Saturday, March 3, 2012

ADO, Excel, and Data Types

I've written before about using Ruby with Microsoft's ADO technology to query Excel workbooks as databases.

This works well---most of the time. But you may occasionally bump into data type issues, where you find that Excel/ADO treat a specific column as a different data type than you expected.

For this reason, I recommend using a collection of ADO functions that will expressly convert a value to a specific data type. These ADO functions include:

CStr(x) - Converts x to a String value
CDec(x) - Converts x to a Decimal value
CInt(x) - Converts x to an Integer value
CDate(x) - Converts x to a Date value
CCur(x) - Converts x to a Currency value

For example, instead of assuming that the ORDER_NUMBER field would be treated as a string...

    SELECT * FROM ORDERS WHERE ORDER_NUMBER = '12345' ; the CStr() function on it to ensure a string-to-string comparison:


It's a few extra keystrokes that could save you time---and frustration---in the long run.

More information can be found here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Automating Outlook with Ruby: Saving Mail Messages To Files

I've talked in the past about managing mail messages in your Inbox, and about saving email attachments to your hard drive. A reader recently asked about saving a mail message as a file on your hard drive.

This can be done by calling the MailItem's SaveAs() method. This method takes two arguments. The first argument is a string indicating the full path and filename to which you want to save the message. The second argument is an integer that indicates the file type.

Let's look at a brief example that saves an Inbox message as an HTML file:

require 'win32ole'

olHTML = 5
outlook = WIN32OLE.connect("Outlook.Application")
mapi = outlook.GetNameSpace("MAPI")
inbox = mapi.GetDefaultFolder(6)
msg = inbox.Items(2)
msg.SaveAs('c:\temp\message.htm', olHTML)

Further details on the SaveAs() method can be found here.
A full list of valid file type values can be found here.

That's all for now. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Post a comment or send me an email.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

JRuby 1.6: Now With Win32OLE Goodness

JRuby 1.6 has just been released and, among the many new features, the JRuby installer for Windows now includes the win32ole library.

This is good news for those of us that frequently use Ruby's win32ole module to automate Excel, Word, and a variety of other Windows applications and processes. Now you have the option of running your code on the JVM.

And running on the JVM opens up a world of possibilities. You could, for example, whip up a Swing GUI via Monkeybars, and use Rawr to package it up as an EXE file for ease of distribution.

Interested? Download JRuby 1.6 at, take the win32ole module for a drive around the block, and let me know if you hit any potholes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ruby on NetBeans: Here Comes the Cavalry

As recently reported, the NetBeans IDE team has decided to drop support for Ruby (and Rails) from NetBeans 7.0.

I have received many good suggestions from readers, with RedCar and RubyMine getting a lot of love.

But wait! What's that? It sounds like trumpets off in the distance... and hoofbeats.

Indeed, Tom Enebo is leading the cavalry to save the day, as he reported in the JRuby forum recently:

I have been talking to Netbeans team about us adopting the project and this is a done deal. Putting together some details and you should see a blog post about this in the next few days. So, if you like using Netbeans dont worry, it will still be an available option in the plugins catalog (not sure about the full Ruby product as an independent download from netbeans site yet).
Good news for all those that would like to continue to use NetBeans with Ruby.

Thanks, Tom!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

NetBeans Drops Support for Ruby and Rails

The NetBeans team has, unfortunately, decided to remove Ruby and Rails support from the NetBeans IDE:

After thorough consideration, we have taken the difficult step to discontinue support for Ruby on Rails in the NetBeans IDE.
As of January 27, the Ruby on Rails module will be gone from development builds of NetBeans IDE 7.0.
NetBeans has served me well for larger projects over the years, and NetBeans 6.9.1 retains its existing support for Ruby and Rails. But perhaps it's time to start considering Ruby IDE alternatives, and I'm open to suggestions.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Coming Soon: win32ole for JRuby

FYI: In a recent Ruby Forum thread, Charles Nutter wrote:

FWIW, a win32ole library is in development and should be in JRuby for 1.6.

This is good news for those of us who do a lot of work with the standard Ruby win32ole library.

My sincere thanks to all who are helping to make this happen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Ruby IDE Discussion Group

FYI, Ed Howland has launched a new Ruby IDE discussion group:

I set this group up to focus discussions about a community developed IDE written in Ruby (but not necessarily limited to writing code in just that language. The intent is to take general discussion specific off-line from the main ruby-talk group Hopefully, this will be a high signal-noise ratio discussion.

So if you've got some constructive thoughts on what would be the ideal Ruby IDE, make yourself heard here: