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This companion book to the Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Precompilers shows you how to write COBOL programs that use the powerful database language SQL to access and manipulate Oracle data. It provides easy-to-follow examples, instructions, and programming tips, as well as several full-length programs to better your understanding and demonstrate the usefulness of embedded SQL.


What This Manual Has to Offer

This manual shows you how the Oracle Pro*COBOL Precompiler and embedded SQL can benefit your entire applications development process. It gives you the know-how to design and develop applications that harness the power of Oracle, and, as quickly as possible, it helps you become proficient in writing embedded SQL programs.

An important feature of this manual is its emphasis on getting the most out of Pro*COBOL and embedded SQL. To help you master these tools, this manual, accompanied by the Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Precompilers, shows you all the ``tricks of the trade" including ways to improve program performance.

Note: You will not find installation instructions or system-specific information in this manual. For that kind of information, refer to your system-specific Oracle documentation.


Who Should Read This Manual?

Anyone developing new COBOL applications or converting existing COBOL applications to run in the Oracle environment will benefit from reading this manual. Written especially for programmers, it will also be of value to systems analysts, project managers, and others interested in embedded SQL applications.

To use this manual effectively, you need a working knowledge of the following subjects:


What's New in This Edition?

Release 1.8 of the Pro*COBOL Precompiler introduces a new command-line option, UNSAFE_NULL. With UNSAFE_NULL=YES, you can disable ORA-01405 messages when precompiling applications that fetch data into host variables that do not have associated indicator variables.

For more information, see Appendix A of the Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Precompilers.


How This Guide Is Organized

This manual contains four chapters and an appendix. A brief summary of what you will find in each chapter and appendix follows:

Chapter 1: Writing a Pro*COBOL Program This chapter provides the basic information you need to write a Pro*COBOL program. You learn programming guidelines, coding conventions, language-specific features and restrictions, how to equivalence datatypes, and how to connect to Oracle.

Chapter 2: Error Handling and Diagnostics This chapter discusses error reporting and recovery. It shows you how to use the SQLSTATE and SQLCODE status variables with the WHENEVER statement to detect errors and status changes. It also shows you how to use the SQLCA and ORACA to detect error conditions and diagnose problems.

Chapter 3: Sample Programs This chapter provides several embedded SQL programs to guide you in writing your own. These well-commented programs illustrate the key concepts and features of Pro*COBOL programming.

Chapter 4: Implementing Dynamic SQL Method 4 This chapter shows you how to implement dynamic SQL Method 4, an advanced programming technique that lets you write highly flexible applications. Numerous examples, including a full-length sample program, are used to illustrate the method.

Appendix A: Operating System Dependencies Some details of Pro*COBOL programming vary from one system to another. So, you are occasionally referred to other manuals for system-specific information. For convenience, this appendix collects all such external references.


Conventions Used in This Manual

Important terms being defined for the first time are italicized. In discussions, UPPERCASE is used for COBOL code, database objects, SQL keywords, and the names of variables, constants, and parameters.

Notation

The following notational conventions are used in some code examples:

< > Angle brackets enclose the name of a syntactic element.
[ ] Square brackets enclose optional items.
{ } Braces enclose items only one of which is required.
| A vertical bar separates options within brackets or braces.
... An ellipsis shows that the preceding argument or parameter can be repeated, or that statements or clauses irrelevant to the discussion were left out.
# This character is used in text to represent blank spaces when referring to the content of a database column.


Your Comments Are Welcome

The Oracle Corporation technical staff values your comments. As we write and revise, your opinions are the most important input we receive. Please use the Reader's Comment Form at the back of this manual to tell us what you like and dislike about this Oracle publication. If the form has been used or you want to contact us, please use the following address or FAX number:

Languages Documentation Manager
Oracle Corporation
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065
Fax: (415) 506-7200




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