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Since the original edition of The Firebird Book was published as a two-pound doorstop in 2004, the open source Firebird relational database management system has undergone three major releases through versions 2.0, 2.1 and 2.5. The Firebird Book Second Edition brings Firebird technical users up to score across all of the releases from the original v.1.0 through to the latest 2.5. The whole book, too big to publish as a paperback, is distributed by the IBPhoenix company on a DVD. For print, it has been split into three partly overlapping volumes, of which this is the second, following on from Volume 1, Firebird Fundamentals.

In Developing with Firebird Data:

Part I Working With Data (pp. 1 - 178)
This section provides an in-depth survey of the data manipulation language (DML) lexicon of Firebird's SQL implementation, the concept of sets ("datasets") and the many ways available to retrieve stored data, manipulate it and operate on it. At the end is a detailed manual for using the interactive and command-line modes of isql, a tool that comes in every Firebird distribution, regardless of platform.

  • 1 Data Manipulation Language—DML
  • 2 DML Queries
  • 3 Expressions and Predicates
  • 4 Querying Multiple Tables
  • 5 Ordered and Aggregated Sets
  • 6 Views and Other Run-time Set Objects
  • 7 Interactive SQL Utility (isql)

Part II Transactions (pp. 179 - 223)
This section contains three detailed chapters describing the transactional model that allows multiple users or tasks to work with the same data simultaneously, in compliance with the ACID rules for ensuring data integrity. The third chapter describes how to work with transactions in your applications.

  • 8 Overview of Firebird Transactions
  • 9 Configuring Transactions
  • 10 Programming with Transactions

Part III Programming Server-Side (pp. 225 - 340)
In this section is a full work-through of the many ways you can write code that is stored in your database for invoking when conditions call for it. It covers Firebird's prcedural language (PSQL) with its use in stored procedures, triggers and dynamic executable code blocks in the client applications. Error-handling and events are covered here, too.

  • 11 Procedural SQL—PSQL
  • 12 Stored Procedures and Executable Blocks
  • 13 Triggers
  • 14 Accessing Other Databases from PSQL

Part IV Appendices (pp. 341 - 472)

  • I Internal and External Functions
  • II Reserved and Non-Reserved Keywords
  • III Context Variables/li>
  • IV Firebird Limits
  • V System Tables and Views
  • VI Character Sets and Collations
  • VII Firebird Error Codes
  • IX Application Interfaces
  • X Resources


GLOSSARY (18 pp. at end of book)

Volume 1 of this series, Firebird Fundamentals, covers client/server concepts, the architecture of the multiple Firebird server models and the first tasks for installing a server, configuring it for the network and starting to work with Firebird. It moves on to the data definition language (DDL) lexicon that is used for creating databases and the objects in them to suit your requirements. Although it covers some of the same ground as this book on the subject of transactions, it is the precursor for this volume.

The third companion volume, Administering Firebird Servers and Databases, starts with a section with the basics for installing, configuring, operating and migrating servers and databases and moves on to the detailed configuration of servers, users and databases and the tools for managing and monitoring them.

About the Author:

Helen Borrie is a contracting software engineer and Firebird support consultant with IBPhoenix ( which commissioned the Firebird books. A former journalist, she has often found herself doubling as a technical writer. She has been involved with database development for 30 years and with Firebird and its ancestors since 1996. A member of the Firebird project team from its first day in July 2000, Helen is active in the Firebird online support community and Secretary and general bottle-washer for the Firebird Foundation Inc.

Helen has been the creator and collator of the verbose release notes for every Firebird release and sub-release, and still is. Her original book, The Firebird Book, published by Apress in 2004, is recently out of print.

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