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Creating Database-Independent Applications With PEAR DB
Switch from one database to another without having to re-code your application

| Independence Day |

I'll start with the basics - what the heck is a database abstraction layer anyhow?

A database abstraction layer is essentially a database-independent software interface. As the name suggests, it's a layer of abstraction over the actual database access methods and allows developers to deal with different databases without radically altering their code on a per-database basis.

By placing a layer of abstraction between the database and the developer, the database abstraction layer insulates the programmer from database implementation details. If you initially write a script to talk directly to, say, Oracle and later need to have it work with another database server, you will usually have to rewrite all the database-specific parts. If you use a database-independent API, you can port your script over with very little surgery required.

PHP's database abstraction layer comes courtesy of PEAR, the PHP Extension and Application Repository. When you install PHP, a whole bunch of PEAR modules get installed as well; the DB class is one of them. You can also manually install the package from the official PEAR Web site, at http://pear.php.net/package/DB - simply unzip the distribution archive into your PEAR directory and you're ready to roll! This tutorial uses PEAR DB v1.7.

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