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Goldstar Software's DDF Building Service

One of the most common questions that people often ask us is about how to access their application data from SQL, ODBC, or some other tool. Most people think that their data is locked away inside the PSQL or Btrieve database engine and completely inaccessible, and they start to blame the database itself for this fatal flaw.

In reality, the problem is not with the database! The PSQL database engine has a full ANSI-compliant SQL engine and ODBC driver, and you can access your data from just about any ODBC-compatible application. Additional connectors are available for JDBC, ActiveX, .NET, and more, so that you can access the data from VBScript, ASP, Powershell, or just about any other technology you can think of.

So what is the issue? Mostly, the access difficulty comes from application developers not providing Data Dictionary Files, also known as DDF's, for their data. The DDF's make access to the data via SQL/ODBC possible, and if a developer decides to not release these critical files, then his users cannot get to the data. While this is often quoted a security issue (i.e. developers don't want you messing with the data and possibly breaking something), it is more often just laziness on the developer's part.

For more information about DDF's and what is needed to build them, please see our White Papers on Data Access, which explain exactly how to go through the DDF building process. Building DDF's takes a solid understanding of the database layouts themselves. However, most developers don't document their database layouts, either! This means that the only way to discern the layout is to work through it, sometimes byte by byte, and try to make sense of what is stored in the data files.

Is all of this too technical for you? This is where our services come into play. Goldstar Software has the expertise to help you build DDF's with imperfect information about the data structures. We know how each data type is stored, and have successfully built DDF's for many applications over the years. Keep in mind that the process can be VERY time-consuming, and thus expensive. Past history has shown us that it can take anywhere from 1/2 to 2 hours per table to create a DDF set, which makes this an expensive task, to say the least. However, shortcuts can be used to reduce the cost, especially if you only care about specific fields within the data.

If you would like a more detailed quote, Contact Goldstar Software for more information. We'll need to see a sample data file or two, along with any documentation you may have (source code, layout definitions, screenshots, etc.) but we can give you a pretty good estimate once we know how complex the database really is. Get access to your data today!

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