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Visio and Databases Edit

Visio is a powerful organizational tool. It allows you to create flow charts, model a programs data path, create a company’s hierarchal structure model, and you can do a UML diagram. What you may not know is that Visio can communicate with a database and depending on the version of Visio you have you can even interact with the database. Every version of Visio can reverse engineer a database and with Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect (VSEA) you can forward engineer a database [1]. Forward engineering is you draw up the UML diagram for the database and the software can then generate the code needed to create the database.

Communication with Databases Edit

Microsoft created a mechanism to communicate with databases without having to install a driver every time; this mechanism is called Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). ODBC allows programs to communicate with each other and keep the data synchronized. ODBC will work on most windows-based databases so you don’t have to use Microsoft’s Access and Visio [1].

Working with Visio Edit

Every database needs to have a database file with it but every database file doesn’t need to be created by a database program. Visio has the ability to create a database file straight from the UML; you will be able to create an Access-compatible database file [2]. If you do have a database and you want to reverse model the database into a UML diagram then you can modify the UML and make changes directly to the database. To reverse engineer a database open up Visio and select new database, Database Model Diagram. Then choose the database menu and select Reverse Engineer. This will bring up a wizard that will direct you to connecting to the database. Most cases you will be able to select which table, views, keys, etc. will be reversed engineered. Depending on your edition of Visio you can make changes to the database through the Database Model Diagram and then update the changes to the database just by selecting Update in the database dropdown menu [3].

Sources [1] Callan, Steve. "Database modeling using Visio." Database Journal. 25 AUG 2005. 29 Oct 2007 <http://www.databasejournal.com/features/oracle/article.php/3529531>.

[2] Grabowski, Ralph. "Visio database links." Design Drawing.

29 Oct 2007 <http://www.design-drawing.com/visio/rgavt3.htm>.

[3] Orr, Steven. "Design and Generate code with Visio." dotnetjunkies. 07 MAR 2005. 29 Oct 2007 <http://www.dotnetjunkies.com/Article/74851895-C4D4-4F11-956D-A27D849E4A62.dcik>.

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