Binding DB2 Data to Visual Studio 2005 Windows Applications

In a previous set of
articles
, I showed you all the great integration features between the IBM
DB2 Universal Database for Linux, UNIX, and Windows Version 8.x (DB2 UDB)
product and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET 2003 integrated development environment
(IDE).

In early June 2006, IBM announced the next release of the DB2
UDB product, DB2 9 (formerly known as DB2 Viper). Part of this
announcement includes the support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and its
accompanying ADO.NET 2.0 driver.

As you may recall, Microsoft announced the Visual Studio
2005 product late in 2005, along with SQL Server 2005. Around the same time,
the DB2 team delivered a beta of the now officially announced integration into
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and ADO.NET 2.0. You can download this beta (not
needed after DB2 9 becomes generally available) at: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/db2/windows/dotnet.html.

In this article, I want to show you how easy it is to be a
.NET developer and work with DB2 UDB V8 or DB2 9 databases. Specifically, I
will show you how to quickly create a Windows application and bind DB2 UDB V8
data to various controls on the Windows form. Of course, I could have easily
bound data from a DB2 9 database (or a combination of the two versions of the
product) but I wanted to illustrate the flexibility of the integration that DB2
offers into the V8 product set.

Adding a DB2 Data Source

Before you can create an application to which you will bind
your DB2 data, you need to have a connection to that database in the Server
Explorer. If you are familiar with the Visual Studio.NET 2003 support that DB2 UDB
provides, you’ll recall that .NET developers writing applications on the DB2
platform were required to work within the IBM Explorer. The IBM Explorer was
functionally equivalent to the Server Explorer; however, there were no open
interfaces into the Server Explorer in Visual Studio.NET 2003 that DB2 UDB could
leverage to provide some of the features unique to the DB2 UDB plug-in.

The architecture of Visual Studio 2005 changed such that
there are now interfaces that let you develop applications that connect to DB2
UDB V8 and DB2 9 databases using the Server Explorer. This provides a more
native experience for .NET application developers used to developing
applications on SQL Server databases.

To add a DB2 database connection to your Server Explorer,
perform the following steps:

1.      Right-click
the Database Connections folder in the Server Explorer and select
the Add Connection option. The Add Connection dialog box opens:

2.      Ensure
that the Data source field points to the .Net Framework Data Provider
for IBM DB2
data provider so that the Server Explorer will use the ADO.NET data
provider written by IBM specifically for DB2 UDB 8 and DB2 9 databases.

The DB2 ADO.NET provider is not the
default provider shown in this field. To change the database provider to use
the one for DB2, click Change and select the IBM DB2 option from
the Data source box, as shown below. You should also ensure that the IBM
DB2 Data Provider for .NET Framework
is selected in the Data provider field,
but this should be the default:

Note: If you plan to
work frequently with DB2 database connections, select the Always use this
selection
check box so that, when you add another database connection,
Visual Studio 2005 will automatically select the DB2 data provider.

3.      Enter
the server name and port number (separated by a colon) in the Enter
server name
field. If you are connecting to a local database, you can use
the localhost alias for your workstation.

Depending on the version of DB2
that you are running your beta on, you can optionally click Refresh to
automatically list all the databases configured to respond to DB2 network
database identification requests and automate the process of entering the
required information.

4.      Enter
your user account credentials in the User ID and Password fields.
I recommend that you save these credentials in the connection string (they are encrypted)
by selecting Save my password. Selecting this option makes application
development more streamlined because you are not challenged to provide
authentication details during subsequent access requests to the DB2 database.

5.      Select
the database name from the Select or enter a database name drop-down
box, or enter the name manually.

Note: In this
article, I chose to connect to the SAMPLE database that is shipped with DB2 UDB
V8. If you don’t have the SAMPLE database created on your workstation, you can
create it now by entering the db2sampl
command from a Windows-based command prompt.

Optional:

You can use the Specify
Connection Options
and Specify Filtering Options sections to further
customize your database connection. The options associated with these toggles are
shown below:

The DB2 support for Visual Studio
2005 comes with a rich set of connection time and filtering options. For the
purposes of this article, you can just select the defaults.

6.      Test
the connection using the Test Connection button.

7.      Click
OK.

After adding your database connection, the Visual Studio
2005 Server Explorer should look similar to this:

In the previous figure, you can see that I have expanded the SAMPLE
database connection object; below it is a connection object to a SQL Server
2005 database. Notice the beside this
database connection object: all databases appear this way until you click them
to make the database connection.

Paul Zikopoulos
Paul Zikopoulos
Paul C. Zikopoulos, BA, MBA is the Program Director for the DB2 Evangelist team at IBM. He is an award-winning writer and speaker with more than 14 years of experience with DB2. Paul has written more than 230 magazine articles and 11 books on DB2 including, Information on Demand: Introduction to DB2 9.5 New Features, DB2 9 Database Administration Certification Guide and Reference (6th Edition), DB2 9: New Features, Information on Demand: Introduction to DB2 9 New Features, Off to the Races with Apache Derby, DB2 Version 8: The Official Guide, DB2: The Complete Reference, DB2 Fundamentals Certification for Dummies, DB2 for Dummies, and A DBA's Guide to Databases on Linux. Paul is a DB2 Certified Advanced Technical Expert (DRDA and Clusters) and a DB2 Certified Solutions Expert (BI and DBA). In his spare time, he enjoys all sorts of sporting activities, including running with his dog Chachi, avoiding punches in his MMA training, and trying to figure out the world according to Chloë - his daughter.

Latest Articles