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Member "perl-5.32.1/ext/SDBM_File/sdbm.3" (18 Dec 2020, 9265 Bytes) of package /linux/misc/perl-5.32.1.tar.xz:

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sdbm, sdbm_open, sdbm_prep, sdbm_close, sdbm_fetch, sdbm_store, sdbm_delete, sdbm_exists, sdbm_firstkey, sdbm_nextkey, sdbm_hash, sdbm_rdonly, sdbm_error, sdbm_clearerr, sdbm_dirfno, sdbm_pagfno − data base subroutines


#include <sdbm.h>

typedef struct {

char *dptr;

int dsize;

} datum;

datum nullitem = { NULL, 0 };

DBM *sdbm_open(char *file, int flags, int mode)

DBM *sdbm_prep(char *dirname, char *pagname, int flags, int mode)

void sdbm_close( DBM *db)

datum sdbm_fetch( DBM *db, key)

int sdbm_store( DBM *db, datum key, datum val, int flags)

int sdbm_delete( DBM *db, datum key)

int sdbm_exists( DBM *db, datum key)

datum sdbm_firstkey( DBM *db)

datum sdbm_nextkey( DBM *db)

long sdbm_hash(char *string, int len)

int sdbm_rdonly( DBM *db)
int sdbm_error( DBM *db)
sdbm_clearerr( DBM *db)
int sdbm_dirfno( DBM *db)
int sdbm_pagfno( DBM *db)


This package allows an application to maintain a mapping of <key,value> pairs in disk files. This is not to be considered a real database system, but is still useful in many simple applications built around fast retrieval of a data value from a key. This implementation uses an external hashing scheme, called Dynamic Hashing, as described by Per-Aake Larson in BIT 18 (1978) pp. 184-201. Retrieval of any item usually requires a single disk access. The application interface is compatible with the ndbm(3) library.

An sdbm database is kept in two files usually given the extensions .dir and .pag. The .dir file contains a bitmap representing a forest of binary hash trees, the leaves of which indicate data pages in the .pag file.

The application interface uses the datum structure to describe both keys and values. A datum specifies a byte sequence of dsize size pointed to by dptr. If you use ASCII strings as keys or values, then you must decide whether or not to include the terminating NUL byte which sometimes defines strings. Including it will require larger database files, but it will be possible to get sensible output from a strings(1) command applied to the data file.

In order to allow a process using this package to manipulate multiple databases, the applications interface always requires a handle, a DBM *, to identify the database to be manipulated. Such a handle can be obtained from the only routines that do not require it, namely sdbm_open() or sdbm_prep(). Either of these will open or create the two necessary files. The difference is that the latter allows explicitly naming the bitmap and data files whereas sdbm_open() will take a base file name and call sdbm_prep() with the default extensions. The flags and mode parameters are the same as for open(2).

To free the resources occupied while a database handle is active, call sdbm_close().

Given a handle, one can retrieve data associated with a key by using the sdbm_fetch() routine, and associate data with a key by using the sdbm_store() routine. sdbm_exists() will say whether a given key exists in the database.

The values of the flags parameter for sdbm_store() can be either DBM_INSERT , which will not change an existing entry with the same key, or DBM_REPLACE , which will replace an existing entry with the same key. Keys are unique within the database.

To delete a key and its associated value use the sdbm_delete() routine.

To retrieve every key in the database, use a loop like:

for (key = sdbm_firstkey(db); key.dptr != NULL; key = sdbm_nextkey(db))

The order of retrieval is unspecified.

If you determine that the performance of the database is inadequate or you notice clustering or other effects that may be due to the hashing algorithm used by this package, you can override it by supplying your own sdbm_hash() routine. Doing so will make the database unintelligible to any other applications that do not use your specialized hash function.

The following macros are defined in the header file:

sdbm_rdonly() returns true if the database has been opened read−only.

sdbm_error() returns true if an I/O error has occurred.

sdbm_clearerr() allows you to clear the error flag if you think you know what the error was and insist on ignoring it.

sdbm_dirfno() returns the file descriptor associated with the bitmap file.

sdbm_pagfno() returns the file descriptor associated with the data file.




Functions that return a DBM * handle will use NULL to indicate an error. Functions that return an int will use −1 to indicate an error. The normal return value in that case is 0. Functions that return a datum will return nullitem to indicate an error.

As a special case of sdbm_store(), if it is called with the DBM_INSERT flag and the key already exists in the database, the return value will be 1.

In general, if a function parameter is invalid, errno will be set to EINVAL . If a write operation is requested on a read-only database, errno will be set to ENOPERM . If a memory allocation (using malloc(3)) failed, errno will be set to ENOMEM . For I/O operation failures errno will contain the value set by the relevant failed system call, either read(2), write(2), or lseek(2).


Ozan S. Yigit


The sum of key and value data sizes must not exceed PAIRMAX (1008 bytes).

The sum of the key and value data sizes where several keys hash to the same value must fit within one bitmap page.

The .pag file will contain holes, so its apparent size is larger than its contents. When copied through the filesystem the holes will be filled.

The contents of datum values returned are in volatile storage. If you want to retain the values pointed to, you must copy them immediately before another call to this package.

The only safe way for multiple processes to (read and) update a database at the same time, is to implement a private locking scheme outside this package and open and close the database between lock acquisitions. It is safe for multiple processes to concurrently access a database read-only.


For complete source code compatibility with the Berkeley Unix ndbm(3) library, the sdbm.h header file should be installed in /usr/include/ndbm.h.

The nullitem data item, and the sdbm_prep(), sdbm_hash(), sdbm_rdonly(), sdbm_dirfno(), and sdbm_pagfno() functions are unique to this package.