A truly asynchronous ODBC library for node.js
Last updated 3 years ago by lee-houghton .
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$ cnpm install eos 
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What is this "eos"?

  • It's an ODBC library for Node.js, with support for v0.10 and (tentatively) v0.11.
  • It makes asynchronous requests using the notification method on Windows 8.1, falling back to libuv on other platforms.
  • The aim is to be a set of bindings rather than a fully-fledged ODBC library, and does not provide functionality which could be written in JavaScript. Hence it is small and fairly well documented.
  • Anything that can be asynchronous, is. It is possible to stream large column values by calling SQLGetData and SQLPutData in chunks.
  • Or, if you have lots of small columns, why not bind them to a buffer with SQLBindCol?
  • It's MIT-licensed, but contributions via pull requests are welcome.


var eos = require('eos');

// Yeah, this is quite a lot of code for such a simple task! Remember, this
// is a set of bindings first and foremost. 
function getCustomerName(customerID, callback) {
    var env = new eos.Environment();
    var conn = env.newConnection();

    conn.driverConnect("DSN=Customers;UID=Sara;PWD=12345", function(err) {
        if (err)
            return callback(err);

        var stmt = conn.newStatement();
        stmt.bindParameter(1, eos.SQL_PARAM_INPUT, eos.SQL_INTEGER, 0, 0, customerID);
        var name = stmt.bindCol(1, eos.SQL_WVARCHAR, new Buffer(100));
        stmt.execDirect("select name from Customers where ID = ?", function (err) {
            if (err)
                return callback(err);
            stmt.fetch(function(err, hasData) {
                if (!err)
                    return callback (err);
                if (!hasData)
                    return callback (new Error("Customer not found"));
                callback(null, name.value);
                // You'd actually want to handle exceptions here - see documentation of 
                // closeCursor for details.
                conn.disconnect(function(err) {
                    if (err)
                        console.log("Couldn't disconnect!", err.message);


There are 4 types of handles in ODBC: environment, connection, statement, and descriptor. Eos wraps these handles in JavaScript objects. The handle will automatically be freed when the JavaScript object is garbage collected, but you may choose to do so earlier.

Eos makes no attempt to provide bells and whistles: this is a low-level wrapper around ODBC which can be used as a building block for a more high-level library.

Most functions in Eos are asynchronous (any ODBC call which can return SQL_STILL_EXECUTING), however some are guaranteed to return synchronously and are marked here with (synchronous) accordingly.

Asynchronous execution

ODBC itself provides for synchronous calls, and asynchronous calls using either polling (requires ODBC 3.80, e.g. Windows 7) or the notification method (requires ODBC 3.81, e.g. Windows 8).

Eos uses the notification method where possible, and falls back to using synchronous calls on the libuv thread pool where the notification method is not supported. The main advantage of the notification method is that fewer thread pool threads are used (1 thread per 64 concurrent operations, rather than 1 thread for each operation). The polling asynchronous method is not supported, but could be implemented. Synchronous versions of asychronous API calls are not yet implemented, but could also be done.

Documentation syntax

  • Most methods are asynchronous, the few that are synchronous are marked (synchronous). Synchronous calls that raise errors will throw the error as a JavaScript exception.
  • Optional parameters are enclosed in square brackets, e.g.: Environment.dataSources([type])
  • Callback parameters are declared as: Connection.connect(connectionString, callback([err], arg1, [arg2])) A parenthesised argument list follows the callback name, with square brackets for optional arguments as usual. All callbacks in Eos take an error parameter as the first argument, which will be undefined when there is no error. Many callbacks take only an error parameter, in which case the argument list here is omitted and the error parameter is implied.
  • ODBC API calls are referred to in bold, e.g. SQLExecDirect.

Error Handling

Errors returned from the ODBC driver manager or the ODBC driver will be an instance of the OdbcError constructor. Asynchronous calls may still throw errors synchronously, in cases such as invalid arguments.

ODBC errors look something like this:

{ message: '[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Data source name not found and no default driver specified',
  state: 'IM002',
   [ { message: '[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Data source name not found and no default driver specified',
       state: 'IM002' },
     { message: '[Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Invalid connection string attribute',
       state: '01S00' } ] }

ODBC can return multiple errors for a single operation. In such cases, the first error is the main error returned, however the full list of errors is returned in the errors property.

Data types

The mapping between SQL data types and JavaScript data types is fairly simple. This table will help you understand what SQL type to pass to getData to get back the correct data type, and what to pass to bindParameter to send/receive parameters.

  • The SQL data type column refers to the type you pass to getData or bindParameter.
  • The C type column is for informational purposes and specifies how the data is stored in the parameter/column's buffer and bytesInBuffer properties. The format of the buffer will be driver and architecture-dependent, however.
  • The SQL→JS column refers to the default conversion when returning results from getData (which you can work around by accessing the parameter's buffer directly) or receiving the values of output parameters.
  • The JS→SQL column specifies how JavaScript values are converted for storing into the parameter buffer (see FillInputBuffer in buffer.cpp).
SQL data type C type SQL→JS JS→SQL
SQL_DATETIME, SQL_TIMESTAMP SQL_C_TYPE_TIMESTAMP Date Fails if the value is not a date (TODO: specify: in what way does it fail and how is null handled?)
SQL_BIT SQL_C_BIT true/false Coerced to boolean
SQL_CHAR, SQL_VARCHAR, SQL_LONGVARCHAR¹ SQL_C_WCHAR String Coerced to a string and encoded in UTF-8
SQL_WCHAR, SQL_WVARCHAR, SQL_WLONGVARCHAR¹, everything else SQL_C_WCHAR String Coerced to a string and encoded in UTF-16

¹ MSSQL has limitations binding SQL_[W]LONGVARCHAR and SQL_LONGVARBINARY columns, especially with data-at-execution parameters. It is advised to use SQL_[W]VARCHAR and SQL_VARBINARY instead, with a columnSize of zero, because the long data types map to the deprecated [n]text and image data types. (Note: FreeTDS does not support zero column sizes for SQL_[W]VARCHAR and SQL_VARBINARY, unfortunately.)


An Environment is a wrapper around a SQLHENV which is used to enumerate drivers and data sources, and to allocate new connections. There may be many environments allocated at any one time.

The SQLEndTran operation is deliberately unimplemented, as it does not work when any connection has asynchronous execution enabled.

new Environment()

Wraps SQLAllocHandle. Creates a new ODBC environment handle and wraps it in a JavaScript object.

Environment.newConnection() (synchronous)

Wraps SQLAllocHandle. Creates a new Connection in the current environment. The new connection will initially be disconnected.

Environment.dataSources([type]) (synchronous)

Wrap SQLDataSources. Enumerates available data sources. type can be any of the following:

  • "user" lists all user DSNs.
  • "system" lists all system DSNs.
  • (omitted): lists all user and system DSNs.

The data sources are returned as { server, description } pairs, e.g.

[ { server: 'Products',
    description: 'Microsoft ODBC for Oracle' },
  { server: 'Customers',
    description: 'ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server' } ]

The server property may be used as a DSN for Connection.browseConnect.


Wraps SQLDrivers. Enumerates available ODBC drivers. These could be used to build a connection string using SQLBrowseConnect. Example output:

[ { description: 'Microsoft Access Text Driver (*.txt, *.csv)',
     [ 'UsageCount=3',
       'FileExtns=*.txt, *.csv',
       'CPTimeout=<not pooled>' ] },
  { description: 'SQL Server Native Client 11.0',
     [ 'UsageCount=1',
       'SQLLevel=1' ] },
  { description: 'SQL Server Native Client 10.0',
     [ 'UsageCount=1',
       'SQLLevel=1' ] },
  { description: 'ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server',
     [ 'UsageCount=1',
       'SQLLevel=1' ] } ]

The following information about data source names can be found on the MSDN page about Driver Specification Subkeys.


The ODBC version of the driver. The ODBC version of the application and the driver need not match exactly — the Driver Manager will translate as necessary. See the Compatibility Matrix for more details.


A string of three Ys or Ns. If not specified, NNN should be assumed.

  • The first Y or N declares support for SQLConnect.
  • The second Y or N declare support for SQLDriverConnect.
  • The third Y or N declares support for SQLBrowseConnect.

E.g. the Microsoft Access Text Driver defined above does not support SQLBrowseConnect.


FileUsage Means
0 Not file based
1 Files are treated as tables
2 Files are treated as databases


My limited research has been able to determine that the following values for SQLLevel are possible:

SQLLevel Means
0 Basic SQL-92 Compliance
1 FIPS127-2 Transitional
2 SQL-92 Intermediate
3 SQL-92 Full

Environment.free() (synchronous)

Destroys the environment handle.


A Connection is a wrapper around a SQLHDBC which is used to connect to data sources and create statements to execute. A connection may be in one of five states once allocated:

State Means
C2 Allocated
C3 Connecting via browseConnect (need more data)
C4 Connected
C5 Connected, allocated statement
C6 Connected, in transaction

Connection.connect(connectionString, callback)

Wraps SQLDriverConnect. Takes a complete connection string and connects to it. If any required connection string parameters are missing, the operation will fail.

Connection.browseConnect(inConnectionString, callback([err], more, outConnectionString))

Wraps SQLBrowseConnect. Iteratively connects to a data source, requesting more and more information until the connection string is complete. The ODBC driver requests more information by returning a new connection string, outConnectionString (also referred to as the browse result connection string) which contains information about which parameters (keywords) can be supplied, which are required and optional, possible values (if there is a restricted choice), and user-friendly keyword labels.

inConnectionString should initially be a connection string with only the DRIVER or DSN keyword set.

When the callback is called with more is set to true, more data is required to complete the connection. There two cases: either further information is needed, or the data filled in in the last call was invalid (e.g. an incorrect password). The browse result connection string should be parsed, and the required missing values filled in. Once the values are filled in, browseConnect should be called again with the new connection string as the inConnectionString parameter.

When the callback is called with more set to false, the connection is connected. The connection string outConnectionString is complete and can be used as a parameter to a future call to connect(), bypassing the browseConnect process.

If an error (err) occurs, the connection is reset to the disconnected state.

To cancel a browseConnect operation, call disconnect().

This function is not supported when connection pooling is enabled.

Connection.newStatement() (synchronous)

Creates a new Statement object, which can be used for preparing statements and executing SQL directly.


Disconnects from the data source. After a successful disconnect operation, the connection handle may be used again to connect to another data source.

Connection.free() (synchronous)

Destroys the connection handle.


A Statement is a wrapper around a SQLHSTMT and can be obtained via conn.newStatement(). Statements represent SQL statements which can be prepared and executed with bound parameters, and can return any number of record sets (including none).

Statement.prepare(sql, callback)

Wraps SQLPrepare. Prepare the statement using given SQL, which may contain wildcards to be replaced by bound parameters. If successful, the prepared statement can be executed using Statement.execute().

Statement.execute(callback [err, needData, dataAvailable])

Executes the prepared statement. If there are data-at-execution parameters whose values have not yet been specified, the callback will be called with needData set to true. In this case, call Statement.paramData() to determine which input parameter is required (the order which data-at-execution parameters are requested is defined by the driver).

After successful execution, the cursor will be positioned before the first result set. To start reading the first result set (if there is any), call Statement.fetch().

If there are streamed output or input/output parameters, hasData may be true (provided that there are no warning messages, result sets, or input parameters. If so, those must be dealt with first). In this case, call Statement.paramData() to determine which output parameter has data available (as with input parameters, the order in which output parameters become available is defined by the driver). If there are result sets or warning messages, use Statement.moreResults() to retrieve streamed output parameters.

Statement.execDirect(sql, callback [err, needData, dataAvailable])

Wraps SQLExecDirect, used to execute SQL without preparing. The same as Statement.execute(), except there is no need to call Statement.prepare(). Generally, this is preferable to using prepare then execute, unless the same statement is likely to be executed more than 3 to 5 times, in which case preparing the statement may perform better. execDirect accepts bound parameters.

If dataAvailable is true, there are output parameters whose value is now available to read using Statement.getData().

Statement.fetch(callback [err, hasData])

Wraps SQLFetch, used to fetch the next row of a result set. If successful, hasData indicates whether or not the cursor is positioned on a result set.

Statement.moreResults(callback [err, hasData, hasParamData])

Wraps SQLMoreResults, used to move to the next result set. If hasData is true, the cursor is positioned on a result set, and Statement.fetch() can be used. If hasParamData is true, the last result set has been read and there are output parameters available to read using Statement.getData().

Statement.paramData(callback [err, param, needData, dataAvailable])

Wraps SQLParamData, used in two circumstances.

  • When Statement.execute() or Statement.execDirect() returns needData as true, the driver is requesting data for a bound parameter of type SQL_PARAM_INPUT_STREAM or SQL_PARAM_INPUT_OUTPUT_STREAM. param is a Parameter object representing the parameter requested, and can be passed to Statement.putData to send the parameter in chunks. Parameters are generally not guaranteed to be requested sequentially.
  • When Statement.execute(), Statement.execDirect(), or Statement.moreResults() returns dataAvailable as true, param will be a Parameter representing the parameter whose data is available to read using Statement.getData(). Parameters are generally not guaranteed to become available sequentially.

Statement.numResultCols(callback [err, count])

Wraps SQLNumResultCols. Calls the callback with count as the number of result columns. Only valid if the cursor is positioned on a result set.

Statement.describeCol(columnNumber, callback [err, name, dataType, columnSize, decimalDigits, nullable)

Wraps SQLDescribeCol. Returns information about the column at index columnNumber, where 1 is the first column and 0 is the bookmark column (if bookmark columns are enabled).

  • name is the name of the column.
  • dataType is a numeric value representing the SQL data type of the column (e.g. SQL_VARCHAR, SQL_INTEGER, SQL_BINARY)
  • columnSize is an integer representing the number of bytes required to store the column value. (Note: This may not be accurate, e.g. SQL Server may return 0 for varchar(max) columns.)
  • decimalDigits is the number of digits after the decimal point supported by the column data type, for integral values.
  • nullable is either true (if the column value may be null), false (if the column value cannot be null), or undefined (if the nullability of the column is unknown).

Statement.getData(columnNumber, dataType, [buffer], raw, callback [err, result, totalBytes, more])

Wraps SQLGetData. Retrieves the value of a column, coerced to the value specified by dataType (e.g. SQL_INTEGER). Most SQL data types can be represented as JavaScript values. If the column has a long value, only a portion of the value will be fetched. The size of this portion depends on the size of the buffer passed in (if no buffer is passed in, a 64KiB buffer is created). To aid in figuring out whether more data exists to retrieve, the more callback parameter is true when there is more data to get (or when the entire length of the column is unknown, in which case it is assumed that there is more data to retrieve).

Successive getData calls will retrieve successive chunks of the column value, until result is undefined (if getData is called after the callback is called with more set to false).

If dataType is SQL_BINARY, the results (or a portion of) will be placed into buffer. buffer may be a Buffer or a SlowBuffer. If none is passed, a new 64KiB Buffer is allocated. If the call to getData does not use the entire buffer, a slice of the input buffer is returned, otherwise the buffer itself is returned.

If dataType is a character type, the results will also be placed into buffer (creating a 64KiB Buffer if none is given), however the results will be converted to a String (unless raw is true, see below). SQL_WCHAR and such will be treated as UTF-16, and normal character data will be treated as UTF-8. If using raw mode, be aware that ODBC always writes a null terminator after character data in a buffer. If totalBytes is less than the length of the buffer passed in, the first totalLength bytes are all character data (i.e. buf.toString(encoding, 0, totalBytes) is valid). If totalBytes is greater than or equal to the length of the buffer, or undefined, you should subtract the length of the null terminator (1 byte for SQL_CHAR, 2 bytes for SQL_WCHAR) from the number of bytes (or from the length of the buffer, if totalBytes is undefined).

If raw is true, result will simply be the buffer which was passed in (or an automatically-allocated buffer, if none was given). The buffer will not be sliced; it is up to the caller to use totalBytes to determine what to do and to read the data in the correct format. (Note: totalBytes may be undefined if the total length of the value is unknown. In this case the buffer will be full.)

Statement.bindParameter(index, kind, type, columnSize, decimalDigits, [value], [buffer]) (synchronous)

Wraps SQLBindParameter. This function binds a parameter and returns a Parameter object.

  • index specifies which parameter number to bind, starting from 1.
  • kind specifies whether the parameter is an input parameter, output parameter, or both. In fact it is more complex than this, which will be explained below.
  • type refers to the SQL type of the parameter (e.g. SQL_VARCHAR, SQL_INTEGER, SQL_VARBINARY)
  • columnSize depends on the type of parameter. For variable length types (string, buffer) it refers to the length of the data. For non-integral numbers, it refers to the precision.
  • decimalDigits usually refers to the number of decimal digits for fractional seconds in date/time data types, however it can also refer to the scale of SQL_NUMERIC or SQL_DECIMAL data types.
  • value, if passed, binds the parameter with the specified value. If null is passed, the parameter's value is null, but if undefined is passed, it will mark the parameter as a Data At Execution parameter.
  • buffer, if passed, will specify the Buffer used to store the parameter's data. If none is passed, a buffer will automatically be allocated when the value is set (either by passed to bindParameter, or later calling Parameter.set.

Kinds of parameters

Parameters can be input parameters, output parameters, or both. Output parameters can be either streamed (the value is retrieved in parts using getData) or bound (the value is automatically set when the statement is executed), and similarly input parameters can be streamed (sent in parts with putData, known as Data At Execution) or bound (sent as part of execute or execDirect). To specify a Data At Execution parameter, pass undefined for the value argument of bindParameter.

kind value Input Output
SQL_PARAM_INPUT a value Bound
SQL_PARAM_INPUT_OUTPUT a value Bound Bound

Statement.setParameterName(parameterNumber, name) (synchronous)

Sets the name for a bound parameter, using SQLSetDescField to set the SQL_DESC_NAME on the input parameter descriptor. You might want to use this to call stored procedures with named parameters, e.g.:

    var x = stmt.bindParameter(2, eos.SQL_PARAM_INPUT, eos.SQL_INTEGER, 0, 0, 27),
	    y = stmt.bindParameter(3, eos.SQL_PARAM_INPUT, eos.SQL_INTEGER, 0, 0, 42),
	    z = stmt.bindParameter(1, eos.SQL_PARAM_OUTPUT, eos.SQL_INTEGER, 0, 0)

	stmt.setParameterName(2, "x");
	stmt.setParameterName(3, "y");
	stmt.execDirect("{call ? = add(?, ?)}", function(err) {
		// Use z.value if the function succeeded.

Statement.unbindParameters() (synchronous)

Unbinds all bound parameters. (Using SQLFreeStmt with SQL_RESET_PARAMS).

Statement.putData(parameter, [buffer], [bytes], callback [err, needData, dataAvailable])

Wraps SQLPutData. Used for sending parameter values in chunks (known as data at execution). parameter should the Parameter object returned by paramData when another ODBC call returns needData as true.

When writing binary columns, simply fill parameter.buffer with the data to send before calling putData (e.g. by calling fs.read and passing it the buffer).

If buffer is passed, it will be used instead of the parameter.buffer. If bytes is a number, it specifies how many bytes of data are in the buffer; if bytes is null then null will be sent (this is only valid for the first chunk); if bytes is anything else, buffer will be assumed to be full.

TODO: Figure out the precise semantics when SQLPutData returns SQL_NEED_DATA and when it doesn't, and if it's OK to send more data even if the server doesn't ask for it (I think it's OK).

Statement.bindCol(number, type, [buffer]) (synchronous)

Wraps SQLBindCol. Binds the parameter at index number (starting at 1) to an buffer of type type. This should be an SQL type such as SQL_INTEGER. To see how SQL types are converted into JavaScript types, see Data Types.

If you do not pass a buffer, one will be allocated automatically. For fixed length data types such as SQL_INTEGER, it will be exactly large enough to contain the result. For variable length data types such as SQL_VARCHAR, it will be 65536 bytes.

If a Buffer is passed, and it is too small to contain a fixed-length result, an error will occur, rather than truncating the value.

Statement.unbindColumn(number) (synchronous)

Unbind the column number number. (Using SQLBindCol with a null buffer).

Statement.unbindColumns() (synchronous)

Unbinds all bound columns. (Using SQLFreeStmt with SQL_UNBIND).

Statement.closeCursor([throwOnNoCursor = false]) (synchronous)

Wraps SQLCloseCursor. Closes the current cursor associated with a statement (i.e. makes the statement ready for another execute call). If throwOnNoCursor is true (which it isn't by default), the call will throw an exception if there is not currently an active result set.

Even if throwOnNoCursor is not set, closeCursor can still throw an exception, so be careful. An examples of this are the 08S01 SQLSTATE (Communication link failure). If this error is thrown, the only option is to free the Statement and disconnect the Connection.

Statement.free() (synchronous)

Destroys the statement handle.

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