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ODBC - How to on Mac

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Hi all,

So I've downloaded the demo of 2011 to test as an update for our current 2010, mainly for the ODBC options which would increase our productivity like crazy.

Naturally lept straight in without having set up one of these databases before. Made a few objects with a record with a few fields, opened up excel, make up some data relating to the fields, straight forward logic.

Now I've hit the wall, open database connection... and then?

After much forum surfing and browsing many many pages of help I just want someone to say step by step what to do. Do I need MySQL or a magic driver or enable something in my excel document or write a line of code in the ODBC administrator?

Quite at a loss, might be a big ask for a step by step but even just a link to something useful.



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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I have not been able to establish an ODBC link between FMP 10 and VW 2011. I have however been able to achieve a link between VW 2011 > MySQL > FMP10. Only problem I am having now VW hangs when I run either the "Updating the Document Objects" or "Update External Objects" command. The engineers have been made aware of the issue and they are working.

I will keep everyone posted on what I find. Additional once I know everything is working as it is intended to I will write a detailed step-by-step guided on how to make this work, which I will make available to all Vectorworks users.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Guys,

It is specific that MacOS doesn?t have integrated ODBC support. Here is a simple scenario how to use *.xls and filemaker files via ODBC to read/write data from/in Vectorwosk file. Notice that there are three steps in Vectorworks but before that there is necessary to install and configure some additional stuff on Mac.

First of all, you need an ODBC manager tool. If there is any in Utilities, download and install ?ODBC Administrator? or ?ODBC Manager? (both are free) or other tool. Then make sure that you have installed FileMaker application and ODBC FileMaker Driver. Filemaker can be used to read data from xml files.

So, here we are:

1) Start Filemaker and open the database file. If the file is xls file, Filemaker will offer you to convert it. Allow it to do this and continue. Go to File > Sharing > ODBC/JDBC? and turn on ?ODBC/JDBC Sharing? for the file and all users (or particular user).

2) Do not close anything. The file should stay opened while working with it otherwise the ODBC driver will return error. Start ODBC Manager and create System DSN using FileMaker ODBC driver. If there is no wizard, you must configure the driver manually. Enter keywords SERVER=localhost (or the IP of the server machine) and PORT=2399. This is very important.

3) Start Vectorworks.

Establishing ODBC connection in Vectorworks consists of three steps:

1) Connect to DSN. Go to Tools > Database > Manage Databases? and connect to the DSN you?ve created. Enter ?admin? for the username if you don?t have one.

2) Create Record Format Database Connection. Go to Tools > Database > Create Record Format Connection..., select the record format you want to link and go to edit it. Each field of the record format needs to be mapped to the appropriate database table column.

3) Create Object Database Connection. This is the final step and it is to connect object instances to the database table rows. Select object(s) which you want to link to the database data and go to Tools > Database > Object Connection?. Choose a row to whom this object will correspond or use the find options in Multiple Objects dialog.

Now you are able to update record field values with data from the database file or to write into the database file. Use ?Update Vectorworks Document? and ?External Database? menu commands to do that.

I hope that post will spread a little light into the darkness :)



Edited by Sasha
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  • 1 month later...

I can't seem to get the DNS to take with the above help. Has anybody running VW2012, FMPro 11 and Lion gotten a connection between their database and VW? I've tried all 3 manager tools and when I get to the end of the setup and click "add" is the name of the System DSN supposed to be in the System Data Sources window so that you can Add, Remove or configure? If yes, it doesn't show up in mine and I have what are supposed to be the latest ODBC drivers for Filemaker.

It sees the database, FM is set to share to all users and I can test the connection in the ODBC manager and it passes. Both files are on the same computer

If anyone could help, that would be great.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If there is no wizard, on System tab click Add. Enter a name for the DSN and enter two keywords:

- Host with value (if the Filemaker is running on the same machine or enter the IP of the server machine);

- Port with value 2399.

Close it with OK and it should work. Take a look on this article:


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  • 4 months later...

I have connections between both VW2012-MySQL-OOoBase and VW2012-FMP12. It appears neither 'Update Database: Every record change' nor Object deletion are committed to the external DB rendering the feature high maintenance therefor not useful for my needs. Please confirm/deny and advise.

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Welcome to the VW user board community.

This is a community board for users. It is not a Help board where you can demand answers from Nemetschek.

It would be useful to other users who may be able to help or discuss your problem if you could post a signature.

Edited by D Wood
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Signatures require maintenance, as previously stated I am not a fan of :P

I can see more info may be required. Current platform: VW 2012 SP4 (Build 162341) used for Spotlight, several current (all under two years old) Apple machines 10.7.4

I wrote some base code for OOo to take advantage of Spotlights xml dump for Lightwright but having to import/export is lame since theoretically ODBC is functional. I could use openxml and sql perhaps as a workaround but WTF its a released feature. I simply want confirmation from other users whether this is a bug so I can proceed thru higher channels with confidence or be guided from my ignorance. I can only assume it must be my error on my part as it would be very odd that this basic workflow is not in place in a professional application without the purchase of another very expensive application.


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For what it's worth, I put together my writeup of getting ODBC going with MySQL on a Mac, and put together some scripts to get it going.


In VW2011 at least, linking records to the database seems to have some performance issues, over and above the problems in conceptual clarity. I'm preferring to take it over and work directly with DBSQLExecuteGet et al from Vectorscript.

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