About Firebird Tables - Firebird

Unlike desktop databases, such as Paradox and xBase databases, a Firebird database is not a series of “table files” physically organized in rows and columns. Firebird stores data, independent of its structure, in a compressed format, on database pages. It may store one or many records—or, correctly, rows—of a table’s data on a single page. In cases where the data for one row is too large to fit on one page, a row may span multiple pages.

Although a page that stores table data will always contain only data belonging to one table, pages are not stored contiguously. The data for a table may be scattered all around the disk and, in multi-file databases, may be dispersed across several directories or disks. BLOB data is stored apart from the rows that own it, in another style of database page.

Structural Descriptions

Metadata—the physical descriptions of tables and their columns and attributes, as well as those of all other objects —is itself stored in ordinary Firebird tables inside the database. The Firebird engine writes to these tables when database objects are created, modified, or destroyed. It refers to them constantly when carrying out operations on rows. These tables are known as system tables.

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