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Brian Swan's Blog: SQL Server Driver for PHP Connection Options: Transaction Isolation Levels

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 10 September 2010.

On his blog today Brian Swan has posted the results of some of his research on transaction isolation levels in SQL Server PHP applications.

Last week I had the good fortune of presenting at the the Seattle PHP Meet Up on a topic I knew only a little about: transaction isolation levels. It was fun doing the homework to learn more and I'll share what I learned in this post. This post is only somewhat PHP-specific. I'll focus largely on the concepts behind database transactions and isolation levels. Most of the concepts I'll look at are database agnostic (although I will use SQL Server as the vehicle for explaining the concepts) and are supported by most relational database management systems out there (e.g. SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, DB2, etc.).

He introduces database transactions for those not familiar (a key to understanding the rest of the post) and some PHP code that connects to a SQL Server and begins a transaction to update some banking information. He uses this example to show how to set up isolation levels like "READ UNCOMMITTED", "READ COMMITTED" and "SERIALIZABLE".