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These functions build the foundation for accessing Berkeley DB style databases. This is a general abstraction layer for several file-based databases. As such, functionality is limited to a common subset of features supported by modern databases such as Sleepycat Software's DB2. (This is not to be confused with IBM's DB2 software, which is supported through the ODBC functions.) This extensions allows to work with the following databases: dbm DBM is the oldest (original) type of Berkeley DB style databases. You should avoid it, if possible. We do not support the compatibility functions built into DB2 and gdbm, because they are only compatible on the source code level, but cannot handle the original dbm format. ndbm NDBM is a newer type and more flexible than dbm. It still has most of the arbitrary limits of dbm (therefore it is deprecated). gdbm GDBM is the GNU database manager. db2 DB2 is Sleepycat Software's DB2. It's described as "a programmatic toolkit that provides high-performance built-in database support for both standalone and client/server applications. db3 DB3 is Sleepycat Software's DB3. db4 DB4 is Sleepycat Software's DB4. This is available since PHP 5.0. cdb CDB is "a fast, reliable, lightweight package for creating and reading constant databases." It is from the author of qmail and can be found at http://cr.yp.to/cdb.html. Since it is constant, we support only reading operations. And since PHP 4.3.0 we support writing (not updating) through the internal cdb library. cdb_make Since PHP 4.3.0 we support creation (not updating) of cdb files when the bundled cdb library is used. flatfile This is available since PHP 4.3.0 for compatibility with the deprecated dbm extension only and should be avoided. However you may use this where files were created in this format. That happens when configure could not find any external library. inifile This is available since PHP 4.3.3 to be able to modify php.ini files from within PHP scripts. When working with ini files you can pass arrays of the form array(0=>group,1=>value_name) or strings of the form "[group]value_name" where group is optional. After configuring and compiling PHP you must execute the following test from commandline: php run-tests.php ext/dba. This shows whether your combination of handlers works. Most problematic are dbm and ndbm which conflict with many installations. The reason for this is that on several systems these libraries are part of more than one other library. The configuration test only prevents you from configuring malfaunctioning single handlers but not combinations.