20.3 C API function overview

The functions available in the C API are listed below and are described in greater detail in the next section. 20.4 C API function descriptions.

mysql_affected_rows() Returns the number of rows affected by the last UPDATE, DELETE or INSERT query.
mysql_close() Closes a server connection.
mysql_connect() Connects to a MySQL server. This function is deprecated; use mysql_real_connect() instead.
mysql_change_user() Change user and database on an open connection.
mysql_create_db() Creates a database. This function is deprecated; use the SQL command CREATE DATABASE instead.
mysql_data_seek() Seeks to an arbitrary row in a query result set.
mysql_debug() Does a DBUG_PUSH with the given string.
mysql_drop_db() Drops a database. This function is deprecated; use the SQL command DROP DATABASE instead.
mysql_dump_debug_info() Makes the server write debug information to the log.
mysql_eof() Determines whether or not the last row of a result set has been read. This function is deprecated; mysql_errno() or mysql_error() may be used instead.
mysql_errno() Returns the error number for the most recently invoked MySQL function.
mysql_error() Returns the error message for the most recently invoked MySQL function.
mysql_escape_string() Escapes special characters in a string for use in a SQL statement.
mysql_fetch_field() Returns the type of the next table field.
mysql_fetch_field_direct() Returns the type of a table field, given a field number.
mysql_fetch_fields() Returns an array of all field structures.
mysql_fetch_lengths() Returns the lengths of all columns in the current row.
mysql_fetch_row() Fetches the next row from the result set.
mysql_field_seek() Puts the column cursor on a specified column.
mysql_field_count() Returns the number of result columns for the most recent query.
mysql_field_tell() Returns the position of the field cursor used for the last mysql_fetch_field().
mysql_free_result() Frees memory used by a result set.
mysql_get_client_info() Returns client version information.
mysql_get_host_info() Returns a string describing the connection.
mysql_get_proto_info() Returns the protocol version used by the connection.
mysql_get_server_info() Returns the server version number.
mysql_info() Returns information about the most recently executed query.
mysql_init() Gets or initializes a MYSQL structure.
mysql_insert_id() Returns the ID generated for an AUTO_INCREMENT column by the previous query.
mysql_kill() Kill a given thread.
mysql_list_dbs() Returns database names matching a simple regular expression.
mysql_list_fields() Returns field names matching a simple regular expression.
mysql_list_processes() Returns a list of the current server threads.
mysql_list_tables() Returns table names matching a simple regular expression.
mysql_num_fields() Returns the number of columns in a result set.
mysql_num_rows() Returns the number of rows in a result set.
mysql_options() Set connect options for mysql_connect().
mysql_ping() Checks whether or not the connection to the server is working, reconnecting as necessary.
mysql_query() Executes a SQL query specified as a null-terminated string.
mysql_real_connect() Connects to a MySQL server.
mysql_real_query() Executes a SQL query specified as a counted string.
mysql_reload() Tells the server to reload the grant tables.
mysql_row_seek() Seeks to a row in a result set, using value returned from mysql_row_tell().
mysql_row_tell() Returns the row cursor position.
mysql_select_db() Connects to a database.
mysql_shutdown() Shuts down the database server.
mysql_stat() Returns the server status as a string.
mysql_store_result() Retrieves a complete result set to the client.
mysql_thread_id() Returns the current thread ID.
mysql_use_result() Initiates a row-by-row result set retrieval.

To connect to the server, call mysql_init() to initialize a connection handler, then call mysql_real_connect() with that handler (along with other information such as the hostname, user name and password). When you are done with the connection, call mysql_close() to terminate it.

While a connection is active, the client may send SQL queries to the server using mysql_query() or mysql_real_query(). The difference between the two is that mysql_query() expects the query to be specified as a null-terminated string whereas mysql_real_query() expects a counted string. If the string contains binary data (which may include null bytes), you must use mysql_real_query().

For each non-SELECT query (e.g., INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE), you can found out how many rows were affected (changed) by calling mysql_affected_rows().

For SELECT queries, you retrieve the selected rows as a result set. (Note that some statements are SELECT-like in that they return rows. These include SHOW, DESCRIBE and EXPLAIN. They should be treated the same way as SELECT statements.)

There are two ways for a client to process result sets. One way is to retrieve the entire result set all at once by calling mysql_store_result(). This function acquires from the server all the rows returned by the query and stores them in the client. The second way is for the client to initiate a row-by-row result set retrieval by calling mysql_use_result(). This function initializes the retrieval, but does not actually get any rows from the server.

In both cases, you access rows by calling mysql_fetch_row(). With mysql_store_result(), mysql_fetch_row() accesses rows that have already been fetched from the server. With mysql_use_result(), mysql_fetch_row() actually retrieves the row from the server. Information about as the size of the data values in each row is available by calling mysql_fetch_lengths().

After you are done with a result set, call mysql_free_result() to free the memory used for it.

The two retrieval mechanisms are complementary. Client programs should choose the approach that is most appropriate for their requirements. In practice, clients tend to use mysql_store_result() more commonly.

An advantage of mysql_store_result() is that since the rows have all been fetched to the client, you not only can access rows sequentially, you can move back and forth in the result set using mysql_data_seek() or mysql_row_seek() to change the current row position within the result set. You can also find out how many rows there are by calling mysql_num_rows(). On the other hand, the memory requirements for mysql_store_result() may be very high for large result sets and you are more likely to encounter out-of-memory conditions.

An advantage of mysql_use_result() is that the client requires less memory for the result set since it maintains only one row at a time (and since there is less allocation overhead, mysql_use_result() can be faster). Disadvantages are that you must process each row quickly to avoid tying up the server, you don't have random access to rows within the result set (you can only access rows sequentially), and you don't know how many rows are in the result set until you have retrieved them all. Furthermore, you must retrieve all the rows even if you determine in mid-retrieval that you've found the information you were looking for.

The API makes it possible for clients to respond appropriately to queries (retrieving rows only as necessary) without knowing whether or not the query is a SELECT. You can do this by calling mysql_store_result() after each mysql_query() (or mysql_real_query()). If the result set call succeeds, the query was a SELECT and you can read the rows. If the result set call fails, call mysql_field_count() to determine whether or not a result was actually to be expected. If mysql_field_count() returns zero, the query returned no data (indicating that it was an INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, etc.), and thus not expected to return rows. If mysql_field_count() is non-zero, the query should have returned rows, but didn't. This indicates that the query was a SELECT that failed. See the description for mysql_field_count() for an example of how this can be done.

Both mysql_store_result() and mysql_use_result() allow you to obtain information about the fields that make up the result set (the number of fields, their names and types, etc.). You can access field information sequentially within the row by calling mysql_fetch_field() repeatedly, or by field number within the row by calling mysql_fetch_field_direct(). The current field cursor position may be changed by calling mysql_field_seek(). Setting the field cursor affects subsequent calls to mysql_fetch_field(). You can also get information for fields all at once by calling mysql_fetch_fields().

For detecting and reporting errors, MySQL provides access to error information by means of the mysql_errno() and mysql_error() functions. These return the error code or error message for the most recently invoked function that can succeed or fail, allowing you to determine when an error occurred and what it was.