About this book

The Adaptive Server Reference Manual is a guide to Sybase® Adaptive Server™ Enterprise and the Transact-SQL® language. This book describes the “building blocks” of Transact-SQL, which are datatypes, built-in functions, expressions and identifiers, SQLSTATE errors, and reserved words. Before you can use Transact-SQL successfully, you need to understand the function of each of these building blocks and how its use affects the results of Transact-SQL statements.

This book provides reference information about the Transact-SQL commands, which you use to create statements. It also provides reference information about system procedures, catalog stored procedures, extended stored procedures, and dbcc stored procedures. All procedures are created using Transact-SQL statements.

Reference information is also provided for the system tables, which store information about your server, databases, users, and other elements of your server.


The Adaptive Server Reference Manual is intended as a reference tool for Transact-SQL users of all levels.

How to use this book

This manual contains the following:

Related documents

The following documents comprise the Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise documentation:

Other sources of information

Use the Sybase Technical Library CD and the Technical Library Product Manuals web site to learn more about your product:

Sybase certifications on the web

Technical documentation at the Sybase web site is updated frequently.

StepsFinding the latest information on product certifications

  1. Point your web browser to Technical Documents.

  2. Select Products from the navigation bar on the left.

  3. Select a product name from the product list and click Go.

  4. Select the Certification Report filter, specify a time frame, and click Go.

  5. Click a Certification Report title to display the report.

StepsCreating a personalized view of the Sybase web site (including support pages)

Set up a MySybase profile. MySybase is a free service that allows you to create a personalized view of Sybase web pages.

  1. Point your web browser to Technical Documents.

  2. Click MySybase and create a MySybase profile.

Sybase EBFs and software updates

StepsFinding the latest information on EBFs and software updates

  1. Point your web browser to the Sybase Support Page.

  2. Select EBFs/Updates. Enter user name and password information, if prompted (for existing web accounts) or create a new account (a free service).

  3. Select a product.

  4. Specify a time frame and click Go.

  5. Click the Info icon to display the EBF/Update report, or click the product description to download the software.


The following sections describe conventions used in this manual.

SQL is a free-form language. There are no rules about the number of words you can put on a line or where you must break a line. However, for readability, all examples and most syntax statements in this manual are formatted so that each clause of a statement begins on a new line. Clauses that have more than one part extend to additional lines, which are indented. Complex commands are formatted using modified Backus Naur Form (BNF) notation.

Table 1 shows the conventions for syntax statements that appear in this manual:

Table 1: Font and syntax conventions for this manual



Command names, command options, utility names, utility options, and other keywords are bold.

select sp_configure

Database names, datatypes, file names and path names are in italics.

master database

Variables, or words that stand for values that you fill in, are in italics.

select column_name
from table_name
where search_conditions

Type parentheses as part of the command.

compute row_aggregate (column_name)

Double colon, equals sign indicates that the syntax is written in BNF notation. Do not type this symbol. Indicates “is defined as”.


Curly braces mean that you must choose at least one of the enclosed options. Do not type the braces.

{cash, check, credit}

Brackets mean that to choose one or more of the enclosed options is optional. Do not type the brackets.

[cash | check | credit]

The comma means you may choose as many of the options shown as you want. Separate your choices with commas as part of the command.

cash, check, credit

The pipe or vertical bar(|) means you may select only one of the options shown.

cash | check | credit

An ellipsis (...) means that you can repeat the last unit as many times as you like.

buy thing = price [cash | check | credit] 
 [, thing = price [cash | check | credit] ]...

You must buy at least one thing and give its price. You may choose a method of payment: one of the items enclosed in square brackets. You may also choose to buy additional things: as many of them as you like. For each thing you buy, give its name, its price, and (optionally) a method of payment.

In this manual, most of the examples are in lowercase. However, you can disregard case when typing Transact-SQL keywords. For example, SELECT, Select, and select are the same.

Adaptive Server’s sensitivity to the case of database objects, such as table names, depends on the sort order installed on Adaptive Server. You can change case sensitivity for single-byte character sets by reconfiguring the Adaptive Server sort order. For more information, see Chapter 19,” Configuring Character Sets, Sort Orders, and Languages,” in the System Administration Guide.

Adaptive Server syntax statements use several different types of expressions. For details, see Chapter 4, “Expressions, Identifiers, and Wildcard Characters.”

If you need help

Each Sybase installation that has purchased a support contract has one or more designated people who are authorized to contact Sybase Technical Support. If you cannot resolve a problem using the manuals or online help, please have the designated person contact Sybase Technical Support or the Sybase subsidiary in your area.