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DataBind Charts to Act CRM Data

Use the standard ADO.NET procedures for databinding to provide bidirectional access to Act CRM data from controls in the Visual Studio toolbox. This article demonstrates a graphical approach using wizards in Visual Studio, as well as how to databind with only a few lines of code.

DataBinding enables bidirectional access to data from UI controls. You can use the CData ADO.NET Provider for Act CRM to easily databind Act CRM data to Windows Forms and Web controls in Visual Studio. This article shows how to use wizards to databind Act CRM data to a chart that reflects any changes. The code walk-through section shows how to create a chart in 10 lines of code.

DataBind to a Chart

DataBinding consists of three steps: Instantiate the control, configure the data source, and databind.

Configure the Connection and Select Database Objects

Follow the procedure below to use the Data Source Configuration Wizard to create a chart control and the connection to Act CRM. In the wizard, you can select the Act CRM entities you want to databind.

  1. In a Windows Forms project, drag and drop a Chart control from the toolbox to the form. In the Data section of the Chart properties, select DataSource and then select Add Project Data Source from the menu.
  2. In the Data Source Configuration Wizard that appears, select Database -> Dataset.
  3. In the Choose Your Data Connection step, click New Connection.
  4. In the Add Connection dialog, click Change to select the CData Act CRM Data Source.

    Below is a typical connection string:

    URL=https://myActCRMserver.com;User=myUser;Password=myPassword;ActDatabase=MyDB;

    The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Act! user credentials. In addition to the authentication values, see the following:

    • Connecting to Act! Premium

      In addition to the authentication values, the URL to Act! is also required; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/.

      Additionally, you must specify the ActDatabase you will connect to. This is found by going to the About Act! Premium menu of your account, at the top right of the page, in the ? menu. Use the Database Name in the window that appears.

    • Connecting to Act! Premium Cloud

      To connect to your Act! Premium Cloud account, you also need to specify the ActCloudName property. This property is found in the URL address of the Cloud account; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/ActCloudName/.

    Note that retrieving ActCRM metadata can be expensive. It is advised that you set the CacheMetadata property to store the metadata locally.

    When you configure the connection, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  5. Choose the database objects you want to work with. This example uses the Activities table.

DataBind

After adding the data source and selecting database objects, you can bind the objects to the chart. This example assigns the x-axis to ActivityDisplayName and the y-axis to Subject.

  1. In the Chart properties, click the button in the Series property to open the Series Collection Editor.
  2. In the Series properties, select the columns you want for the x- and y-axes: Select columns from the menu in the XValueMember and YValueMember properties.

The chart is now databound to the Act CRM data. Run the chart to display the current data.

Code Walk-through

DataBinding to Act CRM data requires only a few lines of code and can be completed in three easy steps.

  1. Connect to Act CRM.
  2. Create the ActCRMDataAdapter to execute the query and create a DataSet to be filled with its results.
  3. DataBind the result set to the chart.

Below is the complete code:

ActCRMConnection conn = new ActCRMConnection("URL=https://myActCRMserver.com;User=myUser;Password=myPassword;ActDatabase=MyDB;"); ActCRMCommand comm = new ActCRMCommand("SELECT ActivityDisplayName, Subject FROM Activities", conn); ActCRMDataAdapter da = new ActCRMDataAdapter(comm); DataSet dataset = new DataSet(); da.Fill(dataset); chart1.DataSource = dataset; chart1.Series[0].XValueMember = "ActivityDisplayName"; chart1.Series[0].YValueMembers = "Subject"; // Insert code for additional chart formatting here. chart1.DataBind();