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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1B - SQL Command Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 488 pages
ISBN 9781906966058
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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2.8 ecpg


ecpg -- embedded SQL C preprocessor


ecpg [option...] file...


ecpg is the embedded SQL preprocessor for C programs. It converts C programs with embedded SQL statements to normal C code by replacing the SQL invocations with special function calls. The output files can then be processed with any C compiler tool chain.

ecpg will convert each input file given on the command line to the corresponding C output file. Input files preferably have the extension ‘.pgc’, in which case the extension will be replaced by ‘.c’ to determine the output file name. If the extension of the input file is not ‘.pgc’, then the output file name is computed by appending .c to the full file name. The output file name can also be overridden using the -o option.

This reference page does not describe the embedded SQL language. See Volume 2: ECPG - Embedded SQL in C for more information on that topic.


ecpg accepts the following command-line arguments:

Automatically generate certain C code from SQL code. Currently, this works for EXEC SQL TYPE.
-C mode
Set a compatibility mode. mode can be INFORMIX or INFORMIX_SE.
-D symbol
Define a C preprocessor symbol.
Parse system include files as well.
-I directory
Specify an additional include path, used to find files included via EXEC SQL INCLUDE. Defaults are ‘.’ (current directory), ‘/usr/local/include’, the PostgreSQL include directory which is defined at compile time (default: ‘/usr/local/pgsql/include’), and ‘/usr/include’, in that order.
-o filename
Specifies that ecpg should write all its output to the given filename.
-r option
Selects a run-time behavior. Currently, option can only be no_indicator.
Turn on autocommit of transactions. In this mode, each SQL command is automatically committed unless it is inside an explicit transaction block. In the default mode, commands are committed only when EXEC SQL COMMIT is issued.
Print additional information including the version and the "include" path.
Print the ecpg version and exit.
Show help about ecpg command line arguments, and exit.


When compiling the preprocessed C code files, the compiler needs to be able to find the ECPG header files in the PostgreSQL include directory. Therefore, you might have to use the -I option when invoking the compiler (e.g., -I/usr/local/pgsql/include).

Programs using C code with embedded SQL have to be linked against the ‘libecpg’ library, for example using the linker options -L/usr/local/pgsql/lib -lecpg.

The value of either of these directories that is appropriate for the installation can be found out using pg_config.


If you have an embedded SQL C source file named ‘prog1.pgc’, you can create an executable program using the following sequence of commands:

ecpg prog1.pgc
cc -I/usr/local/pgsql/include -c prog1.c
cc -o prog1 prog1.o -L/usr/local/pgsql/lib -lecpg
ISBN 9781906966058The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1B - SQL Command ReferenceSee the print edition