Information About Application Development
This chapter lists some of the topics discussed in this Guide, and tells you where you can get information about each topic. The topics are arranged in alphabetic order for quick reference.
Sources of Information
The Oracle7 Server is a large product. There are over 20 books that form the documentation for the Oracle Server and languages products. In addition to these, there are several books in the Network documentation set that provide important information on using SQL*Net to connect client applications to Oracle7 servers.
In this chapter, you can get some basic information about Oracle application development products, and the documentation for these products. In addition to Oracle documentation, there is an ever-increasing set of trade books about Oracle7. Visit your local technical or university bookstore to discover the titles available.
You can enforce business rules in your Oracle application using integrity constraints on columns of a table, or by using triggers. See Chapter 6 in this Guide for a description of integrity constraints, and Chapter 9 for a discussion of database triggers.
See the Oracle7 Server Concepts manual for a high-level discussion of business rules.
Oracle provides a number of tools to help you develop your applications. Oracle's Developer/2000 tool set offers Procedure Builder, a PL/SQL development environment with a client-side debugger, as well as other tools that generate forms and reports.
CASE tools to help you in database design are available as part of the Oracle Designer/2000 product.
Communicating with 3GL Programs
Application developers frequently ask how they can access 3GL routines (such as C or C++ functions) or operating system services from PL/SQL code that is running on a server. One way to do this is to use the Oracle-supplied DBMS_PIPES package. See Chapter 8 for a detailed discussion of this package. This package is not transaction safe, so it must be used with care.
It is not possible to call a 3GL routine directly from PL/SQL in release 7.3. This capability will be offered in a future release of the Oracle Server.
How to use database constraints such as NOT NULL, PRIMARY KEY, and FOREIGN KEY is described in Chapter 6 of this Guide. See the Oracle7 Server Concepts manual for a basic introduction to constraints.
Database design is not discussed exhaustively in this Guide. See the Oracle7 Server Concepts for a basic discussion. Refer to the Oracle7 Server Tuning manual for tips on designing performance into your database. You can also refer to the Oracle Designer/2000 product for tools for advanced database design.
Oracle internal datatypes are described in Chapter 5 of this Guide. For a more comprehensive treatment of datatypes, see the Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Call Interface.
You can use the DBMS_OUTPUT and the DBMS_PIPES packages for first-level debugging of your PL/SQL code. See Chapter 8 in this Guide for more information.
When errors or warnings occur as you compile or run an Oracle application, the information is sent to you through an Oracle error code, usually accompanied by a short error message. See the Oracle7 Server Messages manual for a complete listing or Oracle server, precompiler, and PL/SQL error codes and messages.
PL/SQL can also generate exceptions at runtime. See the PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference for a list of predefined PL/SQL exceptions and their causes.
You can use Oracle's Open Gateway technology to access data on non-Oracle databases, and even on non-relational data sources. See the Oracle Open Gateway Toolkit Guide for information about developing gateway applications.
Oracle supplies a set of PL/SQL packages to assist your application development. Most of the packages' names begin with the prefix DBMS_, for example DBMS_OUTPUT or DBMS_SQL. A few have other prefixes, such as UTL_FILE (for PL/SQL file I/O).
These supplied packages are documented in this Guide, mainly in Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12. See pages 7 - 53 and following for a complete list of the Oracle-supplied packages, and references to where they are documented.
The primary source for documentation of the PL/SQL language is the PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference. How you use PL/SQL in application development is documented both in that Guide as well as in this manual. There are also several trade books available that cover the PL/SQL language.
This Guide documents how to create, modify, and delete schema objects such as tables, views, packages, procedures, and sequences. However, you should be familiar with the material in the Oracle7 Server Concepts manual for introductory material. For example, you might want to read the chapter in the Concepts manual called ``Procedures and Packages'' before looking at Chapter 7 (``Using Procedures and Packages'') in this Guide.
Your primary reference for security in this Guide is Chapter 13. Security issues are also discussed in the Oracle7 Server Concepts manual.
Your primary reference for the SQL language is the Oracle7 Server SQL Reference. That manual covers Oracle's implementation of the SQL language in depth. It includes syntax diagrams that summarize the form of all SQL commands.
See the section ``Client-Side Tools'' .