Getting Started with InterBase for RAD Users

by May 20, 2020

Most, if not all, of your applications will connect to some database backend.  For Delphi and C++Builder users, most have either used it previously or have heard of it. InterBase is a zero admin, small footprint database engine that offers enterprise grade database capabilities like granular transparent database encryption, powerful access control, point-in-time recovery and patented data change tracking. It’s the database running across a range of industries, from POS systems to medical laboratories and CRM to railway systems.

In fact, even RAD Server uses an InterBase database for the storage of user information, user groups, analytics, registered devices, version information, registered Edge Modules, push notification messages and more. So why not see if it can further your development efforts. What’s to lose? It’s included in your RAD Studio license.

How do I use InterBase as a RAD Developer?

All versions of RAD Studio/Delphi/C++Builder come with support for InterBase 2020 databases. InterBase 2020 is installed with RAD Studio in the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Embarcadero\Studio\20.0\InterBase2020

Installing and Starting the InterBase Server

In the additional options of the web installer for RAD Studio, check and install the InterBase Developer Edition and InterBase Express Components.

InterBase 2020 Developer Edition is installed with RAD Studio, Delphi or C++Builder and is in the RAD Studio integrated license.

Choose Start | Programs | Embarcadero InterBase 2020 | 64-bit/32-bit instance = gds_db | InterBase Server Manager [instance = gds_db]

On the InterBase 2020 64 Server Manager, start the InterBase server if it is not running

Connecting to InterBase

Connecting to the server and database will require entering the host, port, database user and password. InterBase databases are defaulted to the port 3050 or 3051 and provide the default system administrator user, SYSDBA (not case-sensitive) with a password of masterkey (all lowercase). Note: It is recommended that you change the SYSDBA password for improved security.


IBConsole is a simple, yet powerful and complete system for managing InterBase servers and databases. IBConsole lets you look into the details of the database structure, query the data, backup and restore the database, and perform any other admin tasks.  For more on what IBConsole can do, click here

Command Line isql tool

The command-line isql is a utility for processing SQL data definition (DDL) and data manipulation (DML) statements from interactive input or from a source file. It enables you to create and view metadata, add and modify data, grant user permissions, test queries, and perform database administration tasks. For more on invoking isql, click here.

Developing Database Applications

Delphi includes many components for accessing databases and representing the information they contain. They are typically grouped by their access mechanism. The two recommended data access components are:


FireDAC is the set of standard data-access and data-aware visual components for developing with various database systems including InterBase. FireDAC is designed to deal with real-world high load applications and enables the developer to concentrate on developing the application, not on the complexities of database interaction

InterBase Express

InterBase Express components or IBX, is a set of custom data aware components and controls that allow you to connect to and access data from InterBase servers and databases. Applications built using IBX components should work better and faster (even if only marginally), giving you more control over the specific features of the server.  The components are broken down into two sections, the IBX Dataset components and Administrative Components. 


Using IBLite and InterBase ToGo

Included with your RAD Studio license is either an IBLite or IBToGo license. The chart below show which version is included:

IBLite and InterBase ToGo are a database engine that can be embedded in an application directly by using the InterBase database engine library. They do not have to be installed on any server or end-user workstation, and do not require that InterBase be installed on a machine before it is used (as InterBase Server and InterBase Desktop do).

If you are  targeting database application deployment to Mobile (iOS and Android) OS platforms, you can deploy either with a “ToGo” license, or “IBLite” license.

InterBase ToGo is one of the best (and few) choices available for iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS applications that need to move data storage offline to:

  • enable offline capabilities for enterprise solutions
  • reduce network traffic
  • lower data movement costs

To get started with mobile development check out the following tutorial showing you step by step how to build and deploy an IBLite/IBToGo application to both iOS and Android using the FireMonkey framework. 


A variety of application samples are shipped with and installed with RAD Studio. You can find the samples below and additional Delphi or C++ applications at:


All the sample links provide documentation on the instructions and implementation details for the project files.

FireDAC – InterBase Sample

FireDAC.InterBase AdminUtility Sample

FireDAC.InterBase Arrays Sample

IBX AdminTool Sample

IBX.IBMastApp Sample

IBX.InterBase ToGo Sample

IBX.MtsPool Sample

Additional Links

InterBase Quick Start Guide

Developing Database Applications Index

InterBase Videos

Tutorial: Using an InterBase Database in a Delphi or C++ Application

Tutorial: Using InterBase Express to Access a Database

InterBase Database Encryption

Take a look at how some of our customers use InterBase!