How to make and use file DSNs for Inmagic ODBC

by Peter Tyrrell Sunday, January 25, 2009 12:24 PM

There are three ways to set up a DSN for ODBC connections: System DSN, User DSN, and File DSN. The first two store the connection settings in the registry, while the third stores all the connection info in a text file. The latter can be easily copied, filed with its parent project, put in source control, and modified by a build process. Plus just having that file there is a reminder that an ODBC connection is an application requirement. (Oh, I *have* forgotten.)

Create the file DSN

You can create a file DSN by opening the ODBC Data Source Administrator dialog (listed as "Data Sources (ODBC)" from the Windows Start Menu), but I have encountered problems doing it that way.* It's easy to do from scratch, anyway.

  1. Create a text file with a .dsn extension: MyFileDsn.dsn
  2. Fill in the contents as follows:
   1: [ODBC]
   2: DRIVER=Inmagic DB/Text Driver (*.tba)
   3: READONLY=1
   4: SERVER=NotTheServer
   5: DBQ=c:\project\textbases\
   7: UID=


  • Each key-value pair is on its own line separated by a carriage return. Ignore the fact that the view you're looking at on the blog may be wrapping.
  • The Inmagic ODBC driver must be installed on any machine using this connection.
  • ReadOnly can be set to 1 for readonly access. READONLY=0 means write access as well.
  • PWD can be blank if the textbase(s) don't use passwords.
  • UID is always blank.

* E.g. password not being written to the file DSN, and the potential for confusion between 64bit and 32bit ODBC Data Sources, since a 64bit machine has both and has separate Admin dialogs.

Use the file DSN

Pass a connection string to your application which points to the file you created:

   1: // C# file DSN example
   2: string connectionString = "filedsn=c:\MyFileDsn.dsn";


Tags: Inmagic ODBC

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