Connecting to Oracle Databases within the Joomla System

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Connecting to Oracle Databases within the Joomla System

Postby orware » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:45 pm

Here's the way things are for us at the moment, we run our entire student information system in an application named Banner, which uses an Oracle database for storing its information.

For the most part the system works well, but for some things we'd like to create some custom applications that pulls out and presents the data a certain way so that faculty/staff can visualize certain things (like the overall cost of a course and different ways of arranging courses to find the best possible configuration).

What I'd like to do is use Joomla to provide this functionality, and one of the first things I needed to figure out was, well how do I connect to an Oracle database? I have this sorted out (at least on Windows, but the Linux configuration seems similar), but I have a few other questions.

Since I don't want to use Oracle for managing the Joomla site (I just want to be able to make a connection to the Oracle database and pull data from it and occasionally send updates back), and since there are no Oracle drivers for Joomla I am wondering if I'll be able to take advantage of the framework (or which ways I won't be able to take advantage of it, specifically in regards to JTable).

The things is we have different databases with different credentials within the main Oracle installation (the details behind this need to be sorted out still) but at the moment I'm thinking I'll need to be able to manage multiple connection strings to Oracle. So I was thinking I could hard code these in a file or make a simple component that would allow me to save these in the Joomla database (this would be what I'd like to do).

Then I was wondering how it would be best to implement an Oracle database driver (this may not be the best terminology since a driver may mean something that is directly used by Joomla, I'm looking more into creating a generic class that can be used within Joomla that can be used to access Oracle databases).

On the other side of this I have been wondering how I can implement a simple access control method that would allow us to control the portions of the application we'd like users to see, and I know this is coming soon in 1.6 but I still need to think about how it can be done. Related to this I was wondering if there is the possibility of having a frontend template that is almost exactly like the backend one, except that it has limited functionality in regards to administering the rest of the Joomla site (the user would only see what they are supposed to see). It seems like it wouldn't be too difficult to make a template like this that would be useful for organizations that are using Joomla to develop an intranet only application.

I guess my main question would be this...if I wanted to create an interface to an Oracle database that will not be used to house Joomla's database tables, but would be connected to access data, and possibly update it, where would be the best place to implement this the component level, or somewhere within the framework?

One thing to note here is that there will be a lot of data in the queries we would be using (I've been told that some can take 5 minutes to process and I'm pretty sure the queries are well designed) and it would be essential to be able to present this data in a responsive manner. Would there be any big considerations in regards to managing large data sets in Joomla that I'd have to think about?

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