Tools for Firebird developers


Tool for exporting and importing data with Firebird and InterBase databases

What's new?

A note to first-time users

FBExport is a tool that can export data in CSV format, as SQL script of INSERT statements, or a custom binary .fbx format. However it can only import this custom .fbx format. (Well, actually it can import the INSERT statement as well, via -Q -F parameter combination).

If you are looking for a tool to import data like CSV or XML file into Firebird you should use some other tool like Guacosoft XMLWizard or something similar.

What does it do?

With FBExport, one can easily export/import data from/to Firebird table into a text file (actually it's a binary file). I first tought that XML format would be the way to go, but size of exported file matters, so I used my own format which uses less space. It can also export data in CSV format and as INSERT statements.

FBExport is a command-line tool, so you can easily use it inside batch scripts. Currently, Linux and Windows versions are available, but I hope it can be built with any compiler that can build IBPP library. For versions 1.40 to 1.60, the is also a GUI version of the tool available. GUI is not flexible enough to support the newest features in version 1.65, so 1.60 will probably be the last version with GUI variant.

FBExport is released as a single package containing source code, linux and windows command-line and GUI binaries.

Why use it?

I was trying to copy data from one Firebird database to another via external tables. The whole import/export process was needed since there was no chance of getting access to both databases at the same time, so any of those data-pump utilities was out of the question. Thus, I came up with the idea to export data into text file, copy that file to other server, and import the data into other database.

Then I had problem with NULLs. When exporting data into external tables, database engine turns all null values into zeroes (hex value 0). When importing back, integers become zero, dates become 17.11.1858, etc. I also tried to use CHAR for all exporting, but then, null value for integer becomes "    ", or something similar, and one gets error message: Conversion error from string "    ".

Instead of writing some UDFs or a lot of Stored Procedures for each table, I decided to make a tool that will do this job...

Also, Firebird has a heavy network protocol which works slow over the modem line, so it takes a lot of time to send data with some data-pump tool. With FBExport you can write a batch script to export the data at one end, zip it, and send over the wire. Then at the other side, unpack and import. Transfering one big .zip file is much faster than making database connections, transactions, filling parameter values, executing statements, commiting, etc.


This tool uses IBPP library for database access. It supports Firebird 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.1 and InterBase 6 databases. It should also work with InterBase 6.5 and 7, but noone has confirmed it yet. If it works for you, please let me know. As IBPP project grows, I hope to support all database engines they do.

FBExport doesn't support ARRAY datatype.


FBExport is Free Software, released under MIT/Expat licence.


Download the latest version at Firebird FAQ website.

Copyright © Milan Babuškov 2002-2009. (e-mail)