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:
FbConnection c = new FbConnection("ServerType=0;User=SYSDBA;" +
It can connect to an embedded Firebird using this connection string:
FbConnection c = new FbConnection("ServerType=1;User=SYSDBA;" +
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.
Hashtable parameters = new Hashtable();
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:
FbCommand cmd = new FbCommand("MYSTOREDPROCEDURE",
cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;