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Custom Connection String

  • 4 min to read

The Dashboard Designer provides the capability to connect to multiple types of SQL databases using the Data Source wizard. You can also use data access API to connect to the database and select the required data in code.

This tutorial describes how to establish a connection to any database by specifying the custom connection string that allows you to pass additional connection parameters.


The appropriate data provider must be installed on the client machine. For information on data providers, refer to the Supported Data Sources article.

Creating a Data Source in the Data Source Wizard

To connect to the database in the Dashboard Designer, perform the following steps.

  1. Click the New Data Source button in the Data Source ribbon tab.


  2. On the first page of the invoked Data Source Wizard dialog, select Database and click Next.


  3. On the next page, select the Custom connection string data provider and specify the Connection string.



    To specify the data provider for the custom connection string, use the XpoProvider parameter. Refer to the How to Specify a Custom Connection String for an SQL Data Source topic to see how to specify this parameter.

  4. Click Next and specify how to select data from the database.


    You can choose from the following options:

    • Select the Query option and click Run Query Builder... to invoke the Query Builder. The Query Builder allows you to choose the required tables/columns visually and passes the resulting SQL query to the SQL String editor. Subsequently, the text of the generated query returns to the Data Source wizard.


      Click Finish to create the data source.


      If you apply filtering or use query parameters, click Next to specify the parameter settings.

    • Select the Stored Procedure option to select one of the stored procedures from the database.


      Then click Next to specify the parameter settings.

  5. On the final page, you can optionally add query parameters and preview data.


    Click Finish to create the data source.

Creating a Data Source in Code

To create a data source that uses a custom connection string to connect to a database, create the instance of the DashboardSqlDataSource class and perform the following steps.

  1. Create the CustomStringConnectionParameters class object and specify the CustomStringConnectionParameters.ConnectionString property.

    Assign the resulting CustomStringConnectionParameters object to the SqlDataSource.ConnectionParameters property.


    As an alternative, you can add a connection string with required parameters to the application configuration file. Then, assign the connection string name to the SqlDataSource.ConnectionName property.

  2. Select the required data by specifying the query. You can do this in the following ways.

    • The SelectQuery object allows you to specify a set of tables/columns, which forms a SELECT statement when executing a query.
    • The CustomSqlQuery object allows you to specify an SQL query manually.
    • The StoredProcQuery object allows you to perform a stored procedure call to supply the dashboard with data.

    Add the created query to the SqlDataSource.Queries collection exposed by the DashboardSqlDataSource object.

  3. Add the created DashboardSqlDataSource object to the Dashboard.DataSources collection.

The following code snippet shows how to supply the dashboard with data from the Northwind database deployed on the MS SQL Server by specifying a connection string.

using DevExpress.DashboardCommon;
using DevExpress.DataAccess.ConnectionParameters;
using DevExpress.DataAccess.Sql;
// ...
            CustomStringConnectionParameters customstringParams = new CustomStringConnectionParameters();
            customstringParams.ConnectionString = "XpoProvider=MSSqlServer; Data Source=localhost; Initial Catalog=Northwind; User Id=username; Password=password;";

            DashboardSqlDataSource sqlDataSource = new DashboardSqlDataSource("Data Source 1", customstringParams);
            SelectQuery selectQuery = SelectQueryFluentBuilder
                .SelectColumns("CategoryName", "Extended Price")
                .Build("Query 1");