What Is a Firebird Client? - Firebird

A Firebird client is an application, usually written in a high-level language, that provides end-user access to the features and tools of the Firebird database management system and to data stored in databases. The isql interactive SQL utility and the other command-line utilities in your Firebird /bin directory are examples of client applications.

Firebird clients typically reside on remote workstations and connect to a Firebird server running on a host node in a network. Firebird also supports a stand-alone model allowing client applications, the Firebird client library, and the Firebird server to execute on the same physical box.

Client applications need not involve end-users at all. Daemons, scripts, and services can be clients.

Firebird is designed for heterogeneous networks. Clients running under one operating system can access a server on a different operating system platform. A common arrangement is to have Windows 98 or ME and Linux workstations concurrently accessing a departmental server running Windows NT or Windows 2000, or any of several flavors of UNIX or Linux.

In the client/server model, applications never touch the database directly. Any application process converses with the server through the Firebird client library, a copy of which must be installed on each client workstation. The Firebird client library provides the API through which programs make function calls to retrieve, store, and manipulate data and metadata. Generally, other layers are also involved in the interface between the application program and the Firebird client that surface generic or application language–specific mechanisms for populating and calling the API functions.

For Java development, Firebird’s stable of supported drivers includes the JayBird JDBC/JCA-compliant Java driver for flexible, platform-independent application interfacing between many open source and commercial Java development systems and Firebird databases. Open source and third-party interfacing components and drivers are available for many other development platforms, including Borland Delphi, Kylix, and C++Builder, commercial and open source C++ variants, Python, PHP, and DBI::Perl. For .NET development, a Firebird .NET provider is under constant development.


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