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The Adaptive Server Reference Manual includes four guides to SAP® Adaptive Server® Enterprise and the Transact-SQL® language.


The following sections describe conventions used in the Reference Manual guides.

SQL is a free-form language. There are no rules about the number of words you can put on a line or where you must break a line. However, for readability, all examples and most syntax statements in this manual are formatted so that each clause of a statement begins on a new line. Clauses that have more than one part extend to additional lines, which are indented. Complex commands are formatted using modified Backus Naur Form (BNF) notation.

This table shows the conventions for syntax statements that appear in this manual:



Command names,procedure names, utility names, database names, datatypes, and other keywords display in sans serif font.



master database

Book names, file names, variables, and path names are in italics.

System Administration Guide

sql.ini file


$SYBASE/ASE directory

Variables—or words that stand for values that you fill in—when they are part of a query or statement, are in italics in Courier font.

select column_name     from table_name     where search_conditions

Type parentheses as part of the command.

compute row_aggregate (column_name)

Double colon, equals sign indicates that the syntax is written in BNF notation. Do not type this symbol. Indicates “is defined as”.


Curly braces mean that you must choose at least one of the enclosed options. Do not type the braces.

{cash, check, credit}

Brackets mean that to choose one or more of the enclosed options is optional. Do not type the brackets.

[cash | check | credit]

The comma means you may choose as many of the options shown as you want. Separate your choices with commas as part of the command.

cash, check, credit

The pipe or vertical bar ( | ) means you may select only one of the options shown.

cash | check | credit

An ellipsis (...) means that you can repeat the last unit as many times as you like.

buy thing = price [cash | check | credit] [, thing = price [cash | check | credit] ]...

You must buy at least one thing and give its price. You may choose a method of payment: one of the items enclosed in square brackets. You may also choose to buy additional things: as many of them as you like. For each thing you buy, give its name, its price, and (optionally) a method of payment.

  • Syntax statements (displaying the syntax and all options for a command) appear as follows:

    sp_dropdevice [device_name]

    For a command with more options:

    select column_name 
        from table_name 
        where search_conditions

    In syntax statements, keywords (commands) are in normal font and identifiers are in lowercase. Italic font shows user-supplied words.

  • Examples showing the use of Transact-SQL commands are printed like this:
    select * from publishers
  • Examples of output from the computer appear as follows:
    pub_id    pub_name                city          state 
    -------   ---------------------   -----------   ----- 
    0736      New Age Books           Boston        MA 
    0877      Binnet & Hardley        Washington    DC 
    1389      Algodata Infosystems    Berkeley      CA 
    (3 rows affected)

In this manual, most of the examples are in lowercase. However, you can disregard case when typing Transact-SQL keywords. For example, SELECT, Select, and select are the same.

SAP ASE sensitivity to the case of database objects, such as table names, depends on the sort order installed on the SAP ASE server. You can change case sensitivity for single-byte character sets by reconfiguring the SAP ASE sort order. For more information, see the System Administration Guide.