Informix provides two SQL instructions to export / import data from / into a database table:

The UNLOAD instruction copies rows from a database table into a text file:
UNLOAD TO "filename.unl" SELECT * FROM tab1 WHERE ..
The LOAD instructions insert rows from a text file into a database table:
LOAD FROM "filename.unl" INSERT INTO tab1


ORACLE provides tools like SQL*Plus and SQL*Loader to load/unload data from a database.


LOAD and UNLOAD instruction are implemented in the Genero BDL runtime system with basic INSERT (for LOAD) or SELECT (for UNLOAD) SQL commands. The LOAD and UNLOAD instruction can be supported with various database servers.

However, LOAD and UNLOAD require the description of the column types in order to work, that can lead to some differences in the data formatting.


If no transaction is started, the LOAD instruction will automatically execute a BEGIN WORK and COMMIT WORK when finished, or ROLLBACK WORK if a row insertion failed while loading. Terminating a transaction will automatically close cursors not defined WITH HOLD option. To workaround this situation, see more details in the LOAD reference topic.

The LOAD and UNLOAD BDL instructions are supported with ORACLE with some limitations:

  • There is a difference when using ORACLE DATE columns. DATE columns created in the ORACLE database are equivalent to Informix DATETIME YEAR TO SECOND columns. In LOAD and UNLOAD, all ORACLE DATE columns are treated as Informix DATETIME YEAR TO SECOND columns and thus will be unloaded with the "YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss" format.
  • Informix INTEGER and SMALLINT are mapped to ORACLE NUMBER(?) columns. Those values will be unloaded as Informix DECIMAL(10) and DECIMAL(5) values, that is, with a trailing dot-zero ".0".

  • When using an Informix database, simple dates are unloaded using the DBDATE format (ex:"23/12/1998"). Unloading from an Informix database for loading into an ORACLE database is not supported.