Win32::SqlServer::DTS - Perl classes to access Microsoft SQL Server 2000 DTS Packages
Although it's possible to use all features here by using only Win32::OLE module, Win32::SqlServer::DTS (being more specific, it's childs classes) provides a much easier interface (pure Perl) and (hopefully) a better documentation.
The API for this class will give only read access to a package attributes. No write methods are available are directly available at this time, but could be executed since at each DTS object created a related object is passed as an reference to new object. This related object is a MS SQL Server DTS object and has all methods and properties as defined by the MS API. This object reference is kept as an "private" property called _sibling and generally can be obtained with a get_sibling method call. Once the reference is recovered, all methods from it are available.
The Win32::SqlServer::DTS class does not much: it will server only as an interface class, since it cannot be instancied or the available methods be called directly (as an abstracted class). The inheritance will help only to make available easier (and globally) access to the methods kill_sibling and get_sibling.
You may be asking yourself why having all this trouble to write such API as an layer to access data thought Win32::OLE module.
The very simple reason is: MS SQL Server 2000 API is terrible to work with (lots and lots of indirection), the documentation is not as good as it should be and one has to convert examples from it of VBScript code to Perl.
Win32::SqlServer::DTS API was created to provide an easier (and more "perlish") way to fetch data from a DTS package. One can use this API to easily create reports or implement automatic tests using a module as Test::More (see EXAMPLES directory in the tarball distribution of this module).
Current development state should be considered BETA, despite the API is already usable. There is a high chance that the interface changes during next releases, so be careful when updating.
Returns the relationed DTS object. All objects holds an reference to the original DTS object once is instantiated, unless the kill_sibling is executed.
If the reference is not available, it will abort program execution with an error.
Validates if the attribute _sibling is defined and has a valid value. Returns true if it's ok, false otherwise.
This method will simple delete the key (or attribute, if you prefer) _sibling from the hash reference used by all classes that inherints from DTS class. Once the key is removed, the Perl garbage collector will remove the related object created using the MS SQL Server 2000.
The reasons of why doing such thing is described in CAVEATS.
Uses the Data::Dumper Dumper function to print to STDOUT the properties of a given object that inherints from Win32::SqlServer::DTS (almost of all classes in the API).
The way this is implemented is to do a dirty clone of the original object, but without the _sibling attribute. This allows to quickly check the object state. This is not as good as it could be, but sometimes the Perl debugger dies while checking DTS objects, so it's better than nothing.
Maybe in the future this method is replaced to turn on debug mode for all methods calls using Log::Log4perl module.
All objects under DTS distribution cannot be created without a reference to the original DTS object they mimic: at the current development state, object can only be recovered from a MS SQL Server database. Some classes may have methods to change their inner attributes, other classes don't. Check the POD for each class to be sure, but future releases should have write methods for all classes implemented.
DTS distribuition replicates several DTS classes, but it is still INCOMPLETE. There are many classes there were not replicated, like Bulk Insert Task or Transformation. Check the UML in the project website for an overview of which classes are implemented.
The sibling object, kept as an reference, sometimes is quite annoying. This because the MS SQL Server API uses a lot of indirection. Using Data::Dumper, for example, seems impossible. Using the x (eval) command in the debugger sometimes also shows a interesting visual effect, but is equally useless (setting maxdepth should help).
There are serious problems using the Perl debugger, since it seems to crash everytime there is more than an object instantied (if there is a _sibling attribute involved). The solution until now is use the debug method or using a module like Log4Perl to detect issues in the code.
If you need to persist any object created, first remove the sibling object using the kill_sibling method. As said before, it was detected issues with the Data::Dumper Dumper function, but there are no garantees that invoking kill_sibling will solve the issue, since this probably also depends on Perl garbage collector. Anyway, persisting a DTS object will do no good if you need to execute methods that depends on the sibling attribute since those methods are based on remote requests with COM.
kill_sibling probably will help also regarding memory using, althought this was not tested formally.
Once this API is built over Win32::OLE module, one will only be able to use Win32::SqlServer::DTS modules in a MS Windows operational system that also supports the installation of the MS SQL Server Enterprise Manager, at least the client part of the application, to be able to use the original DTS API that comes with the MS SQL Server client. All issues from Win32::OLE applies too. Since release 0.04, DTS distribution will die if used in any other operational system. See Devel::AssertOS for more implementation details.
Win32::SqlServer::DTS modules were tested with MS SQL Server 8 (or 2000, if you prefer) so maybe some methods will fail if tried on previous versions of MS SQL Server.
Win32::OLE at perldoc.
Data::Dumper at perldoc.
MSDN on Microsoft website and MS SQL Server 2000 Books Online are a reference about using DTS' object hierarchy, but one will need to convert examples written in VBScript to Perl code.
README file in the module distribuition about how to enable extended tests for the API.
Project website at http://code.google.com/p/perldts for more information, including UML diagrams and Subversion repository.
Alceu Rodrigues de Freitas Junior, <email@example.com>
Copyright (C) 2006 by Alceu Rodrigues de Freitas Junior
This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.8.8 or, at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.
To install Win32::SqlServer::DTS, copy and paste the appropriate command in to your terminal.
perl -MCPAN -e shell
For more information on module installation, please visit the detailed CPAN module installation guide.