The INI type is one of the configuration or initialization files often found on Windows machines. For instance, let us suppose you have the following contact file contact.ini:

address=21 rue Ferdinand Buisson

address=64 tiergarten strasse

address=143 Blum Rd.
zipcode=NW1 2BP

CONNECT lets you view it as a table in two different ways.

Column layout

The first way is to regard it as a table having one line per section, the columns being the keys you want to display. In this case, the CREATE statement could be:

create table contact (
  contact char(16) flag=1,
  name char(20),
  forename char(32),
  hired date date_format='DD/MM/YYYY',
  address char(64),
  city char(20),
  zipcode char(8),
  tel char(16))
engine=CONNECT table_type=INI file_name='contact.ini';

The column that will contain the section name can have any name but must specify flag=1. All other columns must have the names of the keys we want to display (case insensitive). The type can be character or numeric depending on the key value type, and the length is the maximum expected length for the key value. Once done, the statement:

select contact, name, hired, city, tel from contact;

This statement will display the file in tabular format.

contact name hired city tel
BER Bertrand 1970-01-01 Issy-les-Mlx
WEL Schmitt 1985-02-19 Berlin 03.43.377.360
UK1 Smith 2003-11-08 London NULL

Only the keys defined in the create statements are visible; keys that do not exist in a section are displayed as null or pseudo null (blank for character, 1/1/70 for dates, and 0 for numeric) for columns declared NOT NULL.

All relational operations can be applied to this table. The table (and the file) can be updated, inserted and conditionally deleted. The only constraint is that when inserting values, the section name must be the first in the list of values.

Note 1: When inserting, if a section already exists, no new section will be created but the new values will be added or replace those of the existing section. Thus, the following two commands are equivalent:

update contact set forename = 'Harry' where contact = 'UK1';
insert into contact (contact,forename) values('UK1','Harry');

Note 2: Because sections represent one line, a DELETE statement on a section key will delete the whole section.

Row layout

To be a good candidate for tabular representation, an INI file should have often the same keys in all sections. In practice, many files commonly found on computers, such as the win.ini file of the Windows directory or the my.ini file cannot be viewed that way because each section has different keys. In this case, a second way is to regard the file as a table having one row per section key and whose columns can be the section name, the key name, and the key value.

For instance, let us define the table:

create table xcont (
  section char(16) flag=1,
  keyname char(16) flag=2,
  value char(32))
engine=CONNECT table_type=INI file_name='contact.ini'

In this statement, the "Layout" option sets the display format, Column by default or anything else not beginning by 'C' for row layout display. The names of the three columns can be freely chosen. The Flag option gives the meaning of the column. Specify flag=1 for the section name and flag=2 for the key name. Otherwise, the column will contain the key value.

Once done, the command:

select * from xcont;

Will display the following result:

section keyname value
BER name Bertrand
BER forename Olivier
BER address 21 rue Ferdinand Buisson
BER city Issy-les-Mlx
BER zipcode 92130
BER tel
BER cell
WEL name Schmitt
WEL forename Bernard
WEL hired 19/02/1985
WEL address 64 tiergarten strasse
WEL city Berlin
WEL zipcode 95013
WEL tel 03.43.377.360
UK1 name Smith
UK1 forename Henry
UK1 hired 08/11/2003
UK1 address 143 Blum Rd.
UK1 city London
UK1 zipcode NW1 2BP

Note: When processing an INI table, all section names are retrieved in a buffer of 8K bytes (2048 bytes before 10.0.17). For a big file having many sections, this size can be increased using for example:

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