Oracle PL/SQL by Example

Oracle PL/SQL by Example

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by Benjamin Rosenzweig, Elena Rakhimov

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This integrated learning solution teaches all the Oracle PL/SQL skills you need, hands-on, through real-world labs, extensive examples, exercises, and projects! Completely updated for Oracle 11g, Oracle PL/SQL by Example, Fourth Edition covers all the fundamentals, from PL/SQL syntax and program control through packages and Oracle 11g’s significantly improved

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This integrated learning solution teaches all the Oracle PL/SQL skills you need, hands-on, through real-world labs, extensive examples, exercises, and projects! Completely updated for Oracle 11g, Oracle PL/SQL by Example, Fourth Edition covers all the fundamentals, from PL/SQL syntax and program control through packages and Oracle 11g’s significantly improved triggers.

One step at a time, you’ll walk through every key task, discovering the most important PL/SQL programming techniques on your own. Building on your hands-on learning, the authors share solutions that offer deeper insights and proven best practices. End-of-chapter projects bring together all the techniques you’ve learned, strengthening your understanding through real-world practice.

This book’s approach fully reflects the authors’ award-winning experience teaching PL/SQL programming to professionals at Columbia University. New database developers and DBAs can use its step-by-step instructions to get productive fast; experienced PL/SQL programmers can use this book as a practical solutions reference. Coverage includes

• Mastering basic PL/SQL concepts and general programming language fundamentals, and understanding SQL’s role in


• Using conditional and iterative program control techniques, including the new CONTINUE and CONTINUE WHEN statements

• Efficiently handling errors and exceptions

• Working with cursors and triggers, including Oracle 11g’s powerful new compound triggers

• Using stored procedures, functions, and packages to write modular code that other programs can execute

• Working with collections, object-relational features, native dynamic SQL, bulk SQL, and other advanced PL/SQL capabilities

• Handy reference appendices: PL/SQL formatting guide, sample database schema, ANSI SQL standards reference, and


Benjamin Rosenzweig is a Software Development Manager at Misys. Previously he was a Principal Consultant at Oracle. His experience ranges from creating an electronic Tibetan—English Dictionary in Kathmandu, Nepal, to supporting presentation centers at Goldman Sachs and managing trading systems at TIAA-CREF. As an instructor at Columbia University’s Computer Technology and Application Program, he was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award. Rosenzweig wrote and presented Oracle Forms Developer: The Complete Video Course, and coauthored Oracle Web Application Programming for PL/SQL Developers.

Elena Silvestrova Rakhimov is Senior Developer and Team Lead at Alea Software. She has more than fifteen years of experience in database development in a wide spectrum of enterprise and business environments, ranging from non-profit organizations to Wall Street. She has taught database programming at Columbia University.


Acknowledgments xiv

About the Authors xv

Introduction xvii

CHAPTER 1 PL/SQL Concepts 1

LAB 1.1 PL/SQL in Client/Server Architecture 2

1.1.1 Use PL/SQL Anonymous Blocks 8

1.1.2 Understand How PL/SQL Gets Executed 10

LAB 1.2 PL/SQL in SQL*Plus 12

1.2.1 Use Substitution Variables 16

1.2.2 Use the DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE Statement 17

Chapter 1 Try It Yourself 19

CHAPTER 2 General Programming Language

Fundamentals 21

LAB 2.1 PL/SQL Programming Fundamentals 22

2.1.1 Make Use of PL/SQL Language Components 23

2.1.2 Make Use of PL/SQL Variables 24

2.1.3 Handle PL/SQL Reserved Words 26

2.1.4 Make Use of Identifiers in PL/SQL 27

2.1.5 Make Use of Anchored Datatypes 28

2.1.6 Declare and Initialize Variables 31

2.1.7 Understand the Scope of a Block, Nested Blocks, and Labels 34

Chapter 2 Try It Yourself 37


LAB 3.1 Making Use of DML in PL/SQL 40

3.1.1 Use the Select INTO Syntax for Variable Initialization 41

3.1.2 Use DML in a PL/SQL Block 42

3.1.3 Make Use of a Sequence in a PL/SQL Block 44

LAB 3.2 Making Use of SAVEPOINT 45

3.2.1 Make Use of COMMIT, ROLLBACK, and SAVEPOINT in a PL/SQL Block 48

Chapter 3 Try It Yourself 51

CHAPTER 4 Conditional Control: IF Statements 53

LAB 4.1 IF Statements 54

4.1.1 Use the IF-THEN Statement 58

4.1.2 Use the IF-THEN-ELSE Statement 62

LAB 4.2 ELSIF Statements 65

4.2.1 Use the ELSIF Statement 69

LAB 4.3 Nested IF Statements 74

4.3.1 Use Nested IF Statements 76

Chapter 4 Try It Yourself 80

CHAPTER 5 Conditional Control: CASE Statements 81

LAB 5.1 CASE Statements 82

5.1.1 Use the CASE Statement 89

5.1.2 Use the Searched CASE Statement 91

LAB 5.2 CASE Expressions 96

5.2.1 Use the CASE Expression 100

LAB 5.3 NULLIF and COALESCE Functions 103

5.3.1 The NULLIF Function 107

5.3.2 Use the COALESCE Function 109

Chapter 5 Try It Yourself 112

CHAPTER 6 Iterative Control: Part I 113

LAB 6.1 Simple Loops 114

6.1.1 Use Simple Loops with EXIT Conditions 118

6.1.2 Use Simple Loops with EXIT WHEN Conditions 120

LAB 6.2 WHILE Loops 124

6.2.1 Use WHILE Loops 128

LAB 6.3 Numeric FOR Loops 132

6.3.1 Use Numeric FOR Loops with the IN Option 137

6.3.2 Use Numeric FOR Loops with the REVERSE Option 139

Chapter 6 Try It Yourself 142

CHAPTER 7 Iterative Control: Part II 143

LAB 7.1 The CONTINUE Statement 144

7.1.1 Use the CONTINUE Statement 146

7.1.2 Use the CONTINUE WHEN Condition 152

LAB 7.2 Nested Loops 154

7.2.1 Use Nested Loops 157

Chapter 7 Try It Yourself 161

CHAPTER 8 Error Handling and Built-in Exceptions 163

LAB 8.1 Handling Errors 164

8.1.1 Understand the Importance of Error Handling 167

LAB 8.2 Built-in Exceptions 169

8.2.1 Use Built-in Exceptions 174

Chapter 8 Try It Yourself 178

CHAPTER 9 Exceptions 179

LAB 9.1 Exception Scope 180

9.1.1 Understand the Scope of an Exception 183

LAB 9.2 User-Defined Exceptions 188

9.2.1 Use User-Defined Exceptions 193

LAB 9.3 Exception Propagation 197

9.3.1 Understand How Exceptions Propagate 203

9.3.2 Reraise Exceptions 206

Chapter 9 Try It Yourself 209

CHAPTER 10 Exceptions: Advanced Concepts 211



LAB 10.2 EXCEPTION_INIT Pragma 217

10.2.1 USE the EXCEPTION_INIT Pragma 219


10.3.1 Use SQLCODE and SQLERRM 225

Chapter 10 Try It Yourself 227

CHAPTER 11 Introduction to Cursors 229

LAB 11.1 Cursor Manipulation 230

11.1.1 Make Use of Record Types 234

11.1.2 Process an Explicit Cursor 235

11.1.3 Make Use of Cursor Attributes 240

11.1.4 Put It All Together 242

LAB 11.2 Using Cursor FOR Loops and Nested Cursors 246

11.2.1 Use a Cursor FOR Loop 247

11.2.2 Process Nested Cursors 247

Chapter 11 Try It Yourself 252

CHAPTER 12 Advanced Cursors 253

LAB 12.1 Using Parameters with Cursors and Complex Nested Cursors 254

12.1.1 Use Parameters in a Cursor 255

12.1.2 Use Complex Nested Cursors 255


12.2.1 For UPDATE and WHERE CURRENT Cursors 258

CHAPTER 13 Triggers 263

LAB 13.1 What Triggers Are 264

13.1.1 Understand What a Trigger Is 272

13.1.2 Use BEFORE and AFTER Triggers 274

LAB 13.2 Types of Triggers 277

13.2.1 Use Row and Statement Triggers 283

13.2.2 Use INSTEAD OF Triggers 285

Chaper 13 Try It Yourself 290

CHAPTER 14 Compound Triggers 291

LAB 14.1 Mutating Table Issues 292

14.1.1 Understand Mutating Tables 296

LAB 14.2 Compound Triggers 300

14.2.1 Understand Compound Triggers 306

Chapter 14 Try It Yourself 313

CHAPTER 15 Collections 315

LAB 15.1 PL/SQL Tables 316

15.1.1 Use Associative Arrays 326

15.1.2 Use Nested Tables 330

LAB 15.2 Varrays 334

15.2.1 Use Varrays 338

LAB 15.3 Multilevel Collections 342

15.3.1 Use Multilevel Collections 344

Chapter 15 Try It Yourself 348

CHAPTER 16 Records 349

LAB 16.1 Record Types 350

16.1.1 Use Table-Based and Cursor-Based Records 358

16.1.2 Use User-Defined Records 362

LAB 16.2 Nested Records 367

16.2.1 Use Nested Records 369

LAB 16.3 Collections of Records 373

16.3.1 Use Collections of Records 374

Chapter 16 Try It Yourself 378

CHAPTER 17 Native Dynamic SQL 379

LAB 17.1 EXECUTE IMMEDIATE Statements 380

17.1.1 Use the EXECUTE IMMEDIATE Statement 387

LAB 17.2 OPEN-FOR, FETCH, and CLOSE Statements 392

17.2.1 Use OPEN-FOR, FETCH, and CLOSE Statements 395

Chapter 17 Try It Yourself 401

CHAPTER 18 Bulk SQL 403

LAB 18.1 The FORALL Statement 404

18.1.1 Use the FORALL Statement 413

LAB 18.2 The BULK COLLECT Clause 422

18.2.1 Use the BULK COLLECT Statement 428

Chapter 18 Try It Yourself 437

CHAPTER 19 Procedures 439

LAB 19.1 Creating Procedures 441

19.1.1 Create Procedures 441

19.1.2 Query the Data Dictionary for Information on Procedures 443

LAB 19.2 Passing Parameters into and out of Procedures 444

19.2.1 Use IN and OUT Parameters with Procedures 445

Chapter 19 Try It Yourself 447

Part 1 447

Part 2 447

CHAPTER 20 Functions 449

LAB 20.1 Creating and Using Functions 450

20.1.1 Create Stored Functions 451

20.1.2 Make Use of Functions 452

20.1.3 Invoke Functions in SQL Statements 453

20.1.4 Write Complex Functions 454

Chapter 20 Try It Yourself 455

CHAPTER 21 Packages 457

LAB 21.1 The Benefits of Using Packages 458

21.1.1 Create Package Specifications 460

21.1.2 Create Package Bodies 462

21.1.3 Call Stored Packages 464

21.1.4 Create Private Objects 465

21.1.5 Create Package Variables and Cursors 469

LAB 21.2 Cursor Variables 471

21.2.1 Make Use of Cursor Variables 475

LAB 21.3 Extending the Package 480

21.3.1 Extend the Package 480

Chapter 21 Try It Yourself 493

CHAPTER 22 Stored Code 495

LAB 22.1 Gathering Information About Stored Code 496

22.1.1 Get Stored Code Information from the Data Dictionary 496

22.1.2 Enforce the Purity Level with the RESTRICT_REFERENCES Pragma 500

22.1.3 Overload Modules 506

Chapter 22 Try It Yourself 512

CHAPTER 23 Object Types in Oracle 513

LAB 23.1 Object Types 514

23.1.1 Use Object Types 522

23.1.2 Use Object Types with Collections 526

LAB 23.2 Object Type Methods 531

23.2.1 Use Object Type Methods 544

Chapter 23 Try It Yourself 554

CHAPTER 24 Oracle Supplied Packages 555

LAB 24.1 Making Use of Oracle Supplied Packages to Profile PL/SQL, Access Files, and Schedule Jobs 556

24.1.1 Access Files with UTL_FILE 563

24.1.2 Schedule Jobs with DBMS_JOB 563

24.1.3 Submit Jobs 564

LAB 24.2 Making Use of Oracle-Supplied Packages to Generate an Explain Plan and Create HTML Pages 568

24.2.1 Generate an Explain Plan with DBMS_XPLAN 572

LAB 24.3 Creating Web Pages with the Oracle Web Toolkit 578

24.3.1 Create an HTML Page with the Oracle Web Toolkit 594

APPENDIX A PL/SQL Formatting Guide 597

APPENDIX B Student Database Schema 601


APPENDIX D Answers to the Try It Yourself Sections 613


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Pearson Education
Publication date:
Prentice Hall Professional Oracle Series
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Oracle PL/SQL by Example, 3rd edition, presents the Oracle PL/SQL programming language in a unique and highly effective format. It challenges you to learn Oracle PL/SQL by using it rather than by simply reading about it.Just as a grammar workbook would teach you about nouns and verbs by first showing you examples and then asking you to write sentences, Oracle PL/SQL by Example teaches you about cursors, loops, procedures, triggers, and so on by first showing you examples and then asking you to create these objects yourself.Who This Book Is For

This book is intended for anyone who needs a quick but detailed introduction to programming with Oracle's PL/SQL language. The ideal readers are those with some relational database experience, with some Oracle experience, specifically with SQL and SQL*Plus, but with little or no experience with PL/SQL or with most other programming languages.

The content of this book is based on the material that is taught in an Introduction to PL/SQL class at Columbia University's Computer Technology and Applications (CTA) program in New York City. The student body is rather diverse, in that there are some students who have years of experience with information technology (IT) and programming, but no experience with Oracle PL/SQL, and then there are those with absolutely no experience in IT or programming. The content of the book, like the class, is balanced to meet the needs of both extremes. The exercises in this book can be used as lab and homework assignments to accompany the lectures in such a PL/SQL course.How This Book Is Organized

The intent of this workbook is to teach you about Oracle PL/SQL by presenting you witha series of challenges followed by detailed solutions to those challenges. The basic structure of each chapter is as follows:

- Lab
- - Exercises
- - Exercise Answers (with detailed discussion)
- - Self-Review Questions
- Lab...Test Your Thinking Questions

Each chapter contains interactive labs that introduce topics about Oracle PL/SQL. The topics are discussed briefly and then explored though exercises, which are the heart of each lab.

Each exercise consists of a series of steps that you will follow to perform a specific task, along with questions that are designed to help you discover the important things about PL/SQL programming on your own. The answers to these questions are given at the end of the Exercises, along with more in-depth discussion of the concepts explored.

The exercises are not meant to be closed-book quizzes to test your knowledge. On the contrary, they are intended to act as your guide and walk you through a task. You are encouraged to flip back and forth from the exercise question section to the exercise answer section so that, if need be, you can read the answers and discussions as you go along.

At the end of each lab is a series of multiple-choice self-review questions. These are meant to be closed-book quizzes to test how well you understood the lab material. The answers to these questions appear in Appendix A.Finally, at the end of each chapter you will find a Test Your Thinking section, which consists of a series of projects designed to solidify all of the skills you have learned in the chapter. If you have successfully completed all of the labs in the chapter, you should be able to tackle these projects with few problems. You will find guidance and/or solutions to these in Appendix D and at the companion Web site.

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