The material for assembling this Language Reference has been accumulating in the tribal lore of the open source community of Firebird core developers and user-developers for 15 years. The gift of the InterBase 6 open source codebase in July 2000 from the (then) Inprise/Borland conglomerate was warmly welcomed. However, it came without rights to existing documentation. Once the code base had been forked by its owners for private, commercial development, it became clear that the open source, non-commercial Firebird community would never be granted right of use.

The two important books from the InterBase 6 published set were the Data Definition Guide and the Language Reference. The former covered the data definition language (DDL) subset of the SQL language, while the latter covered most of the rest. Fortunately for Firebird users over the years, both have been easy to find on-line as PDF books.

1.2.1Language Reference Updates

The Data Definition Guide, covering the creation and maintenance of metadata for databases, was good enough for several years: the data definition language (DDL) of a DBMS is stable and grows slowly in comparison to the data manipulation language (DML) employed for queries and the PSQL used for server-based programming.

The leader of the Firebird Project’s documentation team, Paul Vinkenoog, took up the cause for documenting the huge volume of improvements and additions to DML and PSQL as Firebird advanced through its releases. Paul was personally responsible for collating, assembling and, to a great extent, authoring a cumulative series of Language Reference Updates — one for every major release from v.1.5 forward.

1.2.2Gestation of the Big Book

From around 2010, Paul, with Firebird Project lead Dmitry Yemanov and a documenter colleague Thomas Woinke, set about the task of designing and assembling a complete SQL language reference for Firebird. They began with the material from the LangRef Updates, which is voluminous. It was going to be a big job but, for all concerned, a spare-time one.

Then, in 2013-4, two benefactor companies — MICEX amd IBSurgeon — funded three writers to take up this stalled book outline and publish a Firebird 2.5 Language Reference in Russian. They wrote the bulk of the missing DDL section from scratch and wrote, translated or reused DML and PSQL material from the LangRef Updates, Russian language support forums, Firebird release notes, read-me files and other sources. By the end of 2014, they had the task almost complete, in the form of a Microsoft Word document. …​

The Russian sponsors, recognising that their efforts needed to be shared with the world-wide Firebird community, asked some Project members to initiate a crowd-funding campaign to have the Russian text professionally translated into English. The translated text would be edited and converted to the Project’s standard DocBook format for addition to the open document library of the Firebird Project. From there, the source text would be available for translation into other languages for addition to the library.

The fund-raising campaign happened at the end of 2014 and was successful. In June, 2015, professional translator Dmitry Borodin began translating the Russian text. From him, the raw English text went in stages for editing and DocBook conversion by Helen Borrie — and here is The Firebird SQL Language Reference for V.2.5, by…​everyone!…​ and More Translation

Once the DocBook source appears in CVS, we hope the trusty translators will start making versions in German, Japanese, Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech. Certainly, we never have enough translators so please, you Firebirders who have English as a second language, do consider translating some sections into your first language.


Direct Content
  • Dmitry Filippov (writer)

  • Alexander Karpeykin (writer)

  • Alexey Kovyazin (writer, editor)

  • Dmitry Kuzmenko (writer, editor)

  • Denis Simonov (writer, editor, coordinator)

  • Paul Vinkenoog (writer, designer)

  • Dmitry Yemanov (writer)

Resource Content
  • Adriano dos Santos Fernandes

  • Alexander Peshkov

  • Vladyslav Khorsun

  • Claudio Valderrama

  • Helen Borrie

  • and others

  • Dmitry Borodin, megaTranslations.ru

Editing and Conversion of English Text
  • Helen Borrie