Oracle PL/SQL Programming
By Steven Feuerstein
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: September 1993
Pages: 916

Oracle is the most popular database management system in use today, and PL/SQL plays a pivotal role in current and projected Oracle products and applications. PL/SQL is a relatively new programming language providing procedural extensions to the SQL relational database language and to an ever-growing number of Oracle development tools, including SQL*Plus, Oracle Forms, Oracle Graphics, Oracle Reports, and Oracle Developer 2000 (formerly the Cooperative Development Environment (CDE)). It offers a myriad of data types, and such features as cursors, loops, conditional and sequential control statements, exception handlers, records, tables, and constructs for developing modular code (functions, procedures, and packages). Originally a rather limited tool, PL/SQL is now a mature and effective language for developers.

As more and more Oracle customers move from the mainframe to client- server configurations, PL/SQL is becoming ever more crucial. It provides the foundation for the code used to distribute processing and transactions across the network.

PL/SQL allows the developer to:

  • Design powerful and easy-to-use GUI interfaces in products like Oracle Forms and Oracle Graphics
  • Build complex reports and long-running batch processes
  • Implement critical business rules in database triggers and stored procedures

Although PL/SQL is very important to Oracle customers, it has not received the attention -- by Oracle Corporation and outside vendors and authors -- that it deserves. The only book previously available on PL/SQL is the overly concise Oracle reference manual. Training courses tend to focus on the flashy side of the new GUI tools and ignore the more complicated PL/SQL programming that is so vital to production applications.

Oracle PL/SQL Programming fills a huge gap in the Oracle market. The book provides developers with a single, comprehensive guide to building applications with PL/SQL -- and building them the right way. It's packed with strategies, code architectures, tips, techniques, and fully realized code. The book comes with a disk containing many examples of PL/SQL programs that readers can use immediately or as starting points for further development.

Oracle PL/SQL Programming is divided into six parts:

Part I introduces PL/SQL, its many versions, the environments in which it operates, PL/SQL language fundamentals, and effective coding style. Part II describes basic PL/SQL statements for variables, cursors, conditional and sequential control, loops, exception handling, records, and tables. Part III describes all of the built-in (predefined) PL/SQL functions and procedures -- string, date, number, and miscellaneous as well as the built-in packages that come with PL/SQL. Part IV describes how to modularize your PL/SQL programs using blocks, procedures, functions, and packages.

Part V describes how to debug PL/SQL programs and manage code in the database. It also contains a summary of tips for using PL/SQL most effectively.

Part VI contains appendices summarizing the contents of the disk and the calling of stored procedures from Version 1.1.

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