running many different reports.

Create A Data Profile

Click the Create Windward Data Profile web part to expand it:

Enter Basic Info

The first screen of the wizard asks to input a title and description. The title is mandatory, but the description is optional. We recommend you input some information about the data source in the description so that it will be easier to identify the desired data connection when you assemble a report. For instance, you may want to describe whether the data source is an SQL database or an XML file.

You also need to select where you'd like to save the data profile. Select the desired site and document library from the drop-down menus.

Lastly, you must choose the type of data source you are creating a connection to. If the data is in a database, select the SQL radio button. If the data is in an XML file, select the XML radio button. Click Next.

The following screens will vary, depending upon whether you choose an SQL database or an XML file, but they all have to do with specifying the data source. If you have chosen the XML radio button, please skip below to the XML instructions.

SQL Connection

SQL Step One: Choosing how to connect to an SQL Database

The Make & Model drop-down menu contains list contains all the ADO.net connectors that are installed on the server. The Arrow supports any ADO.NET driver. Choose the Make & Model information given to you by the system administrator.

Tip: Don't see your database type listed here? Check with your system administrator to make sure the ADO.NET client that connects to your database is installed on the server where Arrow is installed.

The next bit of information you must input on this screen is how to select the database. If you are an advanced user, you may want to select it via the Expert radio button. For example, if you know what the connection string to your database should be, and you want to enter many data connections without going through the wizard for each one just to change one or two parameters, this may be your best step.

Or, if you need a more advanced connection string (for instance, if the connection string includes "pooling=false"), you'll need to use this option. In addition, you will have to enter a connection string if your database is not Sql Server, Oracle, DB2, MySql, or an ODBC, or OleDb connection.

Tips on entering a connection string:

  • To find a connection string, go to http://www.connectionstrings.com

  • When you copy and paste a string from this Website, be sure to delete the quotation marks around the string, and replace any placeholders in the string with your specific information (for example, enter your Data Source, User ID, Password, etc.)

The most common method by far, however, is to select the step-by-step radio button, which will build your connection string by walking you through entering the database server name and login information. Click Next.

 SQL Step Two: Selecting Server and Login Info

The Arrow takes the information you provided in Step One -- the make and model of the database -- looks for all the servers running that type of database, and presents them in the Select Server drop-down menu. Select the server name (as provided to you by your system administrator) from this list.

If the driver for the type of database you choose in Step One cannot locate any servers, it doesn't mean the desired server doesn't exist, nor does it mean you can't access that server. For example, on extremely large networks, the Arrow may time out before it locates the server. You can choose the server here, but you must do so manually. Instead of selecting the server name from the drop-down menu, click the Enter Server Name radio button and type the name. Also, some ADO.NET connectors (like Oracle's) can't find any servers, so you will always have to enter it in those cases.

The other important information to enter on this page is the login information that will allow you to access the server. Keep in mind that this is separate from the Arrow login information. What you enter here will depend upon how the database is set up to recognize authorized users:

  • Provide name and password. Your system administrator will provide you with a username and login for accessing a database. Select the Use This Login radio button and enter that information here. This login information is independent of any values saved elsewhere.

Click Next.

SQL Step Three: Selecting the Database

The Select The Database drop-down menu contains a list of all the databases you are allowed access to, based upon your login information. Locate the database (as given to you by your system administrator), select it from the list, and click Next.

Note: If this list is empty, either the server does not give your login permission to access any databases on the server or the driver for that database does not allow the server to provide a list of databases.

SQL Step Four: Testing the Data Connection

The final step in creating a connection to a database is to test the connection to make sure that you've entered the correct information and that your computer can communicate with the database. Click the Test button. Once you see the "Connection OK" message, click Finish. The connection is now saved in the Data Profiles repository.

XML Connection

XML Step One: Choosing how to connect to an XML data file

The process of connecting to an XML data file is a simple one:

  1. In the Site drop-down menu, select the site where the XML data file is stored.

  2. In the Document Library drop-down menu, select the library within that site where the XML data file is stored. The Arrow will then scan that location and place all the XML files in a list for you to choose from.

  3. In the File Name drop-down list, choose the desired XML data file.

  4. Optional You may also need to enter login information. If the XML file is password-protected, enter your login details in the Username and Password text boxes.

    1. Enter your user name without the domain part.  For example, enter "user" instead of "DOMAIN\user".

 

Click Next.

XML Step Two: Testing the Data Connection

The final step in creating a data connection is to test the connection to make sure that you've entered the correct information and that your computer can locate the XML file -- and that the file is formed correctly. Click the Test button. Once you see the "Connection OK" message, click Finish. The connection is now saved in your data profiles repository.

Tip: If you're having difficulty connecting to an XML file, open the file in Internet Explorer. If the file is not formed correctly, a descriptive error message will appear.

Last edited Jun 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM by allisonl, version 1

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