Tag Archives: SQL Image Viewer

SQL Image Viewer 9.1 and PDF files

SQL Image Viewer 9.1 can now display thumbnails of PDF files in your result sets.  You do not need to change or add your configuration – simply run your query and if any PDF files are detected, a thumbnail of the first page is displayed in the results area.

Using custom layouts (available only in the Professional Edition), you can display additional pages from your PDF files.

As of now, SQL Image Viewer can only display thumbnails of your PDF files if they are stored as-is in your database.  Thumbnails cannot be displayed for PDFs that are stored in OLE-Object containers, zip archives, or any other format that embeds the PDF file in it.

 

Why is SQL Image Viewer not displaying details of my blobs

If you are using a third-party application to upload images and/or files into your database, and SQL Image Viewer cannot identify the image or file type, then there’s a high probability that your application has modified the data.

Examples of such applications include the MAZE School Information System and the Financial Edge system by Blackbaud.  We had a user who had the following data stored in their Financial Edge database.  In SQL Image Viewer, the following is displayed:

SQL Image Viewer is unable to identify the data that’s stored in the fields (they’re actually PDF files).  If we look at the data using the SQL Image Viewer hex viewer:

we can see that the OLE wrapper (or the original source data) begins at offset 32.  This means that Financial Edge has added 32 bytes of data to the beginning of the original file, which is why SQL Image Viewer does not recognize the file format.

To identify and extract the data correctly, we need to skip the first 32 bytes, so that we only retrieve the original source file.  In SQL Server, we can use the following syntax:

Now, SQL Image Viewer is able to identify the file type correctly.

Ok, admittedly not everybody knows what an OLE wrapper looks like, or any of the other file headers, which is why if SQL Image Viewer cannot identify your blobs, please send us a couple of samples to analyze.  We need the data exactly as stored in your database, so to extract the data, please perform the following steps and send us the resulting files.

Select the column containing the unidentified blob data.

Right click the mouse button to bring up the context menu, and select the ‘Save item’ option.

Enter a file name, save the blob data, and send the file to us at support@yohz.com.

The same issue applies to Access OLE Export and SQL Blob Export too.  If these products cannot identify the file type because the original files have an additional header, they will be exported with a .bin extension.  Please send us a couple of those .bin files to analyze, or you can also use SQL Image Viewer to retrieve the data and follow the steps above to send us the samples.

SQL Image Viewer 9 and custom layouts

We just released SQL Image Viewer 9 with support for custom layouts.  Custom layouts allow you to customize how your data is displayed.  Take for example this default layout:

You see some textual values, and thumbnails of images from the result set.  Using custom layouts, the result could be displayed this way for production staff:

or in this layout for sales staff:

You can pretty much lay out every piece of data in any manner you want, depending on your needs.

Custom layouts can also display multiple frames from a single DICOM, TIFF, or GIF image.  Here is a custom layout showing frames from DICOM images:

Here is another image showing how custom layouts can be used for verification purposes.  In this example, the user wants to verify the scanned values against the actual values on the cheques, so a custom layout is used to place the scanned values right next to the cheque values.

Take a look at the videos describing custom layouts in detail:

  • how to create custom layouts
  • how to display multi-frame images
  • how to easily verify data from scanned images using custom layouts

Let us know how you’re using custom layouts, and how we can improve this further.  Do drop us a line at support@yohz.com with any suggestions or comments.  Thank you.

# Note that custom layouts is only available in the Professional Edition of SQL Image Viewer.

Exporting base64 encoded values in your databases

We recently had a prospect that had issues exporting her data using SQL Image Viewer.  She kindly sent a sample of the data, and it turned out that it was a base64 encoded string stored in a memo field.

So we got to work and now, SQL Image Viewer can decode base64 encoded data stored in memo fields.  It will recognize most image and binary file types.  For example, this is the result returned by Management Studio for a query that retrieves a base64 encoded PDF file:

 

This is the result returned by the same query in SQL Image Viewer:

 

You can immediately identify the type of data that’s stored in your database.  When you want to export the file, ensure that you select the memo field:

 

and also the Extract base64 encoded values in memo fields option:

 

For now, SQL Image Viewer will not inspect binary blob fields for base64 encoded data, as it wouldn’t make sense to store text values in a binary fields.  However, if you do find yourself in such a situation, do drop us a line at support@yohz.com.

Download a trial of SQL Image Viewer now, or buy a license from only USD 45.

SQL Blob Viewer and SQL Image Viewer

So we have 2 very similar products, SQL Blob Viewer and SQL Image Viewer, and here’s why.

SQL Image Viewer was released 9 years ago, and over the years, it has accumulated a lot of code that is user-specific.  When we made the decision to create a 64-bit version of SQL Image Viewer, we discovered that it would be pointless to port those user-specific functions over too.  We did not want to leave our existing customers with a new version that did not have those functions, so we renamed the new product SQL Blob Viewer.

SQL Blob Viewer has almost the same feature set as SQL Image Viewer.  The most obvious difference is how it displays images – it does this by displaying the images together with the textual data –

while SQL Image Viewer displays images separate from the textual data (we’re still gathering feedback on whether users prefer the SQL Image Viewer way of displaying images).

SQL Blob Viewer can also embed images in exported Excel spreadsheets, has a user-friendlier interface to configure incremental exports, supports 64-bit versions of Access, and supports larger data sets with the 64-bit versions.  The plan is to improve on SQL Blob Viewer, while SQL Image Viewer will be updated only with bug fixes.  As both products were developed using different tools, it would be too much work to maintain 2 code bases.

In the near future, probably when we’ve decided if we should support the same views as SQL Image Viewer, we will release SQL Blob Viewer as SQL Image Viewer (new), as the name SQL Image Viewer seems to attract more traffic (I suppose SQL Blob Viewer is just a tad too technical).  When that happens, you will still be able to install SQL Image Viewer (new) alongside SQL Image Viewer (old), so you can still use both versions concurrently.  Existing users with valid licenses can request for a SQL Image Viewer (new) license.

I would encourage you to give SQL Blob Viewer a try if you have not already done so, and let us know what you think.  If you’re a SQL Image Viewer user with a valid maintenance license, contact us at sales@yohz.com for a SQL Blob Viewer license.