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SQL Anywhere 11.0.1 (Français) » UltraLite - C and C++ Programming » Application Development » Developing applications using Embedded SQL » Using host variables » Using indicator variables


Using indicator variables to handle NULL

Do not confuse the SQL concept of NULL with the C-language constant of the same name. In the SQL language, NULL represents either an unknown attribute or inapplicable information. The C-language constant represents a pointer value that does not point to a memory location.

When NULL is used in the SQL Anywhere documentation, it refers to the SQL database meaning given above. The C language constant is referred to as the null pointer (lowercase).

NULL is not the same as any value of the column's defined type. To pass NULL values to the database or receive NULL results back, you require something beyond regular host variables. Indicator variables serve this purpose.

Using indicator variables when inserting NULL

An INSERT statement can include an indicator variable as follows:

short int employee_number;
char employee_name[50];
char employee_initials[6];
char employee_phone[15];
short int ind_phone;
/* set values of empnum, empname,
   initials, and homephone */
if( /* phone number is known */ ) {
   ind_phone =  0;
} else {
   ind_phone = -1; /* NULL */
   VALUES (:employee_number, :employee_name,
   :employee_initials, :employee_phone:ind_phone );

If the indicator variable has a value of -1, a NULL is written. If it has a value of 0, the actual value of employee_phone is written.

Using indicator variables when fetching NULL

Indicator variables are also used when receiving data from the database. They are used to indicate that a NULL value was fetched (indicator is negative). If a NULL value is fetched from the database and an indicator variable is not supplied, the SQLE_NO_INDICATOR error is generated.

For more information about errors and warnings returned in the SQLCA structure, see Initializing the SQL Communications Area.