SAP HANA Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, SAP HANA Cloud

PowerBuilder: Article

DataWindow Magic: Menu Security

Designing and implementing your own

Security is a must for most corporate applications. This article will give you a starting point to designing and implementing your own. We will do it with a table that is added to the example database and implement it in ancestor code. The idea is that you should only have to add rows to a table to implement your security.

The Table
The security table will provide a means to turn on and off controls and menu items as our inherited objects are constructed.


Login_name varchar(20) PK

Application varchar(20) PK

Item_type varchar(10) PK

Item_name varchar(20) PK

Priviledge varchar(2)



Column Name

Data Type



Varchar(20) PK

The login name of the user


Varchar(20) PK

The name of the application


Varchar(10) PK

Might be window or menu or a type of control in a window like a command button. We will only cover menu types in this article.


Varchar(60) PK

Menu item name like "File" or "New"



NULL = no priviledges

R = read only

I = Invisible

W = read/write

The Item Datastore
Although I had several choices I decided to create a datastore that would return all of the specified item types for an application. If I was in a menu I could look for menus. If I was in a window I could look for windows.

Ds_security_list data source

SELECT "security"."application",  
FROM "security" 
WHERE ( "security"."item_type" = :as_itemType ) AND 
( "security"."application" = :as_appName ) AND 
"security"."login_name" = :as_loginName

This will give you all the items and privileges for the supplied application name and itemtype.

Now that we have this we can start our menu.

The Root Menu
Menus don't have constructors. We are going to implement our security with a function. I created a new menu and added a function called mf_loadSecurity.

Here is the code for mf_loadSecurity

M_root.mf_loadSecurity(as_loginName, as_appName)

// First get a list of all menu security items
datastore lds
lds = create datastore
lds.dataobject = "ds_security_list"
lds.settransobject( sqlca)

// Now retrieve
long ll_row, ll_max
ll_max = lds.retrieve(as_loginName, as_appName, "menu")

Let's discuss this code a little before we continue. As you'll see, handling a menu programmatically, for any reason, is necessarily complex.

The menu object has an array of items in it. Each of those items is another menu item that also has its array of items.

If the array of items in any particular menu item has no elements, then that is a bottom level menu item. If there are elements in the array then those elements compose the sub-menu for that menu item.

You might want to read the last couple of paragraphs a few times. Here, let me give you an example.

For my article I created a menu object inherited from m_root and named m_main that looks something like the following:

I didn't want to confuse the issue too much so I put in only the File menu option along the top. Under File I put New and Exit. Under New I put Test 1, Test 2, and Test 3.

Here is how the menu looks in the menu painter.

Note that I have an item called Invisible in the menu. This comes from m_root. I put it there to implement system-wide shortcuts. The visible property for this is FALSE.

For our test we are only concerned with the Test 1, Test 2, and Test 3 menu items. I am going to make Test 1 read-only and Test 2 invisible.

Since we have this metaphor of arrays of menu items within menu items we are forced to use recursion. Don't worry, though, we'll walk through it.

Recursion has been known to throw even the bravest programmer into fits of apprehension. Essentially we need two functions. One just fires off the recursive function for every element in its item array. The recursive function will check to see if the arguments to itself are a match. If so, it returns itself. If they are not then it loops through its own item array, calling itself for each element.

The function mf_loadSecurity calls the recursive function. The first part loads the datastore that holds the security list. We have already defined that. The mf_loadSecurity takes two arguments. Those are the arguments that are used to retrieve that array.

Once we retrieve that datastore we have a row for every row in the security table that matches the login name of the user and the application name has an item_type of ‘menu'. At this point we are not worried about the window security. The mf_loadSecurity will loop through all of those to work its magic.

Note that I could have gone the opposite route and looped through each and every menu item recursively then done a singleton select in each one. I chose the former because I think it will be rare that we will have a row for all of the menu items and thus this will be a faster response time. Here we do one call to the server for the result set rather than one call for every menu item.

I loop through every row. I extract the privilege and the item name for each row. I call the recursive function for each row, looking for the item. I pass myself and the item name.

The recursive function mf_findMenuItem will return the found menu item or a null. If it is a null then the menu item was not found.

If the item was indeed found then I set the appropriate property for that menu item (depending on the privilege that I just read).

If you look closely at the code for mf_loadSecurity while reading the explanation you should be able to understand rather easily.

mf_findMenuItem is the recursive function. It calls itself from within itself. Recursion is not terribly complicatee but you have to remember to give yourself some way to unwind from the function otherwise you waste a lot of processing.

M_root.mf_findMenuItem(menu amenu, string as_name)

//Are we there yet?
if amenu.text = as_name then
return amenu // Yes, we are... let's go home
end if
// This wasn't a match, we have to look in the item array

long ll_row, ll_max
menu lmenu_return // the return value
setNull(lmenu_return) // default to null

// Loop through the item array

ll_max = upperBound(amenu.item)
for ll_row = 1 to ll_max
// Call myself for every element in the array

lmenu_return = mf_findMenuItem(amenu.item[ll_row], as_name)
if isNull(lmenu_return) then
// It was not a match, look in the next element
return lmenu_return // We got a match, time to unwind
end if

// No match in the entire item array, sorry about that.
return lmenu_return

The comments should make this fairly obvious but I'll walk you through it anyway.

We have two arguments. One is the menu that we would like to search. Remember, it has its own item array. First we check to see if this menu item is a match. If it is then we're done. If it's not then we have to search every element in the item array for a match.

That's basically all there is to it.

Insert Security Rows in the Database
Next we need to insert the two rows in the database that will let us have the effect we want. One row has to set the ‘Test 1' menu item to read-only and the other sets ‘Test 2' to invisible.

Rows for our security table

INSERT INTO "security" 
( "login_name",  
"priviledge" ) 
VALUES ( 'dba',  
'Test 1',  
'R' )  ;

INSERT INTO "security" 
( "login_name",  
"priviledge" ) 
VALUES ( 'dba',  
'Test 2',  
'I' )  ;

Implementing the Menu Security
Now we inherit a window from w_root and we give it the m_main menu. Then we go to the open event of w_root and put in the following code:


m_root lmenu
lmenu = this.menuid
lmenu.mf_loadsecurity("dba" , "security_test" )

This should be pretty self-explanatory. You might not be aware of what the second line means. The menuid property of any window is the menu object that is assigned to that window.

You might wonder why I would add this code to the open event and not the ue_postOpen. The answer lies in the functionality of the open even and ue_postOpen.

The open event happens before the drawing of the window. The ue_postOpen is posted in the ancestor window (w_root) and therefore happens after the window is drawn. In our case we don't want the window to be displayed until after the security happens so this is one of the very rare instances where we want code in the open as opposed to the postOpen events.

The Final Touch
Lastly we have to add the code for the Application open event to fire everything off.

Application open event

// Profile EAS Demo DB V115
SQLCA.AutoCommit = False
SQLCA.DBParm = "ConnectString='DSN=EAS Demo DB V115;UID=dba;PWD=sql'"
connect using sqlca;


Of Course There Is Always More
If you think about the menu security you will soon realize that we don't allow for duplicate menu texts. Only the first match to a text will be found. We could change this by comparing the menu name rather than text. That would be something like m_root.m_file.m_new.Test1. That won't be a hard change if you want to do it yourself.

You could also use this metaphor to implement window level security. Using the same table then looping through the control array for the window in the open event looking for window controls that are in the security table for the user name and application. That should be simple enough for you now that you know how to do it.

NOTE: The code in this article uses my proprietary tools.pbl. You can reproduce it or you can write me asking for both the source of this article and the tools pbl as well. My e-mail address is at the bottom of the article.

Also, all the data for the application comes from the sample database that comes with PowerBuilder. That is the database that almost all of my readers have. I have had to expand the table though to support the needs of this article.

More Stories By Richard (Rik) Brooks

Rik Brooks has been programming in PowerBuilder since the final beta release before version 1. He has authored or co-authored five books on PowerBuilder including “The Definitive DataWindow”. Currently he lives in Mississippi and works in Memphis, Tennessee.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...