>Support>Mergemill Pro connection settings
If you want to obtain data from sources other than web pages or local text files, you need to first set up all the necessary connections on the Connections page in the Mergemill Pro main window.
To connect to an Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) compliant data source, you need to install an appropriate ODBC driver, and set up a User Data Source Name (DSN). You also need to start up the data source before testing or using your connection settings.
What is ODBC?
ODBC is a common application programming interface (API) that enables the transfer of data between compliant applications. In our case, one end of the data link is Mergemill Pro, and the other is typically a database management system (DBMS). Mergemill Pro already includes an ODBC component. So in a connection definition you only need to specify the DSN to connect to and, if necessary, the User ID and Password to access the data source at the other end.
To connect to a DBMS, you need to do some of these:
- Install an appropriate ODBC driver for the specific DBMS. The driver either comes with the Windows OS, the DBMS, or is provided by a third party.
- On Windows, use the ODBC Data Source Administrator to add a User DSN. The path to the administrator software is this: Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > ODBC Sources shortcut > ODBC Data Sources Administrator.
- On the Mac, use the ODBC Manager to add the DSN. The software tool can be found inside the Applications > Utilities folder.
- Configure the DSN by specifying the ODBC driver to use, and other information like the name of the database, server address, etc.
The DSN stores all the connection information for the target data source. The SQL commands you use to access data are actually interpreted by the driver specified in your DSN configuration.
ODBC Driver and DSN
Most ODBC applications do not automatically install the ODBC drivers. You may need to custom install them or obtain them from Microsoft's or a third-party provider's web site. To see the list of installed drivers, click the Drivers tab in the ODBC administrator window.
The setup of a DSN is unique for each ODBC driver and data source you want to access. Some software applications, like FileMaker Pro, provide a wizard to guide you through the setup process. Consult your host application software manual for more information on how to install the ODBC driver and create a DSN.
Testing is essential with ODBC data access, because there are likely to be issues with each data source. Below are some of the important things to note:
- There must not be any whitespace or special characters in your file and field names that break the SQL syntax. Since XML also disallows space in element names, Mergemill Pro forbids and automatically removes whitespaces in field names to be consistent with such restrictions.
- You must not use SQL reserved words, like "year", as data source file or field names.
- Test your ODBC data access on each platform and OS version you are going to use.
- Some ODBC drivers may not work well with non-English contents. So test carefully.
- Some ODBC data access may be limited in some way. For example, you can’t add and update FileMaker Pro records via ODBC. Only FileMaker Server Advanced allows such actions.
When you specify connection settings for email servers, you need to do it separately for email-in servers to read emails, and for email-out servers to send emails. All email features in Mergemill Pro are available to standard POP3 and SMTP accounts.