TEXT and BYTE (LOB) types


Informix provides the TEXT, BYTE, CLOB and BLOB data types to store very large texts or binary data.

Legacy Informix 4GL applications typically use the TEXT and BYTE types.

Genero BDL does not support the Informix CLOB and BLOB types.

Microsoft™ SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server provides the VARCHAR(MAX), NVARCHAR(MAX) and VARBINARY(MAX) data types to store large object data.

The SQL Server TEXT, NTEXT and IMAGE data types still exist, but are considered as obsolete and will be removed in a future version.

In SQL Server, the VARCHAR(MAX), NVARCHAR(MAX) and VARBINARY(MAX) types have a limit of 2 gigabytes (2^31 -1 actually).


SQL Server database drivers make the appropriate ODBC bindings for TEXT and BYTE program variables, as SQL parameters and fetch buffers, to be used with SQL Server VARCHAR(MAX), NVARCHAR(MAX) and VARBINARY(MAX) columns.

With Informix emulations enabled, in DDL statements such as CREATE TABLE:
  • The BYTE data type name is converted to VARBINARY(MAX).
  • The TEXT data type name is converted to VARCHAR(MAX) or NVARCHAR(MAX), depending on the applications locale, widechar mode usage and dbi.database.dnname.ifxemul.nationalchars FGLPROFILE setting.
To store TEXT data, use either VARCHAR(MAX) or NVARCHAR(MAX), by following the same rules as for CHAR/VARCHAR data, based on the widemode mode. For more details, see CHAR and VARCHAR data types.

Starting with SQL Server 2019, the database collation can be defined with the _UTF8 modifier, to store UTF-8 encoded data in CHAR(n), VARCHAR(n) and VARCHAR(MAX) columns. In this case, UTF-8 data hold by TEXT variables can be stored in VARCHAR(MAX) columns instead of NVARCHAR(MAX) columns.

By default, in DDL statements executed by programs (such as CREATE TABLE), the TEXT type name is left untouched. To force the ODI drivers to replace TEXT by the NVARCHAR(MAX) type name (when the widechar mode is enabled), set the dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.nationalchars FGLPROFILE entry to true (default is false):
dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.nationalchars = true 
  1. The dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.nationalchars will only take effect, if the current application locale is multibyte (typically, UTF-8) and the widechar mode is enabled (this is the default with UTF-8 and CHAR length semantics).
  2. The dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.nationalchars parameter is ignored, if the switch corresponding to the character type name (dbi.database.dsname.datatype.{char|varchar|text}) is set to false.

Genero TEXT/BYTE program variables and the SQL Server large object types have the same a limit of 2 gigabytes.


When using a stored procedure that has SET/IF statements and produces a result set with LOBs, the LOB columns must appear at the end of the SELECT list. If LOB columns are followed by other columns with regular types, the fetching rows will fail. Using SET NOCOUNT ON in the stored procedure does not help, because the cursor type is changed from a server cursor to a default result set cursor.

The TEXT and BYTE types translation can be controlled with the following FGLPROFILE entries:
dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.datatype.text = { true | false }
dbi.database.dsname.ifxemul.datatype.byte = { true | false }
For more details see IBM Informix emulation parameters in FGLPROFILE.