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First Look: ADO.NET and InterSystems IRIS
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This First Look guide explains how to connect to InterSystems IRIS™ via the InterSystems ADO.NET Managed Provider. Once you have completed this guide, you will have configured a Visual Studio project to use the InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly, established an ADO.NET connection to InterSystems IRIS, run several SQL statements from your .NET application, and confirmed the effects of these statements in the InterSystems IRIS System Management Portal.
To give you a taste of the ADO.NET Managed Provider without bogging you down in details, we’ve kept this exploration simple. These activities are designed to only use the default settings and features, so that you can acquaint yourself with the fundamentals of the feature without having to deal with details that are off-topic or overly complicated. When you bring ADO.NET to your production systems, there may be things you will need to do differently. Be sure not to confuse this exploration of ADO.NET with the real thing! The sources provided at the end of this document will give you a good idea of what is involved in using ADO.NET in production.
For more documentation on ADO.NET, see Using InterSystems IRIS ADO.NET Managed Provider Classes.
Why ADO.NET Is Important
ADO.NET is a data access technology from the Microsoft .NET Framework that provides access to data sources. It is used to establish database connectivity and provides a standard, reliable way for .NET Framework programmers to connect to many types of data sources or perform operations on them with SQL. Connecting to InterSystems IRIS via the ADO.NET Managed Provider is simple, especially if you’ve used ADO.NET before. Establishing an ADO.NET connection to InterSystems IRIS from a .NET application allows you to run SQL commands against InterSystems IRIS databases from your .NET application.
If you’re new to InterSystems IRIS but familiar with .NET and SQL, you can use your existing expertise right away to help you become familiar with the database platform. You can test ADO.NET connections and SQL commands in a development environment with just a few lines of code.
ADO.NET and InterSystems IRIS
InterSystems IRIS is a fully compliant implementation of the ADO.NET specification. The InterSystems ADO.NET Managed Provider allows you to access InterSystems IRIS as an ADO.NET-compliant database and provides easy relational access to data. It processes ADO.NET method calls from applications and submits SQL requests to InterSystems IRIS. It then returns results to the calling application — in this case, your .NET application.
Connecting to InterSystems IRIS via ADO.NET is a very straightforward process.
In order to use InterSystems IRIS ADO.NET capability, you must first add the InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly as a dependency to your Visual Studio project. After confirming a few settings, use our sample code to establish an ADO.NET connection to InterSystems IRIS and to execute SQL queries. Note that the InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly is implemented using .NET managed code throughout, making it easy to deploy within a .NET environment. It is thread-safe and can be used within multithreaded .NET applications.
Exploring ADO.NET
We have developed a brief demo that shows you how to work with ADO.NET and InterSystems IRIS.
Before you Begin
To run the demo, you’ll need a single Windows 10 machine with a running, licensed instance of InterSystems IRIS and version 4.5 of the Microsoft .NET Framework. The InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly is installed with InterSystems IRIS and requires no special preparation. In this demo, we will use Visual Studio Community 2017.
For instructions on how to install and license a development instance of InterSystems IRIS, see Quick Start: InterSystems IRIS Installation.
Things to Note About the Sample
The connection string syntax for the InterSystems ADO.NET Managed Provider is:
Server=host_IP; Port=SuperServerPort; Namespace=namespace; Password=password; User ID=user;
The connection string is made up of key/value pairs that define the connection properties. Note the following:
Configuring the Visual Studio Project
In the Visual Studio main menu, create a new Project by selecting File > New > Project. In the resulting dialog, click the Visual C# option, and choose Console App (.NET Framework). For the Name field, enter ADONET. Click OK. This should create a new console application using the .NET Framework.
Next, in the Visual Studio main menu, select Project > ADONET Properties. Under Target framework, select .NET Framework 4.5.
Adding the Assembly Reference
To add an InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly reference to a project:
  1. From the Visual Studio main menu, select Project > Add Reference...
  2. In the resulting window, click Browse....
  3. Browse to the subdirectory <install-dir>\dev\dotnet\bin\v4.5, where <install-dir> is the installation directory for your instance of InterSystems IRIS.
  4. Click OK.
  5. In the Visual Studio Solution Explorer, the InterSystems.Data.IRISClient.dll assembly should now be listed under References.
Connecting via ADO.NET
At this point, you are ready to connect to InterSystems IRIS from your .NET application. Remove the default template code and paste the following code into Visual Studio:
using System;
using InterSystems.Data.IRISClient;

namespace ADONET
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {

            String host = "localhost";
            String port = "[YOUR PORT HERE]";
            String username = "_SYSTEM";
            String Password = "SYS";
            String Namespace = "USER";

            IRISConnection IRISConnect = new IRISConnection();
            IRISConnect.ConnectionString = "Server = " + host 
                + "; Port = " + port + "; Namespace = " + Namespace 
                + "; Password = " + Password + "; User ID = " + username;

            IRISConnect.Open();


            String sqlStatement1 = "CREATE TABLE People(ID int, FirstName varchar(255), LastName varchar(255))";
            String sqlStatement2 = "INSERT INTO People VALUES (1, 'John', 'Smith')";
            String sqlStatement3 = "INSERT INTO People VALUES (2, 'Jane', 'Doe')";
            String queryString = "SELECT * FROM People";


            IRISCommand cmd1 = new IRISCommand(sqlStatement1, IRISConnect);
            IRISCommand cmd2 = new IRISCommand(sqlStatement2, IRISConnect);
            IRISCommand cmd3 = new IRISCommand(sqlStatement3, IRISConnect);
            IRISCommand cmd4 = new IRISCommand(queryString, IRISConnect);


            //ExecuteNonQuery() is used for CREATE, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE SQL Statements
            cmd1.ExecuteNonQuery();
            cmd2.ExecuteNonQuery();
            cmd3.ExecuteNonQuery();

            //ExecuteReader() is used for SELECT
            IRISDataReader Reader = cmd4.ExecuteReader();

            Console.WriteLine("Printing out contents of SELECT query: ");
            while (Reader.Read())
            {

                Console.WriteLine(Reader.GetValue(0).ToString() + ", " + Reader.GetValue(1).ToString() + ", " + Reader.GetValue(2).ToString());

            }

            Reader.Close();
            cmd1.Dispose();
            cmd2.Dispose();
            cmd3.Dispose();
            cmd4.Dispose();
            IRISConnect.Close();

            Console.WriteLine("Press any key to continue...");
            Console.ReadKey();

        }
    }
}
Make sure to edit your connection string to have accurate Port, User ID, and Password values.
Run the code by clicking the Start button, or by pressing F5.
If the connection and queries have completed successfully, you should see a console window containing the results of the SELECT query.
Confirming the Changes in the System Management Portal
Next, you will want to confirm the results of the queries in the System Management Portal. First, ensure that you are in the USER namespace. Navigate to the SQL page (System Explorer > SQL). Click the Execute Query tab and paste in the following SQL query:
SELECT 
ID, FirstName, LastName
FROM SQLUser.People
Click Execute.
The page should display the contents of the People table created in the sample code.
Learn More About ADO.NET
To learn more about ADO.NET, SQL, and InterSystems IRIS, see:
Using the InterSystems IRIS Managed Provider for .NET
Using InterSystems SQL
ADO.NET Overview