Access USPS Data as a Remote Oracle Database

Use the Oracle ODBC Gateway and Heterogeneous Services technology to access USPS data from your Oracle system.

The Oracle Database Gateway for ODBC and Heterogeneous Services technology enable you to connect to ODBC data sources as remote Oracle databases. This article shows how to use the CData ODBC Driver for USPS to create a database link from USPS to Oracle and to query USPS data through the SQL*Plus tool. You can also create the database link and execute queries from SQL Developer.

Connect to USPS as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to USPS follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments.

To authenticate with USPS, set the following connection properties.

  • PostageProvider: The postage provider to use to process requests. Available options are ENDICIA and STAMPS. If unspecified, this property will default to ENDICIA.
  • UseSandbox: This controls whether live or test requests are sent to the production or sandbox servers. If set to true, the Password, AccountNumber, and StampsUserId properties are ignored.
  • StampsUserId: This value is used for logging into authentication to the Stamps servers. This value is not applicable for Endicia and is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • Password: This value is used for logging into Endicia and Stamps servers. If the postage provider is Endicia, this will be the pass phrase associated with your postage account. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • AccountNumber: The shipper's account number. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

The Cache Database

Many of the useful task available from USPS require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilize a cache database to make requests. Set the cache connection properties in order to use the cache:

  • CacheLocation: The path to the cache location, for which a connection will be configured with the default cache provider. For example, C:\users\username\documents\uspscache

As an alternative to CacheLocation, set the combination of CacheConnection and CacheProvider to configure a cache connection using a provider separate from the default.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Note: If you need to modify the DSN or create other USPS DSNs, you must use a system DSN and the bitness of the DSN must match your Oracle system. You can access and create 32-bit DSNs on a 64-bit system by opening the 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator from C:\Windows\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for USPS in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData USPS Source] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for USPS Description = My Description PostageProvider = ENDICIA RequestId = 12345 Password = 'abcdefghijklmnopqr' AccountNumber = '12A3B4C'

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Set Connection Properties for Compatibility with Oracle

The driver provides several connection properties that streamline accessing USPS data just as you would an Oracle database. Set the following properties when working with USPS data in SQL*Plus and SQL Developer. For compatibility with Oracle, you will need to set the following connection properties, in addition to authentication and other required connection properties.

  • MapToWVarchar=False

    Set this property to map string data types to SQL_VARCHAR instead of SQL_WVARCHAR. By default, the driver uses SQL_WVARCHAR to accommodate various international character sets. You can use this property to avoid the ORA-28528 Heterogeneous Services data type conversion error when the Unicode type is returned.

  • MaximumColumnSize=4000

    Set this property to restrict the maximum column size to 4000 characters.

  • IncludeDualTable=True

    Set this property to mock the Oracle DUAL table. SQL Developer uses this table to test the connection.

Linux Configuration

In Linux environments, Oracle uses UTF-8 to communicate with the unixODBC Driver manager, whereas the default driver encoding is UTF-16. To resolve this, open the file /opt/cdata/cdata-driver-for-usps/lib/cdata.odbc.usps.ini in a text editor and set the encoding.

cdata.odbc.usps.ini

[Driver] DriverManagerEncoding = UTF-8

Configure the ODBC Gateway, Oracle Net, and Oracle Database

Follow the procedure below to set up an ODBC gateway to USPS data that enables you to query live USPS data as an Oracle database.

  1. Create the file initmyuspsdb.ora in the folder oracle-home-directory/hs/admin and add the following setting:

    initmyuspsdb.ora

    HS_FDS_CONNECT_INFO = "CData USPS Sys"
  2. Add an entry to the listener.ora file. This file is located in oracle-home-directory/NETWORK/admin.

    If you are using the Database Gateway for ODBC, your listener.ora needs to have a SID_LIST_LISTENER entry that resembles the following:

    listener.ora

    SID_LIST_LISTENER = (SID_LIST = (SID_DESC = (SID_NAME = myuspsdb) (ORACLE_HOME = your-oracle-home) (PROGRAM = dg4odbc) ) )

    If you are using Heterogeneous Services, your listener.ora needs to have a SID_LIST_LISTENER entry that resembles the following:

    listener.ora

    SID_LIST_LISTENER = (SID_LIST = (SID_DESC = (SID_NAME = myuspsdb) (ORACLE_HOME = your-oracle-home) (PROGRAM = hsodbc) ) )
  3. Add the connect descriptor below in tnsnames.ora, located in oracle-home-directory/NETWORK/admin:

    tnsnames.ora

    myuspsdb = (DESCRIPTION= (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=tcp)(HOST=localhost)(PORT=1521)) (CONNECT_DATA=(SID=myuspsdb)) (HS=OK) )
  4. Restart the listener.
  5. Test the configuration with the following command:

    tnsping myuspsdb
  6. Open SQL*Plus and create the database link with the command below:

    CREATE DATABASE LINK myuspsdb CONNECT TO "user" IDENTIFIED BY "password" USING 'myuspsdb';

You can now execute queries in SQL*Plus like the one below (note the double quotation marks around the table name):

SELECT * from "Senders"@myuspsdb WHERE SenderID = '25';