Maintaining Multiple CIS Objects

Maintaining Multiple CIS Objects Book Cover Maintaining Multiple CIS Objects

In this article:

 1.       Overview

2.       Microsoft Access

3.       Visual Studio and Oracle

4.       Version Control



 When developing a Database (DB) or a large scale computer application it is important to track, locate, and maintain a variety of Computer Information System objects all at once.  For instance, developers need to be able to track tables, packages, triggers, and sequences in the DB while tracking forms and reports and other modules, like JSP files, in anIntegrated Development Environment (IDE).  This requires an advanced skillset and a strong working knowledge base of powerful tools used to search, compare, and update files.

This article will discuss some of the tools used in this process when working in some of the more popular DBMS and IDE tools.


Microsoft Access

 Microsoft Access is a light and powerful Database Management System used to organize personal and small business data.  There are a few major categories like the Table, Design, Query, and Module views used to organize objects in this DBMS.  If a developer wants to programmatically loop through a large set of similar objects within the DB he or she should consider using a container.  The following paragraph will describe how to use this feature and provide a brief example of using visual basic for applications to search through a set of MS Access forms. 

 A container is Microsoft Access specific for the purposes of this article.  It is a set of organized objects located in the DBMS.  Examples include Form and Report labels, Text Fields, and Combo Boxes.  The developer can use a for loop to traverse an enumeration of container items and then modify their properties.  This is very helpful if, for example, he or she wants to change a single word found throughout the DB.  See for aditional information.

The following container loop example shows a message box for each of the forms within the current Access DB:



‘To set this up

1)  Create an Access form with a button. 

2)  Go to properties on the button. 

3)  Add the Event Click procedure under step number five. 

4)  Run the form. 

5)  Click the button.


Private Sub Command0_Click()

  Dim dbName As DAO.Database

  Dim doc As DAO.Document

  ‘Dim frmName As Form

  Dim ctrl As DAO.Container


Debug.Print “Start:”

     Set dbName = CurrentDb

     Set ctrl = dbName.Containers(“Forms”)

 With dbName


    For Each doc In ctrl.Documents

      MsgBox (doc.Name)

      ‘frmName = doc.Name

    Next doc


    ‘.Close   Use if using OpenDatabases to close various DB objects

   End With

End Sub


Visual Studio and Oracle

 Microsoft Visual Studio .Net and Oracle JDeveloper are powerful IDEs.  While Oracle Forms and Reports have been antiquated they are still being used by many companies.  This section will discuss how to search through and compare these objects using common OS tools and other tools like grep and subversion.

 Searching through the most current Microsoft and Oracle Integrated Development Environments is simple.  For instance, to search through JDeveloper objects a developer can click on the Search – Find tool and look through all of the modules within an Application.  The Search – Find in Files tool can be used to find search strings within a single file.  The Microsoft Operation System can be used to search through Visual Studio files in a similar fashion.  For instance, the developer can go to Explorer, find the .Net project directory, and then use the Search button to search for various content there.

 Looking for items in a Microsoft or Oracle Database is simple as well.  For instance, the user can go into a DB tool such as TOAD or PL/SQL developer and use the Find features there to search for string values in tables, packages, functions, another other DB objects.  The developer can also query these values from places like the all_tables, all_tab_columns, and all_procedures Oracle tables or the SysTables, SysColumns, and SysProcedures Microsoft tables.

 Searching for a text string in Oracle forms and reports can be a little more challenging.  If all else fails the frmf2xml 1 and rwconverter 2 tools can be used to convert these to xml files.  After that, a tool like grep 3 or the command line findstr 4 can be used to look for a specific string value.






Developers sometimes use a file comparison tool to determine the difference between two or more files.  Tortoise SVN 5 is a good freeware tool used for this purpose. 

 Once the Tortoise SVN is installed, developers will notice a Diff menu option when right clicking two files in the OS.  If they click on Diff it will show them the two files beside each other and allow them to cycle through any differences between the files.  They can compare the files by first holding down the shift key to select them with the left mouse click, and then right clicking one file, and selecting the subversion comparison option.  The tool can be downloaded at and can be used to search files in Microsoft Visual Studio and Oracle JDeveloper.



Version Control

A version control tool is used to maintain multiple versions of a computer application related object.  For instance, three developers can add their changes to a form, or even an image, and check them in as versions 1, 2, and 3.  This technology lets teams use multiple versions of a product with multiple customers and allows them to go back in time to see what an object looked like during the project life cycle.  Some version control products include PVCS, Subversion, and VSS.



 The Polytron Version Contol System maintains multiple versions of s objects so code can be rolled back or used in a variety of different ways.  Consider the fact that the user can do a get on an entire PVCS directory.  The get operation copies the version control folder content to a local client directory.  This is nice, because it means he or she can retrieve every related item at one time and make a change to every file, and then add that directory back as a revised group.  So, if a company name changes, a developer can get the entire directory, change the name in every module, and then add the directory back as a new directory with the name change.  A similar technique can be used with many other version control systems.


 Subversion is a free tool used to control and store both old and new software versions.  The version control piece integrates with Tortoise SVN on the client side to provide additional functionality.  See the and websites for additional information.



 Microsoft Visual Source Safe is another version control system.  VSS integrates nicely with the Visual Studio .Net product and allows developers to handle version control from within this IDE.

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