Oracle8 Application Developer's Guide
Release 8.0






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This Guide describes features of application development for the Oracle Server, Release 8.0. Information in this Guide applies to versions of the Oracle Server that run on all platforms, and does not include system-specific information.

The Preface includes the following sections:

Information in This Guide

As an application developer, you should learn about the many Oracle Server features that can ease application development and improve performance. This Guide describes Oracle Server features that relate to application development. It does not cover the PL/SQL language, nor does it directly discuss application development on the client side. See the table of contents and Chapter 1 in this Guide for more information about the material covered. Chapter 1 also points you to other Oracle documentation that contains related information.


The Oracle8 Application Developer's Guide is intended for programmers developing new applications or converting existing applications to run in the Oracle environment. This Guide will also be valuable to systems analysts, project managers, and others interested in the development of database applications.

This guide assumes that you have a working knowledge of application programming, and that you are familiar with the use of Structured Query Language (SQL) to access information in relational database systems.

Certain sections of this Guide also assume a knowledge of the basic concepts of object oriented programming.

Feature Coverage and Availability

The Oracle8 Application Developer's Guide contains information that describes the features and functionality of the Oracle8 and the Oracle8 Enterprise Edition products. Oracle8 and Oracle8 Enterprise Edition have the same basic features. However, several advanced features are available only with the Enterprise Edition, and some of these are optional. For example, to use object functionality, you must have the Enterprise Edition and the Objects Option.

For information about the differences between Oracle8 and the Oracle8 Enterprise Edition and the features and options that are available to you, see Getting to Know Oracle8 and the Oracle8 Enterprise Edition.

Other Guides

Use the PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference to learn PL/SQL and to get a complete description of this high-level programming language, which is Oracle Corporation's procedural extension to SQL.

The Oracle Call Interface (OCI) is described ins:

You can use the OCI to build third-generation language (3GL) applications that access the Oracle Server.

Oracle Corporation also provides the Pro* series of precompilers, which allow you to embed SQL and PL/SQL in your application programs. If you write 3GL application programs in Ada, C, C++, COBOL, or FORTRAN that incorporate embedded SQL, refer to the corresponding precompiler manual. For example, if you program in C or C++, refer to the Pro*C/C++ Precompiler Programmer's Guide.

Oracle Developer/2000 is a cooperative development environment that provides several tools including a form builder, reporting tools, and a debugging environment for PL/SQL. If you use Developer/2000, refer to the appropriate Oracle Tools documentation.

For SQL information, see the Oracle8 SQL Reference and Oracle8 Administrator's Guide. For basic Oracle concepts, see Oracle8 Concepts.

How This Book Is Organized

The Oracle8 Application Developer's Guide contains eighteen chapters. A brief summary of what you will find in each chapter follows:

Chapter 1: Information Sources for Application Developers

This chapter provides a road map that enables you to determine where to find information about specific application development topics, both in this Guide and in other Oracle technical publications.

Chapter 2: The Application Developer

This chapter provides an overview of the Oracle Server application development process.

Chapter 3: Processing SQL Statements

This chapter explains the steps that the Oracle Server performs to process the various types of SQL commands and PL/SQL statements.

Chapter 4: Managing Schema Objects

This chapter describes how to manage the objects that can be created in the database domain of a specific user (schema), including tables, views, numeric sequences, and synonyms. It also discusses performance enhancements to data retrieval through the use of indexes and clusters.

Chapter 5: Selecting a Datatype

This chapter describes how to choose the correct Oracle datatype. The datatypes described include fixed- and variable-length character strings, numeric data, dates, raw binary data, and row identifiers (ROWIDs).

Chapter 6: Large Objects (LOBs)

This chapter describes the extended SQL commands and PL/SQL interface for the LOB datatypes, which include BLOBs for unstructured binary data, CLOBs and NCLOBs for character data, and BFILEs for data stored in an external file.

Chapter 7: User-Defined Datatypes - An Extended Example

This chapter explains how to define and use the composite datatypes and collection datatypes (varying-length arrays and nested tables) that can be created for particular application requirements.

Chapter 8: Object Views-An Extended Example

This chapter explains how to define and use object views.

Chapter 9: Maintaining Data Integrity

This chapter describes how to use declarative integrity constraints to provide data integrity within an Oracle database.

Chapter 10: Using Procedures and Packages

This chapter describes how to create procedures that can be stored in the database for continued use. Grouping these procedures into packages is also described in this chapter.

Chapter 11: Advanced Queuing

This chapter describes how to use advanced queuing to defer or regulate the execution of work in a client/server environment.

Chapter 12: PL/SQL Input/Output

This chapter describes how to use public and private pipes to allow sessions in the same Oracle Server instance to communicate with one another or with a disk file.

Chapter 13: Using Database Triggers

This chapter describes how to create and debug database triggers. Numerous examples are included.

Chapter 14: Using Dynamic SQL

This chapter describes how you can write stored procedures and anonymous PL/SQL blocks using dynamic SQL.

Chapter 15: Dependencies Among Schema Objects

This chapter describes how to manage the dependencies among related views, procedures, packages, and triggers.

Chapter 16: Signalling Database Events with Alerters

This chapter describes how you can design your application to be notified whenever values that are of interest to the application change in the database.

Chapter 17: Establishing a Security Policy

This chapter describes how to design a security policy using the Oracle security features.

Chapter 18: Oracle XA

This chapter describes how to use the Oracle XA library.

Conventions Used in this Guide

The following notational and text formatting conventions are used in this guide:

[ ]

Square brackets indicate that the enclosed item is optional. Do not type the brackets.

{ }

Braces enclose items of which only one is required.


A vertical bar separates items within braces, and may also be used to indicate that multiple values are passed to a function parameter.


In code fragments, an ellipsis means that code not relevant to the discussion has been omitted.

font change

SQL or C code examples are shown in monospaced font.


Italics are used for OCI parameters, OCI routines names, file names, and data fields.


Uppercase is used for SQL keywords, like SELECT or UPDATE.

This guide uses special text formatting to draw the reader's attention to some information. A paragraph that is indented and begins with a bold text label may have special meaning. The following paragraphs describe the different types of information that are flagged this way.

Note: The "Note" flag indicates that the reader should pay particular attention to the information to avoid a common problem or increase understanding of a concept.

Warning: An item marked as "Warning" indicates something that an OCI programmer must be careful to do or not do in order for an application to work correctly.

See Also: Text marked "See Also" points you to another section of this guide, or to other documentation, for additional information about the topic being discussed.

Your Comments Are Welcome

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