Category Archives: Access

Trigger VBS Script via PHP

You probably won’t come into this situation very often where you have a Windows computer/server running PHP. Basically this is a web-service that allows the user to trigger a VBS script bu posting a variable to a web service. The web service then takes that information and runs the VBS script after updating the database with the appropriate information. The VBS script uses information in the database, which is why the first part of this code block is needed in the example.

This is also an example of a PHP script connecting to an Access database over ODBC as it’s data source.

header('Content-type: application/json');
require('session.php');
/* Get POST Parameters */
if(isset( $_POST['fmreq']) == True)
{
	$FM_REQ = $_POST['fmreq'];
/* connect to Database */
	if (!($con = odbc_connect("DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb, *.accdb)}; DBQ=" . str_replace("/", "\\", $_SERVER["DOCUMENT_ROOT"]) . "\data_source.accdb", "", "")))
			echo "<p>Connection to CollectOh failed.</p>\n";
		else
		{
/* Updating database so that when the script runs on the Access database it will have the correct information */
			$sql = "update frm_date_select set FMREQ = '" . $FM_REQ . "' where ID = 1";
			odbc_exec($con, $sql);
 
		}
/* This is the meat of where you set the path to your VBS script */
	$command = 'wscript.exe "' . str_replace("/", "\\", $_SERVER["DOCUMENT_ROOT"]) . '"\FMREQ.vbs"'; 
 
	/* 
	 * wait for command to return a exit code? 
	 * 
	 * true = waits for the command to complete, before continuing this script 
	 * false = executes command then continues this script without waiting for command to exit 
	 * 
	*/ 
 
	$wait = false; 
 
	// run it 
 
	$obj = new COM ( 'WScript.Shell' ); 
/* Feedback via JSON */
	if ( is_object ( $obj ) ) 
	{ 
		$obj->Run ( 'cmd /C ' . $command, 0, $wait ); 
		echo json_encode(array('Saved at '.date('H:i').''));
	} 
	else 
	{ 
		echo json_encode(array('Failed at '.date('H:i')));
	} 
 
	$obj = null; 
}

[Cheatsheet] VBA String Functions

Function What Does it do? Example Result
Len(str) Returns the length of the string Len(“Hello”) 5
Ucase(str) Changes the string to upper case Ucase(“Hello”) HELLO
Lcase(str) Changes the string to lower case Lcase(“Hello”) hello
Left(str, num) Shorten the string from the left Left(“Hello”,3) Hel
Right(str, num) Shorten the string from the right Right(“Hello”,3) llo
Mid(str, start, length) Extract the middle of a string Mid(“Hello”,2,2) el
Instr(start, look in this string, find this string) Find if a string is in another string Instr(0,”Hello there”,”Hello”) 1
Trim(str) Removes preceding and trailing spaces Trim(” hello there “) hello there
LTrim(str) Removes spaces from the beginning of a string Ltrim(” hello “) hello
Rtrim(str) Removes spaces from the end of a string Rtrim(” hello “)  hello
String(num, char) Repeats the char num times String(2, “a”) aa
Space(num) Makes a certain num of spaces Space(2)
Cint(str) Change a string to a integer Cint(111.1) 111
Clng(str) Change a string to a long (use if you get an overflow error) Clng(111.1) 111
Cdbl(str) Change a string to a double Cdbl(111.1) 111.1
Split(str,delimiter) Split a string into an array Split(“Hello,There,Friend”, “,”) (0) = Hello
(1) = There
(2) = Friend
Join(array, delimiter) Join an array into a string Join(array(“Hello”, “There”, “Friend”),”,”) Hello,There,Friend

Simple Regular Expression Tutorial for Excel VBA

I’ll go through a simple tutorial for using regular expressions for VBA.  This is a great quick start guide for people who have used regular expressions before in other languages.  Just as a review, regular expressions are used to match patterns in strings.  This is a powerful tool that can help you data cleanse and data mine.  The directions are the same for Microsoft Access as well.

First thing first, let’s enable the reference in Excel so that we can use this functionality.

Go to Tools > References

Then find Microsoft VBScript Regular Expressions 5.5

Click Ok, and now you’ll be able to create a RegExp object to use in your VBA.

Here’s a basic function that finds 5 letter words in a string.

Here’s a copy of the Excel file that I am using in the example: RegEx Excel Tutorial XLS File

Function findFiveLetter(sentence)
    Dim regEx As New VBScript_RegExp_55.RegExp
    Dim matches, s
    regEx.Pattern = "\W\w{5}\W"
    regEx.IgnoreCase = True 'True to ignore case
    regEx.Global = True 'True matches all occurances, False matches the first occurance
    s = ""
    If regEx.Test(sentence) Then
        Set matches = regEx.Execute(sentence)
        For Each Match In matches
            s = s & " Position: " & Match.FirstIndex
            s = s & " Word: " & Match.Value & " "
            s = s & Chr(10)
        Next
        findFiveLetter = s
    Else
        findFiveLetter = ""
    End If
End Function

Now let’s break it down.

First you need to declare your regEx obejct with:

Dim regEx As New VBScript_RegExp_55.RegExp

Next you give your object some parameters.

The most important is .Pattern, which is the pattern of characters that you want your function to find.  Then there are a couple of settings like Global, if you want it to search for all occurrences (TRUE) or just the first occurrence (FALSE), and also IgnoreCase.

Here’s a simple guide to get you started on writing regex patterns.

regEx.Pattern = "\b\w{5}\b"
    regEx.IgnoreCase = True 'True to ignore case
    regEx.Global = True 'True matches all occurances, False matches the first occurance

Now to test if the pattern has been found in a string you can use

regEx.Test(sentence)

To get an array of matches from your regex you simply have the regex execute.

Set matches = regEx.Execute(sentence)

To get the results from this array object, you can reference matches(n) or use a For Each loop. There are two important pieces of information returned in the array, the index of the match and the actual match.

I used a For Each:

For Each Match In matches
            s = s & " Position: " & Match.FirstIndex 'Position of the match
            s = s & " Word: " & Match.Value 'The actual match
            s = s & Chr(10) 'Prints a new line
        Next

Here’s the example output:

Line Matches
What began as a small group of protesters expressing their grievances  Position: 5 Word: began
Position: 16 Word: small
Position: 22 Word: group
Position: 53 Word: their
about economic inequities last month from a park in New York City  Position: 0 Word: about
Position: 31 Word: month
has evolved into an online conversation that is spreading across the harry  Position: 69 Word: harry
country on social media platforms.  Position: 18 Word: media

Here’s a copy of the Excel file that I used in the example: RegEx Excel Tutorial XLS File
The regex function is called findFiveLetter(“put a string in here”)

Basic Regular Expression Patterns for Beginners

This is super simplified, but it’s enough to get started with. I remember being confused by the gigantic tables with all the special clauses, so when you’re beginning keep it simple.

Remember if you want to match a literal character you can just type it out, unless there’s a special character. Special characters have meanings in regex patterns, so you need to type a \ in front of them if you want to specifically match them in the pattern.

Common special characters are: + . \ – [] {} $ ? |

Example: If I wanted to match taste, taster, tasters, I would type a pattern like taste\w{0,2}

If I wanted to match taste!, I would write a pattern like taste\!

Code What does it Match?
\d Numbers
\w Word characters like letters of any case
\s Spaces
\b Boundary of a word character
\D Not a number
\W Not a word character
\S Not a space
\n Line break
\r Line break
\t Tab
? Previous code is optional
* Repeat previous code 0 to infinity
+ Repeat previous code once or more
{1} Repeat previous code once (can use any number)
{1,2} Repeat previous code 1 to 2 times (can use any numbers)

Quick Tips: VBA, Make a file dialog open

Here’s the code to make a file dialog to open up. Once the user has selected a file, it will be saved in the fileName variable, and you can use that variable to open up the file contents.

In order for this code to work, you must activate the Microsoft Office 14.0 Object Library, or else your VBA will result in an error.  This VBA should work in Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel.

Dim fileName As String
 
Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogOpen).Show
fileName = Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogOpen).SelectedItems(1)

Get Visual Basic 2010 Express to query an Oracle database

So one of the limitations of Visual Basic 2010 Express is that you can only add data sources to link or query Microsoft databases such as an Access database or MsSQL. So if you need to query an Oracle or mySQL database, for example, it seems that you’re out of luck unless you upgrade to the paid version of the software. Thankfully if you have Microsoft Access on your computer there’s a workaround.

All you need to do is set up a linked database in Microsoft Access (look up ODBC drivers if you’re having trouble) and you can query that database as a middleman from your Visual Basic program.

Access Tips: Watch out for case senstitive situations

I just spent like 2 hours trying to get a query with like 3 levels of sub-queries that I built in a sandbox with copied tables in Microsoft Access to work under a live ODBC linked connection with an Oracle database.

Guess what broke my query?

3 references to a user input form that were missing once capitalized letter.

Access Database on Shared Drive Opening as Read-Only

I had some issues with one user who was not able to open a Microsoft Access database on a shared drive.  The user would try to open the database, and it would only allow the user to use it as read only, which was not very useful.  Every other user was able to use the database with out any trouble.  There were no issues with permissions on any other databases on the shared drive or with any linked tables.

We were able to fix the issue by going into the permission for the database (Right Click -> Properties -> Security) and adding the user directly as an administrator to the database.  I have no idea why the user suddenly had issues accessing the database, as they had been using it on a daily basis for about a month with no issues.  Hopefully, this tip might save you some headache.