Connecting to MS SQL 6.x+ via Openlink/PHP/ODBC mini-HOWTO

Zili Zhang,

3.0, 1999-07-15

How to connect to MS SQL 6.x+ database server via ODBC functions of PHP3(3.0.1x or above) compiled with Openlink drivers under Linux.

1. Introduction

2. Openlink

3. PHP

4. Example

5. FAQ

1. Introduction

This document describes how to connect to MS SQL 6.x+ database server via ODBC functions of PHP3(3.0.1x or above) compiled with Openlink drivers under Linux.

In the Unix world, people may hate to be invoked with any M$ related software. However, in the real world, the boss may require you to store data in a MS SQL database on NT and run web application on Linux. What to do? Quit the job or sit down to read this document? If you choose latter, I will give you a detailed installation guide so that you can keep the job for a while. It is a How-to guide, not a Why-so guide. So don't ask me why abc instead of cba. I don't know either.

PHP is becoming more and more popular in web programmers, mainly because it can be configured to connect to various databases like Oracle, MySQL, Solid and so on. But for a MS SQL server, the problem is different. Though you can use PHP's Sybase-ct support features to directly connect to MSSQL, many people (at least me) prefer to connect via ODBC.

Utilizing Openlink ODBC middleware, you can use those ODBC_xxxx functions to connect to all the database Openlink has a driver for. You have to install Openlink Linux client and Server middleware and re-compile PHP to support ODBC functions. In the end, I made a script sample for reference.

1.1 Copyright

Copyright (c) 1999 by Zili Zhang

Please freely copy and distribute (sell or give away) this document in any format. It's requested that corrections and/or comments be forwarded to the document maintainer. You may create a derivative work and distribute it provided that you:

If you're considering making a derived work other than a translation, it's requested that you discuss your plans with the current maintainer.

1.2 Disclaimer

The following document is offered in good faith as comprising only safe configuration and procedures. No responsibility is accepted by the author for any loss or damage caused in any way to any person or equipment, as a direct or indirect consequence of following these instructions.

This document was derived from the plain text entry found on

2. Openlink

This step is a little bit complicated. You have to done works on both sides of your Linux client machine and NT server.

2.1 On the Client

2.2 On the Server

2.3 Configuration Before Test

2.4 Text with odbctest

3. PHP

Now we have Openlink and can go to PHP compilation. Note for this version, PHP 3.0.10 or above is required to make things work.

4. Example

Please refers to PHP manual for ODBC functions. Here is my example code odbc.php3: (Note that odbc_num_rows() will not return anything, so you must repeately call odbc_fetch_row() to get that number.)

/* some environment variables, you can test to comment them out to see
 * if things still work.
putenv("DebugFile=/tmp/udbc.out");      // debug trace output

$dsn="DSN=dsn_main";    // note 'DSN=' is required

$sql="SELECT * FROM titles";

/* directly execute mode                        */
if ($conn_id=odbc_connect("$dsn",$user,$password)){
        echo "connected to DSN: $dsn<br><br>";
        if($result_id=odbc_do($conn_id, $sql)) {
                echo "executing '$sql'<br><br>";
                                echo "Number of fields:


                                echo "Number of rows: $num_rows<br>";
                                echo "not a field returned. <br><br>";
                echo "Results:<br>";
                                echo "$i:$key=$value<br>";
                echo "freeing result<br><br>";
                echo "can not execute '$sql'<BR><BR>";
        echo "closing connection $conn_id";
        echo "can not connect to DSN: $dsn<br><br>";

5. FAQ