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PHP : Function Reference : dBase Functions

dBase Functions


These functions allow you to access records stored in dBase-format (dbf) databases.

dBase files are simple sequential files of fixed length records. Records are appended to the end of the file and delete records are kept until you call dbase_pack().

The types of dBase fields available are:

Table50.Available types of fields

Field dBase Type Format Additional information
M Memo n/a This type is not supported by PHP, such field will be ignored
D Date YYYYMMDD The field length is limited to 8
N Number A number You must declare a length and a precision (the number of digits after the decimal point)
C String A string You must declare a length. When retrieving data, the string will be right-padded with spaces to fit the declared length.
L Boolean T or Y for TRUE, F or N for FALSE Stored and returned as an integer (1 or 0)
F Float A float number Support for this type of field was added in PHP 5.2.0


There is no support for indexes or memo fields. There is no support for locking, too. Two concurrent web server processes modifying the same dBase file will very likely ruin your database.

We recommend that you do not use dBase files as your production database. Choose any real SQL server instead; MySQL or Postgres are common choices with PHP. dBase support is here to allow you to import and export data to and from your web database, because the file format is commonly understood by Windows spreadsheets and organizers.


In order to enable the bundled dbase library and to use these functions, you must compile PHP with the --enable-dbase option.

Runtime Configuration

This extension has no configuration directives defined in php.ini.

Resource Types

This extension has no resource types defined.


Many examples in this reference require a dBase database. We will use /tmp/test.dbf that will be created in the example of dbase_create().

Predefined Constants

This extension has no constants defined.

Table of Contents

dbase_add_record — Adds a record to a database
dbase_close — Closes a database
dbase_create — Creates a database
dbase_delete_record — Deletes a record from a database
dbase_get_header_info — Gets the header info of a database
dbase_get_record_with_names — Gets a record from a database as an associative array
dbase_get_record — Gets a record from a database as an indexed array
dbase_numfields — Gets the number of fields of a database
dbase_numrecords — Gets the number of records in a database
dbase_open — Opens a database
dbase_pack — Packs a database
dbase_replace_record — Replaces a record in a database

Code Examples / Notes » ref.dbase

hadi rusiah / deegos

If you are using PHP < 5, you can use this function to retrieve dbf header
function get_dbf_header($dbfname) {
  $fdbf = fopen($dbfname,'r');
  $dbfhdrarr = array();
  $buff32 = array();
  $i = 1;
  $goon = true;
  while ($goon) {
     if (!feof($fdbf)) {
        $buff32 = fread($fdbf,32);
        if ($i > 1) {
           if (substr($buff32,0,1) == chr(13)) {
              $goon = false;
           } else {
              $pos = strpos(substr($buff32,0,10),chr(0));
              $pos = ($pos == 0?10:$pos);
              $fieldname = substr($buff32,0,$pos);
              $fieldtype = substr($buff32,11,1);
              $fieldlen = ord(substr($buff32,16,1));
              $fielddec = ord(substr($buff32,17,1));
array_push($dbfhdrarr, array($fieldname,$fieldtype,$fieldlen,$fielddec));
     } else {
        $goon = false;
$arr = get_dbf_header('/data/file.dbf');


I know lots of you dosent really use dbase, but i've builded a class to help the one how dose.
(sorry for bad english)
- dbase.php
set_time_limit (0);
// site_path defined by parent
require_once (SITE_PATH. '/server/php/libs/dbase/handler.php');
/* DBase (dbf)
* manage dbf files, exports and search functionality
* with buildin optimizers for fast performance
class DBase
private $handler = false;
private $searchopt = array (); // Search optimizer

private function unload ()
if ($this-> handler !== false)
unset ($this-> handler);

public function __construct ($file = false)
if ($file !== false)
$this-> load ($file);

public function __destruct ()
$this-> unload ();

public function load ($file)
$resource = dbase_open ($file, 0);
$this-> handler = new DBase_Handler ($resource);

return $this-> handler;

/* Search
* search for string inside header
* returns record number
* false returned if not found or error occurred
* limit_results gets int or false, limit_results equels one will limit the
* search results for one result only, false for no limit
public function search ($headerText, $string, $limit_results = false, $handler = false)
if ($handler === false)
$handler = $this-> handler;

if ($this-> searchopt [$headerText][$string])
return $this-> searchopt [$headerText][$string];
$size = $handler-> getSize ();
if ( ( $headerNumber = $handler-> getHeaderNumber ($headerText) ) !== false)
$results = array ();
for ($i = 1; $i < $size; $i++)
$record = $handler-> getRecord ($i, false); // Disabled optimizer to prevent memory overflow
if (trim ($record [$headerNumber]) == $string)
$results[] = $i;

if ( ($limit_results !== false) && (sizeof ($results) == $limit_results) )

if (sizeof ($results) > 0)
$this-> searchopt [$headerText][$string] = $results;
return $this-> search ($headerText, $string, $handler);

return false;
} else
return false;
- dbase_handler.php
/* DBase Handler (dbf)
* handles dbase resource
class DBase_Handler
private $resource;
private $size; // Records Count
private $header = array ();
private $dataopt = array (); // Data optimizer

private function setHeader ()
$this-> header = dbase_get_header_info ($this-> resource);

public function __construct ($resource)
$this-> resource = $resource;
$this-> setHeader ();
$this-> size = dbase_numrecords ($this-> resource);

public function __destruct ()
dbase_close ($this-> resource);

public function getRecord ($record_number, $dataopt = true)
if ($record_number > $this-> size)
return false;
if ($this-> dataopt [$record_number])
return $this-> dataopt [$record_number];
$record = dbase_get_record ($this-> resource, $record_number);
if ($dataopt === true) // Data saving optimizer
$this-> dataopt [$record_number] = $record;
return $this-> getRecord ($record_number);
} else
return $record;

public function getHeaderNumber ($headerText)
foreach ($this-> header as $index => $header)
if ($header ['name'] == $headerText)
return $index;

return false;

public function getHeader ($headerNumber)
if ($headerNumber <= sizeof ($this-> header))
return $this-> header [$headerNumber];
return false;

public function getSize ()
return $this-> size;

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