String delimiters


The ANSI SQL string delimiter character is the single quote ('string'), while double quotes are used to delimit database object names:

SELECT ... WHERE "tabname"."colname" = 'a string value'
In Informix databases created in native mode (non-ANSI), you can use double quotes as string delimiters:
SELECT ... WHERE tabname.colname = 'a string value'

This is important, since many BDL programs use that character to delimit the strings in SQL commands.


This problem concerns only double quotes within SQL statements. Double quotes used in pure BDL string expressions are not subject to SQL compatibility problems.


ORACLE follows the ANSI SQL specification, using single quotes for string delimiters and double quotes for database object names.


When using Static SQL statements, the fglcomp compiler converts string literals using double quotes to string literals with single quotes:
$ cat s.4gl
   SELECT COUNT(*) INTO n FROM tab1 WHERE col1 = "abc"

$ fglcomp -S s.4gl
s.4gl^3^SELECT COUNT(*) FROM tab1 WHERE col1 = 'abc'

However, SQL statements created dynamically are not modified by the Genero compiler.

The Genero database interface can automatically replace all double quotes by single quotes in SQL statements. This applies to static and dynamic SQL statements.

The The translation of double quoted expression to single quoted expressions can be controlled with the following FGLPROFILE entry:
dbi.database.dbname.ifxemul.dblquotes = { true | false }
For more details see IBM Informix emulation parameters in FGLPROFILE.
However, database object names must not be delimited by double quotes, because the database interface cannot determine the difference between a database object name and a quoted string. For example, if the program executes the SQL statement:
... WHERE "tabname"."colname" = "a string value"
replacing all double quotes by single quotes would produce:
... WHERE 'tabname'.'colname' = 'a string value'

This would produce an error since 'tabname'.'colname' is not allowed by ORACLE.

Escaped string delimiters can be used inside strings like the following:

'This is a single quote: '''
'This is a single quote: \''
"This is a double quote: """
"This is a double quote: \""

Although double quotes are replaced automatically in SQL statements, it is recommended that you use only single quotes to enforce portability.