Viewing Models Details for Decision Trees using SQL

When you are working with and developing Decision Trees by far the easiest way to visualise these is by using the Oracle Data Miner (ODMr) tool that is part of SQL Developer.
Developing your Decision Tree models using the ODMr allows you to explore the decision tree produced, to drill in on each of the nodes of the tree and to see all the statistics etc that relate to each node and branch of the (more...)

Little quiz: Ordering/Grouping – Quess the output

How many times have you guessed the right answer? :)

select * from dual order by -1;
select * from dual order by 0;


select *                   from dual                                     order by -(0.1+0/1) desc;
select 1 n,0 n,2 n,0 n,1 n from dual group by grouping sets(1,2,3,2,1,0) order by -(0.1+0/1) desc;


select 1 n,0 n,2 n,0 n,1 n from dual group by grouping sets(1,2,3,2,1,0) order by 0;
select 1 n,0 n,2  (more...)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 37: POISED: A problem-solving method

P.O.I.S.E.D. is the acronym I invented for the performance tuning method described by Chris Lawson in The Art and Science of Oracle Performance Tuning; it stands for Problem, Observation, Interpretation, Solution, Execution, and Documentation. The Observation and Interpretation phases feed each other. The Interpretation phase concludes with a determination of root cause. If we are investigating poor performance a single SQL statement, the tool of choice for the observation phase (more...)

Overview of all time changes this year via SQL

inspired by Laurent Schneider’s remark concerning special time changes in Lord Howe Island

with dates as
trunc(sysdate, 'year') + level - 1 as day
connect by
extract(year from trunc(sysdate, 'year') + level - 1) = extract(year from trunc(sysdate, 'year'))

timezones as
vtn.TZNAME, listagg(vtn.TZABBREV, ', ') within group(order by vtn.tzabbrev) tzabbrevs
v$timezone_names vtn
group by

offsets as
v.*, d. (more...)


Just a small Sunday night anecdote with a wider point. I, or maybe a colleague, recently received an update statement from a developer. Now, this developer is long of tooth and is well versed in the ways of Oracle data manipulation.

The aforementioned update statement contained an interesting hint. BYPASS_UJVC. You may not have heard of this hint. It’s not commonly used, although it’s been around since Oracle 8.1.5. Mainly because it is (more...)

What’s this ‘WHERE 1=1′?

Since some time I have been adding WHERE 1=1 to all my queries.
I get queries like this:

  FROM emp e
 WHERE 1=1
   AND e.ename LIKE 'A%'
   AND e.deptno = 20

Lots of people ask me what’s the use of this WHERE 1=1.

You know I like to type as little as possible but here I am typing a lot of extra characters. And yet, it makes my development life a (more...)

Join Tables on Date Ranges

A recent question on the OTN SQL forum asked how best to join two tables related by ID and date range, in order to insert one row per date into a data warehouse. One solution was to expand the data from each table, creating one row per date, then join on date. I think it's more efficient to join on date range, then expand.

Visualizing Statspack Performance Data in SQL Developer

If you run Oracle Standard Edition or haven’t licenced Diagnostics Pack for Enterprise Edition, then you don’t have AWR and ASH Data available. This is when Statspack, the predecessor of AWR, comes in handy to keep a history of database performance metrics. But although Oracle still deliver Statspack with their recent DB releases (yes, even in […]

RIP SQL*Plus & hello SQL Command Line

Over the past couple of months Oracle has been releasing some EA (Early Adopter) versions of a new tool that is currently called SQL Command Line.

The team behind this new tool is the SQL Developer development team and they have been working on creating a new command line SQL tool that is based on some of the technology that is included in SQL Developer.

SQL Command Line in an stand alone tool and all (more...)


In this post I will try to show you how I used the Oracle Apex and the APEX_WEB_SERVICE  PL/SQL package to quickly send a request to a public Internet API and how I handled the response. The code below was written during a 'Hackday' and hasn't been extensively tested.

My use case is integrating Oracle Apex with the public Mendeley REST API for Mendeley Catalog Search.

The idea was to build an (more...)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 36: The sisters of the mother of all SQL antipatterns

The mother of all SQL “anti-patterns” is the ad-hoc query. Here, the end-user of the application can specify any combination of parameters—for example, the job_id, the dept_id, or a combination of both—and the data is retrieved using a catchall query. This antipattern has two sisters who are almost as evil. These two sisters arise from the requirement to paginate through the records retrieved by a query.(read more)

Comparing NULLable Values

If a column or expression may be NULL, it is a pain to compare it to something else. Why? Because comparisons involving a NULL do not result in TRUE or FALSE: they result in NULL. I use the DECODE function to work around this problem: here's why - and how.

Real time sql monitoring – bulk bound statement

Moving through some observations of an ongoing investigation tackling the easiest ones first.

Previously I observed the slow execution of a recursive delete of statistics history but coming not from MMON but from a number of application processes which should have only been calculating stats for their own partitions.

Statement was sql id 9v9n97qj8z1dg:

delete /*+ dynamic_sampling(4) */
from sys.wri$_optstat_histhead_history
where savtime < :1
and rownum <= NVL(:2, rownum);

From the real time sql (more...)


Yesterday I mentioned issues with a recursive delete operation on statistics history.

This is a quick illustration of the last points I made on that post regarding the lack of a COUNT STOPKEY optimisation because of the use of NVL.

COUNT STOPKEY is an optimisation which allows processing to stop once the target number of rows has been reached.

For example:

create table t1 as select * from dba_objects;

alter session set statistics_level = all;


10 Cool things about the COMPARE_SYNC package

@thatjeffsmith recently recommended an article about making your blog more popular. The article said "lists of 10 things" were great ways to get more readers. Hey, if that's all it takes... STEW_COMPARE_SYNC is a package that generates SQL to compare data or synchronize tables. Here are 10 good reasons to use it.

2014 Annual SQL Championship

Steven Feuerstein runs a great site at PL/SQL Challenge that is just another way for developers to stay up to date with their knowledge of PL/SQL, SQL and database design with a bit of fun.

PL/SQL championships are held quarterly, but the less frequent SQL and Database Design quizzes are currently held annually. Thanks to persistence and maybe a bit of experience, I was eligible to compete in both.

Unfortunately do to a timing issue, (more...)

Easy quiz: rownum < NaN

As you know, NaN is a “Not a Number”.
How do you think, what would be the result of the following query? (0f/0 == NaN)

select count(*) cnt from dual where rownum < 0f/0;

Spoiler:: Answer SelectShow

Ok, when you know the result, try to guess what will return this query:
select count(*) cnt  (more...)

To N or Not to N, is SYS_OP_C2C the Question; Oracle NVARCHAR Slow?

February 8, 2015 I was recently contacted about an odd performance issue with a software product named TDM, where certain SQL statements submitted to an Oracle 9.2.x database required roughly 30 seconds to execute when a nearly instantaneous response was expected.  The person who reported the issue to me provided a sample SQL statement that […]

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 35: Robust v/s optimal query execution plans

A subset of all possible execution plans can be described as robust. While such solutions are not always quite optimum, they are almost always close to optimum in real-world queries, and they have desirable characteristics, such as predictability and low likelihood of errors during execution.(read more)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the EXPLAIN PLAN Part 34: SQL Aaargh!

The biggest problem with SQL query optimization is that semantically equivalent SQL queries are not guaranteed to perform equally well. When I encounter problems like this, I sympathize with the folks who got frustrated with RDBMS performance and created NoSQL.(read more)