Embedded Database Interface

ESP includes powerful relational database support. The Embedded Database Interface (EDI) is an ESP database interface above configurable database backends. ESP supports a variety of database backends including: SQLite and MDB to cover various scale requirements. The MDB database is a tiny, in-memory database — great for embedded applications. SQLite is a full SQL implementation for embedded applications, while MDB is the smallest and fastest, but has the least features.

The EDI interface provides a consistent way to interface with database data, without worrying about the specifics of the chosen database backend. EDI provides functions for the typical Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) semantics. It also provides functions to manage and manipulate database schema.

Fields, Records and Grids

Programs interact with the EDI using EDI Records. When a record is read from the database, EDI extracts the database data and copies it into an EdiRec structure. This structure efficiently stores data with database scheme information necessary for data formatting and display.

The EdiRec representation wraps a database record and allows you to use object-oriented programming (OOP) when dealing with tabular database data. While not a full Object Relational Mapper (ORM), the EdiRec representation is an effective and compact representation that is well suited for use in web applications where you are rendering database tables in web pages. In the Model-View-Controller (MVC) parlance, you can consider the EdiRec representation as the "Model" in MVC.

An EdiRec structure has an array of fields (EdiField), one for each column in the corresponding database table. EdiFields store data as strings to make it easy to display and render in web pages. All EDI APIs that get or set field data always operate on strings. The underlying database backend may store data in more compact forms using native data types.

When an EDI API needs to return multiple records, an EdiGrid structure that contains one or more EdiRec structures is used.

Columns to Properties

EDI dynamically determines the column names in database tables and creates fields in the EdiRec structure at run-time that correspond to each database column. You do not need to configure or specify the fields in your code.

Quick Tour of EDI

Assume we have a database with a product table that has columns for id, name, description, and price.

id name description price
1 Ball Bouncing ball 7.50
2 Hat Sun Hat 27.50

By convention, the database table and columns should be lower case. EDI assumes and requires that database tables will have a primary key column named id.

The following code demonstrates some typical uses:

/* Open the database */
Edi *db = ediOpen("store.mdb", "mdb", EDI_AUTO_SAVE);
/* Read the first product */
EdiRec *product = ediRec(db, "product", "1");
/* Set the price to $7.00 and save back to the database */
ediSetField(product, "price", "7.00");
ediUpdateRec(db, product);
/* Find products costing over $10.00 */
EdiGrid *products = ediReadWhere(db, "product", "price", ">", "10.00");
/*  Read all products */
EdiGrid *products = ediReadTable(db, "product");
/* Get the number of rows and columns in the table */
ediGetTableSchema(db, "product", &numRows, &numCols);
/* Remove the product with id == 1 */
ediRemoveRec(db, "product", "1");

Data Types

EDI maps database types to the corresponding "C" language data types. The following type conversions will occur when reading and writing data to and from the database.

EDI Type MDB Type SQLite Type
Blob Blob
Boolean Boolean Tinyint
Date Date Date
Float Float Float
Integer Integer Real
String String Text
Text Text Text

Database Connections

Database connections are one of the few items that are setup at configuration time. The pak.json file defines the database name, username, password, and other configuration parameters via the database property.

database: "mdb://test.mdb"

Creating Database Tables

If creating an MVC application, The esp command can be used to create database tables for you:

esp generate table [field:type ...]

If field:type pairs are supplied, columns will be created for the specified type. The valid EDI database types are: binary, bool, date, float, int, string and text.

Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD)

It should be easy to do simple things like implementing the basic database operations: create, read, update and delete. EDI makes this easy.

Create a new Record

To create a new table record:

product = ediCreateRec(db, "product");
ediSetFields(product, ediMakeHash("{ \
    name: 'Race Car', \
    description: 'Bright red race car', \
    price: '19.99',
ediUpdateRec(db, product);

That will create a new product, initialize its properties, and save it to the database.

Reading a Record

Reading a record from the database is done with the ediRead family of record static methods. The basic ediFindRec method will return a record with a given id field. Other read methods include: ediFindRecWhere, ediReadTable and ediReadField.

product = ediFindRec(db, "product", "2");
product = ediFindRecWhere(db, "product", "price", "<", "5.0");

Updating a Record

To update a record, first read it using one of the ediFindRec methods. Then update any of the object properties. Finally, call the ediUpdateRec method to save the changes to the database.

product = ediFindRecWhere(db, "product", "name", "==", "Ferarri");
ediSetField(product, "description", "458 Spider");
ediUpdateRec(db, product);

Deleting a Record

To delete a record, use ediRemoveRec:

ediRemoveRec(db, "product", "1");

Accessing Records from Web Pages

ESP web pages can access database data via two methods:

Direct API Access

In direct model access, ESP web pages or controllers query the database using EDI APIs which return EdiRec instances. They then directly access field values using ediGetField.

<p>Price: <%= ediGetField(product, "price"); </p>

In this example, the form control binds the userRecord. The input controls then retrieve the "name", and "address" fields from the database record and emit the appropriate HTML input elements.

Controller Directed Access

When using the ESP MVC application support, controllers will frequently read a record, prepare some data for viewing, and then invoke a view to render a response. In this pattern, the controller defines a "current" database record which can then be used by views to conveniently display field data.

To make this easy, ESP supports an inline "$#" directive. If the controller defined a current product record, this example would render the product price.

<p>Price: $#price</p>

Record Validation

EDI can validate fields before saving records to the database. It provides a set of pre-defined validation routines that cover the most common validation needs such as ensuring a field is unique or numeric, or conforms to a specific format.

When a validation check fails, an error message is added to the record for the field that failed validation. Validation checks continue and (potentially) a set of error messages for the record are accumulated. ESP pages can access these messages for display and highlighting input fields bound to that field. The standard ESP View Controls intelligently use these error messages to highlight errors in input forms.


Validation Methods

Validations are typically defined by the ediAddValidation call in the load initialization routine for a controller. This happens when the controller is first loaded and after that database has been opened.

ESP_EXPORT int esp_controller_post(EspRoute *eroute)
    Edi     *edi = eroute->edi;

    ediAddValidation(edi, "present", "user", "name", 0);
    ediAddValidation(edi, "number", "user", "account", 0);
    ediAddValidation(edi, "unique", "user", "account", 0);
    ediAddValidation(edi, "format", "user", "phone", "/\d{3}-\d{7}/");
    return 0;

The following validation methods are available for use:

Custom Validation

You can define new validation routines via the ediDefineValidation call.

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