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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Licensing

The Product Key – which appears above the Licence Key field in the About popup – is a generated string that should uniquely identify your computer for our Xtractor applications. It is just internally and transparently used by us to validate the Licence Key and its right to be used on that computer.

Any Xtractor application may run freely, at full functionality, since the first time you start it on one computer, for a trial period. After which you’ll still enjoy its full functionality, but – if you use it often – you’ll see some query executions are slowed down on purpose with random delays.

If you decide to buy a license, just fill in the order online, pay with your credit card or PayPal account, and you’ll instantly receive an email with the license key(s) you paid for. Open now the About popup and paste this value into the License Key field, then click Activate. If you are connected to the Internet and there is no connectivity problem, and if your license key and licence key usage are valid, you’ll get a message about the valid license key and …that’s it! You may continue to use the application at its full capacity.

Since the first time you start one Xtractor application on one computer, you automatically start a free trial period. If during this time you decide to purchase the product and enter a valid license key, the trial period is not cancelled. If you later decide to remove/deactivate the key, and you are still within the trial period, this will continue until the date it was initially supposed to expire.

No, not on the same computer. If you already launched let’s say Model Xtractor, you cannot launch a second Model Xtractor application.

What’s more, you cannot launch an instance of Query Xtractor or Data Xtractor, if you have them installed. This is why we strongly recommend to purchase a license of Data Xtractor, instead of paying just for Query Xtractor and getting Model Xtractor for free.

On one single computer at a time. If you already have installed our product, with a license key, on a computer, and you install it also on another computer, you must deactivate the license key from the first computer before activating it on the second computer. If at some point you decide to move back to the first computer, deactivate it from your second computer and activate it again on your first computer.

No, you’ll loose nothing! All your imported database metadata, all your designed models and queries, continue to be fully accessible. What’s more, we don’t even deny you ANY functionality you had before. You continue to use the product with its full functionality even after the trial period expired, for as long as you want!

The only difference is we may introduce some random delays in the queries execution. If you use the product just once in a while, we don’t want you to pay anything for it. It’s only when you use it on a frequent basis that we beg you to consider acquiring a paid licence.

2. Configuration

File-Batch Connection Loader opens a custom ConnectionStrings.txt user file from your AppData\Local\Xtractor folder.

If you frequently connect and disconnect from databases and you’re not concerned with exposing those connection strings in a plain text file, create such file and fill it with your own data. Each line must start with a {dbms_type}; prefix and a valid ASP.NET connection string to your database, followed by a TAB and an optional description of your entry. Prefix with the whole line if for some reason the database became unavailable.

Nowhere. This is actually an important security measure we took: we never show in clear the password someone entered to connect to a database. In connection strings, the password always appears hidden, as ********.

If the connectivity has been established on your behalf by a database administrator, make sure the Save Password field is checked. This way, your connection parameters are persisted on our side, but you never need to know or enter the password.

Uncheck Save Password when you rather know the credentials and want to protect the database access better. This way, each time you launch the application, you are required again to enter the password.

By default, all your user data is collected into the SQLite file Xtractor.db, located under your AppData\Local\Xtractor user folder. If you remove an application and reinstall it, the user database is not removed and you may automatically reuse it again.

All our Xtractor applications will use and share by default this system database. If you use two different Xtractor applications – such as Model Xtractor and Data Xtractor – they will both use and share the same data. After you create some new models in Model Xtractor, the next time you launch Data Xtractor you’ll see those models automatically appear there as well.

It depends where you install it. If you install it in its default Program Files folder, all applications installed there require administrative privileges on setup. If you install it in a less restrictive folder – such as your AppData\Local folder, you may not have any restrictions at all. It is still possible some related database drivers may require admin privileges, because they are registered in the Registry.

3. Data Model

Use minified table, view or query shapes when you want to see the connected path between two (expanded) shapes and you’re not concerned through which other shapes it passes through. Unlike the collapsed shapes, minified shapes take less space and completely hide the underlying object name.

One typical example is when you have a model with many irrelevant intersection tables, with just the foreign keys of the related tables propagated as primary keys. In most cases, intersection tables are just a technical implementation detail of the relational many-to-many relationship.

minified

For instance, take the many-to-many relationship between Playlist and Track in the picture above, where PlaylistTrack is their intersection table. Most data modeling tools will show you only the first image, with all shapes expanded. But if you want to focus just on the main Playlist and Track tables and their n-n relationship, you can either collapse or minify the PlaylistTrack shape. Or remove it completely from the diagram and rather expand the Xtractor-specific derived chain relationship between the main tables.

No. None of the Xtractor applications can modify remote database data or metadata! We did this on purpose, to offer your database administrators a safe and secure interface through which users can query data and metadata, but never alter them.

What you can do is expand your database models with artifacts and extensions transparently saved in your local user database. You can create custom joins and aliases, chain relationships, hide table columns etc. None of these transformations will alter anything in the database itself. They will all come on top of the remote database model, as safe client side extensions.

In a model or query diagram, you start by dragging and dropping a table column over another table column. If a custom join is possible, a popup will open to help you eventually add more then one pair of columns for this join.

The join should make sense. For instance, you cannot pair columns with fundamentally different data types, such as one integer and the other one binary. You can however pair a tiny int column with a long int column. Examples of typical custom joins include on-the-fly relationships on First Name and Last Name columns. Unlike the database built-in foreign key joins, you can also remove the custom joins.

4. Query Design

When checked, the expression you have in that column will also appear in the top list of a SELECT SQL query. When unchecked, it doesn’t. But you may use that expression as filter, in a WHERE or HAVING clause, or for the ORDER BY.

Hide the whole Selection row if you want all column expressions to appear in the SELECT SQL query.

No. None of the Xtractor applications can modify remote database data or metadata! We did this on purpose, to offer your database administrators a safe and secure interface through which users can query data and metadata, but never alter them.

SELECT is the only kind of SQL query automatically generated by our designer. That’s actually a main strength of our application, that should give most database administrators the peace of mind, when they allow novice users connecting directly to a database.

Simply click on the Show Distinct small toggle toolbar button while in design mode of a query. Generated query will switch between SELECT and SELECT DISTINCT.