22.2.5.7. Handling BLOB Data With Connector/NET

Introduction

One common use for MySQL is the storage of binary data in BLOB columns. MySQL supports four different BLOB data types: TINYBLOB, BLOB, MEDIUMBLOB, and LONGBLOB.

Data stored in a BLOB column can be accessed using Connector/NET and manipulated using client-side code. There are no special requirements for using Connector/NET with BLOB data.

Simple code examples will be presented within this section, and a full sample application can be found in the Samples directory of the Connector/NET installation.

22.2.5.7.1. Preparing the MySQL Server

The first step is using MySQL with BLOB data is to configure the server. Let's start by creating a table to be accessed. In my file tables, I usually have four columns: an AUTO_INCREMENT column of appropriate size (UNSIGNED SMALLINT) to serve as a primary key to identify the file, a VARCHAR column that stores the file name, an UNSIGNED MEDIUMINT column that stores the size of the file, and a MEDIUMBLOB column that stores the file itself. For this example, I will use the following table definition:

CREATE TABLE file(
file_id SMALLINT UNSIGNED AUTO_INCREMENT NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY,
file_name VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
file_size MEDIUMINT UNSIGNED NOT NULL,
file MEDIUMBLOB NOT NULL);

After creating a table, you may need to modify the max_allowed_packet system variable. This variable determines how large of a packet (that is, a single row) can be sent to the MySQL server. By default, the server will only accept a maximum size of 1MB from our client application. If you do not intend to exceed 1MB, this should be fine. If you do intend to exceed 1MB in your file transfers, this number has to be increased.

The max_allowed_packet option can be modified using MySQL Administrator's Startup Variables screen. Adjust the Maximum permitted option in the Memory section of the Networking tab to an appropriate setting. After adjusting the value, click the Apply Changes button and restart the server using the Service Control screen of MySQL Administrator. You can also adjust this value directly in the my.cnf file (add a line that reads max_allowed_packet=xxM), or use the SET max_allowed_packet=xxM; syntax from within MySQL.

Try to be conservative when setting max_allowed_packet, as transfers of BLOB data can take some time to complete. Try to set a value that will be adequate for your intended use and increase the value if necessary.

22.2.5.7.2. Writing a File to the Database

To write a file to a database we need to convert the file to a byte array, then use the byte array as a parameter to an INSERT query.

The following code opens a file using a FileStream object, reads it into a byte array, and inserts it into the file table:

Visual Basic Example

Dim conn As New MySqlConnection
Dim cmd As New MySqlCommand

Dim SQL As String

Dim FileSize As UInt32
Dim rawData() As Byte
Dim fs As FileStream

conn.ConnectionString = "server=127.0.0.1;" _
    & "uid=root;" _
    & "pwd=12345;" _
    & "database=test"

Try
    fs = New FileStream("c:\image.png", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read)
    FileSize = fs.Length

    rawData = New Byte(FileSize) {}
    fs.Read(rawData, 0, FileSize)
    fs.Close()

    conn.Open()

    SQL = "INSERT INTO file VALUES(NULL, @FileName, @FileSize, @File)"

    cmd.Connection = conn
    cmd.CommandText = SQL
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@FileName", strFileName)
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@FileSize", FileSize)
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@File", rawData)

    cmd.ExecuteNonQuery()

    MessageBox.Show("File Inserted into database successfully!", _
    "Success!", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Asterisk)

    conn.Close()
Catch ex As Exception
    MessageBox.Show("There was an error: " & ex.Message, "Error", _
        MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error)
End Try
  

C# Example

MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlConnection conn;
MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlCommand cmd;

conn = new MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlConnection();
cmd = new MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlCommand();

string SQL;
UInt32 FileSize;
byte[] rawData;
FileStream fs;

conn.ConnectionString = "server=127.0.0.1;uid=root;" +
    "pwd=12345;database=test;";

try
{
    fs = new FileStream(@"c:\image.png", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read);
    FileSize = fs.Length;

    rawData = new byte[FileSize];
    fs.Read(rawData, 0, FileSize);
    fs.Close();

    conn.Open();

    SQL = "INSERT INTO file VALUES(NULL, @FileName, @FileSize, @File)";

    cmd.Connection = conn;
    cmd.CommandText = SQL;
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@FileName", strFileName);
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@FileSize", FileSize);
    cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@File", rawData);

    cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();

    MessageBox.Show("File Inserted into database successfully!",
        "Success!", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Asterisk);

    conn.Close();
}
catch (MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlException ex)
{
    MessageBox.Show("Error " + ex.Number + " has occurred: " + ex.Message,
        "Error", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error);
}
 

The Read method of the FileStream object is used to load the file into a byte array which is sized according to the Length property of the FileStream object.

After assigning the byte array as a parameter of the MySqlCommand object, the ExecuteNonQuery method is called and the BLOB is inserted into the file table.

22.2.5.7.3. Reading a BLOB from the Database to a File on Disk

Once a file is loaded into the file table, we can use the MySqlDataReader class to retrieve it.

The following code retrieves a row from the file table, then loads the data into a FileStream object to be written to disk:

Visual Basic Example

Dim conn As New MySqlConnection
Dim cmd As New MySqlCommand
Dim myData As MySqlDataReader
Dim SQL As String
Dim rawData() As Byte
Dim FileSize As UInt32
Dim fs As FileStream

conn.ConnectionString = "server=127.0.0.1;" _
    & "uid=root;" _
    & "pwd=12345;" _
    & "database=test"

SQL = "SELECT file_name, file_size, file FROM file"

Try
    conn.Open()

    cmd.Connection = conn
    cmd.CommandText = SQL

    myData = cmd.ExecuteReader

    If Not myData.HasRows Then Throw New Exception("There are no BLOBs to save")

    myData.Read()

    FileSize = myData.GetUInt32(myData.GetOrdinal("file_size"))
    rawData = New Byte(FileSize) {}

    myData.GetBytes(myData.GetOrdinal("file"), 0, rawData, 0, FileSize)

    fs = New FileStream("C:\newfile.png", FileMode.OpenOrCreate, FileAccess.Write)
    fs.Write(rawData, 0, FileSize)
    fs.Close()

    MessageBox.Show("File successfully written to disk!", "Success!", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Asterisk)

    myData.Close()
    conn.Close()
Catch ex As Exception
    MessageBox.Show("There was an error: " & ex.Message, "Error", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error)
End Try
  

C# Example

MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlConnection conn;
MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlCommand cmd;
MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlDataReader myData;

conn = new MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlConnection();
cmd = new MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlCommand();

string SQL;
UInt32 FileSize;
byte[] rawData;
FileStream fs;

conn.ConnectionString = "server=127.0.0.1;uid=root;" +
    "pwd=12345;database=test;";

SQL = "SELECT file_name, file_size, file FROM file";

try
{
    conn.Open();

    cmd.Connection = conn;
    cmd.CommandText = SQL;

    myData = cmd.ExecuteReader();

    if (! myData.HasRows)
        throw new Exception("There are no BLOBs to save");

    myData.Read();

    FileSize = myData.GetUInt32(myData.GetOrdinal("file_size"));
    rawData = new byte[FileSize];

    myData.GetBytes(myData.GetOrdinal("file"), 0, rawData, 0, FileSize);

    fs = new FileStream(@"C:\newfile.png", FileMode.OpenOrCreate, FileAccess.Write);
    fs.Write(rawData, 0, FileSize);
    fs.Close();

    MessageBox.Show("File successfully written to disk!",
        "Success!", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Asterisk);

    myData.Close();
    conn.Close();
}
catch (MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlException ex)
{
    MessageBox.Show("Error " + ex.Number + " has occurred: " + ex.Message,
        "Error", MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error);
}
 

After connecting, the contents of the file table are loaded into a MySqlDataReader object. The GetBytes method of the MySqlDataReader is used to load the BLOB into a byte array, which is then written to disk using a FileStream object.

The GetOrdinal method of the MySqlDataReader can be used to determine the integer index of a named column. Use of the GetOrdinal method prevents errors if the column order of the SELECT query is changed.

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