Data Access Layer vs Table APIs

One of the underlying benefits of PL/SQL APIs is the enabling of data governance. Table owners can shield their tables behind a layer of PL/SQL. Other users have no access to the tables directly but only through stored procedures. This confers many benefits:
  • Calling programs code against a programmatic interface. This frees the table owner to change the table's structure whenever it's necessary without affecting its consumers.
  • Likewise the calling programs get access to the (more...)

“Collection iterator pickler fetch”: pipelined vs simple table functions

Alex R recently discovered interesting thing: in SQL pipelined functions work much faster than simple non-pipelined table functions, so if you already have simple non-pipelined table function and want to get its results in sql (select * from table(fff)), it’s much better to create another pipelined function which will get and return its results through PIPE ROW().

A bit more details:

Assume we need to return collection “RESULT” from PL/SQL function into SQL query “select (more...)

Bug with integer literals in PL/SQL

This interesting question was posted on our russian forum yesterday:

We have a huge PL/SQL package and this simple function returns wrong result when it’s located at the end of package body:

create or replace package body PKGXXX as
  function ffff return number is
  nRes number;
    nRes :=  268435456;
    return nRes;

But it works fine in any of the following cases:
* replace 268435456 with power(2, 28), or
* replace (more...)

#DOAG2017 wrap up


Another DOAG is over and here are my summary.

Day 1

As my presentation is planned for noon I arrived this year on the evening before, so I could attend the early sessions on 8:30.

Sten Vesterli: APEX, ADF, or ABCS? A real-life application built in 3 tools

He compares the development of a real application in APEX, ADF and ABCS. He don’t believe that ABCS is usable from end users and shows interesting (more...)

ODC Appreciation Day: EMP #ThanksODC

Here is my very short entry for the Oracle Developer Community Appreciation Day 2017.

Very often I use the good ol' EMP table to demonstrate even the latest features of SQL and PL/SQL.
Everybody seems to know the EMP table, and some even know some of the content off the top of their head (yes, I'm guilty of that too). Whenever I need to write a hierarchical query and am not really sure what which (more...)

ODC Appreciation Day: The PL/SQL Language

Like last year, Tim Hall of fame suggested we should all do an "ODC Appreciation Day" in honor of the Oracle Developer Community (ODC), by blogging about our favorite Oracle product or feature.

My personal favorite, after the database itself, is the PL/SQL language that runs inside the database.

Here's what's great about it:
  • Simple (and therefore easy to understand and quick to learn)
  • Runs everywhere the Oracle database runs (any operating (more...)

ODC Appreciation Day: Cursor Variables

You know everything is Tim Halls fault, right? Including this blog post? Oh yes it is, he came up with the idea of OTN ODC Appreciation Day - a day where Oracle Bloggers all over the world show their appreciation of the Oracle Developer Community by blogging about some favorite Oracle feature.

So what should I pick this year of the multitude of possible favorites? Something brand new? No, I think I'll write about (more...)

PL/SQL functions: Iterate and keys for associative arrays

Unfortunately associative arrays still require more “coding”:
we still can’t use “indices of” or “values of” in simple FOR(though they are available for FORALL for a long time), don’t have convinient iterators and even function to get all keys…
That’s why I want to show my templates for such things like iterator and keys function. You can adopt these functions and create them on schema level.

   type numbers  is table of number;
   type anumbers  (more...)

How to group connected elements (or pairs)

I see quite often when developers ask questions about connected components:

Table “MESSAGES” contains fields “SENDER” and “RECIPIENT”, which store clients id.
How to quickly get all groups of clients who are connected even through other clients if the table has X million rows?
So for this table, there should be 4 groups:
  • (1, 2, 4, 8, 16)
  • (3, 6, 12)
  • (5, 10, 20)
  • (7, 14)
  • (9, 18)
3 (more...)

Avoiding reinventing the wheel – use MULTISET EXCEPT to get set relative complement

Today in an application I stumbled upon a PL/SQL function created to return those elements of one nested table that did not exist in another nested table. Not a huge function, but still a bit of work and some thinking that had been done some while ago to compare the elements and create the desired output nested table.

The trouble is, that this functionality already natively exists in PL/SQL (and SQL) - the developer had (more...)

“#PL/SQL: Therefore, whoever binds forever: automate your tests” – I’m a speaker at #DOAG2017


Today my presentation is confirmed: “Therefore, whoever binds forever: automate your tests”. Maybe the German pun will be the better understood: “PL/SQL: Drum test-automatisiere, wer sich sich ewig bindet!”

I will speak over my experiences with following

  • several PL/SQL testing tools like at least
  • I will give you a demo of this tools and compare their capabilities for
    • architecture
    • branching
    • continuous integration
    • code coverage

If you (more...)

OGh Tech Experience 2017 – recap

On June 15th and 16th 2017 the very first OGh Tech Experience was held. This 2-day conference was a new combination of the DBA Days and Fusion Middleware Tech Experience that were held in previous years. To summarize: OGh hit bullseye. It was two days packed with excellent in-depth technical sessions, good customer experiences and great networking opportunities.

The venue was well chosen. De Rijtuigenloods in Amersfoort is a former maintenance building of the Dutch (more...)

Avoiding Coincidental Cohesion

Given that Coincidental Cohesion is bad for our code base so obviously we want to avoid writing utilities packages. Fortunately it is mostly quite easy to do so. It requires vigilance on our part. Utilities packages are rarely planned. More often we are writing a piece of business functionality when we find ourselves in need of some low level functionality. It doesn't fit in the application package we're working on, perhaps we suspect that it (more...)

Utilities – the Coincidental Cohesion anti-pattern

One way to understand the importance of cohesion is to examine an example of a non-cohesive package, one exhibiting a random level of cohesion. The poster child for Coincidental Cohesion is the utility or helper package. Most applications will have one or more of these, and Oracle's PL/SQL library is no exception. DBMS_UTILITY has 37 distinct procedures and functions (i.e. not counting overloaded signatures) in 11gR2 and 38 in 12cR1 (and R2). Does DBMS_UTILITY (more...)

Good old BIN_TO_NUM to check the overall status

A good while ago Chris Saxon, member of the AskTom answer team, asked on twitter which datatype you use when defining tables when you need a Boolean-representation. As you might know there is no Boolean datatype in SQL.
A lot of discussion followed which I'm not going to repeat.
Usually I use a VARCHAR2(1) with a check constraint for Y and N, but for a recent requirement I decided to use a NUMBER instead.


Using VS Code for PL/SQL development

I've been using Sublime Text as my main editor for PL/SQL development for many years, but I'm now in the process of switching to Visual Studio Code (VS Code).

Some good reasons to use VS Code:
  • Multi-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux)
  • Free, open source
  • Lightweight, fast
  • Large ecosystem of extensions
  • Built-in Git support
  • Can be adapted to PL/SQL coding via a plsql language extension (syntax highlighting, go to/peek definition, go to symbol) and PL/SQL compilation (more...)

#DEVCAMP17 wrap up


Yesterday I attend the annual barcamp DEVCAMP of the DOAG development community. There are mostly developers with SQL, PL/SQL, Forms & Reports, ADF, JET background and some Java, Javascript and APEX developers too. And not to forget: 1 dba and some managers. Here are my summary.

I arrived on evening before just in time for the life cooking event and later at the bar to meet lot of the people I already know and some new too.

The morning begins with (more...)

How can we use Oracle to deduplicate our data

Dear Patrick,

We have gone through a merger at our company where we are trying to merge the databases. The problem now is that we have duplicate records in our tables. We can of course go through all the records by hand and check if they exist twice. Another option is to build an application to do this. But using the Oracle Database there must be a better way to do this. Any ideas?

Ramesh (more...)

How can we add custom code to existing triggers?

Dear Patrick,

We have bought an application that runs on an Oracle database. There are triggers defined on the tables, but we want to add our own code to these triggers, but we don’t have access to the source code. What is the approach we should follow to accomplish this?

Collin Bratforth

Dear Collin,

There are two types of DML triggers. Statement level triggers and row level triggers. Then for these two types there are (more...)

What is overloading and how and when do I use it

Dear Patrick,

Recently I heard someone talk about overloading in Java. What is it, is it possible in PL/SQL and if so, how would I use it?

Ramesh Cumar

Dear Ramesh,

Overloading is a technique of creating multiple programs with the same name that can be called with different sets of parameters. It is definitely possible to apply this technique in PL/SQL, in fact, Oracle does this a lot of times in their own built-in (more...)