PostgreSQL ODBC Driver 101: How to Connect, Configure & Troubleshoot?

on Data Integration, Database Management Systems, PostgreSQL • February 4th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

PostgreSQL ODBC Driver FI

PostgreSQL is an Object-Relational Database Management System that focuses on SQL compliance and extensibility. This Open-Source Relational Database supports both JSON & SQL querying and serves as the primary data source for numerous mobile, web, geospatial, and analytics applications. Oracle has established itself as one of the largest vendors of RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) in the IT market since its inception. The query language that can be used to access data in Oracle’s relational databases is SQL.

This blog talks about the steps you can follow to configure the PostgreSQL ODBC Driver connection seamlessly. It also gives a brief introduction to ODBC Drivers and PostgreSQL before diving into the steps involved in PostgreSQL ODBC Driver Configuration.

Table of Contents

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: PostgreSQL Logo
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PostgreSQL is widely known for its Open-Source platform that supports all features of RDBMS. It also provides an array of features on top of RDBMS features like indexes, stored procedures, views, triggers, and atomicity features to name a few.

PostgreSQL runs on various major platforms like Windows, Linux, macOS, and UNIX to name a few. Concurrency is managed by PostgreSQL through Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC). MVCC provides each transaction a “Database Snapshot” that allows changes to be made without impacting other transactions. This ensures the maintenance of ACID principles while doing away with the need to read locks.

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Key Features of PostgreSQL

  • Customizable: PostgreSQL can be customized by developing plugins to make the Database Management System fit your requirements. PostgreSQL also allows you to incorporate custom functions that are made with other programming languages like Java, C, C++, etc.
  • Long History: PostgreSQL has been around for more than 30 years, having been initially released in 1988.
  • Frequent Updates: The most recent PostgreSQL update was Version 13.1 on 12 November 2020.  
  • MVCC Features: PostgreSQL happens to be the first Database Management System to implement Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) features.
  • A Supportive Community: A dedicated community is always at your disposal. Private, third-party support services are available as well. The community updates the PostgreSQL platform via the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.
  • Open-Source: This is an Object-Relational Database Management System(ORDBMS). This allows PostgreSQL to provide Object-Oriented and Relational Database functionality. PostgreSQL is a free and Open-Source ORDBMS.
  • Users: PostgreSQL users include Apple, Cisco, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Red Hat, Skype, Spotify, Yahoo to name a few.

What are ODBC Drivers?

PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: ODBC Logo
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ODBC Drivers leverage the Open Database Connectivity Interface offered by Microsoft. Subsequently, it allows applications to extract data in Database Management Systems (DBMS) by utilizing SQL as a standard for extracting the data. ODBC offers maximum compatibility, which means a single application can link to various DBMS. After this, application users can add ODBC Database drivers to connect to the application of their choice of DBMS.

Here is what the ODBC Driver Interface describes:

  • A customary way to link and log in to a DBMS.
  • A customary set of error codes.
  • SQL syntax based on the SQL Access Group SQL CAE Specification and X/Open.
  • A customary way representation of data types.
  • There are various types of ODBC function calls in its library:
    • Call Level Interface Specification.
    • Core functions based on the SQL Access Group and the X/Open.
    • Extended functions that provide support for supplementary functionalities, including scrollable cursors.

Thus ODBC supplies a customary medium to allow vendors of database drivers and application developers to switch data between data sources and applications.

What is the Difference between ODBC & JDBC Drivers?

You can only leverage JDBC Drivers to work with Java languages whereas ODBC Drivers can be used for any language like Java, C, C++, etc. JDBC Drivers are typically object-oriented whereas ODBC Drivers are procedural. It is not suggested to leverage ODBC Drivers for Java applications since it can end up hindering the performance due to internal conversions. This would lead to the applications becoming platform dependent which hurts the efficiency. So, it is suggested that you leverage a JDBC Driver for Java applications since these issues aren’t encountered while utilizing a JDBC Driver.

Apart from this, the code for JDBC is fairly simple to learn and can be run easily. In contrast, the code for ODBC Drivers is pretty hard to master and is complex to run as well.  

What is the PostgreSQL PSQL ODBC Driver?

PostgreSQL PSQL ODBC Driver is the official PostgreSQL ODBC Driver that allows data access similar to other vendor-specific drivers. Once you’ve written an ODBC application, you can easily connect to any specified back-end database, irrespective of the vendor, as long as the database schema remains intact with PostgreSQL ODBC Driver.

For instance, you could have PostgreSQL and MS SQL Servers that store the same data. By leveraging PostgreSQL ODBC Driver, you empower your Windows to make the same calls while the back-end data source resembles the one you have on hand, from the viewpoint of the Windows application.   

How to Connect with PostgreSQL using ODBC Drivers?

Here are the steps involved in configuring PostgreSQL ODBC Driver connection:

Step 1: Download the PostgreSQL ODBC Driver for PostgreSQL

  • In this example, it is recommended that you use connection objects to connect to databases. First, you need to create a new channel to try out the PostgreSQL ODBC Driver code with the following credentials:
    • Source: From Translator
    • Name: DB PostgreSQL Connection
    • Destination: To Channel
  • You can even leverage an existing channel that would require a Filter component or a From/To translator.
  • Next, you need to connect to a database through ODBC. To do this, you can paste the following code snippet in the Translator:
function main()
     local conn = db.connect{  
     api=db.POSTGRES,
     name='your_odbc_server_name',
     user='your_login',
     password='secret',
     use_unicode = true,
     live = true
  }
 
  conn:execute{sql='SELECT * FROM <your table>', live=true}
end
  • Here, the Name refers to the name of an ODBC source that can be created via the ODBC Administrator. You can finally adapt the code to your specific requirements.

Step 2: Install the PostgreSQL ODBC Driver

  • To set up a new ODBC data source for PostgreSQL, you first need to install the latest PostgreSQL ODBC Drivers. You can start by downloading the latest 64-bit driver installer from the psqlodbc download site.
  • Next, you can unzip the file and run the MSI installer to accept the default conditions.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Unzip MSI Installer
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  • Next, double-click on the MSI file to install the driver. When you run the MSI file, the psqlODBC_x64 driver setup wizard kicks into motion. On the first screen, you can view the details as follows:
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: PSQLODBC Driver Setup Wizard
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  • When you reach the End-User Agreement window, you can look at the license details and agreement. Review the license terms and click on I accept the terms within the License Agreement. You can then print the agreement by clicking on the Print button.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: End-user License Agreement
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  • On the Custom Setup screen, you can choose the feature of the drivers. Within the ODBC Driver Setup, you can view the driver under the psqlODBC_x64 tree. You can take a look at the disk usage of the driver. If you wish to install the documentation, click on the button under the psqlODBC_x64 tree and choose the entire feature installed on the disk option as follows:
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Custom Setup
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  • When you’ve reached the ready to install screen, click on the Install button. If you wish to change or review the installation settings, click on the Back button.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Ready to Install Window
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  • When you’ve completed the installation, click on Finish to close the Wizard.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Finish Installation Window
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Step 3: Use System DSN to Setup the psqlODBCx64 Driver

  • Now, to configure the ODBC Data Source for the PostgreSQL database, open ODBC Data Source (64-bit) followed by clicking on the System DSN tab. You can click on Add button to move on to the next segment.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: ODBC Data Source Administrator
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  • A dialog box Create a New Data Source opens up. Choose the PostgreSQL Unicode (x64) driver and click on the Finish button to move ahead.
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: PostgreSQL unicode
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  • Another dialog box PostgreSQL Unicode ODBC Driver Setup is opened. Within the dialog box, you need to specify various parameters like Description, Database, Data Source, Port, Server, SSL Mode, Username, and Password. After you’ve configured all the parameters, the configuration setup will resemble the following image:
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: PostgreSQL Unicode ODBC Driver Setup
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Step 4: Connect and Verify PostgreSQL ODBC Connection

  • After you’ve completed the PostgreSQL ODBC Driver setup, you can click on Test to verify the connectivity:
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Test Connection
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  • As is evident from the previous window, the connection has been established successfully. Click on the Save button to create the system DSN. When you move back to the System DSN screen, you can view the pgadmin13 DSN has been generated as follows:
PostgreSQL ODBC Driver: Check System DSN Screen
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How to Fix Common Errors with PostgreSQL ODBC Connections?

Here are a few ways that can allow you to troubleshoot the common errors you might encounter when setting up a PostgreSQL ODBC Driver connection:

Working with Integrated Security

You can leverage integrated security to connect to a Microsoft SQL Server database. If this does not work, you can have a word with your DBA.

Fixing Connection Configurations

To fix connection configurations, you can have a word with your DBA (Database Administrator). These issues include problems with the username, password, Database Server Network Name, among others.

Fixing Wrong Port Number Issue

SQL Server generally works on Port 5432, but you are free to work on a different port of your choosing. You can speak with your Network Administrator or DBA for the same.

Conclusion

This blog discusses the steps you can follow to set up a PostgreSQL ODBC Driver connection seamlessly. It also covers the basics of PostgreSQL and ODBC Drivers and how they differ from JDBC Drivers. It also covers the different remedies to common errors that you can encounter while trying to establish PostgreSQL ODBC Connections.

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