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Cursor variables point to the current row in a multirow result set. Unlike a regular cursor, though, a cursor variable is dynamic that is, you can assign new values to a cursor variable and pass it to other procedures and functions. Let s look at how you can create cursor variables in PL/SQL. First, define a REF CURSOR type, as shown here: DECLARE TYPE EmpCurTyp IS REF CURSOR RETURN dept%ROWTYPE; Next, declare cursor variables of the type DeptCurTyp in an anonymous PL/SQL code block or in a procedure (or function), as shown in the following code snippet: DECLARE TYPE EmpRecTyp IS RECORD ( Emp_id NUMBER(9), emp_name VARCHAR2(3O), sal NUMBER(7,2)); TYPE EmpCurTyp IS REF CURSOR RETURN EmpRecTyp; emp_cv EmpCurTyp; -- declare cursor variable

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A PL/SQL procedure can be used to perform various DML operations. The following is a simple Oracle procedure: create or replace procedure new_employee (emp_id number, last_name varchar(2), first_name varchar(2)) is begin insert into employees values ( emp_id, last_name, first_name); end new_employee; /

Unlike a PL/SQL procedure, a function returns a value, as shown in the following example: CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION sal_ok (salary REAL, title VARCHAR2) RETURN BOOLEAN IS min_sal REAL; max_sal REAL; BEGIN SELECT losal, hisal INTO min_sal, max_sal FROM sals WHERE job = title; RETURN (salary >= min_sal) AND (salary <= max_sal); END sal_ok; Oracle packages are objects that usually consist of several related procedures and functions, and the package is usually designed to perform an application function by invoking all the related procedures and functions within the package. Packages are extremely powerful, because they can contain large amounts of functional code and be repeatedly executed by several users. A package usually has two parts: a package specification and a package body. The package specification declares the variables, cursors, and subprograms (procedures and functions) that are part of the package. The package body contains the actual cursors and subprogram code. Listing A-6 shows a simple Oracle package. Listing A-6. A PL/SQL Package /* First, the Package Specification /* create or replace package emp_pkg as type list is varray (100) of number (5); procedure new_employee (emp_id number, last_name varchar2, first_name varchar2); procedure salary_raise ( emp_id number, raise number); end emp_pkg; / /* The Package Body follows */ create or replace package body emp_pkg as procedure new_employee (emp_id number, last_name varchar(2), first_name varchar(2) is begin insert into employees values ( emp_id, last_name, first_name); end new_employee; procedure salary_raise ( emp_num number, raise_pct real) is begin update employees set salary = salary * raise_pct where emp_id = emp_num; end salary_raise; end emp_pkg; / If you want to use emp_pkg to award a raise to an employee, all you have to do is execute the following: SQL> EXECUTE emp_pkg.salary_raise(99999, 0.15);

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A typical organization has information stored in multiple formats, some of which may be organized in relational databases, but most of which is stored outside the database. The nondatabase information may be stored in application-specific formats, such as Excel spreadsheets. Storing the

nondatabase information in XML format instead makes it easier to access and update nonstructured organizational information. Oracle XML DB isn t really a special type of database for XML. It simply refers to the set of built-in XML storage and retrieval technologies for the manipulation of XML data. Oracle XML DB provides the advantages of object-relational database technology and XML technology. For example, one of the major problems involved in dealing with XML data from within a relational database is that most XML data is hierarchical in nature, whereas the Oracle database is based on the relational model. Oracle manages to deal effectively with the hierarchical XML data by using special SQL operators and methods that let you easily query and update XML data in an Oracle database. Oracle XML DB builds the XML Document Object Model (DOM) into the Oracle kernel. Thus, most XML operations are treated as part of normal database processing. Oracle XML DB provides the ability to view both structured and nonstructured information as relational data. You can view the data as either rows in a table or nodes in an XML document. Here is a brief list of the benefits offered by Oracle XML DB: You can access XML data using regular SQL queries. You can use Oracle s OLTP data warehousing, test, spatial data, and multimedia features to , process XML data. You can generate XML from an Oracle SQL query. You can transform XML into HTML format easily.

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