Using the Database painter

To open the Database painter, click the Database button in the PowerBar.

About the painter

Like the other PowerBuilder painters, the Database painter contains a menu bar, customizable PainterBars, and several views. All database-related tasks that you can do in PowerBuilder can be done in the Database painter.

Views in the Database painter

The following table lists the views available in the Database painter.



Activity Log

Displays the SQL syntax generated by the actions you execute.


Used to create and/or modify a table's columns.

Extended Attributes

Lists the display formats, edit styles, and validation rules defined for the selected database connection.

Interactive SQL

Used to build, execute, or explain SQL.

Object Details

Displays an object's properties. For some objects, its properties are read-only; for others, properties can be modified. This view is analogous to the Properties view in other painters.

Object Layout

Displays a graphical representation of tables and their relationships.


Lists database interfaces and profiles. For an active database connection, might also list all or some of the following objects associated with that database: groups, metadata types, procedures and functions, tables, columns, primary and foreign keys, indexes, users, views, driver information, events, triggers, and utilities (the database components listed depend on the database and your user privileges).


Displays data in a grid, table, or freeform format.

Dragging and dropping

You can select certain database objects from the Objects view and drag them to the Object Details, Object Layout, Columns, and/or ISQL views. Position the pointer on the database object's icon and drag it to the appropriate view.


Can be dragged to

Driver, group, metadata type, procedure or function, table, column, user, primary or foreign key, index, event trigger

Object Details view

Table or view

Object Layout view

Table or column

Columns view

Procedure or view

ISQL view

Database painter tasks

The following table describes how to do some basic tasks in the Database painter. Most of these tasks begin in the Objects view. Many can be accomplished by dragging and dropping objects into different views. If you prefer, you can use buttons or menu selections from the menu bar or from pop-up menus.


Do this

Modify a database profile

Highlight a database profile and select Properties from the Object or pop-up menu or use the Properties button.

You can use the Import and Export Profiles menu selections to copy profiles. For more information, see the section called “Importing and exporting database profiles” in Connecting to Your Database.

Connect to a database

Highlight a database profile and then select Connect from the File or pop-up menu or use the Connect button. With File>Recent Connections, you can review and return to earlier connections. You can also make database connections using the Database Profile button.

Create new profiles, tables, views, columns, keys, indexes, or groups

Highlight the database object and select New from the Object or pop-up menu or use the Create button.

Modify database objects

Drag the object to the Object Details view.

Graphically display tables

Drag the table icon from the list in the Objects view to the Object Layout view, or highlight the table and select Add To Layout from the Object or pop-up menu.

Manipulate data

Highlight the table and select Grid, Tabular, or Freeform from the Object>Data menu or the pop-up menu Edit Data item, or use the appropriate Data Manipulation button.

Build, execute or explain SQL

Use the ISQL view to build SQL statements. Use the Paste SQL button to paste SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements or type them directly into the view's workspace. To execute or explain SQL, select Execute SQL and Explain SQL from the Design or pop-up menu. (Explain SQL functionality is available for Sybase databases only.)

Define or modify extended attributes

Select from the Object>Insert menu the type of extended attribute you want to define or modify, or highlight the extended attribute from the list in the Extended Attributes view and select New or Properties from the pop-up menu.

Specify extended attributes for a column

Drag the column to the Object Details view and select the Extended Attributes tab.

Access database utilities

Double-click a utility in the Objects view to launch it.

Log your work

Select Design>Start Log from the menu bar. To see the SQL syntax generated, display the Activity Log view.

Modifying database preferences

To modify database preferences, select Design>Options from the menu bar. Some preferences are specific to the database connection; others are specific to the Database painter.

Preferences on the General property page

The Connect To Default Profile, Shared Database Profiles, Keep Connection Open, Use Extended Attributes, and Read Only preferences are specific to the database connection.

The remaining preferences are specific to the Database painter. For information about modifying these preferences, see the section called “Setting database preferences” in Connecting to Your Database.

Database preference

What PowerBuilder does with the specified preference

Columns in the Table List

When PowerBuilder displays tables graphically, eight table columns display unless you change the number of columns.

SQL Terminator Character

PowerBuilder uses the semicolon as the SQL statement terminator unless you enter a different terminator character in the box. Make sure that the character you choose is not reserved for another use by your database vendor. For example, using the slash character (/) causes compilation errors with some DBMSs.

Refresh Table List

When PowerBuilder first displays a table list, PowerBuilder retrieves the table list from the database and displays it. To save time, PowerBuilder saves this list internally for reuse to avoid regeneration of very large table lists. The table list is refreshed every 30 minutes (1800 seconds) unless you specify a different refresh rate.

Preferences on the Object Colors property page

You can set colors separately for each component of the Database painter's graphical table representation: the table header, columns, indexes, primary key, foreign keys, and joins. Set a color preference by selecting a color from a drop-down list.

You can design custom colors that you can use when you select color preferences. To design custom colors, select Design>Custom Colors from the menu bar and work in the Custom Colors dialog box.

Logging your work

As you work with your database, you generate SQL statements. As you define a new table, for example, PowerBuilder builds a SQL CREATE TABLE statement internally. When you save the table, PowerBuilder sends the SQL statement to the DBMS to create the table. Similarly, when you add an index, PowerBuilder builds a CREATE INDEX statement.

You can see all SQL generated in a Database painter session in the Activity Log view. You can also save this information to a file. This allows you to have a record of your work and makes it easy to duplicate the work if you need to create the same or similar tables in another database.

To start logging your work

  1. Open the Database painter.

  2. Select Start Log from the Design menu or the pop-up menu in the Activity Log view.

    PowerBuilder begins sending all generated syntax to the Activity Log view.

To stop the log

  • Select Stop Log from the Design menu or the pop-up menu in the Activity Log view.

    PowerBuilder stops sending the generated syntax to the Activity Log view. Your work is no longer logged.

To save the log to a permanent text file

  1. Select Save or Save As from the File menu.

  2. Name the file and click Save. The default file extension is SQL, but you can change that if you want to.

Submitting the log to your DBMS

You can open a saved log file and submit it to your DBMS in the ISQL view. For more information, see Building and executing SQL statements.