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PHP : Function Reference : Informix Functions

Informix Functions


The Informix driver for Informix (IDS) 7.x, SE 7.x, Universal Server (IUS) 9.x and IDS 2000 is implemented in "" and "php3_ifx.h" in the informix extension directory. IDS 7.x support is fairly complete, with full support for BYTE and TEXT columns. IUS 9.x support is partly finished: the new data types are there, but SLOB and CLOB support is still under construction.


This extension has been moved to the » PECL repository and is no longer bundled with PHP as of PHP 5.2.1.


Configuration notes:

You need a version of ESQL/C to compile the PHP Informix driver. ESQL/C versions from 7.2x on should be OK. ESQL/C is now part of the Informix Client SDK.

Make sure that the "INFORMIXDIR" variable has been set, and that $INFORMIXDIR/bin is in your PATH before you run the "configure" script.


To be able to use the functions defined in this module you must compile your PHP interpreter using the configure line --with-informix[=DIR], where DIR is the Informix base install directory, defaults to nothing.

Runtime Configuration

The behaviour of these functions is affected by settings in php.ini.


Make sure that the Informix environment variables INFORMIXDIR and INFORMIXSERVER are available to the PHP ifx driver, and that the INFORMIX bin directory is in the PATH. Check this by running a script that contains a call to phpinfo() before you start testing. The phpinfo() output should list these environment variables. This is true for both CGI php and Apache mod_php. You may have to set these environment variables in your Apache startup script.

The Informix shared libraries should also be available to the loader (check LD_LIBRARY_PATH or

Some notes on the use of BLOBs (TEXT and BYTE columns) :

BLOBs are normally addressed by BLOB identifiers. Select queries return a "blob id" for every BYTE and TEXT column. You can get at the contents with "string_var = ifx_get_blob($blob_id);" if you choose to get the BLOBs in memory (with: "ifx_blobinfile(0);"). If you prefer to receive the content of BLOB columns in a file, use "ifx_blobinfile(1);", and "ifx_get_blob($blob_id);" will get you the filename. Use normal file I/O to get at the blob contents.

For insert/update queries you must create these "blob id's" yourself with "ifx_create_blob();". You then plug the blob id's into an array, and replace the blob columns with a question mark (?) in the query string. For updates/inserts, you are responsible for setting the blob contents with ifx_update_blob().

The behaviour of BLOB columns can be altered by configuration variables that also can be set at runtime:

configuration variable: ifx.textasvarchar

configuration variable: ifx.byteasvarchar

runtime functions:

ifx_textasvarchar(0): use blob id's for select queries with TEXT columns

ifx_byteasvarchar(0): use blob id's for select queries with BYTE columns

ifx_textasvarchar(1): return TEXT columns as if they were VARCHAR columns, so that you don't need to use blob id's for select queries.

ifx_byteasvarchar(1): return BYTE columns as if they were VARCHAR columns, so that you don't need to use blob id's for select queries.

configuration variable: ifx.blobinfile

runtime function:

ifx_blobinfile_mode(0): return BYTE columns in memory, the blob id lets you get at the contents.

ifx_blobinfile_mode(1): return BYTE columns in a file, the blob id lets you get at the file name.

If you set ifx_text/byteasvarchar to 1, you can use TEXT and BYTE columns in select queries just like normal (but rather long) VARCHAR fields. Since all strings are "counted" in PHP, this remains "binary safe". It is up to you to handle this correctly. The returned data can contain anything, you are responsible for the contents.

If you set ifx_blobinfile to 1, use the file name returned by ifx_get_blob(..) to get at the blob contents. Note that in this case YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DELETING THE TEMPORARY FILES CREATED BY INFORMIX when fetching the row. Every new row fetched will create new temporary files for every BYTE column.

The location of the temporary files can be influenced by the environment variable "blobdir", default is "." (the current directory). Something like: putenv(blobdir=tmpblob"); will ease the cleaning up of temp files accidentally left behind (their names all start with "blb").

Automatically trimming "char" (SQLCHAR and SQLNCHAR) data:

This can be set with the configuration variable

ifx.charasvarchar: if set to 1 trailing spaces will be automatically trimmed, to save you some "chopping".

NULL values:

The configuration variable ifx.nullformat (and the runtime function ifx_nullformat()) when set to TRUE will return NULL columns as the string "NULL", when set to FALSE they return the empty string. This allows you to discriminate between NULL columns and empty columns.

Table 150. Informix configuration options

Name Default Changeable Changelog
ifx.allow_persistent "1" PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.max_persistent "-1" PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.max_links "-1" PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.default_host NULL PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.default_user NULL PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.default_password NULL PHP_INI_SYSTEM Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.blobinfile "1" PHP_INI_ALL Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.textasvarchar "0" PHP_INI_ALL Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.byteasvarchar "0" PHP_INI_ALL Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.charasvarchar "0" PHP_INI_ALL Removed in PHP 5.2.1.
ifx.nullformat "0" PHP_INI_ALL Removed in PHP 5.2.1.

For further details and definitions of the PHP_INI_* constants, see the Appendix I, php.ini directives.

Here's a short explanation of the configuration directives.

ifx.allow_persistent boolean

Whether to allow persistent Informix connections.

ifx.max_persistent integer

The maximum number of persistent Informix connections per process.

ifx.max_links integer

The maximum number of Informix connections per process, including persistent connections.

ifx.default_host string

The default host to connect to when no host is specified in ifx_connect() or ifx_pconnect(). Doesn't apply in safe mode.

ifx.default_user string

The default user id to use when none is specified in ifx_connect() or ifx_pconnect(). Doesn't apply in safe mode.

ifx.default_password string

The default password to use when none is specified in ifx_connect() or ifx_pconnect(). Doesn't apply in safe mode.

ifx.blobinfile boolean

Set to TRUE if you want to return blob columns in a file, FALSE if you want them in memory. You can override the setting at runtime with ifx_blobinfile_mode().

ifx.textasvarchar boolean

Set to TRUE if you want to return TEXT columns as normal strings in select statements, FALSE if you want to use blob id parameters. You can override the setting at runtime with ifx_textasvarchar().

ifx.byteasvarchar boolean

Set to TRUE if you want to return BYTE columns as normal strings in select queries, FALSE if you want to use blob id parameters. You can override the setting at runtime with ifx_textasvarchar().

ifx.charasvarchar boolean

Set to TRUE if you want to trim trailing spaces from CHAR columns when fetching them.

ifx.nullformat boolean

Set to TRUE if you want to return NULL columns as the literal string "NULL", FALSE if you want them returned as the empty string "". You can override this setting at runtime with ifx_nullformat().

Resource Types

Predefined Constants

The constants below are defined by this extension, and will only be available when the extension has either been compiled into PHP or dynamically loaded at runtime.

IFX_SCROLL (integer)
IFX_HOLD (integer)
IFX_LO_RDONLY (integer)
IFX_LO_WRONLY (integer)
IFX_LO_APPEND (integer)
IFX_LO_RDWR (integer)
IFX_LO_BUFFER (integer)

Table of Contents

ifx_affected_rows — Get number of rows affected by a query
ifx_blobinfile_mode — Set the default blob mode for all select queries
ifx_byteasvarchar — Set the default byte mode
ifx_close — Close Informix connection
ifx_connect — Open Informix server connection
ifx_copy_blob — Duplicates the given blob object
ifx_create_blob — Creates an blob object
ifx_create_char — Creates an char object
ifx_do — Execute a previously prepared SQL-statement
ifx_error — Returns error code of last Informix call
ifx_errormsg — Returns error message of last Informix call
ifx_fetch_row — Get row as an associative array
ifx_fieldproperties — List of SQL fieldproperties
ifx_fieldtypes — List of Informix SQL fields
ifx_free_blob — Deletes the blob object
ifx_free_char — Deletes the char object
ifx_free_result — Releases resources for the query
ifx_get_blob — Return the content of a blob object
ifx_get_char — Return the content of the char object
ifx_getsqlca — Get the contents of sqlca.sqlerrd[0..5] after a query
ifx_htmltbl_result — Formats all rows of a query into a HTML table
ifx_nullformat — Sets the default return value on a fetch row
ifx_num_fields — Returns the number of columns in the query
ifx_num_rows — Count the rows already fetched from a query
ifx_pconnect — Open persistent Informix connection
ifx_prepare — Prepare an SQL-statement for execution
ifx_query — Send Informix query
ifx_textasvarchar — Set the default text mode
ifx_update_blob — Updates the content of the blob object
ifx_update_char — Updates the content of the char object
ifxus_close_slob — Deletes the slob object
ifxus_create_slob — Creates an slob object and opens it
ifxus_free_slob — Deletes the slob object
ifxus_open_slob — Opens an slob object
ifxus_read_slob — Reads nbytes of the slob object
ifxus_seek_slob — Sets the current file or seek position
ifxus_tell_slob — Returns the current file or seek position
ifxus_write_slob — Writes a string into the slob object

Code Examples / Notes » ref.ifx


Verify with phpinfo() that you have informix module compiled in php.
Also verify that env vars INFORMIXDIR, INFORMIXSERVER, LD_LIBRARY_PATH are set, and that PATH have a route to your informix subdir.


Unfortunately the informix extension has been moved to PECL but has no maintainer.
In practic terms, it has been moved but is not available in PECL yet.
It's sad. I have a big client who uses this extension for more than 6 years and now has to change a code base of 500,000 lines of code or install an old version of PHP in the new server. They recently bought a redundant, double cpu, 8 gb ram, scsi disk server and will not be happy to run old versions of software with unmaintained extensions.


There's also a FreeBSD version of the client libraries that'll work with PHP.  It's not available for download from their website, but you can request a copy (cd or electronic delivery) by calling Informix Customer Support at 1-800-274-8184 option 3.
Some customer service reps know more about alternative operating systems than others, so you may have to do a bit of educating before they can locate the product in their database, but it's definitely there.
My e-mail confirmation referred to it as "Orderable Part Number 100-15871-204057-1", although that number may be specific to the electronically-delivered edition.


One very frustrating experience with interfacing
Informix and unixODBC (on RHEL4 - PHP 5.20)
was the constant Informix error:
Unable to load locale categories
& the non existant handles from unixODBC calls.
This is an issue of the environment being set correctly
which I thought was - phpinfo() reported that the apache
environment was correct <_server=> I even went as far as
to Put/Setenv in httpd.conf.  
The hint is in the php 'environment' block
- it did not contain the env strings.
The fix was to insert the environment strings in the httpd
start-up script (/etc/init.d/httpd) which pushed the
environment correctly when the server starts up.
Hope to save someone else the hours....

ian mcmurray

Installation on RedHat Fedore Core (or in that matter any Linux OS which has a version of glibc  of 2.3.* ~or above~) will need to have the latest Informix CSDK (downloadable from IBM). 2.90.UC1.LINUX at the time of this post.
I was unable to make PHP with v2.80 of the csdk (as it complained about mktemp being dangerous and how ctype was undefined. After downloading csdk 2.90, I was able to make PHP with no problems at all. (--with-informix).
There goes 2 days of my life!
Feel free to drop me an email at ian_at_devtonic_dot_com if you have any questions.

isaac dot hopley

If you are tring to access an Informix Online 5.x server over the
network (ie from a webserver) using PHP, be aware that Online
doesn't support network communications as standard unlike later versions.
You need the Informix product 'I-Star' on your Online server.
This will allow your webserver with the informix client SDK
installed to communicate natively (ESQL).
Thanks go to Mario @ PRS for this info.


I upgraded to csdk-2.70.UC3-1 and got the following error when trying to start apache:
Syntax error on line 205 of /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf:
Cannot load /usr/local/apache/libexec/ into server: /opt/informix/lib/esql/ undefined symbol: stat
/usr/local/apache/bin/apachectl start: httpd could not be started
This machine has glibc 2.3.5
The following fixed the problem for me (surely there's a better fix) but i'm not sure how it might affect other programs linked to libifgen
mkdir /tmp/ifx
cd /tmp/ifx
ar x $INFORMIXDIR/lib/esql/libifgen.a
gcc -shared -o *.o
cp $INFORMIXDIR/lib/esql


I just wrote a mini-HOWTO about adding Informix support to mod_php running on a Gentoo Linux server (x86). I wanted to post it here but it was too long. You can find it on (just in case for some reason they change the thread number, the title is "HOWTO: PHP Informix client support").


I have compile php-4.0.6 with informix support (dynamic) and when I try to
start apache, it gives me this error message:
Syntax error on line 246 of /etc/httpd/httpd.conf:
Cannot load /usr/lib/apache/ into server: /home/informix7/lib/esql/lib undefined symbol: stat
/usr/sbin/apachectl start: httpd could not be started

old dot wolf

An intermittent SQL error -25580 is caused by using the wrong glibc version in Linux.
I have this working correctly in Linux (x86) with Informix Client SDK for 2.70UC-1 for Linux, with glibc 2.1.3.
Originally I had glibc 2.1.1 (Red Hat 6), which gave the intermittent error, but upgrading glibc fixed it.
The Informix Client SDKs can be downloaded from (you need to own an Informix database to log on), and glibc is at .


add the following to /etc/profile (right before unset i (adjust to your needs)
export INFORMIXDIR=/opt/informix
export ODBCINI=/usr/local/etc/odbc.ini
then add the following to your httpd.conf
(or you can use SetEnv SetEnv INFORMIXDIR /opt/informix  etc.)

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