Using the ODBC interface

You can access a wide variety of ODBC data sources in InfoMaker. This section describes what you need to know to use ODBC connections to access your data in InfoMaker.

ODBC drivers and data sources

For a complete list of the ODBC drivers supplied with InfoMaker and the data sources they access, see "Database Interfaces" in online Help.

What is ODBC?


Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is a standard application programming interface (API) developed by Microsoft. It allows a single application to access a variety of data sources for which ODBC-compliant drivers exist. The application uses Structured Query Language (SQL) as the standard data access language.

The ODBC API defines the following:

  • A library of ODBC function calls that connect to the data source, execute SQL statements, and retrieve results

  • A standard way to connect and log in to a DBMS

  • SQL syntax based on the X/Open and SQL Access Group (SAG) CAE specification (1992)

  • A standard representation for datatypes

  • A standard set of error codes

Accessing ODBC data sources

Applications that provide an ODBC interface, like InfoMaker, can access data sources for which an ODBC driver exists. An ODBC data source driver is a dynamic link library (DLL) that implements ODBC function calls. The application invokes the ODBC driver to access a particular data source.

Accessing Unicode data

Using the ODBC interface, InfoMaker can connect, save, and retrieve data in both ANSI/DBCS and Unicode databases but does not convert data between Unicode and ANSI/DBCS. When character data or command text is sent to the database, InfoMaker sends a Unicode string. The driver must guarantee that the data is saved as Unicode data correctly. When InfoMaker retrieves character data, it assumes the data is Unicode.

A Unicode database is a database whose character set is set to a Unicode format, such as UTF-8, UTF-16, UCS-2, or UCS-4. All data must be in Unicode format, and any data saved to the database must be converted to Unicode data implicitly or explicitly.

A database that uses ANSI (or DBCS) as its character set might use special datatypes to store Unicode data. These datatypes are NCHAR, NVARCHAR, and NVARCHAR2. Columns with this datatype can store only Unicode data. Any data saved into such a column must be converted to Unicode explicitly. This conversion must be handled by the database server or client.

Using ODBC in InfoMaker

What you can do

The following ODBC connectivity features are available in InfoMaker:

  • Connect to an SQL Anywhere standalone database (including the Demo Database) using the SQL Anywhere ODBC driver and the ODBC interface.

  • Create and delete local SQL Anywhere databases.

    For instructions, see the User's Guide.

  • Use SAP-supplied DataDirect ODBC drivers to access your data.

    For a list of the ODBC drivers supplied, see "Database Interfaces" in online Help.

  • Use Level 1 or later ODBC-compliant drivers obtained from vendors other than SAP to access your data.

    See Obtaining ODBC drivers.

  • Use Microsoft's ODBC Data Source Administrator to define ODBC data sources.

    See Defining ODBC data sources.

Components of an ODBC connection

How an ODBC connection is made

When you access an ODBC data source in InfoMaker, your connection goes through several layers before reaching the data source. It is important to understand that each layer represents a separate component of the connection, and that each component might come from a different vendor.

Because ODBC is a standard API, InfoMaker uses the same interface to access every ODBC data source. As long as a driver is ODBC compliant, InfoMaker can access it through the ODBC interface to the ODBC Driver Manager. The development environment and the ODBC interface work together as the application component.

The following figure shows the general components of an ODBC connection.

Figure: Components of an ODBC connection

Component descriptions

The following table gives the provider and a brief description of each ODBC component shown in the diagram:



What it does



Calls ODBC functions to submit SQL statements, catalog requests, and retrieve results from a data source.

InfoMaker uses the same ODBC interface to access all ODBC data sources.

ODBC Driver Manager


Installs, loads, and unloads drivers for an application.


Driver vendor

Processes ODBC function calls, submits SQL requests to a particular data source, and returns results to an application.

If necessary, translates an application's request so that it conforms to the SQL syntax supported by the back-end database. See Types of ODBC drivers.

Data source

DBMS or database vendor

Stores and manages data for an application. Consists of the data to be accessed and its associated DBMS, operating system, and (if present) network software that accesses the DBMS.

Types of ODBC drivers

When InfoMaker is connected to an ODBC data source, you might see messages from the ODBC driver that include the words single-tier or multiple-tier. These terms refer to the two types of drivers defined by the ODBC standard.

Single-tier driver

A single-tier ODBC driver processes both ODBC functions and SQL statements. In other words, a single-tier driver includes the data access software required to manage the data source file and catalog tables. An example of a single-tier ODBC driver is one that accesses Xbase files, such as the DataDirect dBASE ODBC driver.

Figure: Single-tier ODBC driver

Multiple-tier driver

A multiple-tier ODBC driver processes ODBC functions, but sends SQL statements to the database engine for processing. Unlike the single-tier driver, a multiple-tier driver does not include the data access software required to manage the data directly.

An example of a multiple-tier ODBC driver is the SQL Anywhere driver.

Figure: Multi-tier ODBC driver

Ensuring the proper ODBC driver conformance levels

You can access data in InfoMaker with ODBC drivers obtained from vendors other than SAP, such as DBMS vendors.

An ODBC driver obtained from another vendor must meet certain conformance requirements to ensure that it works properly with InfoMaker. This section describes how to make sure your driver meets these requirements.

What are ODBC conformance levels?

InfoMaker can access many data sources for which ODBC-compliant drivers exist. However, ODBC drivers manufactured by different vendors might vary widely in the functions they provide.

To ensure a standard level of compliance with the ODBC interface, and to provide a means by which application vendors can determine if a specific driver provides the functions they need, ODBC defines conformance levels for drivers in two areas:

  • API

    Deals with supported ODBC function calls

  • SQL grammar

    Deals with supported SQL statements and SQL datatypes

API conformance levels

ODBC defines three API conformance levels, in order of increasing functionality:

  • Core

    A set of core API functions that corresponds to the functions in the ISO Call Level Interface (CLI) and X/Open CLI specification

  • Level 1

    Includes all Core API functions and several extended functions usually available in an OLTP relational DBMS

  • Level 2

    Includes all Core and Level 1 API functions and additional extended functions

To ensure the proper ODBC driver API conformance level:

  • SAP recommends that the ODBC drivers you use with InfoMaker meet Level 1 or higher API conformance requirements. However, InfoMaker might also work with drivers that meet Core level API conformance requirements.

SQL conformance levels

ODBC defines three SQL grammar conformance levels, in order of increasing functionality:

  • Minimum

    A set of SQL statements and datatypes that meets a basic level of ODBC conformance

  • Core

    Includes all Minimum SQL grammar and additional statements and datatypes that roughly correspond to the X/Open and SAG CAE specification (1992)

  • Extended

    Includes all Minimum and Core SQL grammar and an extended set of statements and datatypes that support common DBMS extensions to SQL

To ensure the proper ODBC driver SQL conformance level:

  • SAP recommends that the ODBC drivers you use with InfoMaker meet Core or higher SQL conformance requirements. However, InfoMaker might also work with drivers that meet Minimum level SQL conformance requirements.

Obtaining ODBC drivers

Two sources

There are two ways that you can obtain ODBC drivers for use with InfoMaker:

  • From SAP (recommended)

    Install one or more of the ODBC drivers shipped with InfoMaker. You can do this when you first install InfoMaker, or later.

  • From another vendor

    InfoMaker lets you access data with any Level 1 or higher ODBC-compliant drivers obtained from a vendor other than SAP. In most cases, these drivers will work with InfoMaker.

Getting help with ODBC drivers

To ensure that you have up-to-date and accurate information about using your ODBC driver with InfoMaker, get help as needed by doing one or more of the following:

To get help on

Do this

Using the ODBC Data Source Administrator

Click the Help button on each tab.

Completing the ODBC setup dialog box for your driver

Click the Help button (if present) in the ODBC setup dialog box for your driver.

Using SQL Anywhere

See the SQL Anywhere documentation.

Using an ODBC driver obtained from a vendor other than SAP

See the vendor's documentation for that driver.

Troubleshooting your ODBC connection

Check for a technical document that describes how to connect to your ODBC data source. Updated information about connectivity issues is available on the the Appeon Support Web site at