A simple utility to provide a command line interactive session with any SQL server with a JDBC driver

Jisql is a Java based utility to provide a command line interactive session
with a SQL server. This application is conceptually modeled on the Sybase
'isql' program with, obviously, strong similarities to Microsoft SQL/Server
isql and osql (as Microsoft got SQL Server from Sybase).

The program can act in a similar way to Oracle's sqlplus and PostgreSQL's psql.

The complete Jisql package can be downloaded from:


A simple command line might look like (this should be all on one line) is:

java -cp lib/jisql-2.0.11.jar:lib/jopt-simple-3.2.jar: <jar for native driver> com.xigole.util.sql.Jisql -user scott -password blah -driver postgresql -cstring jdbc:postgresql://localhost:5432/scott -c \;

This logs into a PostgreSQL database as the user "scott", password "blah". It
connects to the database named "scott". It uses the command terminator of ";",
just like psql or sqlplus (which is escaped in the example so that it will not
be interpreted by the Unix shell). If you do not use this the default is the
term "go" on a single line like Sybase's isql or MS/SQL's isql/osql. Note that
this command line sample does not use the included javacsv.jar so you could
only use the XML or default output formatter (see below for more information).

New in version 2.0.x
The biggest change in version 2 is the addition of separate output
formatters. Basically this allows you to more easily customize the output
for your application. There are three formatters that are included with
the distribution:

  • Default (does not have to be specified on the command line). This is
    the default formatter and it behaves like a "normal" format command line
    interface. Output is wrapped in "pretty" formatters (a highly subjective
    term). If you've used a database command line tool then this format will
    very likely feel familar.

  • CSV The output follows a Comma Separated Values format. The default
    separator is a comma but any other character can be used. I like using the
    pipe character as it makes parsing the output very easy.

  • XML The output is a very simple XML tree. Basically there is the normal
    XML processing instruction at the top and then every row is output with
    the column names.

There is now a dependency on JOpt Simple in for the base
configuration. Additionally, if you are using the CSVFormatter then it is
dependent on Java CSV.

New in version 2.0.5

There is a bit better versioning information available. The jar has been
renamed to include the version so that you can quickly see what you're
running. This same version information is included in the code (run with
-help or with no arguments to see the version) and in the jar manifest.

New in version 2.0.12

Moved to Maven for builds to help with dependencies.

Command line options

  • -driver This option allows you to specify the JDBC driver class name of the driver. There are several shortcuts that can be used:
  • jconnect4 - short for com.sybase.jdbc.SybDriver
  • jconnect5 - short for com.sybase.jdbc2.jdbc.SybDriver
  • jconnect6 - short for com.sybase.jdbc3.jdbc.SybDriver
  • oraclethin - short for oracle.jdbc.driver.OracleDriver
  • db2app - the DB2 "App" driver - COM.ibm.db2.jdbc.app.DB2Driver
  • db2net - the DB2 "Net" driver - COM.ibm.db2.jdbc.net.DB2Driver
  • mssql - short for com.microsoft.jdbc.sqlserver.SQLServerDriver
  • cloudscape - short for COM.cloudscape.core.JDBCDriver
  • pointbase - short for com.pointbase.jdbc.jdbcUniversalDriver
  • postgresql - short for org.postgresql.Driver
  • mysqlconj - short for com.mysql.jdbc.Driver - the Connector/J driver for MySQL
  • mysqlcaucho - short for com.caucho.jdbc.mysql.Driver - the Caucho driver for MySQL
  • Alternatively, any class name can be specified here. The shortcuts only
    exist for those of us who generate more typos than real text :)

  • -cstring This option allows you to specify the connection string to the
    database. This string is driver specific but almost always starts with
    "jdbc:". Connection strings for the drivers I have tested look like:

  • jconnect4, jconnect5, jconnect6 - Sybase connection strings take the form "jdbc:sybase:Tds:[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"

  • oraclethin - The Oracle "thin" driver connection string looks like "jdbc:oracle:thin:@[hostname]:[port]:[oracle sid]"
  • db2app - The DB2 "App" driver connection string looks like "jdbc:db2:[dbName]"
  • db2net - The DB2 "Net" driver connection string looks like "jdbc:db2://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"
  • mssql - The MS/SQL driver connection string looks like "jdbc:microsoft:sqlserver://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"
  • cloudscape - The Cloudscape driver connection string looks like "jdbc:cloudscape:[dbName];create=true;autocommit=false"
  • pointbase - The Pointbase driver connection string looks like "jdbc:pointbase:server://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"
  • postgresql - The PostgreSQL driver connection string looks like "jdbc:postgresql://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"
  • mysqlconj - The MySQL Connector/J driver connection string looks like "jdbc:mysql://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"
  • mysqlcaucho - The MySQL Cahcho driver connection string looks like "jdbc:mysql-caucho://[hostname]:[port]/[dbName]"

Important - each JDBC vendor has other flags and parameters that can be
passed on the connection string. You should look at the documentation for
your JDBC driver for more information. The strings listed are just a sample
and may change with a new release of the driver. None of these strings are
coded within the application - the list is provided for reference only.

  • -user or -u The user name to use to log into the database with.
  • -password or -p The password to use to log into the database with. If this
    option is missing then the program asks for the password.
  • -pf Optional file to specify the password. This prevents having to have it
    visible when looking at a process status. The first line of the file is read
    and used as the password. If both the command line password and this option
    are specified the command line password is used.
  • -c The "command terminator" to use. By default this application uses the
    string "go" (case insensitive) on a line by itself to determine when to
    send the string buffer to the database. You may specify something else
    with the -c option. For example, users of Oracle may prefer either the ";"
    (semi-colon) character or the "/" (forwardslash) character as that is what
    sqlplus uses. This string may occur as a standalone line or at the end of
    a particular line.
  • -input The name of a file to read commands from instead of System.in.
  • -query An optional single query to run instead of interacting with the
    command line or a file. Note - the command must have a command terminator. So,
    for example, your command line may be something like "-c \; -query "select *
    from blah;". If you do not include the command terminator then the command
    will hang, waiting for you to enter the default "go".
  • -debug This turns on some internal debugging code. Not generally useful.
  • -driverinfo Allows you to print some information that the driver
    returns. Generally not very useful in all but a few cases.
  • -formatter Optionally specify a class name or short cut to format the
    output. There are three built in short cuts:
  • csv output the data in CSV format.
  • xml output the data in XML format.
  • default (does not have to be specified) - output the format in the "normal" format.
  • Otherwise, this is a class name that implements
    com.xigole.util.sql.outputformatter.JisqlFormatter. See the code for more
    information on implementing your own output formatter.

The included default formatter supports the following command line options:
-noheader do not print the header column info.
-spacer The character to use for "empty" space. This defaults to the space
character. From mrider - "I added the ability to specify the spacer for columns
which used to be the single char ' '. I did this because of brain-dead
Windows' command line copy/paste. It seems that when a line of text ends in
space, copy does not copy that space. Which makes it difficult to copy/paste
into another program. This can probably be ignored most of the time."
-w Specifies the maximum field width for a column. By default jisql defaults
columns to a maximum width of 2048. By specifying a value for this jisql
with truncate the output of columns that are wider than this parameter.
-delimiter Specify a single character delimiter for columns.
-trim trim the spaces from columns.
-nonull print an empty string instead of the word "NULL" when there is a null value.
-left left justify the output
-debug print debugging information about the result set.

The include CSV formatter supports the following command line options:

  • -delimiter specifies the delimiter to use. By default a comma is used
  • -colnames if included then column names are printed as the first line of
    output. By default they are not included

The included XML formatter does not have any additional output options.


Jisql now uses a standard source code tree format along with a Maven pom.xml
file. To build you would run:

mvn package

This will create a jisql.jar in the directory "target" along with a
jisql-jar-with-dependencies.jar. Either of these can be used as you
need. Please understand though that the dependencies jar will not
contain your JDBC driver.

Copyright (C) 2004-2015 Scott Dunbar (scott@xigole.com)

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not
use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy
of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed
under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR
CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the
specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.