[DB-SIG] PROPOSAL: Portable Argment Format

Jim Fulton jim.fulton@Digicool.com
Wed, 24 Jun 1998 10:33:08 -0400

M.-A. Lemburg wrote:
> Jim Fulton wrote:
> >
> > I'd like to lobby for a portable argument format for the DBI
> > interface. While this *does* require parsing SQL, this is
> > not really all that hard and I think the benefits are well
> > worth the effort. I volunteer to provide a utility to assist
> > with this.
> Actually, it only requires scanning SQL. Parsing SQL would
> be overkill ;)
> > Here's what I think the format needs to do:
> >
> >   - Not interfere with SQL.  That is, it must be unabiguous
> >     to find parameters in SQL.
> >
> >   - Support optional argument names, which may be given
> >     a positional interpretation.
> >
> >   - Capture type information, to make type explicit.
> There's a problem with this one: the database may want to
> have different types than the one you explicitly state in the
> SQL statement, e.g. when porting from e.g. Solid to MySQL
> you'll find that MySQL will want all parameters to be strings,
> even numbers, so statements like
>         INSERT INTO MyTable VALUE (:t, :s, :i)
> would fail on MySQL.

No, because the MySQL interface would convert values to strings 
as part of the conversion process.

> But then: the interface could implement
> the type checks and do the conversions afterwards...

> >
> > Maybe this is all that's needed.
> >
> > I propose the following format:
> >
> >      :(name)code
> >
> > where : signals a parameter and code is a type code.
> >
> > Valid type codes are:
> >
> >     c, b, B, h, H, i, I, l, L, f, d, and s --
> >        as defined in the struct module
> >
> >     t -- Date/Time
> We ought to define three chars for date/time values:
>         D - date only
>         T - daytime only
>         S - timestamp (date + daytime)

> since this is what many DBs can handle.
> >     $ -- Money (???)
> Hmm, what would that look like ?

No idea.  That's why I added question marks.  OK, Punt.
> >     r -- Binary data (raw/blob) gotten from a string
> >     others...???
> Questions:
>  What will databases without some of these types get ? E.g. the money
>   type is not defined in ODBC.

Perform some reasonable conversion.
>  Which Python types are expected for each type character ? E.g. will
>   passing strings to ':r' be ok ?

:r is defined to come from a string above.  The proposal should 
spell this out.

>   Will more than one type be allowed per
>   type char (with automatic conversion if necessary) ?

Yes.  This should be spelled out.
> > [Examples]
> Note that you can provide the whole functionality by coding
> a Python function (or class) on top of cursor.execute, so no change to
> the API spec is necessary. Moreover, every existing implementation
> will be able to use it without modification (which is a Good Thing :).

How?  Each implementation has to be involved in implementing this.
For example, portable aguments have to be converted to platform-
specific arguments, and platform specific conversions have to be 
applied.  Utilities can be provided to make the implementation simpler, 
but implementation-specific code is needed.
> You could even have a perpare constructor that returns a (Python)
> instance with a function call interface. [We don't have a
> performance issues here, since the function call overhead
> is negligable w/r to the time it takes for the database to finish.]

Right.  With type information in the sql statement, I can do much
of the binding work up front and make the actual callinr process 
simpler and faster.


Jim Fulton           mailto:jim@digicool.com
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