Introduction to the Firebird Database

[From Linux Journal ]

Reasons why the Firebird database is a viable option for your next project.

In the open-source world, much has been made about the need for a full-featured, robust and reliable database that can handle substantial loads and yet be able to play well with such open-source tools as Perl and PHP. The two main contenders are PostgreSQL and MySQL, but a new arrival in this arena is the Firebird RDBMS. It offers a substantial feature set, a mature code base and a proven track record in its previous incarnation as the Borland InterBase RDBMS. As discussed later in this article, Firebird provides a lot of the features available in commercial databases, including stored procedures, triggers, hot backups (backups while the database is running) and replication. As with many mature products, Firebird carries some amount of legacy baggage, which can be a bit confusing to a new user. So before we plunge into exploring the features this database provides, let us look at some common issues that may confront a new user.

Firebird originally started its life as the Borland InterBase database. As the product reached version 6.0, Borland decided Borland the product was going to be aged out, and so the code was released under an open-source license. Later on, however, Borland apparently had a change of mind about aging out the product. To this day, internally, Borland continues to develop the InterBase database, with the latest version being 7.1. Firebird 1.0 essentially was the open-source code behind InterBase 6.0. As of this writing, the first major development effort of the Firebird branch is Firebird 1.5.

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