Modern companies usually rely on more than one suite of software to do business. Most of us use MS Office tools, collaboration software, CRM software, databases etc. Handling information from each program separately can be incredibly time consuming. Thankfully, developers consider software integration these days.
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In this blog we show how to integrate world’s most popular database – Oracle with award winning PDF forms solution – PDF Share Forms and world’s most popular collaboration software – SharePoint.
PDF is a reliable visual representation of a document that can’t be changed. It is an electronic equivalent of a hardcopy. It is compatible with all operation systems and looks the same regardless hardware and application software it was created in. PDF is an official open standard since 2008 (ISO 32000-1). PDF is commonly adopted by big companies and government agencies.
According to DB-Engines.com Oracle is the most popular database in the world.
It is only natural to combine most popular collaboration product – SharePoint, most popular database – Oracle and PDF forms.
We have created a script snippet to access Oracle database, which is used by SharePoint server on form load event. It reads data from Oracle and prepopulates it to the form.
Since security is probably one of the main priorities these days, we don’t want to expose credentials even to external power users. To provide secure access from SharePoint to Oracle database, we created a record in Secure Store. It stores credentials for scripted access from SharePoint to Oracle.
In this instance demonstration form (Figure 1) consists of some text fields and cascading dropdowns. All fields are mapped to SharePoint columns, so, once form is submitted data will be synchronized. These fields are user fillable and are empty by default. Users can put their personal information, like name or address.
These two fields (Figure 2) are prepopulated from Oracle database. And it is cascading dropdowns – when you select an option in one dropdown list, it filters content of the second dropdown list, depending on your selection.
How does it work?
For this scenario the following PDF form is opened in our PDF designer. In said designer it is possible to add multiple different types of events such as: changing values inside PDF forms, changing properties of controls or load addition information for PDF form like in our case – information from Oracle database. In order to do that – navigate to Developer tab in PDF Designer and select Form Load (Figure3).
For example in this case we are using form load event and it has a custom script in form load. It is calling for custom script snippet (Figure 4) compiled in visual studio. So basically no coding is necessary, just compiling it loads the connection string for Oracle database from SharePoint secure store service. Then the script queries the required information from database table and this information is saved inside the PDF form. So in case it is required to access different database tables or columns you only need to change query statement itself.
So why secure store service and how it is possible to store connection string there? The reason we use secure store service because it is a part of SharePoint services, which provide storage and mapping for credentials such as account names or connection strings. It enables you to securely store the data required for connecting to external systems like Oracle database. Here we have Oracle DBconnID (Figure 5) it is a secure store item that starts actual connection string.
If you click on SET you can see that there is a connection string value than can be set (Figure 6). Currently there is an encrypted connection string stored already and it can’t be seen neither from here nor from the designer. Making this part inaccessible for people that don’t need to see this sort of information.
About PDF Share Forms
PDF Share Forms provides a complete forms solution that offers a tight integration between PDF forms and SharePoint environment, enabling bi-directional synchronization between form fields and SharePoint columns. Our solutions are focused on SharePoint 2010, 2013, and Office 365.
For more detailed information about PDF Share Forms products please visit http://blog.pdfshareforms.com/products/