ISQL is invoked from the command line of the operating system. It is a text-mode application with support of readline library (where available).

Specify the --help or the -? option to view the usage:

bash$ ./bin/isql --help
OpenLink Interactive SQL (Virtuoso), version 0.9849b.

   Usage :
isql <HOST>[:<PORT>] <UID> <PWD> file1 file2 ...

isql -H <server_IP> [-S <server_port>] [-U <UID>] [-P <PWD>]
     [-E] [-X <pkcs12_file>] [-K]
     [-u <name>=<val>]* [-i <param1> <param2>]

     isql -?
Connection options:

  -?                  - This help message
  -U username         - Specifies the login user ID
  -P password         - Specifies the login password
  -H server_addr      - Specifies the Server address (IP)
  -S server port      - Specifies the TCP port to connect to
  -E                  - Specifies that encryption will be used.
                        If no PK is specified, then anonymous connection is established.
  -C                  - Specifies that password will be sent in cleartext
  -X pkcs12_file      - Specifies that encryption & X509 certificates will
                        be used i.e the client PK <pksc12 file>
  -T server_cert      - Specifies the CA certificate(s) file to be used i.e. the list
                        of trusted issuers: a PEM (base64) file of all the X509 certificates
                        of the Certification Authorities (CA) which the client will use for
                        verifying the server's certificate. This is used on client side to
                        verify the server certificate.
  -b size             - Specifies the size of the command buffer to be used (in KBytes)
  -K                  - Shuts down the virtuoso on connecting to it

Parameter passing options:

  -u name1=val1... - Everything after -u is stored to associative array U,
                        until -i is encountered. If no equal sign then value
                        is NULL
  -i                  - Ignore everything after the -i option, after which
                        comes arbitrary input parameter(s) for isql procedure,
                        which can be referenced with $ARGV[$I] by the
                        ISQL-commands.
  <OPT>=<value>       - Sets the ISQL options

  Note that if none of the above matches then the non-options go as
  <HOST>[:<PORT>] <UID> <PWD> file1 file2 ...

If the command line option is not one of the above it is considered a "non-option" parameter. If the non-option parameter contains the equal sign ('=') then it's considered an ISQL option value assignment. For example 'MAXROWS=10' limits the number of rows returned for a resultset to 10 instead of the default 0.

Otherwise ISQL treats the "non-option" parameters (identified by their position) as follows :

Position 1 - <Host> or <port> or <Host:port> (native), DSN (ISQLO/ISQLU/isql-iodbc/isql-udbc)
Position 2 - <user_id>
Position 3 - <password>
Position 4 and later - script file name to load

Let us consider the following command line:

isql 1111 dba dba VERBOSE=OFF 'EXEC=status()' test.sql test2.sql -i arg1 arg2

The '1111' is the first "non-option", so it represents the connection host:port (This is all digits so the virtuoso CLI prepends this with 'localhost', i.e. this is an shortcut for 'localhost:1111').

The first 'dba' is the second "non-option", so it is used as User ID.

The second 'dba' is the third "non-option", so it is used as Password.

'VERBOSE=OFF' is a "non-option", but it has an equal sign in it, so this becomes an ISQL option SET statement. In this particular case this disables the output of "Done xxx msec" messages after each command.

'EXEC=status()' is a "non-option", but again has again an equal sign in it. EXEC is a special option. Setting it to a value means executing that value as an SQL command. The result of this is that status() gets executed and it's results shown.

'test.sql' is the fourth "non-option" and it specifies a file name to load a script from and execute.

'test2.sql' is the fifth "non-option" and it again specifies a file name to load a script from and execute.

'-i' specifies that the script argument list starts. So every option after the -i is filled in the ISQL $ARGV[] array.

The order of execution is:

  1. Connect to 'localhost:1111' using UserID/Password dba/dba.

  2. Set the VERBOSE ISQL flag to OFF.

  3. Set the $ARGV[0]=arg1 and $ARGV[1]=arg2.

  4. Execute status() and display the results.

  5. Execute the script in test.sql and display the results.

  6. Execute the script in test2.sql and display the results.

  7. Disconnect and exit the ISQL