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For the Developer

This section is for those who want to develop the ecpg interface. It describes how the things work. The ambition is to make this section contain things for those that want to have a look inside and the section on How to use it should be enough for all normal questions. So, read this before looking at the internals of the ecpg. If you are not interested in how it really works, skip this section.

ToDo List

This version the preprocessor has some flaws:

no restriction to strings only

The PQ interface, and most of all the PQexec function, that is used by the ecpg relies on that the request is built up as a string. In some cases, like when the data contains the null character, this will be a serious problem.

error codes

There should be different error numbers for the different errors instead of just -1 for them all.

library functions

to_date et al.


Records or structures have to be defined in the declare section.

missing statements

The following statements are not implemented thus far:

exec sql type
exec sql prepare
exec sql allocate
exec sql free
exec sql whenever sqlwarning
message ´no data found´

The error message for "no data" in an exec sql insert select from statement has to be 100.


sqlwarn[6] should be 'W' if the PRECISION or SCALE value specified in a SET DESCRIPTOR statement will be ignored.

conversion of scripts

To set up a database you need a few scripts with table definitions and other configuration parameters. If you have these scripts for an old database you would like to just apply them to get a Postgres database that works in the same way.

To set up a database you need a few scripts with table definitions and The functionality could be accomplished with some conversion scripts. Speed will never be accomplished in this way. To do this you need a bigger insight in the database construction and the use of the database than could be realised in a script.

The Preprocessor

First four lines are written to the output. Two comments and two include lines necessary for the interface to the library.

Then the preprocessor works in one pass only reading the input file and writing to the output as it goes along. Normally it just echoes everything to the output without looking at it further.

When it comes to an EXEC SQL statements it interviens and changes them depending on what iit is. The EXEC SQL statement can be one of these:

Declare sections

Declare sections begins with

exec sql begin declare section;
and ends with
exec sql end declare section;
In the section only variable declarations are allowed. Every variable declare within this section is also entered in a list of variables indexed on their name together with the corresponding type.

The declaration is echoed to the file to make the variable a normal C-variable also.

The special types VARCHAR and VARCHAR2 are converted into a named struct for every variable. A declaration like:

VARCHAR var[180];
is converted into
struct varchar_var { int len; char arr[180]; } var;
Include statements

An include statement looks like:

exec sql include filename;
It is converted into
#include <filename.h>
Connect statement

A connect statement looks like:

exec sql connect 'database';
That statement is converted into
Open cursor statement

An open cursor statement looks like:

exec sql open cursor;
and is ignore and not copied from the output.
Commit statement

A commit statement looks like

exec sql commit;
and is translated on the output to
Rollback statement

A rollback statement looks like

exec sql rollback;
and is translated on the output to
Other statements

Other SQL statements are other statements that start with exec sql and ends with ;. Everything inbetween is treated as an SQL statement and parsed for variable substitution.

Variable substitution occur when a symbol starts with a colon (:). Then a variable with that name is found among the variables that were previously declared within a declare section and depending on whether or not the SQL statements knows it to be a variable for input or output the pointers to the variables are written to the output to allow for access by the function.

For every variable that is part of the SQL request the function gets another five arguments:

The type as a special symbol
A pointer to the value
The size of the variable if it is a varchar
Number of elements in the array (for array fetches)
The offset to the next element in the array (for array fetches)

Since the array fetches are not implemented yet the two last arguments are not really important. They could perhaps have been left out.

A Complete Example

Here is a complete example describing the output of the preprocessor:

exec sql begin declare section;
int index;
int result;
exec sql end declare section;
    exec sql select res into :result from mytable where index = :index;
is translated into:
/* These two include files are added by the preprocessor */
#include <ecpgtype.h>
#include <ecpglib.h>
/* exec sql begin declare section */

 int index;
 int result;
/* exec sql end declare section */

    ECPGdo(__LINE__, "select res from mytable where index = ;;", 
           ECPGt_EORT );
(the indentation in this manual is added for readability and not something that the preprocessor can do.)

The Library

The most important function in the library is the ECPGdo function. It takes a variable amount of arguments. Hopefully we wont run into machines with limits on the amount of variables that can be accepted by a varchar function. This could easily add up to 50 or so arguments.

The arguments are:

A line number

This is a line number for the original line used in error messages only.

A string

This is the SQL request that is to be issued. This request is modified by the input variables, i.e. the variables that where not known at compile time but are to be entered in the request. Where the variables should go the string contains “;”.

Input variables

As described in the section about the preprocessor every input variable gets five arguments.


An enum telling that there are no more input variables.

Output variables

As described in the section about the preprocessor every input variable gets five arguments. These variables are filled by the function.


An enum telling that there are no more variables.

All the SQL statements are performed in one transaction unless you issue a commit transaction. This works so that the first transaction or the first after a commit or rollback always begins a transaction.

To be completed: entries describing the other entries.