Outer joins

Informix® OUTER() syntax

In Informix SQL, outer joins can be defined in the FROM clause with the OUTER keyword:
SELECT ... FROM a, OUTER (b)
     WHERE a.key = b.akey

SELECT ... FROM a, OUTER(b,OUTER(c))
     WHERE a.key = b.akey 
       AND b.key1 = c.bkey1 AND b.key2 = c.bkey2 
Informix also supports the ANSI outer join syntax, which is the recommended way to specify outer joins with recent SQL database engines:
SELECT ... FROM cust LEFT OUTER JOIN order
                      ON cust.key = order.custno
    WHERE ...

Microsoft™ SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server supports the ANSI outer join syntax:

SELECT ...
  FROM cust LEFT OUTER JOIN order
                  LEFT OUTER JOIN item
                  ON order.key = item.ordno
             ON cust.key = order.custno
 WHERE order.cdate > current date
Note:
The legacy syntax to define outers in SQL Server uses the *= notation:
SELECT ... FROM a, b WHERE a.key *= b.key

Solution

The Genero database drivers can convert Informix Informix OUTER specifications to ANSI outer joins.
Note: For better SQL portability, use the ANSI outer join syntax instead of the old Informix OUTER syntax.
The outer join translation can be controlled with the following FGLPROFILE entry:
dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.outers = { true | false }
For more details see IBM Informix emulation parameters in FGLPROFILE.
  • Prerequisites:
    1. In the FROM clause, the main table must be the first item and the outer tables must be listed from left to right in the order of outer levels.
      Example which does not work:
      ... FROM OUTER(tab2), tab1 
    2. The outer join in the WHERE clause must use the table name as prefix:
      ... WHERE tab1.col1 = tab2.col2
  • Restrictions:
    1. Statements composed by 2 or more SELECT instructions are not supported:
      SELECT ... UNION SELECT ...
      or:
      SELECT ... WHERE col IN (SELECT...)
    2. Additional conditions on outer table columns cannot be detected and therefore are not supported:
      ... FROM tab1, OUTER(tab2)
          WHERE tab1.col1 = tab2.col2
            AND tab2.colx > 10
    3. Using subscript in outer conditions:
      ... FROM tab1, OUTER(tab2)
          WHERE tab1.col1[1,3] = tab2.col2[1,3]
  • Notes:
    1. Table aliases are detected in OUTER expressions.
      OUTER example with table alias:
      ... OUTER(tab1 alias1) ...
    2. In the outer join, outertab.col can be placed on both right or left sides of the equal sign:
      ... WHERE outertab.col1 = maintab.col2
    3. Table names detection is not case-sensitive:
      SELECT ... FROM tab1, TAB2
          WHERE tab1.col1 = tab2.col2
    4. Temporary tables are supported in OUTER specifications:
      CREATE TEMP TABLE tt1 ( ... )
      SELECT ... FROM tab1, OUTER(tt1) ...