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Using ActiveRecord to access Microsoft SQL Server via ODBC

Recently I need to insert 400+ rows of data into an eight year old MSSQL 2000 and MSSQL 2008 database. It’s really a pain in the ass if I have to do it by hand or learning a new tool to do it. Luckily, I can use ActiveRecord to do that easily thanks to activerecord-sqlserver-adapter and and auto table field mapping of ActiveRecord.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide:

Install Ruby on Windows machine (that run SQL server). Download One-Click Ruby Installer for Windows for Ruby 1.8.6 P26 at

And install it. If you use the default setting, it will setup ruby at c:ruby folder with rubygem 0.9.3

Update RubyGems

Open “Command Prompt”

cd c:rubybin gem update –system

Install ActiveRecord with SQLServer Adapter

gem install activerecord-sqlserver-adapter –source=http://gems.rubyonrails.org

If the installation result is:

Successfully installed activesupport-2.2.2 Successfully installed activerecord-2.2.2 Successfully installed activerecord-sqlserver-adapter- 3 gems installed

Create a DSN (Data Source Name) Luckily I can reuse DNS from current ASP project so I don’t need to create new one. If you have to, you can follow guideline in [1].

Setup connection and create property ActiveRecord based classes

require “active_record”

:adapter => “sqlserver”,
:mode => “odbc”,
:username => “yourusername”,
:password => “yourpassword”,
:dsn => “yourDSN”


class AnyNameYouWant < ActiveRecord::Base
set_table_name “TableNeedToAccess”
set_primary_key “PrimaryID”

Start irb by:

cd c:rubybin irb

And paste above chuck of code in to irb. From now, you can use ActiveRecord based classes to read/write/add/remove SQL Server table as in a Rails script/console environment.

I also got a problem with Time.mktime and need to some code adjust by hand



Replace “Time.mktime” by “Datetime.new” will fix the problem [2]


[1] http://piao-tech.blogspot.com/2008/02/using-activerecord-with-microsoft-sql.html
[2] http://papillon.nwnx.org/index.php/archives/19

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