Re: SQL Interpreter (Joshua Levy)
Mon, 25 Jan 1993 18:09:03 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Joshua Levy)
Organization: VERITAS Software
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 1993 18:09:03 GMT
References: 93-01-153
Keywords: SQL, interpreter

>[There are several free SQL parsers, but no free interpreters that I know of.
>Perhaps an inexpensive PC database would do the trick. Even once the SQL
>is compiled, you need an index search and update engine to do the work.

I know of a partial SQL interpreter which is either PD or freely
redistributable. It is called shql and is written in bourne shell script.

Below my sig is the README file from shql version 1.1:

Joshua Levy (

                                                            S H Q L version 1.1

Shql is a program that reads SQL commands interactively and executes those
commands by creating and manipulating Unix files.

This program requires a bourne shell that understands functions, as well
as awk, grep, cut, sort, uniq, join, wc, and sed.

This script can be invoked with the command

shql [-q] {database name}

A directory must be created for the database before you may use it. This
directory will house all data files for a single database. All datafiles
are created with mode 666 ('rw-rw-rw-'), so create the directory with 777
('rwxrwxrwx') if you want the database to be sharable, and 700
('rwx------') to be private. Of course, multiple databases are possible.
A database called 'mydb' may be created as a directory $HOME/mydb,
$HOME/shql/mydb, ./mydb, or as $SHQL_ROOT/mydb, where $SHQL_ROOT is
defined below. The -q option turns off the display of headings so the
output of shql can be used by other programs by caputuring all lines that
begin the pipe symbol.

The program is patterned after Ingres' interactive sql terminal monitor
program. Terminal monitor commands begin with either a forward or
back-slash. Forward slashes may appear at the end of a commend line.
Back-slashes are accepted for compatability. The /g is the 'go' command,
/p is print, and /q is quit. Try 'help commands' for a full list.
Because of this, if you need to put a slash as the second to last caracter
on a line, you should add a space between the slash and the last

To get started, invoke shql with a database name. Use the directory name
you created above. Type

shql mydb

if the directory you created was 'mydb'. Once shql starts up, you should
see the database name displayed, and then a '*'. At this point, the most
valuable thing is to type help,

* help
* /g

You may then go on. The command 'help syntax' displays syntax for all SQL
operations, and 'help commands' displays all shql workspace commands. Try
the demo.

Shql can execute only one operation at a time, but operations can be
spread over several lines.

Shql operations are allow 'select' operations on multiple tables. Table
names are read from left to write in select's 'from' section, so the
tables should be ordered with the most central tables first. In two-table
joins, it doesn't matter. In three table joins, if you join table A-to-B
and B-to-C, B must not be the last table in the from clause, because shql
will not be able to join tables A-C. If you get the message 'Join not
found, try reordering tables', this is probably the problem. Also
qualified field names are not understood, like tablename.fieldname, so if
you are joining my_id in table A with my_id in table B, just say 'my_id =
my_id'. Views can also be used to create multi-table selects.

Subselects are implemented, but must be the last operand of a 'where'
clause, most useful with 'in'.

In most cases, commas are optional. NULLs are not implemented.
Aggregates like AVG() are implemented, but not with GROUP BY.

When INSERTing strings that contain the characters !,=,>,<,(, or ), spaces
or backslashes may be added during the insert. This is a side-effect of
the string manipulation needed to properly parse the command parameters.

This SQL is type-less, so specify just the column width when creating
tables. This is used only for display purposes. Shql is case-sensitive,
and expects SQL key words to be in lower case.

Commands can be piped into shql, and the table data files are tab
delimited, so awk scripts can be used to generate reports directly from
the tables. To operate on non-shql data files, create a dummy table with
the proper fields, then copy your file into your shql data directory,
replacing your delimiters with tabs, then run shql on the table, and
convert the table back to its original format. Grave accents (`) may be
used to execute unix command from with shql. Environment variables may
also be used. See the demo for an example, i.e. "cat demo.shql | shql

If you have comments, suggestions, or bug reports contact:

Bruce Momjian, root@candle.uucp (

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