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Connect to XML Data in Ruby

Connect to XML data in Ruby with ruby-dbi, dbd-odbc, and ruby-odbc.

The CData ODBC Driver for XML makes it easy to integrate connectivity to live XML data in Ruby. This article shows how to create a simple Ruby app that connects to XML data, executes a query, and displays the results.

Create an ODBC Connection to XML Data

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.

See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation to authenticate to your data source: The data provider models XML APIs as bidirectional database tables and XML files as read-only views (local files, files stored on popular cloud services, and FTP servers). The major authentication schemes are supported, including HTTP Basic, Digest, NTLM, OAuth, and FTP. See the Getting Started chapter in the data provider documentation for authentication guides.

After setting the URI and providing any authentication values, set DataModel to more closely match the data representation to the structure of your data.

The DataModel property is the controlling property over how your data is represented into tables and toggles the following basic configurations.

  • Document (default): Model a top-level, document view of your XML data. The data provider returns nested elements as aggregates of data.
  • FlattenedDocuments: Implicitly join nested documents and their parents into a single table.
  • Relational: Return individual, related tables from hierarchical data. The tables contain a primary key and a foreign key that links to the parent document.

See the Modeling XML Data chapter for more information on configuring the relational representation. You will also find the sample data used in the following examples. The data includes entries for people, the cars they own, and various maintenance services performed on those cars.

Installing Ruby and Necessary Gems

If you do not have Ruby installed, refer to the Ruby installation page. With Ruby installed, you will need to install the ruby-dbi, dbd-odbc, and ruby-odbc gems:

gem install dbi gem install dbd-odbc gem install ruby-odbc

Create a Ruby App with Connectivity to XML Data

Create a new Ruby file (for example: XMLSelect.rb) and open it in a text editor. Copy the following code into your file:

#connect to the DSN require 'DBI' cnxn = DBI.connect('DBI:ODBC:CData XML Source','','') #execute a SELECT query and store the result set resultSet = cnxn.execute("SELECT [people].[personal.age] AS age, [people].[personal.gender] AS gender, [people].[] AS first_name, [people].[] AS last_name, [vehicles].[model], FROM [people] JOIN [vehicles] ON [people].[_id] = [vehicles].[people_id]") #display the names of the columns resultSet.column_names.each do |name| print name, "\t" end puts #display the results while row = resultSet.fetch do (0..resultSet.column_names.size - 1).each do |n| print row[n], "\t" end puts end resultSet.finish #close the connection cnxn.disconnect if cnxn

With the file completed, you are ready to display your XML data with Ruby. To do so, simply run your file from the command line:

ruby XMLSelect.rb Writing SQL-92 queries to XML allows you to quickly and easily incorporate XML data into your own Ruby applications. Download a free trial today!