22.9. MySQL C API

The C API code is distributed with MySQL. It is included in the mysqlclient library and enables C programs to access a database.

Many of the clients in the MySQL source distribution are written in C. If you are looking for examples that demonstrate how to use the C API, take a look at these clients. You can find these in the client directory in the MySQL source distribution.

Most of the other client APIs (all except Connector/J and Connector/NET) use the mysqlclient library to communicate with the MySQL server. This means that, for example, you can take advantage of many of the same environment variables that are used by other client programs, because they are referenced from the library. See Chapter 4, MySQL Programs, for a list of these variables.

The client has a maximum communication buffer size. The size of the buffer that is allocated initially (16KB) is automatically increased up to the maximum size (the maximum is 16MB). Because buffer sizes are increased only as demand warrants, simply increasing the default maximum limit does not in itself cause more resources to be used. This size check is mostly a check for erroneous statements and communication packets.

The communication buffer must be large enough to contain a single SQL statement (for client-to-server traffic) and one row of returned data (for server-to-client traffic). Each thread's communication buffer is dynamically enlarged to handle any query or row up to the maximum limit. For example, if you have BLOB values that contain up to 16MB of data, you must have a communication buffer limit of at least 16MB (in both server and client). The client's default maximum is 16MB, but the default maximum in the server is 1MB. You can increase this by changing the value of the max_allowed_packet parameter when the server is started. See Section 7.11.2, “Tuning Server Parameters”.

The MySQL server shrinks each communication buffer to net_buffer_length bytes after each query. For clients, the size of the buffer associated with a connection is not decreased until the connection is closed, at which time client memory is reclaimed.

For programming with threads, see Section, “How to Write a Threaded Client”. For creating a standalone application which includes the "server" and "client" in the same program (and does not communicate with an external MySQL server), see Section 22.8, “libmysqld, the Embedded MySQL Server Library”.


If, after an upgrade, you experience problems with compiled client programs, such as Commands out of sync or unexpected core dumps, you probably have used old header or library files when compiling your programs. In this case, you should check the date for your mysql.h file and libmysqlclient.a library to verify that they are from the new MySQL distribution. If not, recompile your programs with the new headers and libraries. Recompilation might also be necessary for programs compiled against the shared client library if the library major version number has changed (for example from libmysqlclient.so.15 to libmysqlclient.so.16.

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