Monday, September 26, 2011

PL/SQL: Overview

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PL/SQL is the Oracle's extension to SQL with design features of programming languages. The data manipulation and query statements are included in the procedural units of codes. PL/SQL allows the applications to be written in a PL/SQL procedure or a package and stored at Oracle server, where these PL/SQL codes can be used as shared libraries, or applications, thus enhancing the integration and code reuse. Moreover, the Oracle  server pre-compiles PL/SQL codes prior to the actual code execution and thus improving the performance.
The basic PL/SQL code structure is :
  • DECLARE -- optional, which declares and define variables, cursors and user-defined exceptions.
  • BEGIN -- mandatory
- SQL statements
- PL/SQL statements
  • EXCEPTION -- optional, which specifies what actions to take when error occurs.
  • END; -- mandatory
For example, the following PL/SQL code block declares an integer v1, assigns it with value 3 and print out the value.
v1  NUMBER(3);

   v1 := 3;
   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('v1=' || v1);
Note that DBMS_OUTPUT is an Oracle-supplied PL/SQL package and PUT_LINE is one of the packaged procedures. It displays the values on the SQL*Plus terminal  which must be enabled with SET SERVEROUTPUT ON first. To execute this code sample, login into SQL*Plus, and type
v1  NUMBER(3);

   v1 := 3;
   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('v1= ' || v1);

Note that a PL/SQL block is terminated by a slash / or a line byitself.
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