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The C Database Library

Brookville, Indiana Copyright (c) 1989, 1991 Citadel
All rights reserved

Citadel Software, Inc.
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Version 1.0.2

This manual is protected by United States copyright law. No part of it
may be reproduced without the express written permission of Citadel.

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Introduction 1

Chapter 1. A Tutorial Introduction 3
1.1 Defining a Database
1.2 Using the cbase Library

Chapter 2. cbase Architecture 9

Chapter 3. The Data Definition Language 11

Chapter 4. cbase Library Functions 13
4.1 Access Control Functions
4.2 Lock Functions
4.3 Record Cursor Position Functions
4.4 Key Cursor Position Functions
4.5 Input/Output Functions
4.6 Import/Export Functions

Chapter 5. Custom Indexing 23

Chapter 6. An Example Program 27
6.1 Data Definition
6.2 Opening a cbase
6.3 Locking a cbase
6.4 Accessing a cbase
6.5 Closing a cbase
6.6 Storing Variable Length Text

Appendix A. Installation Instructions 37
A1 manx
A2 The blkio Library
A3 The lseq Library
A4 The btree Library
A5 The cbase Library
A6 Combining Libraries
A7 cbddlp
A8 rolodeck
A9 Troubleshooting

Appendix B. Defining New Data Types 45
B1 The Type Name
B2 The Comparison Function
B3 The Export and Import Functions
B4 The Type Count

Appendix C. Porting to a New Operating System 49
C1 The OPSYS and CCOM Macros
C2 The File Descriptor Type
C3 System Calls for File Access
C4 System Calls for File Locking
C5 Debugging

References 53


cbase is a complete multiuser C database file management library,
providing indexed and sequential access on multiple keys. Custom
indexing beyond that performed automatically by cbase can also be
performed. cbase features a layered architecture (see Figure 2.1), and
actually includes four individual libraries. Below is a summary of the
library's main features.

cbase Features

- Written in strict adherence to ANSI C standard.
- K&R C compatibility maintained.
- All operating system dependent code is isolated, making it easy to
port to new systems easy.
- UNIX and DOS currently supported.
- Complete C source code included.
- Both records and indexes are buffered using LRU (least recently
used) buffering.
Fast and efficient random access
- B+-trees are used for inverted file key storage.
- Multiple keys are supported.
- Both unique and duplicate keys are supported.
Fast and efficient sequential access
- B+-trees also allow keyed sequential access.
- Records are stored in doubly linked lists for non-keyed sequential
- Both types of sequential access are bidirectional.
- Read-only locking.
Other Features
- Text file data import and export.
- Custom data types can be defined.
- Marker used to detect corrupt files.
- Reference documentation is in standard UNIX manual entry format,
including errno values.
- cbddlp, a data definition language processor, is provided to
automatically generate the C code defining a database.

Chapter 1: A Tutorial Introduction

We begin with a brief example of a cbase application to provide the
reader with a general understanding of the basic elements involved.
Details on everything presented here will come in later chapters. The
running example in this tutorial will be a minimal inventory database
consisting of a single type of record having fields for a unique part
code, a part description, bin location, and quantity in stock.

1.1 Defining a Database

The first step in any database application is to design the logical
structure of the database, i.e., the records to be stored and the fields
in those records. This logical design must then be encoded somehow into
the application, which involves the construction of data structures that
can be quite lengthy and tedious to input. To facilitate this process,
cbase allows databases to be defined using a relatively concise data
definition language (DDL).

The most important DDL element is the record statement. record is
similar to the C struct statement, but database data types are used
rather than C types, and fields can be made keys simply by prefixing the
keyword key. Using the keyword unique in addition will cause the key to
be constrained to be unique. What being a key means is that an index is
automatically maintained for that field, allowing quick searches to be
performed on that field as well as rapid sequential processing of the
records in the sort order of that field. The DDL statements data file
and index file are used to specify the filename for each data file and
index file. C preprocessor statements can also be included in a DDL

Figure 1.1 shows the complete DDL description part.ddl for our
inventory database. This information must now be translated into a form
accessible from a C program. This is done with the cbase DDL processor

cbddlp part.ddl

From the information in part.ddl, cbddlp generates all the necessary
macros and data structures necessary to completely define the database
in C. Two C source files are generated: a .h file to be included in
every module, and a .i file to be included in only one, normally the one
containing main. The contents of the .i file will be used only
internally by cbase, but the contents of the .h file are required by the
application program.

Figure 1.2 lists the header file part.h generated from part.ddl.
First notice that the C preprocessor statements have been passed through
unaltered. There is then a macro identifying the cbase that is the
record name converted to upper case. For each record statement in the
DDL file, there is a corresponding C struct statement using the same
record name as its identifier. For each field in a record there is an
upper case macro identifying it, and a macro for the number of fields in
the record. Finally, there is a declaration for the field list data
structure in the .i file that is passed to the cbase library functions
to create and open a cbase. The prefix for the field count and field
list identifiers are taken from the characters of the first field name
preceding the first underscore.

/* constants */
#define PTCODE_MAX (11) /* part code length max */
#define PTDESC_MAX (30) /* part description length max */
#define PTBIN_MAX (4) /* part bin length max */

/* file assignments */
data file "part.dat" contains part;
index file "ptcode.ndx" contains pt_code;
index file "ptdesc.ndx" contains pt_desc;

/* record definitions */
record part { /* part record */
unique key t_string pt_code[PTCODE_MAX]; /* code */
key t_string pt_desc[PTDESC_MAX]; /* description */
t_string pt_bin[PTBIN_MAX]; /* storage location */
t_long pt_stock; /* quantity in stock */

Figure 1.1. Definition of the Part Database

#ifndef H_PART
#define H_PART

/* libray headers */

#define PTCODE_MAX (11) /* part code length max */
#define PTDESC_MAX (30) /* part description length max */
#define PTBIN_MAX (4) /* part bin length max */

/* record name */
#define PART "part.dat"

/* part record definition */
typedef struct part {
char pt_code[PTCODE_MAX];
char pt_desc[PTDESC_MAX];
char pt_bin[PTBIN_MAX];
long pt_stock;
} part_t;

/* field names for record part */
#define PT_CODE (0)
#define PT_DESC (1)
#define PT_BIN (2)
#define PT_STOCK (3)
#define PTFLDC (4)

/* field definition list for record part */
extern cbfield_t ptfldv[PTFLDC];


Figure 1.2. Part Database Header File

1.2 Using the cbase Library

Figure 1.3 lists a skeletal part database application. Points to
notice are the inclusion of the database definition headers, registering
the bcloseall function, and the use of the macros and data structures
generated by cbddlp to create and open the database.

/* ansi headers */

/* library headers */

/* local headers */
#include "part.h"
#include "part.i"

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
cbase_t * cbp = NULL;
int found = 0;
struct part pt;

/* register termination function to flush database buffers */
if (atexit(bcloseall)) {

/* create cbase */
if (cbcreate(PART, sizeof(struct part), PTFLDC, ptfldv) == -1) {
if (errno != EEXIST) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbcreate: error %d.\n", errno);

/* open cbase */
cbp = cbopen(PART, "r+", PTFLDC, ptfldv);
if (cbp == NULL) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbopen: error %d.\n", errno);


/* close cbase */
if (cbclose(cbp) == -1) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbclose: error %d.\n", errno);


Figure 1.3. Skeletal Part Database Application

This program would be completed by adding the main body of code to
interact with the user and perform the database operations necessary to
satisfy his requests. Below is a quick overview of some of the basic
database functions and how they are used.

Most database operations are relative to the record cursor. The
record cursor is positioned either on a record or the special position
null. Strict attention must be paid to the effect every function used
has on the record cursor.

A record is stored in a database with the cbinsert function. The
following stores the record pt in the cbase cbp. Since the part cbase
has a unique key, the part code, cbinsert will fail and set errno to
CBEDUP if there is already a record in the cbase with that part code.

if (cbinsert(cbp, &pt) == -1) {
if (errno == CBEDUP) {
fprintf(stderr, "Part code %.*s already used.\n",
sizeof(pt.pt_code), pt.pt_code);
} else {
fprintf(stderr, "cbinsert: error %d.\n", errno);

The record cursor is placed on the newly inserted record. Note that the
error message takes into account that this database does not store the
terminating nul character of the part code string.

Records can be directly located based on any of its keys using the
cbkeysrch function. cbkeysrch returns a value of zero if there is no
record with that key value, and positions the record cursor on the record
with the next higher key. If a match is found, the record cursor is
positioned on the match and a value of one returned.

found = cbkeysrch(cbp, PT_CODE, pt.pt_code);
if (found == 0) {
fprintf(stderr, "Key not found.\n");

A record is deleted by first positioning the record cursor to that
record, then calling cbdelcur to delete the current record.


The need often arises to process a sorted sequence of records. This
is done by first positioning the cursor to the first record to be
processed, then using cbkeynext in a loop to step through each record in
the order defined by the specified key. The macro cbkcursor can be used
to test when the last record has been processed. The following code
fragment prints all part codes above a given value.

cbkeysrch(cbp, PT_CODE, pt.pt_code);
while (cbkcursor(cbp, PT_CODE) != NULL) {
cbgetr(cbp, &pt);
printf("%.*s", sizeof(pt.pt_code), pt.pt_code);
cbkeynext(cbp, PT_CODE);

There has been some simplification on cursors in this tutorial.
There is actually one cursor for the record and a separate cursor for
each key. The relationship between these cursors will be covered in
Chapter 4.

Chapter 2: cbase Architecture

cbase is designed around a four-layered architecture, the layers
being: File System, Buffered I/O, File Structure, and ISAM (Figure 1.1).
The nethermost layer is the File System, which is part of the operating
system. This layer is accessed via system calls, an interface which
varies from system to system. On top of the File System layer, the
Buffered I/O layer performs two primary functions: to provide a portable
interface to the file system, and to perform buffering. The stdio
library also performs these same two functions, but it models a file as
an unstructured stream of characters and is intended primarily for text
files. The blkio library, on the other hand, is designed for database
file access and models a file as a collection of blocks made up of fields
(see FROS89 for a complete description of blkio).

³ ISAM ³
³ File Structure ³
³ Buffered I/O ³
³ File System ³

(a). Database Reference Model

³ cbase ³
³ lseq ³ btree ³
³ blkio ³
³ system calls ³

(b) Relation of Libraries to Reference Model

Figure 2.1. cbase Architecture

The File Structure layer is the most complex. This is where the
actual file organizations are defined. Since different file structures
are suited to different tasks, there is more than a single library at
this layer; currently implemented are btree, a B+-tree file management
library, and lseq, a doubly-linked sequential file management library.
At the top of the reference model is the ISAM layer. ISAM stands for
Indexed Sequential Access Method, and is the interface typically used in
database applications. As the name says, this layer provides both direct
random access to records via indexes, as well as the sequential
processing of records. There is only a single library at this library,
called cbase, short for C Database. cbase internally uses lseq for
record storage and btree to automatically maintain indexes for those
records. The relation of each index to the data is referred to as an
"inverted file" (see ULLM82 and Chapter 5).

Chapter 3: The Data Definition Language

The first step in the development of a database application is to
define the logical structure of the database. This requires C data
structures that, while not necessarily complex, can be lengthy and
tedious to construct. cbase therefore provides a utility to
automatically generate the necessary C code from a relatively short and
simple description written in a data definition language (DDL).

The cbase data definition language processor, cbddlp, takes the name
of a DDL source file as its only argument. This file must have the
extension .ddl.

cbddlp database.ddl

From the contents of this input file, two C source files are generated.
The first is a header file to be included by every source file that will
access the database. This file has the same base name as the DDL file
with the extension .h. The second is also an include file, but it is to
be included in only one source file (normally the one containing main)
in each application accessing the database, because it contains actual
data. This file has the same base name as the DDL file with the
extension .i.

There are three types of statements in a DDL file. First, any C
preprocessor statements may appear in a DDL file; they are simply passed
through to the generated .h file. This allows macros for field array
element counts to be defined, or other header files containing such
definitions to be included. Second, file assignments are made by the
following two statements:

data file "recname.dat" contains recname;
index file "ndxname.ndx" contains ndxname;

These simply specify that the filename in quotes is to be used for the
following record or index. The extensions .dat and .ndx are not required
by cbase. Lastly is the record statement, which is used to actually
define the format of the database.

record recname {
[[unique] key] dbtype fldname[\[elemc\]];

The record statement is very similarly to the C struct statement. dbtype
is a cbase data type. A field is specified to be a key simply by using
the key specifier, and the key will be constrained to be unique by
further adding the unique specifier. C-style comments may also be used
in DDL files. A complete DDL file will be included in the example of
Chapter 6.

For the predefined cbase data types, cbddlp knows the corresponding
C data type to use in generating the C structures for the database. If
a user has defined a new data type, the corresponding C data type must
be specified explicitly. This is done by following the user-defined
cbase data type by a colon and the corresponding C data type.

[[unique] key] dbtype:ctype fldname[\[elemc\]]

cbddlp can also be modified to automatically recognize user-defined
types. See the readme file accompanying the source code for cbddlp for

First, there is a macro for the cbase name. This macro is the
record name converted to upper case. Second, a C structure is defined
that exactly corresponds to each record in the DDL file. The name of
this structure is the same as the record name; it is also typedefed to
the record name with _t appended. Third, a macro is defined for each
field in the record; these are used to specify the desired field to the
cbase library functions. The field macros are the field names converted
to upper case, so the field names must be unique across all the records
in use by an application. Finally, there is a macro for the field count
and a declaration for the field list. These are made unique from other
cbases by using the first characters (up to four) up to an underscore in
the first field name as a prefix. For example, for a record having the
first field rd_name, the field count and field list would be RDFLDC and
rdfldv. These are used in creating and opening a cbase. The actual
definition of the field list is contained in the generated .i file.

cbddlp can be easily integrated into make with the following suffix

# suffix rules
.SUFFIXES: .ddl .h .i

cbddlp $<

cbddlp $<

These are for the standard UNIX make. The exact statements may vary for
other versions.

Chapter 4: cbase Library Functions

The main cbase library functions are presented in this chapter
grouped by function. For further details, see the alphabetically ordered
reference manual entries. The cbase functions use the ANSI error
variable errno for error reporting. To avoid conflict with existing
error numbers (defined in ), negative values are used. Macros
for these values are defined in the header file for cbase and also the
underlying libraries.

4.1 Access Control Functions

The cbcreate function is used to create a new cbase.

int cbcreate(const char *cbname, size_t recsize,
int fldc, const cbfield_t fldv[]);

cbname points to a character string which is the name of the cbase. This
name is used as the name of the data file containing the records in the
cbase. recsize specifies the record size to be used. fldc is the number
of fields in the cbase, and fldv is an array of fldc field definition
structures. The field count macro and field definition list created by
cbddlp should be used for fldc and fldv.

The field list will generated by cbddlp will normally just be passed
directly to cbcreate without the application becoming involved in its
contents. In some instances, however, it is necessary to directly
manipulate the field list fldv. For instance, it is sometimes desired
to dynamically change the name of the index files, and so the internal
structure of this list will be explained.

Field definitions must be listed in the order the fields occur in
the record; the field macros generated by cbddlp are used to index into
this array, the first field being zero. The field definition structure
type cbfield_t is defined in .

typedef struct { /* field definition */
size_t offset; /* field offset */
size_t size; /* size of field */
int type; /* type of field */
int flags; /* flags */
char * filename; /* index file name */
} cbfield_t;

offset is the location of the field within the record and size is the
size of the field. type specifies the field data type, legal values for
which are shown in Table 4.1; the user can also define new data types
(see Appendix B). flags values are constructed by bitwise ORing together
flags from the following list.

CB_FKEY Field is to be a key.
CB_FUNIQ Only for use with CB_FKEY.
Indicates that the key is
constrained to be unique.

If CB_FKEY is set, filename must point to the name of the file containing
the index.

t_char signed character
t_charv signed character array
t_uchar unsigned character
t_ucharv unsigned character array
t_short signed short integer
t_shortv signed short integer array
t_ushort unsigned short integer
t_ushortv unsigned short integer array
t_int signed integer
t_intv signed integer array
t_uint unsigned integer
t_uintv unsigned integer array
t_long signed long integer
t_longv signed long integer array
t_ulong unsigned long integer
t_ulongv unsigned long integer array
t_float floating point
t_floatv floating point array
t_double double precision
t_doublev double precision array
t_ldouble long double
t_ldoublev long double array
t_pointer pointer
t_string character string
t_cistring case-insensitive character string
t_binary block of binary data (e.g., graphics)

Table 4.1. cbase Data Types

If it is necessary for the application to directly manipulate the
field list, the code to do so should be considered non-portable and
isolated, since future enhancements to cbase may require that the
structure of the field list be altered.

Before an existing cbase can be accessed, it must be opened. This
is done with the function

cbase_t *cbopen(const char *cbname, const char *type,
int fldc, const cbfield_t fldv[]);

cbname, fldc, and fldv are the same as for cbcreate, and must be given
the same values as when the cbase was created. type points to a
character string specifying the type of access for which the cbase is to
be opened (as for the stdio function fopen). Legal values for type are

"r" open for reading
"r+" open for update (reading and writing)

cbopen returns a pointer to the open cbase.

The cbsync function causes any buffered data for a cbase to be
written out.

int cbsync(cbase_t *cbp);

The cbase remains open and the buffers retain their contents.

After processing is completed on an open cbase, it must be closed
using the function

int cbclose(cbase_t *cbp);

The cbclose function causes any buffered data for the cbase to be written
out, unlocks it, closes it, and frees the cbase pointer.

4.2 Lock Functions

Before an open cbase can be accessed, it must be locked in order to
prevent possible conflicts arising from two processes attempting to
access the same data simultaneously. The function used to control the
lock status of a cbase is

int cblock(cbase_t *cbp, int ltype);

where cbp is a pointer to an open cbase and ltype is the lock type to be
placed on the cbase. The legal values for ltype are

CB_RDLCK lock cbase for reading
CB_WRLCK lock cbase for reading and writing
CB_RDLKW lock cbase for reading (wait)
CB_WRLKW lock cbase for reading and writing (wait)
CB_UNLCK unlock cbase

If ltype is CB_RDLCK and the cbase is currently write locked by another
process, or if ltype is CB_WRLCK and the cbase is currently read or write
locked by another process, cblock will fail and set errno to EAGAIN. Any
number of processes can have a cbase simultaneously read locked. For the
wait lock types, cblock will not return until the lock is available.

The cbgetlck function reports the lock status held by the calling
process on a cbase.

int cbgetlck(cbase_t *cbp);

It returns one of the legal values for the ltype argument in the cblock

4.3 Record Cursor Position Functions

Each open cbase has a record cursor. At any given time the record
cursor is positioned either on a record in that cbase or on a special
position called null. The record on which the cursor is located is
referred to as the current record. The operations performed by most
cbase functions are either on or relative to the current record, so the
initial step in a transaction on a cbase is usually to position the
record cursor on the desired record.

When accessing the records in a cbase in the order that they are
stored, the following functions are used to move the record cursor.

int cbrecfirst(cbase_t *cbp);
int cbreclast(cbase_t *cbp);
int cbrecnext(cbase_t *cbp);
int cbrecprev(cbase_t *cbp);

The cbrecfirst function positions the record cursor to the first record,
and cbreclast to the last record. Before calling either of these
functions cbreccnt should be used to test if the cbase is empty.

unsigned long cbreccnt(cbase_t *cbp);

If the cbase is empty, there is no first or last record and so these
functions would return an error. The cbrecnext function advances the
record cursor to the succeeding record, and cbrecprev retreats it to the
preceding record. In the record ordering, null is located before the
first record and after the last.

There are also functions for saving the current position of the
record cursor and resetting it to that position.

int cbgetrcur(cbase_t *cbp, cbrpos_t *cbrposp);
int cbsetrcur(cbase_t *cbp, const cbrpos_t*cbrposp);

The cbgetrcur function gets the current position of the record cursor and
saves it in the variable pointed to by cbrposp. cbrpos_t is the cbase
record position type, defined in . cbsetrcur can then be used
later to set the record cursor back to that position. The record cursor
can be positioned on null by passing cbsetrcur the NULL pointer rather
than a pointer to a variable. Other than this special case, cbsetrcur
should only be called with record cursor positions previously saved with
cbgetrcur. Also, a record position should not be considered valid if the
cbase has been unlocked at any time since it was obtained. This is
because the database may have been altered by another process during that
time, and the record at that position may have been deleted, and the
location possible reused for a new record. To reposition to a record
after the cbase has been unlocked, a search on a unique key should be

The cbrcursor macro is used to test if the record cursor for a cbase
is positioned on a record or on null.

void *cbrcursor(cbase_t *cbp);

If the record cursor of the cbase pointed to by cbp is positioned on
null, cbrcursor returns the NULL pointer. If it is on a record,
cbrcursor returns a value not equal to the NULL pointer. This function
is useful for loops needing to test when the last (or first) record has
been reached.

The cbrecalign function aligns the record cursor with a specified
key cursor.

int cbrecalign(cbase_t *cbp, int field);

field is the key with which to align the record cursor. The relationship
between the key cursors and the record cursor is explained in the next

Whether or not any the order of the records in a cbase has any
significance is totally up to the applications.

4.4 Key Cursor Position Functions

In addition to a record cursor, each open cbase also has a key
cursor for each key defined for that cbase. Like the record cursor, a
key cursor is positioned either on a record in that cbase or on null.
To access a cbase in the sort order of a certain key, the appropriate key
cursor is used instead of the record cursor. Each key cursor moves
independently of the others, but whenever a key cursor position is set,
the record cursor is moved to the same record. The key cursors are not
affected by moving the record cursor.

The following functions are used to move a key cursor.

int cbkeyfirst(cbase_t *cbp, int field);
int cbkeylast(cbase_t *cbp, int field);
int cbkeynext(cbase_t *cbp, int field);
int cbkeyprev(cbase_t *cbp, int field);

These perform as do the corresponding functions for the record cursor,
and the same rules concerning locking apply. Note that the key cursor
functions can be used only with fields defined to be keys (see cbcreate
in section 4.1).

The following function is used to search for a key of a certain

int cbkeysrch(cbase_t *cbp, int field, const void *buf);

field is the key to search for the data item pointed to by buf. If the
key is found, 1 is returned and the key and record cursors positioned to
the record having that key. If there is no record with that key, 0 is
returned and the key and record cursor positioned to the record (possibly
null) that would follow a record with that key value.

Since the key cursors do not automatically follow the record cursor,
the situation sometimes occurs where the record cursor is positioned to
the desired record, but the cursor for the key to be used next is not.
The cbkeyalign function is used to align a specified key cursor with the
record cursor.

int cbkeyalign(cbase_t *cbp, int field);

The reason the key cursors are not updated every time the record cursor
moves is not because it would be in any way difficult to do so, but
because this would increase the overhead enormously. And since only one
key cursor is normally used at a time, this extra overhead would almost
never provide any benefit in return.

As for the record cursor, each key cursor position can be tested to
be positioned on a record or on null.

void *cbkcursor(cbase_t *cbp, int field);

If the key cursor specified by field of the cbase pointed to by cbp is
positioned on null, cbkcursor returns the NULL pointer. If it is on a
record, cbkcursor returns a value not equal to the NULL pointer.

4.5 Input/Output Functions

To read a record from a cbase, the record cursor for that cbase is
first positioned to the desired record using either the record cursor
position functions or the key cursor position functions. One of the
following functions is then called to read from the current record.

int cbgetr(cbase_t *cbp, void *buf);
int cbgetrf(cbase_t *cbp, int field, void *buf);

cbp is a pointer to an open cbase and buf points to the storage area to
receive the data read from the cbase. The cbgetr function reads the
entire current record, while cbgetrf reads the specified field from the
current record.

The function for inserting a new record into a cbase is

int cbinsert(cbase_t *cbp, const void *buf);

where buf points to the record to be inserted. When a new record is
inserted into a cbase, the position it holds relative to each key cursor
is defined by the sort order for that key field. There is no predefined
sort order associated with the record cursor, however, and it is up to
the user whether or not to store the records for each cbase in a sorted
or unsorted order. To store records in a sorted order, the record cursor
is first positioned to the record after which to insert the new record.
cbinsert is then called to insert the record pointed to by buf after the
current record. If no sort order is desired, the step to position the
record cursor is skipped, resulting in the record being inserted
following whatever location the record cursor happens to be positioned.

The cbdelcur function is used to delete a record.

int cbdelcur(cbase_t *cbp);

The record cursor must first be positioned on the record to delete, then
cbdelcur called to delete the current record. cbdelcur sets the record
cursor to null.

The cbputr function writes over an existing record.

int cbputr(cbase_t *cbp, const void *buf);

buf points to the new record contents. Writing over an existing record
is equivalent to deleting the record and inserting a new one in the same
position in the file. If the new record contains an illegal duplicate
key, this will cause the insert to fail, resulting in the record having
been deleted from the cbase. The exact behavior that a program should
have in such a circumstance is different for different applications, and
so it is usually desirable to use cbdelcur and cbinsert directly rather
than cbputr.

4.6 Import/Export Functions

cbase data can be exported to a text file using the cbexport

int cbexport(cbase_t *cbp, const char *filename);

Every record in cbase cbp is converted to a text format and written to
the file filename. The export file format is defined as follows.

- Each record is terminated by a newline ('\n').
- The fields in a record are delimited by vertical
bars ('|').
- Each field contains only printable characters.
- If a field contains the field delimiter
character, that character is replaced with \F.
- The individual elements of array data types are
exported as individual fields.

Data may be imported from a text file using the cbimport function.

int cbimport(cbase_t *cbp, const char *filename);

cbimport reads each record from the text file filename and inserts it
into the cbase cbp. If cbimport encounters a record containing an
illegal duplicate key, that record is skipped and the import continues
on normally, but a value of -1 is returned with errno set to CBEDUP to
notify the application that one or more records were skipped. It is up
to the application whether or not to treat this as a true error.

Data import/export is primarily used to move data between different
database formats. This sometimes requires some slight rearranging of the
text before importing. One common tool designed for just this sort of
task is a awk. Awk comes standard with UNIX, and is becoming available
for most other systems, as well. There are a few freeware versions of
awk for DOS -- look for these on the Citadel BBS.

Figure 4.1 shows an awk program for inserting a new field at
position two in all the records in a text file (note that awk field
numbering starts at one, not zero). The predefined variables FS and OFS
are used to set the input and output field separators, respectively. The
predefined variables RS and ORS are used to set the input and output
record separators, respectively. Setting these variables appropriately
is all that is necessary to convert between text file formats using
different field and record separators. The awk program in figure 4.2
converts text files exported from a database using the tab character as
a field separator to a format for import by cbase.

# set input and output field and record separators
FS = "|";
RS = "\n";
NEWFIELD = 2; # field to insert

# insfld: insert field n of current record
function insfld(n)
if (n < 1 || n > NF + 1) {
return -1;

for (i = NF; i >= n; --i) {
$(i + 1) = $i;
$n = "";

return 0;

# insert a new field in each record then print
if (insfld(NEWFIELD) == -1) {
printf "Error inserting new field %d.\n", NEWFIELD;
exit 1;
print $0;

exit 0;

Figure 4.1. awk Program to Insert a New Field

# set input and output field and record separators
FS = "\t";
OFS = "|";
RS = "\n";

# print each line with new separators
print $0

exit 0;

Figure 4.2. awk Program to Change Field/Record Separators

Chapter 5: Custom Indexing

cbase automatically handles indexes on a single complete field. In
some instances, however, it is necessary to index on a combination of
fields (i.e., compound keys), partial fields, or even data derived from
but not actually stored in a record. Because of the layered design of
cbase, the btree library can be accessed directly by the application to
maintain virtually any type of index, not necessarily for a cbase

The btree interface is very similar to that for cbase (most cbase
key functions simply call a btree function for a specified index), and
the reader is referred to the btree section of the reference manual for
most of the details on the usage of this library.

The btcreate function to create a btree is of fundamental
importance, since here is where the btree is actually defined, and a
brief discussion of this is given below with a typical example.

int btcreate(const char *filename, int m, size_t keysize, int fldc,
const btfield_t fldv[]);

The most apparent difference from cbcreate is the extra parameter m. m
specifies the order of the btree to be created. The order is the maximum
number of children that a node in the tree can have. The order to be
used depends on several factors such as the key size, but a value of
around 10 will normally serve fairly well if the user does not wish to
get into btree internals. The advanced user who wishes to fine-tune an
index is referred to COME79 and HORO76.

The filename, keysize, and field count all function just as for
cbcreate. The field list is the same in principle and has a similar

typedef struct {
size_t offset; /* offset of field in key */
size_t len; /* field length */
int (*cmp)(const void *p1, const void *p2, size_t n);
/* comparison function */
int flags; /* flags */
} btfield_t;

offset, len, cmp, and flags are all the same as for cbcreate. Valid
btree field flags are

BT_FASC ascending order
BT_FDSC descending order

The fields in fldv must be ordered from the major sort first to the most
minor sort last.

The logical organization of cbase indexes is referred to by the term
inverted file. An inverted file is quite simply a table of sorted keys
each paired with a pointer to the record containing that key; note that
the term inverted file does not imply any specific file structure (i.e.,
B-tree, hash, etc.). A book index is an inverted file where words (keys)
from the text (database) are each paired with a page number (pointer) to
the page (record) containing that word. In a cbase inverted file, the
pointer is a cbase record position, whose type cbrpos_t is defined in
. The last member of a btree key structure for a cbase index
is a cbase record position.

B-trees by nature do not allow duplicate keys. But for an inverted
file the key in combination with the record position will always be
unique, thus the effect of duplicate keys can be produced by including
the record position as the most minor sort field. To constrain a key to
be unique, simply leave the record position out of the field list. A
comparison function cbrposcmp for cbase record positions is included in
the cbase library. Whenever a custom index is being maintained for a
cbase, care must be taken to update the index in parallel with the cbase
to prevent them getting out of sync. The record position in the key is
obtained with cbgetrcur.

The code fragment below shows how a compound key allowing duplicates
for a name stored as separate fields. The example program in the next
chapter will handle names without compound keys. Note that the fields
in the key are actually stored first-middle-last to facilitate copying
from the record structure. It is the order in the field list which
defined the relative sort precedences of the fields.

record name { /* DDL record definition */
t_string nm_first[12];
t_string nm_mi[1];
t_string nm_last[12];
t_string nm_addr[80];

struct lfmkey {
char first[12];
char mi[1];
char last[12];
cbrpos_t rpos;

btfield_t lfmfldv[] = { /* last name first index */
offsetof(struct lfmkey, last),
sizeofm(struct lfmkey, last),
offsetof(struct lfmkey, first),
sizeofm(struct lfmkey, first),
offsetof(struct lfmkey, mi),
sizeofm(struct lfmkey, mi),
sizeof(struct lfmkey),
sizeofm(struct lfmkey, rpos),

#define LFMFLDC (nelems(lfmfldv))

Chapter 6: An Example Program

Included with cbase is rolodeck, an complete example program
illustrating the use of cbase. Rolodeck is a program for storing
business cards. To allow it to be compiled without requiring any
additional libraries for displays, and because the purpose of the program
is purely instructional, the program has been given only a simple
scrolling user interface. The source for rolodeck is included with

Prior to performing any database operations, provision must be made
to flush any buffered on termination of the application. This is done
by registering the blkio function bcloseall to be automatically called
on exit.

/* register termination function to flush database buffers */
if (atexit(bcloseall)) {

If atexit is not available, bexit must be used everywhere in place of

Rolodeck uses a simple index for names by storing the name in a
single field last-name-first. To allow the user to input names
first-name-first and to display names in the same manner, the following
two functions are used to convert between the two formats.

int fmltolfm(char *t, const char *s, size_t n);
int lfmtofml(char *t, const char *s, size_t n);

Another support function, cvtss, is also used throughout rolodeck to
perform string conversions such as removing white space. See the
respective reference manual entries for more information on each of these

6.1 Data Definition

The first step in writing a program using cbase is to define the
data to be stored. This should be done in a separate header file for
each record type to be used. Figure 6.1 lists rolodeck.ddl, the data
definition for the business card record type used by the rolodeck
program. Note that there is no need to store the terminating nul
character for string data, unless, of course, it is shorter than the
field size.

Figure 6.2 lists the database definition header generated from
rolodeck.ddl by cbddlp. The macro H_ROLODECK tested then defined at the
top is simply to prevent the header from being processed more than once
if included multiple times in the same module. The contents of the file
are the cbase name ROLODECK, the C struct rolodeck for manipulating
record in memory, the field macros RD_*, and the field count and list
RDFLDC and rdfldv, all generated as described in Chapter 3. The include
file rolodeck.i should be included in the main rolodeck module. Details
of its contents are normally or no concern to the application.
/* constants */
#define NAME_MAX (40) /* maximum name length */
#define ADDR_MAX (40) /* maximum address length */
#define NOTELIN_MAX (4) /* note lines */
#define NOTECOL_MAX (40) /* note columns */

/* file assignments */
data file "rolodeck.dat" contains rolodeck;
index file "rdcont.ndx" contains rd_contact;
index file "rdcomp.ndx" contains rd_company;

/* record definitions */
record rolodeck { /* rolodeck record */
unique key t_string
rd_contact[NAME_MAX]; /* contact name */
t_string rd_title[40]; /* contact title */
key t_string rd_company[NAME_MAX]; /* company name */
t_string rd_addr[ADDR_MAX]; /* address */
t_string rd_city[25]; /* city */
t_string rd_state[2]; /* state */
t_string rd_zip[10]; /* zip code */
t_string rd_phone[12]; /* phone number */
t_string rd_ext[4]; /* phone extension */
t_string rd_fax[12]; /* fax number */
t_string rd_notes[NOTELIN_MAX * NOTECOL_MAX];
/* notes */

Figure 6.1. Definition of the Rolodeck Database

#ifndef H_ROLODECK
#define H_ROLODECK

/* libray headers */

#define NAME_MAX (40) /* maximum name length */
#define ADDR_MAX (40) /* maximum address length */
#define NOTELIN_MAX (4) /* note lines */
#define NOTECOL_MAX (40) /* note columns */

/* record name */
#define ROLODECK "rolodeck.dat"

/* rolodeck record definition */
typedef struct rolodeck {
char rd_contact[NAME_MAX];
char rd_title[40];
char rd_company[NAME_MAX];
char rd_addr[ADDR_MAX];
char rd_city[25];
char rd_state[2];
char rd_zip[10];
char rd_phone[12];
char rd_ext[4];
char rd_fax[12];
char rd_notes[NOTELIN_MAX * NOTECOL_MAX];
} rolodeck_t;

/* field names for record rolodeck */

#define RD_CONTACT (0)
#define RD_TITLE (1)
#define RD_COMPANY (2)
#define RD_ADDR (3)
#define RD_CITY (4)
#define RD_STATE (5)
#define RD_ZIP (6)
#define RD_PHONE (7)
#define RD_EXT (8)
#define RD_FAX (9)
#define RD_NOTES (10)
#define RDFLDC (11)

/* field definition list for record rolodeck */
extern cbfield_t rdfldv[RDFLDC];


Figure 6.2. Rolodeck Database Header File
It should be noted that every record type should normally have at
least one unique key field that can be used to uniquely identify records.
As mentioned in Section 4.3, the physical record position cannot be
relied upon after the cbase has been unlocked.

6.2 Opening a cbase

The first step in accessing an existing cbase is to open it. Figure
6.3 shows the code from rolodeck.c to open the rolodeck cbase. rolodeck
is opened with a type argument of "r+" to allow both reading and writing.
The other arguments are the cbase name, ROLODECK, the field count,
RDFLDC, and the field definition list, rdfldv, all defined in the data
definition header file, rolodeck.h. On error cbopen returns the NULL
pointer. For this program there is only one cbase, but most applications
will have more.

If the named cbase does not exist, cbopen will fail and set errno
to ENOENT. In this example, if the rolodeck cbase does not exist, it is
created and the program continues as normal. Note that the cbase must
still be opened after it is created. In some cases a separate program
is written to create all the cbases required by an application, in which
case the main program would interpret ENOENT as an error and exit.

/* open rolodeck cbase */
cbp = cbopen(ROLODECK, "r+", RDFLDC, rdfldv);
if (cbp == NULL) {
if (errno != ENOENT) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbopen: error %d.\n", errno);
/* create rolodeck cbase */
puts("Rolodeck does not exist. Creating...");
if (cbcreate(ROLODECK, sizeof(struct rolodeck), RDFLDC, rdfldv) ==
-1) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbcreate: error %d.\n", errno);
cbp = cbopen(ROLODECK, "r+", RDFLDC, rdfldv);
if (cbp == NULL) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbopen: error %d.\n", errno);

Figure 6.3. Opening a cbase

6.3 Locking a cbase

Before accessing an open cbase, it must first be locked. If data
is to be written to the cbase, it must be write locked, otherwise only
a read lock is required. A cbase can be read locked by more than one
process at the same time, and read locks are therefore also called shared
locks. A write lock, on the other hand, is an exclusive lock; a write
locked cbase can be neither read nor write locked by any other process.
Write locks are exclusive because, if one process tried to read data
while it was partially modified by another, the data would probably be
in an inconsistent state. Processes that will only read data, however,
can safely do so concurrently.

While a cbase is write locked, other processes needing to access
that cbase must wait until it is unlocked so that they can in turn lock
it themselves to complete their processing. While a cbase is read
locked, only processes needing to write must wait. Using a write lock
when a read lock would suffice will therefore delay other processes
unnecessarily. Locks of either type should be held for the shortest time
possible; a common mistake in writing multiuser applications is to pause
for use input while holding a lock, causing that lock to be held

If an attempt is made to obtain a lock on a cbase, but is blocked
by a lock held by another process, cblock will fail and set errno to
EAGAIN. The call to cblock is therefore usually made in a loop with a
predefined maximum number of tries. It is convenient to place this in
a function configured for the application being developed. Figure 6.4
shows this function from rolodeck.c. It may also be suitable in some
instances to sleep for a short (possibly random) time between attempts
to lock.

#define LCKTRIES_MAX (50) /* max lock tries */

/* rdlock: rolodeck lock */
int rdlock(cbase_t *cbp, int ltype)
int i = 0;

for (i = 0; i < LCKTRIES_MAX; ++i) {
if (cblock(cbp, ltype) == -1) {
if (errno == EAGAIN) {
return -1;
} else {
return 0;

errno = EAGAIN;
return -1;

Figure 6.4. Rolodeck Locking Function

There are also two lock types (CB_RDLKW and CB_WRLKW) which, if the
requested lock is blocked, will wait until it can be obtained. These are
not usually used, however, because if the lock does not become free in
a reasonable time, the process waiting for the lock will be hung.

For applications where there will be only a single process accessing
the database, the necessary locks can be set immediately after opening
the cbases to be accessed and left locked.

One critical concern when locking multiple cbases is the possibility
of deadlock. Deadlock is an extensive subject, and there are a number
of ways of dealing with it. Most texts on operating systems (see CALI82)
and database theory cover the subject in detail.

6.4 Accessing a cbase

The gross structure of the rolodeck program is a case statement
within a loop. At the start of the loop a user request is read and used
to select the action performed in the case statement. Each individual
action performed in the case statement illustrates the use of cbase to
perform a basic operation, e.g., inserting a record, deleting a record,
finding the next record, exporting data to a text file, etc. The
operation of finding the next record serves as a good general example.
The code for this from rolodeck.c is shown in figure 6.5.

One of the most important points to notice in the example code is
that a unique key (the contact name, here) rather than a saved record
position is used to relocate the current record when a cbase is locked.
Because of this, cbsetrpos cannot be used with a record position obtained
during a previously held lock.

Another central point is the use of multiple keys. In the rolodeck
program, both the contact and the company names are keys. A variable sf
is used in rolodeck.c to identify the current sort field, which can be
changed interactively. Before using the cbkeynext function, the
appropriate key cursor must first be positioned. cbkeysrch positions
only the key being searched, here being the unique key. If the next card
is to be found using the sort order of a different key, cbkeyalign must
first be used to align that key cursor with the current record.

case REQ_NEXT_CARD: /* next card */
rdlock(cbp, CB_RDLCK);
if (cbreccnt(cbp) == 0) {
printf("The rolodeck is empty.\n\n");
rdlock(cbp, CB_UNLCK);
/* use unique key field to set rec cursor */
found = cbkeysrch(cbp,RD_CONTACT, rd.rd_contact);
if (sf != RD_CONTACT) {
/* align cursor of sort key */
cbkeyalign(cbp, sf);
if (found == 1) {
/* advance key (and rec) cursor 1 pos */
cbkeynext(cbp, sf);
if (cbrcursor(cbp) == NULL) {
printf("End of deck.\n\n");
rdlock(cbp, CB_UNLCK);
cbgetr(cbp, &rd);
rdlock(cbp, CB_UNLCK);

Figure 6.5. Next Rolodeck Record

6.5 Closing a cbase

When a program is through accessing a cbase, the cbase should be
closed. Figure 6.6 shows this code from rolodeck.c.

/* close cbase */
if (cbclose(cbp) == -1) {
fprintf(stderr, "cbclose: error %d.\n", errno);

Figure 6.6. Closing a cbase

A cbase is automatically unlocked when it is closed.

6.6 Storing Variable Length Text

The example database of this chapter has a free-form text field for
storing notes, the length of which is fixed at four lines. For this
application a fixed-length design is not inappropriate, but in many
instances a database must be able to handle text without length
restrictions. A bulletin board message system is an example of this.

This problem is easily addressed by organizing the text as a
collection of line records rather than as a single block of text. In
addition to the text itself, each line record would contain an number
identifying the block of text to which it belongs, and the number of the
line in that text block. Figure 6.7 shows a modified definition for the
rolodeck database that uses variable-length notes.

/* constants */
#define NAME_MAX (40) /* name length max */
#define ADDR_MAX (40) /* address length max */
#define LINLEN_MAX (40) /* line length max */

/* file assignments */
data file "rolodeck.dat" contains rolodeck;
index file "rdcont.ndx" contains rd_contact;
index file "rdcomp.ndx" contains rd_company;

/* record definitions */
record rolodeck { /* rolodeck record */
unique key t_string
rd_contact[NAME_MAX]; /* contact name */
t_string rd_title[40]; /* contact title */
key t_string rd_company[NAME_MAX]; /* company name */
t_string rd_addr[ADDR_MAX]; /* address */
t_string rd_city[25]; /* city */
t_string rd_state[2]; /* state */
t_string rd_zip[10]; /* zip code */
t_string rd_phone[12]; /* phone number */
t_string rd_ext[4]; /* phone extension */
t_string rd_fax[12]; /* fax number */
t_int rd_notes; /* notes */

record text { /* text record */
t_int tx_textno; /* text number */
t_uchar tx_lineno; /* line number */
t_string tx_line[LINLEN_MAX]; /* line of text */

Figure 6.7. A Rolodeck Database with Variable Length Text

In this new rolodeck database, only an integer tag identifying the
note is stored in the rolodeck record. The actual text is retrieved
using the following compound key.

struct textkey {
int textno;
unsigned char lineno;
cbrpos_t rpos;

textno is the major sort field and lineno the minor sort. The key must
be unique, so the record position should not be included as a sort field
(see Chapter 5).

The use of a compound key can be avoided by packing the text number
and line number into a single long integer as shown in the following DDL
and C code fragments.

record text { /* text record */
unique key t_ulong tx_textid; /* text id */
t_string tx_line[LINLEN_MAX]; /* line of text */

text.tx_textid = textno << 8 | lineno;

Placing the text number in the higher order bytes has the effect of
making it the major sort.

Appendix A: Installation Instructions

cbase is distributed in DOS format on either a 3.5" DSDD
(double-sided, double-density) or a 5.25" DSDD diskette. The files are
compressed into a single archive, and the appropriate archive utility
will be required to unarchive the files. The currently available archive
formats are ZIP and ZOO. The commands to unarchive for each of these
formats are:

zoo -extract filename.zoo

Any operating system besides DOS will require either a facility to
read DOS diskettes or access to an DOS machine from which files can be
transferred (e.g., by a serial link or network) to the target machine.
If the transfer process does not automatically convert the text files to
the format of the target system, an additional conversion utility will
be necessary; if using FTP (Internet File Transfer Protocol), the ascii
command will turn on text file translation.

Where not explicitly stated otherwise, the following instructions
assume: a DOS system, installation from drive A: to drive C:, the ZIP
archive format, an include directory \usr\include, a library directory
\usr\lib, and Borland Turbo C. RL is used to indicate where a release
and level number appear in a filename(i.e., would actually
be something like

The first steps in the installation are to create a cbase directory
in the filesystem, copy the distribution diskette to this directory, and
unarchive the distribution.

C:\> mkdir cbase
C:\CBASE> cd cbase
C:\CBASE> xcopy a:\ .
C:\CBASE> pkunzip

Before proceeding any further, any readme files should be scanned
for last-minute notes; readme files have the extension .rme. If the
installation is an upgrade, the file rlsnotes.txt should be read
carefully before compiling any existing applications.

Among the files extracted from the archive will be several subset
archives. These include: blkio library btree library lseq library cbase library manx utility example program
* DOS batch files for additional compilers

Each of these should be unarchived in its own subdirectory.

C:\CBASE> mkdir manx
C:\CBASE\MANX> cd manx
C:\CBASE\MANX> pkunzip ..\

manx is used to extract an on-line copy of the reference manual.

At this point all the libraries, utilities, examples, etc. are
unarchived in separate directories, and the main installation can begin.
Details steps are given in the following sections for each currently
supported operating system.

If an upgrade from previous release is being performed, it is
essential that the libraries be installed in the correct order. If the
new btree were installed while the old blkio header were still in use,
the results can be unpredictable.

The DOS installation batch files, install.bat, each take two
arguments. The first specifies the memory model, legal values for which
are s, m, c, l, and h; the library file is named MLIB.lib, where LIB
would be the library name and M would correspond to the memory model of
the library. The second, if present, causes the reference manual to be
extracted from the source code into the file, where LIB would
again be the library name. The main batch file included with each
library is written for Borland Turbo C. Because there is so little
uniformity among C compilers for DOS, modifications will be required for
other compilers. Instructions for making these straightforward
modifications are given at the beginning of each install.bat. Some batch
files modified for other compilers can be found in archives of the form
* included in the distribution (e.g., for Borland C++
and mscbats for Microsoft C), while additional ports may be found on the
Citadel BBS. If a make utility is available, the UNIX makefiles may
instead be adapted.

Common to all systems is the ANSI compatibility header .
This header contains a number of macros that are used to specify what
ANSI features are supported by the compiler being used. For instance,
the AC_PROTO definition would be removed if function prototyping is not
supported. As shipped, is set up for a fully ANSI compiler.
See the manual entry or the man header of itself for
more detailed instructions.

If no multiuser applications are to be developed, file locking can
be disabled by defining the macro SINGLE_USER in blkio_.h. This is
primarily intended to allow DOS applications to run without share being
loaded, and for older UNIX systems without file locking. It will still
be necessary for an application to call the lock functions to set the
flags monitored internally by the libraries. If SINGLE_USER is not
defined under DOS, then share must be loaded for a cbase application to
run. DOS only provides exclusive locks, so two processes cannot have the
same cbase read-locked concurrently.

A1. manx


1. Edit then install ANSI compatibility header.
> copy ansi.h c:\usr\include
2. Compile manx.
> tcc -O -A -ms manx.c
3. Install manx in a directory in the path.
> copy manx.exe c:\usr\bin

1. Edit then install ANSI compatibility header.
$ su
# cp ansi.h /usr/include
# ^d
2. Compile manx.
$ make manx
3. Install manx in a directory in the path.
$ su
# make install
# ^d
4. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man

A2. The blkio Library


1. Set the OPSYS macro in blkio_.h to OS_DOS.
2. Set the CCOM macro in blkio_.h to the C compiler being
3. Reinstate the SINGLE_USER macro in blkio_.h if no multiuser
applications will be developed.
4. If necessary, modify install.bat for the C compiler being
5. Extract the reference manual and build and install the blkio
> install l x
Run again for each additional memory model desired, without the
x argument.


1. Install the boolean header file.
$ su
# cp bool.h /usr/include
# ^d
2. Set the OPSYS macro in blkio_.h to OS_UNIX.
3. Set the CCOM macro in blkio_.h to the C compiler being
4. Reinstate the SINGLE_USER macro in blkio_.h if no multiuser
applications will be developed.
5. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man
6. Build the blkio library.
$ make blkio
7. Install the blkio library. This will copy the blkio header
file blkio.h to /usr/include and the blkio library archive
to /usr/lib.
$ su
# make install
# ^d

A3. The lseq Library


1. Install the blkio library.
2. If necessary, modify install.bat for the C compiler
being used.
3. Install the lseq library.
> install l x
Run again for each additional memory model desired, without the
x argument.


1. Install the blkio library.
2. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man
3. Build the lseq library.
$ make lseq
4. Install the lseq library. This will copy lseq.h to
/usr/include and the lseq library archive to /usr/lib.
$ su
# make install
# ^d

A4. The btree Library


1. Install the blkio library.
2. If necessary, modify install.bat for the C compiler
being used.
3. Install the btree library.
> install l x
Run again for each additional memory model desired, without the
x argument.


1. Install the blkio library.
2. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man
3. Build the btree library.
$ make btree
4. Install the btree library. This will copy btree.h to
/usr/include and the btree library archive to
$ su
# make install
# ^d

A5. The cbase library


1. Install the btree and lseq libraries.
2. If necessary, modify install.bat for the C compiler
being used.
3. Install the cbase library.
> install l x
Run again for each additional memory model desired, without the
x argument.


1. Install the btree and lseq libraries.
2. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man
3. Build the cbase library.
$ make cbase
4. Install the cbase library. This will copy cbase.h to
/usr/include and the cbase library archive to/usr/lib.
$ su
# make install
# ^d

A6. Combining Libraries

To shorten the command line required to link a cbase application,
it may be desirable to combine the cbase libraries.


1. Build the combined library (large model).
> tlib lcbasec.lib +lcbase.lib +llseq.lib +lbtree.lib
2. Install the combined library.
> copy lcbasec.lib \usr\lib
3. Report for other memory models.


1. Build the combined library.
$ ar rv cbasec cbase lseq btree blkio
2. Install the combined library.
$ su
# mv cbasec /usr/lib/libcbasec.a
# ^d

A7. cbddlp

In addition to a C compiler, cbddlp required the parser-generator
yacc and the lexical analyzer-generator lex. Since these are not yet
widely used on DOS systems, an executable cbddlp for DOS is included with


1. Install cbddlp in a directory in the path.
> copy cbddlp.exe c:\usr\bin


1. Install the cbase libraries.
2. Set the PATHDLM macro in cbddlp.h to '/'.
3. Extract the on-line reference manual.
$ make man
4. Compile cbddlp.
$ make cbddlp
5. Install cbddlp in a directory in the path.
$ su
# make install
# ^d

A8. rolodeck

1. Install cbase.
2. If necessary, modify install.bat for the C compiler
being used.
3. Compile rolodeck, and extract the reference manual.
> install l x

1. Install cbase.
2. Compile rolodeck.
$ make rolodeck
3. Extract the reference manual.
$ make man

A9. Troubleshooting


During the course of the installation the compiler may issue a
number of warnings. In particular, "code not reached" is to be
expected throughout, and "unused function parameter" may occur a
number of times in cbcmp.c, cbexp.c, and cbimp.c. These warnings
should cause no concern, and no attempt should be made to quell
them by editing the source. The "code not reached warnings" are
due to breaks in switch statements following a return or continue,
and these have been placed there intentionally. The lint program
checker under UNIX provides the -b option to suppress warnings
about superfluous breaks, but most DOS C compilers regrettably have
no such option. The "unused function parameter" warnings result
from functions that are accessed internally through arrays and so
must all have the same parameter list, even though some do not have
the need to reference all the parameters.

First check that OPSYS and CCOM have been defined correctly in
blkio_.h, then that has been set up correctly for the
compiler being used. If upgrading, be certain that the libraries
are being installed in the correct order, otherwise a high-level
library might be compiled with the header from an older low-level
library. It the source of the error cannot be determined and
corrected, upload the following to the Citadel BBS: the
install.bat file being used, a dump of the compiler error message,
and details of the system configuration (operating system,
compiler, versions of each). A message giving the name of the
upload file should be addressed to Tech Support.


Command Line Too Long
Use the combined library cbasec to shorten the command line. See
Appendix A6 for instructions on building a combined library.

Symbol Defined More Than Once
If the named symbol is not defined in the application itself, then
the conflict is between two libraries being used. If the source
is not available for either of those libraries, then little can be
done. Since cbase comes with complete source, a duplicated
symbol here can be changed to eliminate the conflict. Be certain
to recompile the library containing the altered symbol as well as
any higher-layer libraries, in ascending order.


Under DOS, cbcreate returns EINVAL, but all arguments are correct.
Make sure share is loaded. share should be in either config.sys
or autoexec.bat to ensure that it is always loaded.

Under DOS, the maximum open file limit is exceeded.
A series of steps is required to increase the number of open
database files allowed. First, the size of the system file table
must be increased to at least the required limit using the FILES
command in config.sys. Second, the process file descriptor table
must be enlarged by using the fdcset function included with the
rolodeck example program. Lastly, the file tables in each of the
cbase libraries must be increased to the desired limit by changing
the macros *OPEN_MAX in each of the library header files, then
recompiling; it is essential that the libraries be recompiled in
the correct order.

Appendix B: Defining New Data Types

cbase is designed to allow custom data types to be defined by the
user. Custom data types are currently implemented in exactly the same
way as the predefined types and become indistinguishable from those
predefined. A data type definition consists of a macro used as the type
name (e.g., t_string), and three functions: a comparison function, an
export function, and an import function. The comparison function is the
most important; it determines the sort order for data of that type. The
export function is used to export data of the associated type to a text
file, and the import function to import data. Below are given
step-by-step instructions for defining a new cbase data type.

B1. The Type Name

For each cbase data type there is a corresponding type name by which
the user refers to that data type. Type names are macros that must be
defined as integers starting at zero and increasing in steps of one.
The type name for a new data type would be added at the end of this list,
and be defined as an integer one greater than the last data type in the
list. To avoid possible conflict with future predefined types, user
defined type names should not start with t_; the prefix ut_ is
recommended. The type names are macros defined in .

#define t_char (0) /* signed character */
#define t_binary (26) /* binary data */
#define ut_new (27) /* new data type */

B2. The Comparison Function

A data type is characterized primarily by its sort order. Each data
type is given a comparison function defining this sort order. Comparison
functions are of the form

int cmp(const void *p1, const void *p2, size_t n);

p1 and p2 are pointers to two data items to be compared, and n is the
size of the data items. The value returned must be less than, equal to,
or greater than zero if the data item pointed to by p1 is less than,
equal to, or greater than, respectively, that pointed to by p2. The C
standard library function memcmp would be a valid cbase comparison

All cbase comparison functions are located in the file cbcmp.c.
For a new data type, a comparison function would be added in this file.

static int newcmp(const void *p1, const void *p2, size_t n)

Comparison functions are made static because they are accessed by
cbase only through an array of function pointers, cbcmpv, also defined
in cbcmp.c. This array contains the comparison function for each cbase
data type. The integer value of the type name is used by cbase as an
index into this array, and so it is absolutely necessary that the
comparison functions must be in the same order as the type names. A
pointer to the comparison function for a new data type would be added at
the end of this array.

/* cbase comparison function table */
cbcmp_t cbcmpv[] = {
charcmp, /* t_char */
bincmp, /* t_binary */
newcmp, /* ut_new */

B3. The Export and Import Functions

Each data type has an associated export function. This export
function takes a data item of the associated type and writes it to a file
in a text format. Export functions are of the form

int exp(FILE *fp, const void *p, size_t n);

p is a pointer to the data item of size n to be exported. The export
function converts the data item to text, then writes it to the current
position in file fp. Upon successful completion, a value of zero is
returned. Otherwise, a value of -1 is returned. See the cbexport
reference manual entry for special requirements on exported data.

All cbase export functions are located in the file cbexp.c. For a
new data type, an export function would be added in this file.

static int newexp(FILE *fp, const void *p, size_t n)

Just as with comparison functions, export functions are accessed by
cbase through an array. This array, cbexpv, is defined in cbexp.c. A
pointer to the export function for the new data type would be added at
the end of this array.

The import function reads a data item from a text file. Import
functions are of the form

int imp(FILE *fp, void *p, size_t n);

The parameters and return value are the same as for the export function.
Import functions are located in cbimp.c. Pointers to the import
functions are stored in the array cbimpv.

B4. The Type Count

The macro CBTYPECNT is defined in cbase_.h as the number of data
types defined. It must be incremented by one for each new data type

After completing these steps, the cbase library must be rebuilt (see
Appendix A) to make the new data type accessible. The underlying
libraries do not need to be rebuilt.

Appendix C: Porting to a New Operating System

The blkio library provides a means for portable access to structured
files just as the stdio library does for text files. blkio is thus the
only library requiring modification to port to a new operating system.
Layering within the library further isolates the modifications to just
three files. The steps necessary to perform this port are outlined

C1. The OPSYS and CCOM Macros

In the blkio library's private header file blkio_.h, a macro is
defined for each supported operating system. When installing the blkio
library, the host operating system is selected by defining the OPSYS
macro as one of these OS macros. When porting to a new operating system,
an OS macro definition for that system must be added in blkio_.h. These
macros are given names of the form OS_* and assigned unique integers.

#define OS_UNIX (1) /* UNIX */
#define OS_DOS (2) /* DOS */
#define OS_NEW (3) /* new OS */
#define OPSYS OS_NEW

In many instances it is necessary to take into account differences
between the C compilers available for a system beyond the ANSI
compatibility handled by . As with the operating system, a macro
is defined for each supported C compiler, and the compiler selected with
the CCOM macro in blkio_.h. When porting to a new C compiler, a CC macro
definition for that compiler must be added in blkio_.h. These macros are
given names of the form CC_* and assigned unique integers.

#define CC_BC (1) /* Borland C */
#define CC_MSC (2) /* Microsoft C */
#define CC_NEW (3) /* new C compiler */
#define CCOM CC_NEW

C2. The File Descriptor Type

In most operating systems, an open file is accessed not by name,
but through some sort of tag, usually called a file descriptor. File
descriptors are normally of type int, but blkio uses a union for the file
descriptor in order to enable it to handle any type. This union is
defined in blkio_.h.

typedef union { /* file descriptor type */
char c; /* character */
short s; /* short int */
int i; /* int */
} fd_t;

fd_t is used exclusively for the fd member of the BLKFILE structure.

typedef struct { /* block file ctl struct */
fd_t fd; /* file descriptor */

When modifying the code in subsequent sections, the appropriate member
of the union fd_t would be used to access a file descriptor. If the file
descriptor type for the new system is short, for instance, the file
descriptor for BLKFILE *bp would be accessed as bp->fd.s. It will be
necessary to add a member to the fd_t union if one of the required type
does not already exist.

C3. System Calls for File Access

The bulk of the operating system specific code is related to the
system calls used to access the file system. These system calls perform
basic operations such as opening, reading, and writing a file, and are
conceptually the same on most systems. In fact, they can usually be
directly translated to a corresponding call on the new system.

All system calls accessing the file system are isolated in the file
buops.c (blkio unbuffered operations). The OPSYS and CCOM macros are
used to separate sections of code for different operating systems and
compilers, respectively.

/* code for DOS */
#if CCOM == CC_BC
/* code for Borland C */
#elif CCOM == CC_MSC
/* code for Microsoft C */
#elif OPSYS == OS_UNIX
/* code for UNIX */

When porting to a new operating system or compiler, each of these
conditional compilations must be located and an additional #elif for the
new OS or CC macro added.

C4. System Calls for File Locking

System calls are also used to perform file locking. All system
calls for file locking are located in the file lockb.c. This file must
be modified in the same manner as buops.c. If file locking will not be
used on the new system, lockb.c need not be altered.

C5. Debugging

Each library's private header file (blkio_.h, btree_.h, etc.)
contains a macro DEBUG whose definition has been commented out.
Reinstating this macro will enable the debugging code within the library,
which includes such things as checking arguments passed to internal
functions for validity. With debugging enabled, a diagnostic trace will
be generated for any abnormal error that occurs. How this trace is
reported is controlled by the "error print" macro in the same header as
the DEBUG definition. The error print macros are BEPRINT for blkio,
BTEPRINT for btree, etc. As distributed, these macros use fprintf to
write the filename, line number, and value of errno to stderr. For a
windowing system it will be necessary to modify these to log the trace
to a file.


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CALI82Calingaert, P. Operating System Elements. Englewood
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FROS89Frost, L. A Buffered I/O Library for Structured Files.
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HORO76Horowitz, E. and S. Sahni. Fundamentals of Data
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ULLM82Ullman, J. Principles of Database Systems. Rockville,
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