Geoserver – CREATE View

Geoserver has this really great feature whereby admins are able to create views that are held with the configuration of the Geoserver but separate from the database. This allows admins the ability to create views WITHOUT the need to have database admin rights on the server. This is particularly useful where you have an onsite vendor database that you would not otherwise be allowed to write views in but nonetheless you require some way to store spatially enabled views .

Quick setup guide how to do this.

Firstly go to layers and hit

Select the Store that you are interested in

Next you should see text and just hit it.

Then there will be a place where you can put the SQL Statement in.

Postgres : Create Table SQL Syntax Best Practice

For primary keys it is now the recommendation to use identity during table creation.

Apparently it explicitly conveys the purpose of the column and aligns with SQL standards thus it is important to use when possible rather than the former serial command. In theory this should be more portable as well.

Depending on what source you read you may or may not need the following extension to create UUIDs – I needed it but I am told it should be in the main library.


So here is standard code for creating a table with three columns

CREATE TABLE t001example 
genuuid uuid DEFAULT gen_random_uuid(),
sitename varchar(500)

And these are example values

cPanel – Just gets better and better

Good self service Web Hosting Management software is just a game changer for Dev Ops work.

Every year I learn a bit more and every year they probably improve it a bit more. I am really very far off the cutting edge so I can’t speak to cutting edge improvements of the whole platform but I can talk to the options that I am continually learning.

  • Being able to quickly create, manage and backup additonal wordpress sites for zero cost
  • Being able to quickly create, manage and backup additional mysql databases for zero cost
  • Being able to host additional CRUD applications for zero cost (with thanks to PHPRunner)
  • Being able to create and manage email addresses easily
  • .

    AND NOW……

    Being able to quickly manage the update PHP versions is just amazing…


    Log into cPanel

  • Under Software click MultiPHP Manager
  • Make a note of of your current version on the domain
  • Select an updated version of PHP and click Apply
  • Visit your site to confirm that the change has not broken your site.
  • If the site is broken, you can switch back to the previous PHP version
  • .

    Yes its that easy

    Things I want next
    Front end cPanel at InMotion backend SQL Server in Azure
    Front end cPanel at InMotion backend Postgres Server in Azure
    Postgres backends in cPanel

    cPanel rocks
    and so does PHP and PHPRunner
    and AI when it can learn to spell and count!
    (yes the picture annoys me as well)

    Device Name – Quickest ways to Identify on Windows x64

    Computing tries hard to obfuscate the device that is actually running the software that you are using. That is particularly the case with cloud computing and its particularly the case with web enabled software. Are you logging into the software that manages the database? or are you logging into the database itself?

    Irrespective software gets installed on an individual machine and it is often important to know the name of that machine as that software might have its own username and password requirement and you need to know the username/password combination for the particular installation you are trying to access.

    This is often confusing for database servers – increasingly I am trying to remember a broad map of what computers are where and what servers are where so I can at least reference them accurately.

    Two ways to find the DEVICE NAME on a windows machine (there are others)

    In the Windows Search bar type


    or in the Windows Search bar type


    About will give you this

    Device Manager will give you this

    Note you can get to that About screen through file explorer by right clicking on this PC and selecting Properties – but it is slower than just typing about in the Windows Search box.

    GeoServer and ORACLE – WFS & WMS Config Tips

    This post is a brief description of my findings on setting up Geoserver from scratch and some particular points on setting it up for an Oracle connection. I hope it will prove useful for others.

    GeoServer with ORACLE database connection support
    Geoserver Postgres (PostGIS) connection support comes with the default installation. This is NOT the case for Oracle or SQL Server therefore for enterprise purposes it is a requirement to install Geoserver WITH Oracle and SQL Server extensions if you wish to support these database connections.

    I’ve done a post on Geoserver on windows installation link here that talks specifically about SQL Server. I will not go into a lot of detail about installation here. See below for links to the geoserver docker image I didn’t install the geoserver I describe here but I can confirm that we have been successful in including Oracle as a plugin to our Geoserver installation and we are able to connect.

    Official Geoserver Docker Image GITHUB

    Below is a recent (Feb 2024) list of Docker parameters available at install including Oracle and SQL Server please seek advice on the use of Docker for installation if you are not familiar with it already.


    Contact Information – General Setup
    On the Welcome screen there is a line that reads For more information visit {organization} to change this from the initial meaningless variable setting go to Contact Information and fill out your organisation.

    Difference between Save and Apply – General point

    In geoserver admin there are a lot of pages where there is a Save and an Apply button. Most users initially at least find this confusing.

    In GeoServer, the terms “Save” and “Apply” serve different purposes:

    When you click “Save”, it permanently stores the changes you’ve made to the configuration. These changes are saved in the GeoServer configuration files. , “Save” ensures that your modifications persist even after restarting GeoServer or rebooting the system. It’s like committing your changes to a version control system—it makes them permanent.
    “Apply”, on the other hand, is more immediate. When you click “Apply”, it takes the current configuration (including any unsaved changes) and applies it dynamically. The applied changes take effect immediately without requiring a restart or permanent storage. Think of it as a temporary adjustment that affects the running instance of GeoServer but doesn’t alter the saved configuration. In summary, “Save” makes changes permanent, while “Apply” applies them immediately without saving them to the configuration files

    The first thing you will want to do is determine if you can actually connect to your ORACLE database.

    ORACLE required parameters for database connection. Before you continue make sure you have the following

    ORACLE host name
    Port ORACLE database (default 1521)
    database name
    user – case sensitive
    password – case sensitive
    Geoserver installed with Oracle extension

    It is good idea to get your DBA to setup a read only user if you are connecting to a database that is part of a vendor supplied product as you really should not be editing the database through anything except the vendor’s UI and Geoserver can be setup to allow edit of data. Geoserver has powerful security configuration included but conflicting settings can arise that may alter the intended security levels making it safer to enforce read only least privilege at the database level.

    ORACLE and Postgres – some SQL Differences
    Please be aware Oracle databases are by default case sensitive but may convert SQL Strings to upper case when passed to Oracle. I believe this complies strictly with the SQL Standard.

    Postgres classifies tables, columns views and other database objects as Identifiers. SQL Identifiers must begin with a letter. If possible avoid including special characters in the naming of identifiers because although postgres may support them special characters are not allowed in the SQL Standard so their use might render applications less portable. Additional identifiers and keyword must begin with a letter. Keywords are defined as items such as SELECT / UPDATE / CREATE etc.. The SQL Standard says that databases should not define a key word that contains a digit or starts or ends with an underscore so identifiers could be something like t001users should be safe against possible conflict with future extensions of the standard. In postgres the maximum identifier length is 63 bytes. Additionally Postgres also folds unquoted names to lower case but some postgres management UIs allow for the naming of identifiers with varied case.

    UPSHOT for Geoserver (and anything else for that matter)

    If you are having difficulty referencing tables or views in any enterprise database – experiment with the case sensitivity in the query. There might be some folding of object names when passed to the server.
    This characteristic should be born in mind when using SQL Views in Geoserver.

    ORACLE Store setup to get the most out of Geoserver
    Login to Geoserver admin panel using your admin account

    On the left hand side under Data hit Stores

    Assuming you have successfully installed Geoserver with the Oracle extension you should be presented with the following dialog and in particular the items highlighted below.

    Oracle NG uses a standard Oracle driver (ignore the other options this article will not explain them)

    Select Oracle NG

    Use the default settings for most things but IMPORTANTLY ensure Expose Primary Keys is ticked

    NOTE from our brief testing we found that exposing primary keys seemed to be one factor that improved stability in our Oracle connection when dealing with QGIS.

    QGIS WFS set up to improve Oracle Connection Stability
    It is recommended that you have a copy of QGIS to test setup to things like WFS

    When we first started displaying specifically the Oracle spatially enabled table in QGIS via WFS service we found that the layer would initially display but if we were to leave the project and go back in for a period of time the layer would not be visible. This seemed to be temporary and after an unpredictable amount of time the layer would reappear. The attribute table continued to be viewable but polygons were not visible.

    We fixed this by ensuring Expose Primary Key (see Geoserver layer configuration) was ticked and within QGIS within the WFS Connection Configuration ensure within the WFS options section that the version is set to match the linked WFS Service. This might not be necessary in all QGIS versions.

    LAYER Config
    Useful background information (partly written by co-pilot)

    Enabled and Advertised parameters – Layer Config
    In GeoServer, the Enabled and Advertised checkboxes play distinct roles in layer configuration:

    When a layer is enabled, it means that the layer is available for requests (such as WMS GetMap or WMS GetFeature). If a layer is not enabled, it won’t be accessible for any kind of request. However, it will still appear in the configuration (and in the REST config). Essentially, enabling a layer makes it operational and ready to serve data.
    By default, a layer is advertised. An advertised layer is included in the GetCapabilities request and appears in the layer preview. However, if you uncheck the Advertised checkbox, the layer will still be available for data access requests (like WMS), but it won’t appear in any capabilities documents or previews. In other words, non-advertised layers remain functional but are not explicitly listed in service metadata. Remember, enabling a layer makes it operational, while advertising it determines whether it appears in service capabilities and previews

    Name and Title parameters – Layer Config
    The Name corresponds to the identifier used to reference the layer in WMS (Web Map Service) requests. It is primarily used for computer interaction and serves as an internal reference default name is usually the name of the table or the name of the referenced view. When creating a new layer for an already-published resource, the Name must be unique to avoid conflicts. Essentially, it’s the technical name associated with the layer.
    The Title provides a human-readable description that briefly identifies the layer to clients. Unlike the Name, which is for computers, the Title is meant for humans to read. It helps users understand the purpose or content of the layer. For example, if you have a layer representing a map of the USA, you might set the Title to “This is a map of USA.” Remember, while the Name is essential for system functionality, the Title enhances user experience by providing meaningful context about the layer1

    Security – the Name does not need to be the table or view name you are referencing. This string appears in the URL which may be viewable to the user – you may wish to obfuscate this by changing the name

    i18n – Internalization – Layer Config
    Internationalization (i18n):
    GeoServer supports returning a GetCapabilities document (used for describing available services and layers) in various languages. The i18n functionality is available for the following services:
    WMS 1.1 and 1.3
    WFS 2.0
    WCS 2.0
    The i18n editor allows you to provide translations for the title and abstract of various components:
    Layers configuration page
    Layergroups configuration page
    WMS, WFS, and WCS service configuration pages
    Additionally, for Styles, there’s a separate i18n configuration (see i18N in SLD).By default, the i18n editor is disabled and can be enabled via the i18n checkbox.

    GetCapabilities Document Language:
    The language of the GetCapabilities document can be selected using the AcceptLanguages request parameter.GeoServer’s response varies based on the following rules:
    Internationalized elements include titles, abstracts, and keywords.If a single language code is specified (e.g., AcceptLanguages=en), GeoServer tries to return content in that language.If multiple language codes are specified (e.g., AcceptLanguages=en,fr), GeoServer attempts to return content in one of the specified languages.

    Coordinate Reference Systems – Declared SRS and SRS handling – Layer Config

    If you are in the UK ensure that Declared SRS is set to 27700

    SRS Handling
    In GeoServer, the SRS handling setting plays a crucial role in how coordinate reference systems (CRS) are managed. Let’s explore its significance:

    Declared SRS:
    The Declared SRS specifies the coordinate system that GeoServer publishes to clients. It represents the CRS that clients should use when interacting with the layer. Essentially, it’s the officially declared CRS associated with the layer.
    SRS Handling:
    The SRS Handling option determines how GeoServer should handle projection transformations when the declared CRS and the native CRS of the data differ. Here are the possible values for SRS Handling:
    Force declared (default): In this mode, GeoServer forces the declared SRS upon the data, overwriting the native CRS if necessary.
    Other options (not mentioned in the snippet):
    Reproject native to declared: GeoServer performs a reprojection from the native CRS to the declared CRS.
    Reproject declared to native: GeoServer reprojects from the declared CRS to the native CRS.
    None: No reprojection is performed; the data remains in its native CRS.
    In summary, the SRS handling setting ensures that data is presented consistently to clients, regardless of the underlying native CRS. It’s a critical aspect of maintaining accurate spatial information in GeoServer1.

    Bounding Box recommendations – Layer Config

    Min X = 010000
    Min Y = 533000

    Max X = 464000
    Max Y = 1215000

    West Lothian

    Min X = 287000
    Min Y = 655000

    Max X = 314000
    Max Y = 678000


    Workspace setup and visibility in WFS
    Workspaces can allow for editing and not editing of information although to date I seem to be struggling to isolate layers and workspaces to allow them to be edited or not edited. One thing that is important in our present system is to Enable the settings in the Basic info – without this the layers within the workspace were not showing up in the WFS

    Restrictions on Layers : Important Note

    Important – Workspace Security settings override Layer Security Settings

    If you need to have different layer security settings within one Workspace you will need to turn off all Workspace security settings e.g see below.

    Geoserver Installation (Configuration for SQL Server on Windows)

    Once you have your data in an Enterprise Grade database sharing that information becomes important. Some vendors, in particular Digital mapping SAAS vendors want you to transfer your data into their clouds but for a lot of authorities that is categorically impossible for large segments of their data. For example about 3/4 of UK planning authorities run on software built by a company called IDOX Group plc which holds its data in Oracle this cannot be moved. For Geographical data here’s where Geoserver comes in.

    Geoserver Official Website

    From the website
    GeoServer is an open source server for sharing geospatial data.
    Designed for interoperability, it publishes data from any major spatial data source using open standards.

    GeoServer implements industry standard OGC protocols such as Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Map Service (WMS), and Web Coverage Service (WCS). Additional formats and publication options are available as extensions including Web Processing Service (WPS), and Web Map Tile Service (WMTS).

    Another way of putting it Geoserver allows programs that display and manipulate geographic information to display and edit that data while keeping it safe and secure and located in enterprise databases. It can connect to SQL Server / Postgresql and I am told Oracle which are the main relational databases used by Local authorities today so once setup and configured it could be used to compare and contrast information in one location from variable datastores. Datastores that for historical reasons cannot be moved. Here I concentrate on SQL Server because we have a particular issue with new systems needing to connect to SQL Server but it would be great if we could get it working with Oracle as well.

    The following are my notes on installation and configuration of Geoserver on Windows linking to SQL Server and in this case a remote(not on the same computer) SQL Azure instance I believe any remote SQL Server instance would be similar. This post is a detailed explanation of the installation of Geoserver locally on a laptop but I believe installation would be exactly the same on a Windows Server machine albeit additional steps would be required to publish to the web either internally or externally.

    Its all configuration so remember your host names / IP numbers / ports / usernames / passwords / database, table and column names

    To start this tutorial please ensure the following resources are available;

  • SSMS – installation of Sql Server Management Studio
  • SQL Azure instance with privileges to run SQL. Please note you will need to know the port number of your SQL server instance and have a Username and Password for your user.
  • Necessary privileges to set the firewall on the database which you will link to Geoserver –
  • QGIS – installation – If you don’t have a SQL Server instance with geodatabase already that you can use you will probably need this to add at least one record to a geometry enabled table I plan to expand my notes on this but at present you might be able to skip this
  • Geoserver 2.24.1 – installation files
  • Enough privileges on the computer you are installing geoserver to download installation files and move files into a library subdirectory of the c:/program file/geoserver directory
  • WorkFlow Synopsis Overview
    1)Download and install Java runtime engine (as above importantly here I use 11)
    2)Download and install Geoserver (2.24.1 in this case)
    3)Test that the Geoserver Admin dashboard is up and working
    4)Download and configure Geoserver Extension for SQL Server library (SQL Azure example)
    5)Good idea to setup a login specifically to your SQL Azure instance with least privilege – Your SQL Server instance with geodatabases may already have suitable logins. So steps 5 and 6 can be skipped
    6)Good idea to create an example table with Geodatabase in SQL Azure – will be used as a test connection table – NOTE if you already have a SQL Server with geodatabases you could use that instead.
    7)White list IP within the SQL Azure instance firewall rules to Geoserver computer
    8)Opening Geoserver and setting the ‘Store’ to reference your SQL Azure database using the login setup in step 5.
    9)Adding a new layer from the Store made in point 8 and seeing if you can Preview the layer – Ideally you should have a table that has some features in it. Setting the WMS and WFS up in Geoserver with sufficient rights to allow editing (if WFS setup)
    10)I don’t explain it in my post below but the next step would be to test in QGIS to see if you can setup a project in QGIS which can pull from Geoserver against a basemap and you check that the Polygons are actually where you want them to be.

    Workflow Detailed
    1)Download the install Java Runtime via JDK

    There are some complications here
    Initially I tried to use the Java Runtime engine 17 and went through the complete Geoserver installation but on testing I was getting a Java error when trying to view layers. After a short google I came across a stack overflow thread that indicated that geoserver support for JDE 17 was experimental and I should use Java Runtime engine 11. Deinstallation of 17 and installation of 11 solved this.

    Additionally there is the issue of where you obtain the Java Runtime installation from – there is the Adoptium location and then there is Oracle location. Oracle are making moves to charge for use of their Java Runtime engine so it is important that you use Adoptium resource to reduce costs.

    Later I will list the url to the JDK download for Java Runtime engine but it is important to realise that Adoptium is a safe source, well supported and noted as open source.


    Google Search for Adoptium

    Navigate to other platforms and versions and target windows 64 bit JDK and 11 LTS version and download the .msi.

    After a short delay you will be shown the msi which will be in your downloads folder

    Double click on it to install.

    Now the only thing that is tricky here is to setup the java home directory as follows

    Video Installing Adoptium JDK on Windows

    In particular note this section

    2) Download and install Geoserver

    Go to the official Geoserver web page and follow the links to download the windows installer

    Here I use the windows version of Geoserver version 2.41.1 obtained January 2024 from the following url
    Geoserver Official Website

    See download button and then go to Windows Installer

    I chose the left option and then I chose the Windows Installer option

    This will download Geoserver-2.24.1-winsetup.exe to your download directory and you can then start the geoserver installation process

    Next open up the executable and follow the instructions

    Next agree the licence

    Next we reference the java library installed in the previous step – if you have set the java_home variable correctly it should automatically find JRE 11 for you and it will place it within the path reference below. I don’t have a screenshot of the JRE 11 reference here as on my first installation I referenced the Oracle 17 JRE – (note I went back de-installed geoserver installed JRE 11 and then reinstalled geoserver to counter the proprietary Oracle runtime library and importantly to fix the issue that I was facing of geoserver not being compatible with JRE 17

    The rest of the install from here is standard for a windows install

    Next setup the default admin password – defaults are admin / geoserver

    Set up port geoserver runs on – default is 8080

    Next choose the execution type I like to install geoserver as a service

    Confirm your preferences and then trigger install

    Now you should see geoserver on your local machine as a service which you will need to ensure is running to access properly

    3) Test that Geoserver Admin dashboard is up and working at least locally

    If you have used the same settings as me open a browser and navigate to the following url


    Login with the username and password which is usually admin / geoserver

    At which point you should see something similar to the following

    4) Download and configure Geoserver Extension for SQL Server

    At install Geoserver comes with the ability to connect to Postgres but NOT SQL Server so we must install/configure plugin extension to enable Geoserver SQL Server connections.

    Here we go back to the website and go to download but this time instead of choosing the windows installer we look to the Extensions section and choose SQL Server

    This should download geoserver-sqlserver extension plugin

    Next copy all files with the jar suffix into the following directory

    C/program files/GeoServer/webapps/geoserver/WEb-Inf/Lib

    Next restart the geoserver and go back to the local host and sign in


    We are now very close to linking to SQL Server prior to that we must whitelist our geoserver so that your SQL Server instances will accept connections from your geoserver. Steps 5 and 6 are more about creating a user and ensuring you have a geodatabase with a georeferenced table skip to 7 if you want to read about white listing in SQL Azure or you have an alternative database that you could use with requirements already set up.

    5) Next its a good idea to create a user with least privilege this will be used to set up the link so go to SSMS

    Least privilege User Login Setup SQL Server

    Here allow the amount of access you wish users to have remembering the principles of least privilege

    6) Lets create an example table with geometry that we will be connecting
    When I first tried connecting to SQL Server (SQL Azure in my case) I didn’t have any georeferenced tables so I created one and added a few records. If you have a database already with tables with geometry or geography you might not need to do this step.

    So open SSMS and navigate to your database and use the following TSQL to create a table here I call it t064

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t064](
    [PKID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    [geomcol] [geometry] NULL,
    [sitename] [varchar](30) NULL,
    [PKID] ASC

    This is a really simple table with three columns and you might want to link to it through QGIS and just create a few records – I would try and use a default projection of 27700 if you are UK based. I might come back with an example table with records..

    If you want to link to this table for testing then you should try and input at least one record here. I added records using QGIS and I hope to come back to this post and update it to be more specific

    7) White List the IP within your SQL Server or SQL Azure instance.
    Setting IP White List in SQL Azure

    8) Opening Geoserver and setting the ‘Store’ to reference your SQL Azure database using the login setup in step 5

    Navigate to the local host url for Geoserver namely


    Go to store and then you should see the following page

    Hit the Add New Store green plus button in the top left corner you will be presented with the following screen

    Fill out as many details as you can

    For SQL Azure this is likely to be similar to the following

    Host = (normally unique to instance in SQL Azure)
    Port = 1433 (sql azure default)
    Schema = dbo (sql azure default is dbo but your database maybe bespoke)
    User = uservariable (remember least privilege is a good idea)
    Passwd = passwordvariable (should be unique to your database)

    Save and Apply and then your new connection should appear in your store

    Here’s an example…. (see top line)

    For the purposes of this tutorial I setup a login with db_owner rights to the database LandRegisterAzure your mileage will vary.

    9) Next we add the layer which references the SQL Server

    Select Layers within the Data section of the menu (usually to the left of the geoserver dashboard) then hit Add a new layer

    You should get the following windows

    From the drop down select the store which references your SQL server. This will reveal all the tables and views in the database and you scroll through them to the table or view you wish to publish and in the column marked Action will be publish you can hit the Publish highlighted text (I’ve done that here already so under Action our table is marked as Publish again and there is a tick in the column titled Published.

    We can now quickly test to see if things look like they are working by going to Layer Preview.

    Look to the left hand side and select Layer Preview

    Scroll down through the list and identify the layer that you have just added. I now select the open layers option

    A new browser tab will open and if you have successfully configured the SQL Server you should be presented with your layer – without any background

    10) I don’t go into it here but next I will try and write up my notes on QGIS and Geoserver setup – On my laptop I managed to set up a WFS to my SQL Azure instance through Geoserver where the layer was added to a project and I was able to edit information in my SQL Azure database through QGIS and were displayed correctly against a basemap in the right place!!


    Spatial Data Hub Scotland

    Planning in the UK has for a long time suffered from a classic siloing of data by authority resulting in slow and varied analysis of information. Authorities relied on talented motivated individuals with particular interests and skills to develop bespoke solutions that assisted in the development of things like housing land audits , population forecasts , capital planning and local plan development which while often impressive individually struggled to transfer between authorities.

    The continual improvement of digital tools has dramatically improved standardisation of the attributes of particular spatial data sets and database technology originally developed for accounting systems and flight control systems is starting to be applied to the amalgamation and analysis of planning related information. Within the UK different regions are progressing along this path at different rates. Scotland now has a body the Improvement Service who has a specific remit to collect spatial planning data which they do at something call the Spatial Data Hub.

    The Spatial data hub at 08 January 2024 had 59 datasets listed at Scotland coverage level. Including
    Planning application boundaries
    School Catchment Areas
    Housing Land Supply
    Vacant and Derelict Land
    Employment Land

    The improvement service has been building these datasets for a number of years now however last year they expanded general access to much of the information and I have since been experimenting with it to see what can be achieved.

    Additional CSS for WordPress

    Very useful when coupled with OceanWP and Code Block Pro – Beautiful Syntax Highlighting

    .newwidth {
            width: 600px;
            max-width: 100%; /* This prevents it from exceeding the screen width */
            margin: 0 auto; /* This centers the block horizontally */
            text-align: center; /* This centers the content within the block */

    SQL Azure – Using a Trigger to watch changes on fields

    The below trigger monitors a table called t001Table4Monitoring and four particular fields / 3 date fields and one integer field. It monitors the trigger table and compares new values to old values using simple subtraction. As a comparison between null and a value will always return null we need to catch situations were a field is changed from null or to null hence the ISNULL section. The record has a bit field that is updated to True if change is detected.

    This code was created with the help of GPT-4

    CREATE TRIGGER [dbo].[trg_Update_t001Table4Monitoring]
    ON [dbo].[t001Table4Monitoring]
        IF UPDATE(Date01Monitor) OR UPDATE(Date02Monitor) OR UPDATE(Date03Monitor) OR UPDATE(IntegerMonitor)
            -- Get old and new values
            DECLARE @old_Date01Monitor DATE, @new_Date01Monitor DATE;
            DECLARE @old_Date02Monitor DATE, @new_Date02Monitor DATE;
            DECLARE @old_Date03Monitor DATE, @new_Date03Monitor DATE;
            DECLARE @old_IntegerMonitor INT, @new_IntegerMonitor INT;
            SELECT @old_Date01Monitor = Date01Monitor, @old_Date02Monitor = Date02Monitor, @old_Date03Monitor = Date03Monitor, @old_IntegerMonitor = IntegerMonitor FROM deleted;
            SELECT @new_Date01Monitor = Date01Monitor, @new_Date02Monitor = Date02Monitor, @new_Date03Monitor = Date03Monitor, @new_IntegerMonitor = IntegerMonitor FROM inserted;
            -- Check if values have changed
            IF (ISNULL(@old_Date01Monitor, '1900-01-01') <> ISNULL(@new_Date01Monitor, '1900-01-01')) OR 
               (ISNULL(@old_Date02Monitor, '1900-01-01') <> ISNULL(@new_Date02Monitor, '1900-01-01')) OR 
               (ISNULL(@old_Date03Monitor, '1900-01-01') <> ISNULL(@new_Date03Monitor, '1900-01-01')) OR 
               (ISNULL(@old_IntegerMonitor, 0) <> ISNULL(@new_IntegerMonitor, 0))
                UPDATE dbo.t001Table4Monitoring
                SET RecordChanged = 1
                FROM dbo.t001Table4Monitoring t
                INNER JOIN inserted i ON t.pkid = i.pkid

    SQL Azure – Adjusting for different timezones a practical example

    Here I create a main table which can be used to translate times into a UTC value using a function I store here. It should be noted that if you have a field with variable type set to datetime and you set the default to GetDate() – the server will create a UTC value on record creation but time is set on the server and with SQL Azure you don’t have an option to change it.

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[MainTable](
    	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    	[storeddatetime] [datetime] NULL,
    	[timezonename] [nvarchar](128) NULL
    	[pkid] ASC
    ) ON [PRIMARY]
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[MainTable] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_MainTable_storeddatetime]  DEFAULT (getdate()) FOR [storeddatetime]

    Next we create a timezone table

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[TimeZoneTable](
    	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    	[timezonename] [nvarchar](128) NULL,
    	[pkid] ASC
    ) ON [PRIMARY]

    And we can populate this from sys.time_zone_info table.

    INSERT INTO TimeZoneTable (timezonename)
    SELECT name FROM sys.time_zone_info;

    We can create a function to convert this datetime value knowing the timezone into UTC is as follows

    CREATE FUNCTION dbo.fn_ConvertToUTC (@localDatetime DATETIME, @timeZone NVARCHAR(128))
        DECLARE @utcDatetime DATETIME;
        SET @utcDatetime = @localDatetime AT TIME ZONE @timeZone AT TIME ZONE 'UTC';
        RETURN @utcDatetime;

    Now runnig the following query on some example data we get the following

        dbo.fn_ConvertToUTC(storeddatetime, timezonename) AS utcValue

    And here is a function that will convert to local time from utc

    CREATE FUNCTION dbo.fn_ConvertToLocal (@utcDatetime DATETIME, @timeZone NVARCHAR(128))
        DECLARE @localDatetime DATETIME;
        SET @localDatetime = @utcDatetime AT TIME ZONE 'UTC' AT TIME ZONE @timeZone;
        RETURN @localDatetime;

    Javascript option
    The getTimezoneOffset() method of the Date object in JavaScript calculates the difference, in minutes, between the local time zone and the UTC time zone 1. The method returns a positive value if the local time zone is behind UTC, and a negative value if the local time zone is ahead of UTC 1.

    The method works by subtracting the local time zone offset from UTC time. For example, if the local time zone is 5 hours behind UTC, then the method will return 300 (5 * 60) 2

    Everyone gets beaten by Complexity

    I don’t do that many strategic posts these days (compared with my first posts) but this is really a reminder to myself to always seek out the simplest solution especially when configuring systems and writing code. Less is generally always better. The above post was a DALL E production and the below graph is the simpler one which QED actually makes sense. I would suggest that the line moves to the right with improved education of staff / time / money and number of staff but eventually productivity dramatically drops with complexity no matter how much money , time or people.

    SQL Server Express – Connection to QGIS issues with geometry display

    I was having issues displaying polygons stored in SQL Server Express locally within a QGIS 3.28 project.

    After having quizzed unsuccessfully GPT 4.0 I found the answer on good old Stack Overflow.

    As part of your SQL Server Express installation you should have installed SQL Server Configuration Manager. Open this administration package and navigate to your instance to show the following;

    Make sure both Named Pipes and TCP/IP are enabled.

    That fixed it for me
    Important note the host connection string IS case sensitive and sometimes when you use the properties from within SSMS to look at the hostname it capitalise things so watch out! That caught me out for half an hour!!

    And here is my definition of the geometry table

    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[geometry_columns](
    [pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    [f_table_catalog] [varchar](50) NULL,
    [f_table_schema] [varchar](50) NULL,
    [f_table_name] [varchar](100) NULL,
    [f_geometry_column] [varchar](50) NULL,
    [coord_dimension] [int] NULL,
    [srid] [int] NULL,
    [geometry_type] [varchar](50) NULL,
    [pkid] ASC
    ) ON [PRIMARY]

    PHPRunner – Pass Value to CSS Reference using Javascript in a pop up

    Javascript is very powerful and will easily calculate all sorts of interesting things for you dynamically. In PHPRunner I use the popup windows for nearly every table or view form so I wanted it to work with these.

    But with PHPRunner we want to store these in the database. I had a devilish time finding a way of referencing the field with which to copy any Javascript value into. After some lengthy discussion with ChatGPT 4 (via Bing) it suggested that I might try and use the CSS Selector.

    I then discovered that I couldn’t seem to identify the name of the CSS Selector.

    What I discovered is that I could not see a static CSS Selector reference for any of the fields except those that I had altered the formatting on for example changing the font to Roboto Mono.

    So first step choose your target field and then alter it using the PHP page designer and then publish.

    What I discovered was after that I could use the inspect item to identify the CSS Selector

    On the published application navigate to the form and the field you wish to target for entry right click and select inspect.

    Look to the DevTools window (in chrome and you should see in bold the css names of your field

    You can then ask ChatGPT the following

    Can you parse the input css selector I need from the following string that can be used by javascipt to be passed a value

    [data-page="t0017_add"][data-itemid="integrated_edit_field4"][data-page="t0017_add"][data-itemid="integrated_edit_field4"][data-page="t0017_add"][data-itemid="integrated_edit_field4"][data-page="t0017_add"][data-itemid="integrated_edit_field4"] > * > * > input

    An element is a part of a webpage. In XML and HTML, an element may contain a data item or a chunk of text or an image, or perhaps nothing. A typical element includes an opening tag with some attributes, enclosed text content, and a closing tag. Elements and tags are not the same things.

    More on elements is available here

    This can now be used behind a button and away we go… see below

    document.querySelector('[data-page="t0017_add"][data-itemid="integrated_edit_field4"] > * > * > input').value = "Password123";

    And here are some notes on finding CSS Selectors by ChatGPT4 I am still investigating CSS Selectors there seems to be a black art to understanding their structure and how they can be useful

    I also asked chatGPT about child selectors in CSS. In my discussions with chatGPT I have discovered that spaces are important and symbols are important in naming and of course Javascript is case sensitive. The dynamic nature of CSS Selectors and their very specific naming conventions combined with spaces potentially being characters really means you need to be on your toes when you use them.

    Geoserver – Setting up Users / Roles / Workspaces and Layers

    Create Users
    Firstly ensure you are logged in as administrator ONLY the system administrator can set up users and roles and the default geoserver username/password of the administrator is admin/geoserver

    The sa login has additional menus as here

    Go to the Security menu on left towards the bottom and find line marked – Users/Groups/Roles

    Go to the Roles tab

    Look to the green circle with white cross and add new role and complete as appropriate

    Note once you have created the role you will not be able to edit the name of that role so you have to delete the role and then create a role with a different name if you don’t want the old role name to continue.

    Next we create the users

    Go to the Users/Groups tab

    Look to the green circle with white cross and add new user and within the Roles taken section ensure you move the role you created from the left box to the right see grey above.

    The new username should now appear in the User list

    You grant admin privileges to the workspaces through the Workspace section as follows

    Within the edit workspace section go to security

    And give admin rights to the role you wish to link to the workspace

    Note that you still won’t see anything until you go into layer edit and edit the security as follows.

    Within the Security section you can also see the roles added

    PHPRunner and MS SQL Azure – Running a Stored Procedure behind a button – With Sweet Alert User Feedback

    I have written previously about triggering stored procedures in MS SQL Azure through a PHP Runner generated web front end. This is a vanilla explanation which includes sweet alerts to indicate users updating them on the progress of longer running stored procedures. It also locks the front end preventing users from rushing procedures until the queries have had time to complete.

    Firstly navigate to the table you wish to run the stored procedure from in this example it is table T032Email List Screen

    Insert a Custom Button here I call it Transform

    Next select the button and look to the right for the Edit Button Code button.

    You will be presented with the Buttons properties window dialog with three tabs
    1=Client Before
    3=Client After

    1) In the Client Before place the following code{
      title: 'Please wait... transforming selected records',
      allowOutsideClick: false,
      allowEscapeKey: false,
      showConfirmButton: false

    2) On the Server trigger the stored procedure – swap out your stored procedure name.

    DB::Exec("EXEC dbo.transformemail");

    and on the 3) Client After notify the user once everything has been completed{
        icon: "success",
        allowOutsideClick: false,
        allowEscapeKey: false,
        title: "Records Transformed",
        showConfirmButton: false,
        timer: 2000
    setTimeout("window.t032emailPage.reload({a:'reload'})", 2000);

    PHPRunner – Using Sweet Alerts to give Users confirmation of Save

    In PHPRunner as of version 10.51 the sweet alert javascript library is included in PHPRunner generated web applications.

    How can we add code to a project to make bespoke adjustments?

    Firstly navigate to the form you wish to add a special sweet alert to and insert a Custom Button.

    Next navigate to the Events tab in PHPRunner and expand the table or view to which you added the additional button.

    Behind the Javascipt OnLoad event add the following code

    $('a[id^="saveButton"]').hide(); // Hide button "Save"

    And on the Client Before Event of the new button add the following code{
    icon: "success",
    title: "Saved",
    showConfirmButton: false,
    timer: 1000
    return false;

    So what does the code do
    Javascript OnLoad Event – Hides the real save button
    On Click – Triggers the sweet alert success routine and once that is complete triggers the hidden savebutton code.

    And more examples and inspiration

    Sweet alert 2

    And also if you find the Sweet Alert modal size too small add this to your page css:

    .swal2-popup { font-size: 1.6rem !important; }

    Most of this was from the following Xlinesoft User forum Thread

    MS SQL Azure – Computed Column – Create UTC Datetime value from Datetime & Timezone fields – Daylight Saving

    This is not tested at time of writing obtained from ChatGPT 4

    Sure, here’s an example of how you might implement the ConvertToUTC function to handle time zones like ‘London/Europe’. This example uses the AT TIME ZONE clause, which is available in SQL Server 2016 and later:

    CREATE FUNCTION dbo.ConvertToUTC (@localDateTime DATETIME, @timeZone NVARCHAR(50))
        -- Convert the local datetime to a datetimeoffset value using the specified time zone
        DECLARE @datetimeoffset DATETIMEOFFSET = @localDateTime AT TIME ZONE @timeZone
        -- Convert the datetimeoffset value to UTC
        DECLARE @utcDateTime DATETIME = CONVERT(DATETIME, SWITCHOFFSET(@datetimeoffset, 0))
        RETURN @utcDateTime

    You can then use this function in a computed column definition:

    ALTER TABLE YourTable
    ADD UtcDateTime AS dbo.ConvertToUTC(field01, field02)

    In this example, field02 should contain time zone names that are valid for the AT TIME ZONE clause. For example, ‘UTC’, ‘Pacific Standard Time’, ‘Central European Standard Time’, etc. For London, you would use ‘GMT Standard Time’.

    Please note that this is just a basic example. The actual implementation would depend on how you’re storing time zone information and the specific requirements of your application. It’s also worth noting that handling date and time conversions can be complex due to factors like daylight saving time, so it’s important to thoroughly test your solution to ensure it handles all edge cases correctly.

    If you’re frequently performing these types of conversions, you might want to consider storing datetime values in UTC directly in your database. This can simplify your data model and avoid potential issues with time zone conversions.

    Does AT TIME ZONE have a default value that will alter depending on whether the UK is under British Summer time?

    Yes, the AT TIME ZONE clause in SQL Server does take daylight saving time into account. When you use a time zone name with this clause, it will automatically adjust the time based on the current daylight saving time rules for that time zone.

    For example, if you use ‘GMT Standard Time’ (which is the time zone name for UK time in SQL Server), it will automatically show the correct offset for daylight saving when it is in effect.

    Here’s an example:


    This will return the current date and time on the database BUT in my testing does NOT adjust the time to the timezone but will show the correct time zone OFFSET for the date for corrected for daylight saving i.e Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST), depending on the date.

    Please note that the actual time zone names and their daylight saving time rules are based on the time zone data on the server where SQL Server is running. This data is updated through the Windows operating system, so it’s important to keep your servers up-to-date to ensure that the time zone rules are accurate.

    And here are what I think are the supported time zones
    MS Azure supported time zone values

    A lot of online editors won’t let you run the At Time Zone function but this one does..


    Comparing the time to my location and the time where I am I can tell that this is Pacific Standard Time – i.e Western America – California perhaps.

    We also note that the time isn’t adjusted to the stated timezone but we do see the offset (see +01:00 in record return) Again this is because per se it doesn’t tell you what the server is set to but by using the sysdatetimeoffset we can correct the server time back to UTC and the adjust for timezone see second code example. The Timezone although included in the time is again be stated.

    SELECT SYSDATETIMEOFFSET() AT TIME ZONE 'W. Europe Standard Time' as WEuropeTime, 

    And so there is a direction to timezone switch – In the above we have mainly been switching from UTC to a timezone but the below switches from a timezone to UTC which is what we will need if we are storing the input as a datetime and a separate timezone for each record.

    SELECT SWITCHOFFSET(GetDate() AT TIME ZONE 'Pacific Standard Time', '+00:00')

    Remember though timezones are held outside SQL Server databases on the server and as such are non deterministic. This is a good demonstration of determinism in practice

    Deterministic algorithms are entirely predictable and always produce the same output for the same input.

    Non-deterministic algorithms may produce different outputs for the same input due to random events or other factors.

    Databases and Time – Time Zones are not Datatypes

    When working with time in databases and web applications we should recognise that time zones are NOT a datatype. They represent an important part of a datetime value that links to a datetime value and may represent the time on the server or the time in the browser or some time in a particular country for an attribute of a record. Simply viewing a datetime value individually is incomplete if users are entering data from all over the world. If this is not designed into the schema from the beginning problems may be presented when filtering and ordering records based on datetime.

    Does your application have users within the same or different time zones? Is your database hosted in the same or a different time zone?

    SQL Azure database servers for instance only allow for a default time zone set to UTC. This means wherever you are in the world if you set a default value on an datetime field new records will record time at UTC. This can present issues where users submit values based on a different localised time.

    Default values that are set to GetDate() can be out by a given time offset. Additionally web interfaces which set the datetime value at input may be set by the browser and if the browser is not on UTC that time will use a clock that may be forward or behind UTC. What’s the solution? My suggestion is to record the time zone in a separate field per record to the datetime value and then use a view to convert all datetimes to a common time zone field (probably best UTC). At least that should reduce complexity for users. Developer and users should be aware as this could be confusing when a user inputs a time into a database and then is presented with the UTC value when viewing the value.

    It should be noted that Azure Logic Apps are on a server that is not set to UTC but local time (in my case London / Europe) I suspect that whatever local you set will be affect the local time. This led to a situation where in British Summer Time a logic app procedure triggered for 10pm was showing 9pm in the database – the BST offset.

    Repeat after me – Time Zones are not Datatypes

    And here is a nice site that identifies differences from UTC of timezones based on URL parameters

    Time around the world
    British Summer Time – 10am UTC

    Eastern Seaboard Time – 10am UTC

    Sydney Australia – Aussie Eastern Daylight Time – 10am UTC

    WordPress and OceanWP(theme) – Default config for blank Blog

    WordPress is excellent but setup through the admin menu system seems to me unintuitive and a standard configuration can be really difficult to replicate. I constantly wrestle to get sites how I like them. I resolved to document a standard configuration with WordPress and the theme OceanWP (free version) to speed things up.

    What are my preferences on good design? A wide section for text and obvious and intuitive search option with menu that can be setup dynamically to add new posts to menu under their respective category without continually needing to alter the Menu design.

    It should be noted that I don’t use the OceanWP theme for this site – which is a historical thing.

    I’ve used OceanWP theme (Free version) for some time its a good free popular WordPress theme.
    You can read more about Oceanwp here
    My shared hosting provider is InMotion I have found them to be excellent particularly their online support which is 24/7 link here

    Firstly install a default WordPress website. My provider uses softalicious through cPanel your preferred web management hosting platform may vary. I won’t document this stage

    Next install the OceanWP Theme and add Plugins.

    Next I add my preferred plugins, some of which come with shared hosting WordPress installation;

  • Akismet (default with my shared hosting wordpress installer (inmotion))
  • Broken Link Checker
  • Jetpack (again default with my shared hosting wordpress installer (inmotion))
  • Login logo
  • Nginx Helper (default)
  • Password Protected (if enabled will require a password for the entire site)
  • Post Types Order
  • Total Upkeep (I use premium as it allows for improved backups)
  • Current Year, Symbols and IP Shortcode (allows addition of copyright symbol with dynamic year)
  • .

    Next Default configuration of OceanWP WordPress theme using the above plugins

    Settings / General
    – alter site title and tagline

    Settings / Reading / Search engine visibility
    Set as appropriate either tick yes to encourage or clear to discourage
    – Discourage engine visibility
    This is also where you show blog posts as either Full Text or just an Excerpt. If you are on Full text there is little point in having the Read more element in the blog element positioning section.

    Settings / Permalinks
    Apparently this helps with SEO
    – Postname

    Settings/ Discussion

    Appearance/Customize/Widgets/Default Sidebar
    This is where you can add elements and alter the order of elements in the sidebar. I find the admin design clunky and unintuitive but I eventually discovered how to do it, use the edit icon and three vertical buttons to add and subtract elements (search is not added and removed from the sidebar here for example).

    Appearance / Menus
    I set up a menu called Primary Menu and add Home and Index to it as follows. Note that Home is a Custom Link and Index is a Category Link. Note if Home is not available you can create it and then add it.. the url link will just be the default domain.

    Appearance / Widgets

    You can highlight recent comments and delete the entire block – I also add the category list to the side bar

    Appearance / Customise / General Options
    – Layout Style – Separate

    Appearance / Customise / Top Bar / General
    Turn off Top bar by ensuring the ENABLE TOP BAR tick box is blank

    Appearance / Customise / Menus
    Here I am ensuring the menus are not repeated. In OceanWP there are four places where you can place menus. I turn off Top Bar and I don’t like the Menu being in the footer so I leave both at the default blank -Select-

    Appearance / Customise / Blog
    We are given two options here – Blog which is the overall and Single Posts. I will normally remove the sidepanel for the single posts and I am still considering whether I should remove the side panel for the full list of posts, either way you do both here.

    Appearance / Customise / Header / General
    I haven’t experimented with all the different options but one that seems to work is Minimal so these are the settings

    Appearance / Customise / Header / Menu
    Again there are a lot of options here and not all seem to work or seem to be intuitive so I have settled on the following

    Appearance / Customise / Header / Mobile Menu
    Again a lot of options but here are a set that I am happy with and work. It should be noted see the drop down Elements Positioning it likes to have the Logo at the front otherwise the magnifying glass can disappear. Note if you change it there is sometime lag on display this might be related to your hosting provider and caching (not sure)

    Appearance / Customise / General Options / Theme Icons
    I like to set to Font Awesome

    Appearance / Customise / Footer Bottom
    A nice touch to ensure that copyright is Set – here we use the shortcode from the plugin

    Appearance / Customise / General Options / Scroll to Top
    If you haven’t installed a Sticky Header this can be a reasonable alternative OceanWP specific

    Next lets make sure the search box is above content on mobile devices I like this as it makes it really obvious to users on mobiles about how to use the search facility. The search facility to my mind being one of the most important things in a wordpress site. I also like infinite scroll.

    I’ve pretty much documented everything here – I haven’t touched the logo which is how you get the icon on a site which is also something you are going to do. I will come back to this post and add that when I am doing that in anger for a demonstration site. Remember if you are reading this that these options are relevant to WordPress with the Free theme of OceanWP installed at October 2023.