12.5. (MANUAL) Installing third-party software


These instructions relate to manual server installation. For a simpler Docker-based system, see here.

This sections contains some instructions and tips on installing third-party software. It’s particularly relevant for Windows, which doesn’t have a good “X depends on Y” software package system.

12.5.1. Installing Python (with tkinter) for Windows

Install Python (https://www.python.org); for example, Python 3.6.7 for Windows. If you have a 64-bit computer, use the “x86-64” version. Download and run the installer. (These days, the installer includes Tk/tkinter without asking, which is helpful.) By default, it will install to your user directory, so consider customizing the installation as follows:

Optional features:

  • [✓] Documentation

  • [✓] pip

  • [✓] tcl/tk and IDLE

  • [✓] Python test suite

  • [✓] py launcher [✓] for all users (requires elevation)

Advanced options:

  • [✓] Install for all users

  • [✓] Associate files with Python (requires the py launcher)

  • [✓] Create shortcuts for installed applications

  • [✓] Add Python to environment variables

  • [✓] Precompile standard library

  • Customize install location = C:\Python36

Also, you may want to allow the installer to extend the system MAX_PATH length limit (https://python.readthedocs.io/en/stable/using/windows.html#removing-the-max-path-limitation).

12.5.2. Installing ImageMagick for Windows

See http://docs.wand-py.org/en/latest/guide/install.html#install-imagemagick-on-windows.

Note that for Wand 0.4.x, you need ImageMagick 6.x (7.x won’t work). ImageMagick 7 support is in Wand 0.5, as yet unreleased as of 2018-12-02.

If, despite installing ImageMagick, CamCOPS fails to start regardless with the message:

ImportError: MagickWand shared library not found.
You probably had not installed ImageMagick library.
Try to install:


  • one possibility is that your Python interpreter and your ImageMagick libraries do not match in terms of 32- versus 64-bitness.

    To check Python, run python then check if sys.maxsize > 2**32 (see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1405913/); if so, it’s 64-bit Python. To check ImageMagick, a quick way is to run its ImageMagick Display (IMDisplay) program, then Help ‣ About.

  • Another possibility is that you failed to tick “Install development headers and libraries for C and C++” (see the Wand instructions). Retry with that ticked.

  • ImageMagick 7.x doesn’t work with Wand 0.4.x; you need ImageMagick 6.x (e.g. 6.9.10) (see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/25003117/; http://docs.wand-py.org/en/latest/changes.html). Binary downloads are at https://www.imagemagick.org/download/binaries/. This fixed it for us. Use e.g. https://imagemagick.org/download/binaries/ImageMagick-6.9.10-14-Q16-x64-dll.exe for a 64-bit system.

12.5.3. Installing SQL Server for Windows

A short guide to installing the Developer edition of SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition won’t install with the Visual C++ 2017 redistributables installed (see https://dba.stackexchange.com/questions/190090/), so uninstall that first.

  • Install the free SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-downloads; basic install, default options. After installation, it should say “Installation has completed successfully!” and “SQL Server Configuration Manager” should be available as a program. The defaults are an instance name of MSSQLSERVER, and a connection string of Server=localhost;Database=master;Trusted_Connection=True;. The “Connect Now” button should work. The Windows service “SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)” should be present and running. (Re-install if it doesn’t get that far the first time!)

  • Install SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) too (e.g. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/ssms/download-sql-server-management-studio-ssms). May need to reboot then restart the installer. After installation, “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio” should be available.

  • Run SSMS and provide “localhost” as the server name; this should connect.

12.5.4. Creating an SQL Server database with an ODBC connection

First install SQL Server (see Installing SQL Server for Windows). Then, to create a database named camcops_db and create an ODBC connection to it:

  • Create a database named camcops_db: [right-click] Databases ‣ New database and supply the name.

  • Create a user named camcops_user: Security ‣ [right-click] Logins -> New login; supply the name; choose “SQL Server authentication” and specify a password; untick “User must change password at next login”.

  • Give the user permission to access the database. Right-click the new user and choose “Properties”. Under “User Mapping”, tick the “Map” tickbox for the camcops_db database. In the box marked “Database role membership for: camcops”, tick db_owner or some other suitable combination (e.g. db_ddladmin + db_datareader + db_datawriter). See https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/relational-databases/security/authentication-access/database-level-roles?view=sql-server-2017.

  • Ensure the server allows logins via username/password combinations.

    • Right-click the top-level database object in the SSMS tree.

    • Properties ‣ Security

    • Ensure “Server authentication” is set to “SQL Server and Windows Authentication mode” (not “Windows Authentication mode”).

    • Restart SQL Server (from Windows Services; the “SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER)” services).

    Without this, you will get errors like [Microsoft][ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server][SQL Server]Login failed for user 'camcops_user'. (18456).

  • Create an ODBC data source.

    • Start ‣ ODBC Data Sources (64-bit).

    • System DSN ‣ Add ‣ ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server.

    • Let’s call this data source camcops_dsn.

    • Give it a description (e.g. “CamCOPS test database”).

    • The SQL Server will be “localhost”. Next.

    • Use “SQL Server authentication using a login ID and password entered by the user”. Next.

    • “Change the default database to” camcops_db. Next. Finish.

    • As you’re saving it, you’ll see that it has not enabled Multiple Active Result Sets (MARS), and you were not offered the option to do so.

    • Therefore, you also need to do this from a privileged Windows command prompt (via “run as administrator”):

      odbcconf /a {CONFIGSYSDSN "ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server" "DSN=camcops_dsn|MARS_Connection=Yes"}
    • To check it worked, run ODBC Data Source Administrator (64-bit) again, choose and configure your DSN again, and click “Next” until you get to the end, without changing anything; you should now see that MARS is enabled.

If you use the pyodbc driver for SQLAlchemy, the SQLAlchemy URL for the database should now be:


12.5.5. SQL Server tips Show running queries

Modified from https://blog.sqlauthority.com/2009/01/07/sql-server-find-currently-running-query-t-sql/:

    req.total_elapsed_time  -- this is in milliseconds
FROM sys.dm_exec_requests req
CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(req.sql_handle) AS sqltext
ORDER BY req.start_time ASC

For details, see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/relational-databases/system-dynamic-management-views/sys-dm-exec-requests-transact-sql?view=sql-server-2017.

Note that this query contributes exactly one row to its own results. DELETE takes forever

(By “forever” I mean at more than half an hour to delete zero rows.)

In an example we had, a query DELETE FROM _idnum_index was taking a phenomenally long time and was suspended; serially, a lot of queries were being executed like SELECT tr.name AS [Name], tr.object_id AS [ID] FROM sys.triggers AS tr WHERE (tr.parent_class = 0) ORDER BY [Name] ASC. So that’s an indication that the DELETE is causing a large set of triggers to be searched.

  • Remember that any working CamCOPS server its DDL (for any supported database engine), so you can use a working Linux/MySQL server to show DDL for SQL Server.

  • Remember the DB_ECHO parameter in the CamCOPS config file for “routine” SQL, and the --show_sql_only parameter to the upgrade_db command.

Potential solutions:

12.5.6. MySQL tips Create an entity relationship (ER) diagram for a MySQL database

In MySQL Workbench, Database ‣ Reverse Engineer. Choose the connection and database. The default is to create a diagram of all tables. At the “Select Objects to Reverse Engineer / Import MySQL Table Objects” stage, click “Show Filter” to restrict which tables are used (left column to include, right column to exclude).