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Embedded Firebird: Full-Featured Embedded Database with 2 MB Runtime

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28 Jan 20052 min read 524.8K   15.2K   194   116
An example that shows how Firebird database excels in embedding.

Sample Image - screenshot.gif

The advantages of Embedded Firebird

Firebird is a database with 20 years of history, full set of features (including transactions, stored procedures, hot-backup, excellent scalability, etc.) and a friendly open source license. It is an overlooked but compelling alternative to Microsoft Jet and Microsoft MSDE 2000/SQL Express 2005. Let's take a look at how it can be used embedded in your desktop application. What makes Embedded Firebird ideal for embedding:

  • The embedded runtime is < 2 MB (starting at just one DLL + one .NET assembly). The runtime is deployed by simple copying, no installation or component registration is required.
  • The database file (it's just a single file) can have any name and extension. You can associate the extension with your application.
  • The migration to a standalone server couldn't be easier. Just copy the database file to the server and change a connection string on your client.

Working with Embedded Firebird

To start using Embedded Firebird in .NET, you need to download:

  • Embedded Firebird Engine (current stable version is 1.5.2)
  • Firebird ADO.NET Provider (current stable version is 1.6.3)

After creating a new project in Visual Studio .NET, add a reference to FirebirdSql.Data.Firebird.dll (from Firebird ADO.NET Provider installation), and copy fbembed.dll (from Embedded Firebird ZIP package) to the project output directory (e.g., bin/Debug).

The Firebird ADO.NET Provider can connect to a standalone Firebird Server using a connection string like this:

C#
FbConnection c = new FbConnection("ServerType=0;User=SYSDBA;" + 
         "Password=masterkey;Dialect=3;Database=c:\\data\\mydb.fdb");

It can connect to an embedded Firebird using this connection string:

C#
FbConnection c = new FbConnection("ServerType=1;User=SYSDBA;" + 
                 "Password=masterkey;Dialect=3;Database=mydb.fdb");

The database path can be relative to fbembed.dll when using the Embedded Firebird.

You see that switching from embedded and standalone Firebird and vice versa is a piece of cake.

Creating a new database

There are two ways to create a new database:

  • Creating a database programmatically.
  • Copying an existing database template.

It's up to you which way you choose. Copying an existing database is easy (just make sure the template is not open before copying), so let's try to create it programmatically.

C#
Hashtable parameters = new Hashtable();
parameters.Add("User", "SYSDBA");
parameters.Add("Password", "masterkey");
parameters.Add("Database", @"mydb.fdb");
parameters.Add("ServerType", 1);
FbConnection.CreateDatabase(parameters);

Continue as usual

Working with Firebird ADO.NET Provider is easy. You will reuse your experience with other ADO.NET providers. It even has some nice features, like calling the stored procedures using the MSSQL style:

C#
FbCommand cmd = new FbCommand("MYSTOREDPROCEDURE", 
            new FbConnection(connectionString));
cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;
cmd.Parameters.Add("@first", "value1");
cmd.Parameters.Add("@second", "value2");
cmd.Connection.Open();
try
{
    cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();
}
finally
{
    cmd.Connection.Close();
}

Useful Resources

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionCan I use it on Linux? Pin
Ashraf Sabry15-Mar-06 2:07
Ashraf Sabry15-Mar-06 2:07 
AnswerRe: Can I use it on Linux? Pin
Dan Letecky17-Mar-06 0:00
Dan Letecky17-Mar-06 0:00 
GeneralRe: Can I use it on Linux? Pin
Ashraf Sabry17-Mar-06 6:51
Ashraf Sabry17-Mar-06 6:51 
Questionusing FireBirs From MFC Pin
razishamai21-Sep-05 22:49
razishamai21-Sep-05 22:49 
AnswerRe: using FireBirs From MFC Pin
Greg Strauss23-Jan-06 6:53
Greg Strauss23-Jan-06 6:53 
GeneralEmbedded server is no security,even the firebird is not security. Pin
javasleepless7-Sep-05 19:08
javasleepless7-Sep-05 19:08 
GeneralRe: Embedded server is no security,even the firebird is not security. Pin
Dan Letecky2-Nov-05 3:56
Dan Letecky2-Nov-05 3:56 
GeneralcreateDB Pin
jinboh27-Aug-05 19:34
jinboh27-Aug-05 19:34 
Hi:
Using your code on dotnetfirebird.org to create DB:
FbConnection cnn = new FbConnection("ServerType=1;User=SYSDBA;Pooling=false;" +
"Password=masterkey;Dialect=3;Database=D:/abcdd.fdb");

Hashtable parameters = new Hashtable();
parameters.Add("User", "SYSDBA");
parameters.Add("Password", "masterkey");
parameters.Add("Database", @"D:\abcdd.fdb");
parameters.Add("ServerType", 1);
FbConnection.CreateDatabase(parameters);

always got error:
FirebirdSql.Data.Firebird.FbException: I/O error for file CreateFile (open) "D:\abcdd.fdb"
Error while trying to open file

Cna you tell me what's wrong?
The DLL I use is 1.7a, size of DLL:628K

GeneralRe: createDB Pin
smeets11627-Sep-05 4:17
smeets11627-Sep-05 4:17 
GeneralRe: createDB Pin
alsan wong5-Apr-06 12:29
alsan wong5-Apr-06 12:29 
GeneralRe: createDB Pin
psychohamster18-Jun-06 22:34
psychohamster18-Jun-06 22:34 
GeneralRe: createDB Pin
danielye6-Jun-06 0:29
danielye6-Jun-06 0:29 
GeneralReally cool! but... Pin
weinboerse4-Aug-05 21:16
weinboerse4-Aug-05 21:16 
GeneralRe: Really cool! but... Pin
Dan Letecky10-Aug-05 9:59
Dan Letecky10-Aug-05 9:59 
GeneralRe: Really cool! but... Pin
weinboerse10-Aug-05 20:46
weinboerse10-Aug-05 20:46 
GeneralSwitching between embedded and server Pin
mikejonesperficient28-Jul-05 13:45
mikejonesperficient28-Jul-05 13:45 
GeneralRe: Switching between embedded and server Pin
Dan Letecky28-Jul-05 21:41
Dan Letecky28-Jul-05 21:41 
GeneralRe: Switching between embedded and server Pin
mikejonesperficient29-Jul-05 5:41
mikejonesperficient29-Jul-05 5:41 
Generalstandalone does not work Pin
jinboh25-May-05 5:28
jinboh25-May-05 5:28 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
Dan Letecky27-May-05 1:25
Dan Letecky27-May-05 1:25 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
jinboh27-May-05 3:34
jinboh27-May-05 3:34 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
Dan Letecky27-May-05 3:43
Dan Letecky27-May-05 3:43 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
jinboh27-May-05 4:54
jinboh27-May-05 4:54 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
Dan Letecky27-May-05 5:07
Dan Letecky27-May-05 5:07 
GeneralRe: standalone does not work Pin
jinboh27-May-05 5:49
jinboh27-May-05 5:49 

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