The Sclera command line shell provides an interactive interface to manage and analyze your data, and also explore the Sclera metadata. The command-line is a lightweight alternative to the Sclera Visual Shell and does not support the Sclera Visualization language extensions.

The shell can be started by executing the script $SCLERA_HOME/bin/, where $SCLERA_HOME is the directory where Sclera is installed.

This section lists the commands that are accepted by the shell. The commands can be given on the command line, and executed interactively. Or, they can be put in a script and executed using the source command.

The commands can span multiple lines, and are terminated by a semicolon (;).

In the following, the keywords appear in upper case to distinguish them from the other terms; however, Sclera is case-insensitive and keywords in actual commands and queries can be in upper or lower case.

Configuration Management

This set of commands enable you to manage the configuration parameters.

Setting the default and cache locations

The following command sets the DEFAULT location to a predefined location with name specified in location_name:

SET DEFAULT LOCATION = location_name;

Similarly, the following command sets the CACHE location to a predefined location with name specified in location_name:

SET CACHE LOCATION = location_name;

In either case, the location_name must be defined earlier using the ADD LOCATION command.

The update is for the current shell session only. It does not affect the locations used in a concurrent session, or when Sclera is accessed through JDBC. To persistently change the locations, please update the sclera.location.datacache and sclera.location.default configuration parameters.

Activating and Deactivating Runtime Explain

The queries and commands on the command line are translated by Sclera into a sequence of subqueries and subcommands that execute on the underlying database systems. The EXPLAIN SCRIPT command enables you to activate or decativate the display of these commands on the console as they are executed.

The following command activates this runtime explain feature:


The ON at the end is a syntactic sugar, and can be omitted.

The following command deactivates this runtime explain feature:


Display the Parameter Settings

The following command shows the current default location, cache location and runtime explain settings:


Display the Configuration Parameters

The following command shows the current configuration settings:


The following command shows the current logging configuration:


Metadata Management

Commands to manage (add and remove) data sources and underlying tables are covered in the Sclera Database System Connection Reference document.These commands can be submitted on the command line prompt.

Creating and Dropping Metadata Tables

In addition, the following command creates the metadata (aka schema) tables on the designated metadata store:


This is needed, for instance, if you want to change the location of the metadata store.

Also, the following command deletes the tables in the designated metadata store:


Exploring Metadata

You can explore Sclera’s metadata (the locations, tables, views, and other objects) using the LIST and DESCRIBE commands.

LIST [ list_spec ];
DESCRIBE [ list_spec ];

The two commands are identical, except that LIST outputs a list of objects obtained using list_spec (see below) in a short format, whereas DESCRIBE outputs the same list of objects in a more detailed, descriptive, format.

The following table presents the possible values of the optional parameter list_spec and the associated list of objects to be output.

list_spec Object List
(not specified) All objects (tables across all locations, views, classifiers, clusterers and associators)
REMAINING location_name All tables in location location_name that have not been added
[ TABLE ] location_name.* All tables in location location_name that have already been added
[ TABLE ] location_name.table_name Table with name table_name added to location location_name, if it exists; otherwise empty
TABLE All tables across all locations
TABLE table_name All tables with name table_name across all locations
VIEW All views
VIEW view_name View with name view_name, if it exists; otherwise empty
CLASSIFIER All classifiers
CLASSIFIER classifier_name Classifier with name classifier_name, if it exists; otherwise empty
CLUSTERER All clusterers
CLUSTERER clusterer_name Clusterer with name clusterer_name, if it exists; otherwise empty
ASSOCIATOR All associators
ASSOCIATOR associator_name Associator with name associator_name, if it exists; otherwise empty
LOCATION All locations

ScleraSQL Commands

ScleraSQL queries and commands accepted by Sclera are discussed in the ScleraSQL Reference document. These can be submitted on the command line prompt. Commands are executed silently, while returned query results are displayed in a table format.

Looking Deeper with the Explain Command

In addition, the shell has an EXPLAIN command that explains a query is executed by Sclera. The EXPLAIN command comes in two variants.

Run-time Explain

The first variant, called runtime explain has been discussed above. This command, called EXPLAIN SCRIPT, causes each ScleraSQL command or query to display the commands it executes on the underlying database systems.

This variant of EXPLAIN is useful when you want to trace what is happening under the hood while a query or command is executing. We refer to the earlier discussion for the details.

Compile-time Explain

The second variant, called the compile-time explain, has the following syntax:

EXPLAIN table_expression;

This variant takes a table expression table_expression (i.e. a SQL query) as a parameter.

The table_expression is parsed and optimized by the query processor, and the resulting plan is then displayed on the console. Note that unlike the EXPLAIN SCRIPT, the query is not executed; the output shows how Sclera plans to execute the query if given without the EXPLAIN.

This variant is useful when you want to explore how a query will be evaluated by Sclera, without actually evaluating the same.

Script Execution

This command enables you to execute a script of commands from a file. The syntax is:

SOURCE script_file_path;

where script_file_path is the full path of the command script to be executed.

The file is read, and each command therein is executed in sequence; the output of the command, if any, is displayed on the console as the command is executed.

Usability Features

The shell maintains a command history, at a location given by the configuration parameter. You can navigate the history using the up/down keys.

You can complete words by pressing tab. The word completion alternatives presented are not context sensitive, but that may change in future versions.

Reset Command

To reset all connections and recover to a clean state, issue the following command:


This is equivalent to exiting and restarting the shell.


A line with two consecutive hyphens ("--") as the first non-whitespace characters is considered a comment, and is ignored. Unlike standard SQL and PostgreSQL, comments cannot start midway in a line, after a valid input.

Comments are only permitted in the shell, and in scripts input to the shell.


Starting with Sclera 2.2, the shell can be used to start a TCP server that implements the PostgreSQL backend protocol 3.0, which is compatible with PostgreSQL 7.4+.

Though this server, Sclera can interface with the latest PostgreSQL ODBC and JDBC drivers, PostgreSQL’s shell (psql), and anything else that uses PostgreSQL’s native protocol (libpq).

Details on how to start/stop this server and configure the connections appear in a separate document.

User and Password Management

Starting with Sclera 2.2, the shell can be used to add a password, and to create and remove users. This is discussed in a separate document.

Related Documentation