The program front end reads data from the output of a command pipeline. Like the file front end, the program front end performs end-of-line and field-separator translations. This front end, for example, can parse the results of a SQL query issued by using a command-line SQL program.

The --program option of the sm_adapter command invokes the program front end. This command string is executed by using the native command interpreter for the system. On UNIX, this is normally /bin/sh. When the front end object is created, the command is executed and a pipeline is created between the command and the front end. This pipeline combines both the stdout and stderr streams from the command into a single stream.

Once the command exits (or once it closes stderr and stdout) the front end terminates.