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=head1 DBD::Sybase - Driver and Database Characteristics

=begin docbook

=end docbook

=head2 Driver Name, Version, Author and Contact Details

This driver summary is for DBD::Sybase version 0.90.

The driver author is Michael Peppler and he can be contacted via the
dbi-users mailing list, or at mpeppler@peppler.org

=head2 Supported Database Versions and Options

The DBD::Sybase module supports Sybase 10.x, 11.x and 12.x, and offers
limited support for accessing Microsoft MS-SQL 6.x and 7.x (as SP2)
server.  Assuming that OpenClient 10.x or 11.x is available DBD::Sybase
can be used to connect to Sybase 4.x servers.

In addition DBD::Sybase can be used in combination with the
FreeTDS reimplementation of OpenClient to connect to MS-SQL or
Sybase servers from platforms where Sybase OpenClient is not available.
See http://www.freetds.org for details.

=head2 Connect Syntax

The DSN for DBD::Sybase is of the general form 
"dbi:Sybase:attr=value;attr=value". The following attributes are supported:

=over 8

=item server

Specify the Sybase server to connect to.

=item database

Specify the database within the server that should be made the default 
database (via "use $database").

=item charset

Specify the client character set to use. Useful if the client's default
character set is different from the server. Using this will enable
automatic character conversion from one character set to the other.

=item packetSize

Set the network packetSize. Setting a larger packet size can increase the
network throughput. See the Sybase documentation on how to use this as
it may require changing the server configuration values.

=item hostname

Set the hostname that will be stored in the sysprocesses table for this

=item loginTimeout

Specify the number of seconds that DBI->connect() will wait for a
response from the Sybase server. The default is 60 seconds. (This
was added in the 0.14 release.)

=item timeout

Specify the number of seconds that DBD::Sybase will wait for a server
response.  If no response is received within that timeframe the command
fails with a timeout error and the connection is marked dead. The
default is to not timeout.  Setting a timeout of 0 is the same as no
timeout. (This was added in the 0.14 release.)

=item interfaces

Specify the location of an alternate I<interfaces> file:

=item scriptName

Specify the name for this connection that will be displayed in sp_who
(ie in the sysprocesses table in the I<program_name> column).

=item hostname

Specify the hostname that will be displayed by sp_who (and will be stored
in the hostname column of sysprocesses)..

=item tdsLevel

Specify the TDS protocol level to use when connecting to the server.
Valid values are CS_TDS_40, CS_TDS_42, CS_TDS_46, CS_TDS_495 and CS_TDS_50.
In general this is automatically negotiated between the client and the 
server, but in certain cases this may need to be forced to a lower level
by the client. 

    $dbh->DBI->connect("dbi:Sybase:tdsLevel=CS_TDS_42", $user, $password);

B<NOTE>: Setting the tdsLevel below CS_TDS_495 will disable a number of
features, ?-style placeholders and CHAINED non-AutoCommit mode, in particular.

=item encryptPassword

Specify the use of the client password encryption supported by CT-Lib.
Specify a value of 1 to use encrypted passwords.

    $dbh->DBI->connect("dbi:Sybase:encryptPassword=1", $user, $password);


=head2 Numeric Data Handling


All but the NUMERIC/DECIMAL datatypes are hardware specific, but INTEGER
is always a 32bit int, SMALLINT is 16bit, TINYINT is 8bit.

Precision for numeric/decimal is from 1 to 38, and scale is from 0 to 38.

Numeric/decimal values are returned as perl strings by default, even if the 
scale is 0 and the precision is small enough to fit in an integer value.
All other numbers are returned in native format.

=head2 String Data Handling

DBD::Sybase supports CHAR/VARCHAR/BINARY/VARBINARY, limited to 255
characters in length up to version 12.0x.  As of 12.5 these datatypes can 
be up to 16K in size - but supporting the larger sizes requires that
Open Client 12.5 or later be used. Note that the CHAR type is fixed 
length (blank padded).

Sybase automatically converts CHAR and VARCHAR data between the
character set of the server (see the syscharset system table) and the
character set of the client, defined by the locale setting of the
client. The BINARY and VARBINARY types are not converted.
UTF-8 is supported.

See the OpenClient International Developer's Guide in the Sybase
OpenClient manuals for more on character set issues.

Strings can be concatenated using the C<+> SQL operator.

=head2 Date Data Handling

Sybase supports the DATETIME and SMALLDATETIME values. A DATETIME can 
have a value from Jan 1 1753 to Dec 31, 9999 with a 300th of a second
resolution. A SMALLDATETIME has a range of Jan 1 1900 to Jun 6 2079
with a 1 minute resolution.

The current date on the server is obtained with the GETDATE() SQL

The Sybase date format depends on the locale settings for the client.
The default date format is based on the 'C' locale:

  Feb 16 1999 12:07PM

In this same locale Sybase understands several input formats in
addition to the one above:

  2/16/1998 12:07PM
  1998/02/16 12:07
  1998-02-16 12:07
  19980216 12:07

If the time portion is omitted it is set to 00:00.  If the date portion
is omitted it is set to Jan 1 1900.  If the century is omitted it is
assumed to be 1900 if the year is <50 and 2000 if the year >= 50.

You can use the special _date_fmt() private method (accessed via
$dbh->func()) to change the date input and output format.
The formats are based on Sybase's standard conversion routines. The
following subset of available formats has been implemented:

  LONG        - Nov 15 1998 11:30:11:496AM
  SHORT       - Nov 15 1998 11:30AM
  DMY4_YYYY   - 15 Nov 1998
  MDY1_YYYY   - 11/15/1998
  DMY1_YYYY   - 15/11/1998
  HMS         - 11:30:11

Use the CONVERT() SQL function to convert date and time values from
other formats. For example:  

   UPDATE a_table 
      SET date_field = CONVERT(datetime_field, '1999-02-21', 105)

CONVERT() is a generic conversion function that can convert to/from
most datatypes.  See the CONVERT() function in Chapter 2 of the Sybase
Reference Manual.

Arithmetic on date time types is done on dates via the DATEADD(),
DATEPART(), DATEDIFF() Transact SQL functions.  For example:

  SELECT DATEDIFF(ss, date1, date2)

returns the difference in seconds between date1 and date2.

Sybase does not understand time zones at all, except that the GETDATE()
SQL function returns the date in the time zone that the server is running
in (via localtime).

The following SQL expression can be used to convert an integer "seconds
since 1-jan-1970" value ('unix time') to the corresponding database
date time:

  DATEADD(ss, unixtime_field, 'Jan 1 1970')

Note however that the server does not understand time zones, and will 
therefore give the 'server I<local> unixtime' and not the correct value
for the GMT time zone.

If you know that the server runs in the same timezone as the client then
you can use

	use Time::Local;
	$time_to_database = timegm(localtime($unixtime));

to convert the unixtime value before sending it to Sybase.

To do the reverse, converting from a database date time value to 'unix
time', you can use:

  DATEDIFF(ss, 'Jan 1 1970', datetime_field)

The same GMT vs localtime caveat applies in this case. If you know that the 
server runs in the same timezone as the client you can convert the returned
value to the correct GMT based value with this perl expression:

	use Time::Local;
	$time = timelocal(gmtime($time_from_database));

=head2 LONG/BLOB Data Handling

Sybase supports an IMAGE and a TEXT type for LONG/BLOB data.  Each type
can hold up to 2GB of binary data, including nul characters. The main
difference between an IMAGE and a TEXT column lies in how the client
libraries treat the data on input and output. TEXT data is entered and
returned "as is". IMAGE data is returned as a long hex string, and
should be entered in the same way.

The default size limit for TEXT/IMAGE data is 32Kb, but this can be 
changed by setting the LongReadLen attribute.

Bind parameters can I<not> be used to insert TEXT or IMAGE data to

=head2 Other Data Handling issues

Sybase does not differentiate between CHAR and VARCHAR or BINARY and
VARBINARY on returned data, so you will never get a TYPE value of
SQL_VARCHAR or SQL_VARBINARY when querying the $h->{TYPE} attribute
for a result set.

Sybase does not automatically convert numbers to strings or strings to
numbers.  You need to explicitly call the C<CONVERT> SQL function.
However, placeholders don't need special handling because DBD::Sybase
knows what type each placeholder needs to be.

=head2 Transactions, Isolation and Locking

DBD::Sybase supports transactions.
The default transaction isolation level is 'Read Commited'.

isolation levels.  The level be changed per-connection or
per-statement by executing a "SET TRANSACTION_ISOLATION LEVEL x",
where x is 0 for READ UNCOMMITED, 1 for READ COMMITED, and 3 for

By default a READ query will aquire a shared lock on each page that it 
reads. This will allow any other process to read from the table,
but will block any process trying to obtain an exclusive lock (for
update). The shared lock is only maintained for the time the server needs 
to actually read the page, not for the entire length of the SELECT
operation. Sybase 11.9.2 and later include optional row-level locking
("datarows" locking) which can be set on a table by table basis. See the
Sybase manuals for details.

There is an explicit LOCK TABLE statement (from 11.9.2 onwards) but
you should not normally need to use it.
Appending "WITH HOLDLOCK" to a SELECT statement can be used to force an
exclusive lock to be aquired on a table. It is usually called within a
transaction. In general this call is not needed.

The correct way to do a multi-table update with Sybase is to wrap the entire
operation in a transaction. This will ensure that locks will be aquired in 
the correct order, and that no intervening action from another process
will modify any rows that your operation is currently modifying.

=head2 No-Table Expression Select Syntax

To select a constant expression (one that doesn't involve data from a
database table or view) you can select it without naming a table:

  SELECT getdate()

=head2 Table Join Syntax

Outer joins are supported using the =* (right outer join) and *= (left 
outer join) operators:

  SELECT customer_name, order_date 
  FROM customers, orders 
  WHERE customers.cust_id =* orders.cust_id

For all rows in the customers table that have no matching rows in the
orders table, Sybase returns NULL for any select list expressions
containing columns from the orders table.

ASE 12.0 and later supports the ANSI syntax for left/right outer 

=head2 Table and Column Names

The names of Sybase identifiers, such as tables and columns, cannot
exceed 30 characters in length.

The first character must be an alphabetic character (as defined by the
current server character set) or _ (underscore). Subsequent characters
can be alpha, and may include currency symbols, @, # and _. Identifiers
can't include embedded spaces or the %, !, ^, * or . symbols.  In
addition, identifiers must not be on the "reserved word" list (see the
Sybase documentation for a complete list).

Table names or column names I<may> be quoted if the B<set quoted_identifier>
option is turned on. This allows the user to get around the reserved word
limitation. When this option is set, character strings enclosed in double
quotes are treated as identifiers, and strings enclosed in single quotes
are treated as literal strings.

By default identifiers are case-sensitive. This can be turned off by
changing the default sort order for the B<server>.

National characters can be used in identifier names without quoting.

=head2 Case sensitivity of like operator

The Sybase LIKE operator is case sensitive.

The UPPER function can be used to force a case insensitive match, e.g.,
UPPER(name) LIKE 'TOM%' (although that does prevent Sybase from making
use of any index on the name column to speed up the query).

=head2 Row ID

Sybase does not support a pseudo 'row id' column.

=head2 Automatic Key or Sequence Generation

Sybase supports an IDENTITY feature for automatic key generation.
Declaring a table with an IDENTITY column will generate a new value for
each insert. The values are monotnonically increasing, but are not
guaranteed to be sequential.

To fetch the value generated and used by the last insert, you can


Sybase does not support sequence generators, although ad-hoc stored
procedures to generate sequence numbers are quite easy to write. See
http://techinfo.sybase.com/css/techinfo.nsf/DocID/ID=860 for a
complete explanation of the various possibilities.

=head2 Automatic Row Numbering and Row Count Limiting

Sybase does not offer a pseudocolumn that sequentially numbers the rows
fetched by a select statement.

However, using 


will limit the number of rows returned in a SELECT statement I<or>
the number of rows affected by a DELETE, INSERT or UPDATE statement.

=head2 Parameter binding

Parameter binding is directly suported by Sybase. However, there are
two downsides that one should be aware of:

Firstly, Sybase creates an internal stored procedure for each prepare()
call that includes ? style parameters. These stored procedures live in
the tempdb database, and are only destroyed when the connection is
closed. It is quite possible to run out of tempdb space if a lot of
prepare() calls with placeholders are being made in a script.

Secondly, because all the temporary stored procedures are created in
tempdb this causes a potential hot-spot due to the locking of system
tables in tempdb. This hot-spot is a problem in Sybase 11.5.1 and
earlier, but has been lifted in 11.9.2 and later releases.

The :1 placeholder style is not supported and the TYPE attribute to
bind_param is currently ignored, so unsupported values don't generate a
warning.  However, trying to bind a TEXT or IMAGE datatype will fail.

=head2 Stored procedures

Sybase stored procedures are written in Transact-SQL, Sybase's
procedural extension to SQL.

Stored procedures are called exactly the same way as regular SQL, and
can return the same types of results (ie a SELECT in the stored
procedure can be retrieved with $sth->fetch).

If the stored procedure returns data via OUTPUT parameters, then these 
must be declared first:

  $sth = $dbh->prepare(qq[
     declare \@name varchar(50)
     exec getName 1234, \@name output

Stored procedures can't be called with bind (?) parameters - so this
would be illegal:

  $sth = $dbh->prepare("exec my_proc ?");

so use

  $sth = $dbh->prepare("exec my_proc 'foo'");


Because Sybase stored procedures almost always return more than one
result set you should always make sure to use a loop until the
B<syb_more_results> is 0:

  do {
    while($data = $sth->fetch) {
  } while($sth->{syb_more_results});

=head2 Table Metadata

DBD::Sybase supports the table_info method.

The syscolumns table has one row per column per table. See the
definitions of the Sybase system tables for details. However, the
easiest method is to use the sp_help stored procedure.

The easiest way to get detailed information about the indexes of a
table is to use the sp_helpindex (or sp_helpkey) stored procedure.

=head2 Driver-specific attributes and methods

DBD::Sybase has the following driver specific database handle attributes:

=over 8

=item syb_show_sql

If set then the current statement is included in the string returned by 

=item syb_show_eed

If set, then extended error information is included in the string returned 
by $dbh->errstr. Extended error information include the index causing a
duplicate insert to fail, for example.

=item syb_err_handler

This attribute is used to set an ad-hoc error handler callback (ie a perl 
subroutine) that gets called before the normal error handler does it's job.
If this subroutine returns 0 then the error is ignored. This is useful
for handling PRINT statements in Transact-SQL, for handling messages
from the Backup Server, showplan output, dbcc output, etc.

The subroutine is called with 7 parameters: the Sybase error number,
the severity, the state, the line number in the SQL batch, the server name 
(if available), the stored procedure name (if available), and the message


    %showplan_msgs = map { $_ => 1}  (3612 .. 3615, 6201 .. 6225);
    sub err_handler {
        my($err, $sev, $state, $line, $server, $proc, $msg) = @_;

        if($showplan_msgs{$err}) { # it's a showplan message
            print SHOWPLAN "$err - $msg\n";
            return 0;    # This is not an error

        return 1;

    $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Sybase:server=troll', 'sa', '');
    $dbh->{syb_err_handler} = \&err_handler;
    $dbh->do("set showplan on");
    open(SHOWPLAN, ">>/var/tmp/showplan.log") || die "Can't open showplan log: $!";
    $dbh->do("exec someproc");    # get the showplan trace for this proc.

=item syb_flush_finish

If $dbh->{syb_flush_finish} is set then $dbh->finish will drain
any results remaining for the current command by actually fetching them.
The default behaviour is to issue a ct_cancel(CS_CANCEL_ALL), but this
I<appears> to cause connections to hang or to fail in certain cases (although
I've never witnessed this myself.)

=item syb_dynamic_supported

This is a read-only attribute that returns TRUE if the dataserver
you are connected to supports ?-style placeholders. Typically placeholders are
not supported when using DBD::Sybase to connect to a MS-SQL server.

=item syb_chained_txn

If set then we use CHAINED transactions when AutoCommit is off. 
Otherwise we issue an explicit BEGIN TRAN as needed. The default is off.

This attribute should usually be used only during the connect() call:

    $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Sybase:', $user, $pwd, {syb_chained_txn => 1});

Using it at any other time with B<AutoCommit> turned B<off> will 
B<force a commit> on the current handle.

=item syb_use_bin_0x

If set, BINARY and VARBINARY values are prefixed with '0x' in the
result. Default is off.

=item syb_binary_images

If set, IMAGE data is returned in raw binary format. Otherwise the data is
converted to a long hex string. The default is off.

=item syb_quoted_identifier (bool)

If set, then identifiers that would normally clash with Sybase reserved
words can be quoted using C<"identifier">. In this case strings must
be quoted with the single quote.

Default is for this attribute to be B<off>.

=item syb_rowcount (int)

Setting this attribute to non-0 will limit the number of rows returned by
a I<SELECT>, or affected by an I<UPDATE> or I<DELETE> statement to the
I<rowcount> value. Setting it back to 0 clears the limit.

Default is for this attribute to be B<0>.

=item syb_do_proc_status (bool)

Setting this attribute causes $sth->execute() to fetch the return status
of any executed stored procs in the SQL being executed. If the return
status is non-0 then $sth->execute() will report that the operation 
failed (ie it will return C<undef>)

Setting this attribute does B<NOT> affect existing $sth handles, only
those that are created after setting it. To change the behavior of 
an existing $sth handle use $sth->{syb_do_proc_status}.

The default is for this attribute to be B<off>.

=item syb_oc_version (string)

Returns the identification string of the version of Client Library that
this binary is currently using. This is a read-only attribute.

For example:

    troll (7:59AM):348 > perl -MDBI -e '$dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Sybase:", "sa"); print "$dbh->{syb_oc_version}\n";' 
    Sybase Client-Library/11.1.1/P/Linux Intel/Linux 2.2.5 i586/1/OPT/Mon Jun  7 07:50:21 1999

This is very useful information to have when reporting a problem.


And the following driver specific statement handle attributes:

=over 8

=item syb_more_results

See the discussion on handling multiple result sets above.

=item syb_result_type

Returns the numeric result type of the current result set. Useful when 
executing stored procedurs to determine what type of information is
currently fetchable (normal select rows, output parameters, status results,


One private method is provided:

=over 8

=item _date_fmt

Set the default date conversion and display formats. See the
description elsewhere in this document.


=head2 Positioned updates and deletes

Sybase does not support positioned updates or deletes.

=head2 Differences from the DBI specification

Note that DBD::Sybase does not fully parse the statement until
it's executed. Thus attributes like $sth->{NUM_OF_FIELDS} are not
available until after $sth->execute has been called. This is valid
behaviour but is important to note when porting applications
originally written for other drivers.

=head2 URLs to more database/driver specific information


=head2 Concurrent use of multiple handles

DBD::Sybase supports up to 25 concurrent database
connections to one or more databases.

It is not normally possible for Sybase clients to prepare/execute
a new statement handle while still fetching data from another
statment handle associated with the same database handle. However,
DBD::Sybase emulates this by opening a new connection that will
automatically be closed when the new statement handle is destroyed.
You should be aware that there are some subtle but significant
transaction issues with this approach.

=head2 Other Significant Database or Driver Features

Sybase and DBD::Sybase allow multiple statements to be prepared with
one call and then executed with one call. The results are fed back to
the client as a stream of tabular data. Stored procedures can also
return a stream of multiple data sets. Each distinct set of results
is treated as a normal single result set so C<fetch> returns undef at
the end of each set. To see if there are more data sets to follow the
C<syb_more_results> attribute can be checked. A typical loop making use
of this Sybase specific feature looks like:

  do {
    while($d = $sth->fetch) {
      ... do something with the data
  } while($sth->{syb_more_results});

Sybase also has rich and powerful stored procedure and trigger
functionality and encourages you to use them.


# This driver summary for DBD::Sybase is Copyright (c) 1999 Tim Bunce
# and Michael Peppler.
# $Id: dbd-sybase.pod,v 1.8 2003/03/31 23:55:11 mpeppler Exp $

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