Rich Kier

Rich Kier has written 20 posts for Power Designing

Creating Extended Dependencies in VBScript

We use scripts to automate repetitive tasks, and that usually means things like creating tables, columns, views, etc.  So, I’ve generally gotten pretty fast at putting together those types of scripts.  For my last script, I wanted to create a view on top of a set of tables, and create an extended dependency to link them together.  By putting a stereotype on the extended dependency, I would always be able to identify the particular view created by these scripts, no matter what changes were made to them.

Typically we create a new object by doing something like:

dim extDep
set extDep = obj.ExtendedDependencies.CreateNew()

No luck.  I tried a few variations, and then hit the groups.  I found several examples for creating extended dependencies:

Set NewExtendedDependency =ExDepColl.CreateNew(0)
NewExtendedDependency.InfluentObject = BaseTable
NewExtendedDependency.DependentObject = HistoryTable


Set EDep = prc.ExtendedDependencies.CreateNew() 
Set EDep.InfluentObject = IObj
EDep.Stereotype = ed.Stereotype

Unfortunately, I could not get either to work, and while I’m certainly willing to admit the problem may lie between the keyboard and chair, what I eventually found that did work was:

Set ExtDep = ActiveModel.CreateObject(cls_ExtendedDependency)

So, the key is to first create an object of type cls_ExtendedDependency THEN use the Add method to put it in the ExtendedDependencies collection.

Adding Seed Data to the After Tab

Another interesting post on the PowerDesigner group today.  Mark wanted to add seed data to the after script on a table, which is fairly common (we do it all the time); but with a brilliant twist.  The goal is to store the seed data script in an external file and have it end up in the DDL when we generate the database.

I thought this would be pretty easy by tweaking pieces of code I already, but there were a few gotchas.

1. You can’t directly read the contents of an external file within the PowerDesigner VBScript methods (as far as I know).  It may be possible to write your own routine to process the file, but I found an easier (at least for me workaround).

2. My workaround for getting a the file contents ended up converting the file contents to hex (sort of).  In a rather bizarre conversion, what I ended up with was a big string showing me the hex values representing the original file, but with a carriage return/line feed inserted periodically in a weird word wrap.  Since VBScript doesn’t have a convenient way of converting hex back to ASCII, a Google search got me most of the answer, but I ended up having to strip out the carriage returns first.

Anyway, here’s the solution… suggestions for improvements are always welcome (I plan on adding a toggle so I can include seed data when I’m generating an empty database and omit it when I’m altering an existing database which already has the seed data present).  As always, I’m doing this with an extended model file rather than stand alone scripts so I can get a little more control.  If you need information on how to create and work with extended model definition files, see Sybase’s documentation here.

Step 1: Create a Table Method

Here’s my method:

Sub %Method%(obj)

 dim exDep, seedFile, fileLoc

 ' loop through all the extended dependencies on the table, looking for one with the stereotype of SEEDDATA
 for each exDep in obj.ExtendedInfluences
  if exDep.Stereotype = "SEEDDATA" then

   ' if we've found an extended dependency with the right type, get the target file
   set seedFile = exDep.DependentObject
     ' write out some handy diagnostic information
     output "Loading seed data for " & obj.name & " from " & seedFile.LocationOrName

     ' convert to an embedded file - can't find another way to get at the contents
     ' this does a crazy hex conversion
     fileLoc = seedFile.LocationOrName

     'The file contents get converted to hex (not really sure why), when they're loaded
     'there may be a better way to do this but I haven't found it yet.
     with obj
       .EndScript = seedFile.Content
       'The hex contents get some lovely CrLf characters in them which cause the hex to ascii
       'conversion to fail - strip them out.
       .EndScript = replace(.EndScript, vbCrLf, "")
       ' now run them through this handy hex2ascii function (thanks google)
       .EndScript = hex2ascii(.EndScript)
     end with

     ' now convert it back to an external reference

    end if
End Sub

Public Function hex2ascii(hextext) 

dim y, num, char, value

For y = 1 To Len(hextext) step 2
 num = Mid(hextext, y, 2)
 char = chr(cint("&h" & num))
 Value = Value & char

hex2ascii = Value
End Function

Step 2: Make the Method Accessible

Okay, this isn’t technically necessary, but it sure makes testing easier. So, I created a menu on the table meta-class and put the method above on it. Now I can add seed data to an individual table with a right mouse click.

Step 3: Create a Model Method

Again, I could have skipped the table, but we get a lot of versatility doing it this way. Here’s the method code.

Sub %Method%(obj) Dim myObj
 Dim mySel

 Set mySel = obj.CreateSelection
 mySel.AddObjects obj, cls_table, false, true

 For each myObj in mySel.Objects
   With myObj
   end with
End Sub

If you’re not familiar with selections and ExecuteCustomMethod, then please see my earlier posts.  You won’t regret it.

Step 4:  Make this Method Accessible

Again, not strictly necessary, but it’s only a few mouse clicks for a little extra versatility.

Step 5: Add the Model Trigger

The BeforeDatabaseGenerate trigger fires before you generate your DDL and is the piece that makes it all work automatically.  Here’s the code:

Function %BeforeDatabaseGenerate%(model, fct)

   ActiveModel.ExecuteCustomMethod("SeedData.Load Seed Data")
   %BeforeDatabaseGenerate% = True

End Function



Now, if you’ve done all the work above, here’s a completed PDM file that has an extended model definition with all the code above, pre-made.  I know I could have put this at the top, but really, would you have learned as much?

Here’s the Sample File

Validation Events

I answered a great question on the PowerDesigner usenet group today.  The question was how to automatically add an “id_” prefix to a column name and code when the Primary Key attribute was set.  In the past, I would’ve had to do this with a script, and probably a custom model check, but with PD15 we have events, which allow us to perform scripts automatically when certain actions are taken.

I thought this would be a good topic to elaborate on since a) I can include pictures and bit more formatting control than I can on the usenet group and b) I’m actually home, the wife is out, and the kids are asleep.  Anyway, here’s the solution.

1.  Open or add an extended model definition file.  For information on how to add an XEM file see the Sybase documentation.

2.  Add the table metaclass to the file.  Even though we actually want to validate a column property, the column validation event seems to only fire when a column is created, so we’ll put our validation event on the table and loop through the columns when the table is changed.

3.  Add a validation event handler to the table.

4.  Put this code into the handler script

Function %Validate%(obj, ByRef message)
 ' Implement your object validation rule on <parent> here
 ' and return True in case of success, False otherwise with a message

 dim col

 for each col in obj.columns

    if col.Primary = true then
       ' check to see if the id_ is already there
       if left(col.name,3) = "id_" then
          %Validate% = True
          ' if it is not there add it to the name and set the code using the current abbreviation file
          With col
             .name = "id_" & .name
             .SetNameAndCode .Name, "", True
          End With

          %Validate% = True
       end if
       ' if the primary attribute is false, see if we need to remove an id_ prefix
       if left(col.name,3) = "id_" then
          with col
             .name = right(.name, len(.name)-3)
             .SetNameAndCode .Name, "", True
          end with
          %Validate% = True
          %Validate% = True
       end if
    end if


 %Validate% = True

End Function

All done.  Note that this could be combined with some other techniques I’ve posted before.  For example, much of this code could be placed in a method on the column itself, then called in both a custom model check and a model level script using execute custom method.  However, the key advantage of validations is that, as long as people have the correct XEM attached (it can also be done in the XDB file), you can make sure that validations take place as an object is edited, which saves you the trouble of constantly reminding people to execute all the custom model checks BEFORE they generate DDL.

Best of Luck.

Recursion and Extended Attributes

Another quick one today.  I’ve got some large models which are divided into packages.  I’m automating some tasks with scripts which I can configure using extended attributes (see earlier posts).

Let’s say I have a parameter for a script called “Audit” which can be true or false.  My model is divided into 3 packages, each containing a set of tables.  I want to set the default for the model to be True and have the script behave appropriately if I don’t do anything else.  I’d also like to be able to override it for a package and have the script work appropriately.  And since packages can be nested (although I haven’t seen it done much), the script needs to handle that as well.  Easy enough with a little recursion.  Create the same named extended attribute at each level (Model and Package) and use a global script to resolve it.

Here’s the script:

function getExtendedAttr(startObj, attrName)
  dim par
  dim attrVal

  set par = startObj.Parent

  if par is nothing then
     output "Error in getExtendedAttr"
     attrVal = par.getExtendedAttributeText(attrName)

     if attrVal = "" then
        if par = activeModel then
           getExtendedAttr = ""
           getExtendedAttr = getExtendedAttr(par, attrName)
        end if

        getExtendedAttr = attrVal
     end if
  end if


Now, instead of using


I use

getExtendedAttr(obj, "Audit")


Scripting Parameters

Now that the holidays are over, time to get some work done again.

I’ve been rewriting some older scripts recently (again), and a lot of them are prompting the modelers for values to be used in the scripts.  I used to do this with a dialog box but now that PowerDesigner has forms, I’ve moved almost exclusively to extended attributes and forms.  This gives me a lot more control over the form, and allows me to gather multiple parameters at the same time.  It gives me greater control over lists of values, and it allows a script to “remember” the values chosen last time the script was run.

Let’s say I want to control access to the tables in my model through views.   Within a model, there are three parameters I want to control for my view generation:

  1. Who owns the view
  2. Do I use a view suffix (and what is it)
  3. Do I want them placed on the diagram after they’ve been created

I could prompt the user three times, but that’s not terribly user friendly.  I’m also very likely to regenerate or add new views over time, and I’ll likely want the same settings each time.

So, instead of prompting for each option individually, I’m going to create an extended attribute for each and a popup form that the user can use to set the values.

Creating the Extended Attributes

First, we create the three extended attributes we’ll use to control our script. Notice that I’ve created a category to keep them organized.  I’ll create the same category for forms, templates etc. so it’s easy to see what’s related.

I’ve created “Place Access View On Diagram” as a boolean, and “Access View Suffix” as a string.  “Access View Owner” needs to be a user defined in the model, so I’ve created it as a text attribute with a list of values.  You can do this by clicking on the “Create” button next to the List of values: box on the attribute.  When the template definition box pops up, enter this code in the editor:

.foreach_item (Model.Users)
.next (\n)

This creates a new template called “access View Owner List”.  I recommend you immediately go in, create your category, and then move the template into it for organizational purposes.

Adding the Form

Now that we have our attributes, we need a way to set them (duh).  So let’s make a form.  Create our category, create our blank form, set it as a dialog box, and use the “Add Attribute” button to add our new extended attributes.  Our extended model definition now looks like this:

Setting Parameters

Now we’ve got our extended attributes, and our form.  We need a script with a few extra lines.  Since the point of this post is parameters, not views, I’ve condensed everything but the dialog down to  a couple of dots.

So here’s our script:

Dim dlg

Set dlg = obj.CreateCustomDialog(“Access Control Views”)
If not dlg is Nothing Then
End If

And here’s the result:

Now that we’ve set the values, we need to get them for the script:

owner = obj.getExtendedAttributeText(“Access View Owner”)

suffix = obj.getExtendedAttributeText(“Access View Suffix”)

display = obj.getExtendedAttributeText(“Place Access View on Diagram”)

Done.  Now the user only has to set the values the first time the execute the script or if they change the values and you can see what values were chosen by looking at the extended attributes.

Next time, we’ll expand on this a bit with some additional options to make this more flexible.