Oracle8i JDBC Developer's Guide and Reference
Release 3 (8.1.7)

Part Number A83724-01


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Using the Default STRUCT Class for Oracle Objects

If you choose not to supply a custom Java class for your SQL-Java mapping for an Oracle object, then Oracle JDBC will materialize the object as an instance of the oracle.sql.STRUCT class.

You would typically want to use STRUCT objects, instead of custom Java objects, in situations where you are manipulating data. For example, your Java application might be a tool to manipulate data within the database, as opposed to being an end-user application. You can select data from the database into STRUCT objects and create STRUCT objects for inserting data into the database. STRUCT objects completely preserve data, because they maintain the data in SQL format. Using STRUCT objects is more efficient and more precise in these situations where the information does not need to be in a user-friendly format.

For a complete sample application using the STRUCT class to access and manipulate SQL object data, see "Weakly Typed".

STRUCT Class Functionality

This section discusses standard versus Oracle-specific features of the oracle.sql.STRUCT class, introduces STRUCT descriptors, and lists methods of the STRUCT class to give an overview of its functionality.

Standard java.sql.Struct Methods

If your code must comply with standard JDBC 2.0, then use a java.sql.Struct instance (oracle.jdbc2.Struct under JDK 1.1.x), and use the following standard methods:

Oracle oracle.sql.STRUCT Class Methods

If you want to take advantage of the extended functionality offered by Oracle-defined methods, then use an oracle.sql.STRUCT instance.

The oracle.sql.STRUCT class implements the java.sql.Struct interface (oracle.jdbc2.Struct interface under JDK 1.1.x) and provides extended functionality beyond the JDBC 2.0 standard.

The STRUCT class includes the following methods in addition to standard Struct functionality:

STRUCT Descriptors

Creating and using a STRUCT object requires the existence of a descriptor--an instance of the oracle.sql.StructDescriptor class--to exist for the SQL type (such as EMPLOYEE) that will correspond to the STRUCT object. You need only one StructDescriptor object for any number of STRUCT objects that correspond to the same SQL type.

STRUCT descriptors are further discussed in "Creating STRUCT Objects and Descriptors".

Creating STRUCT Objects and Descriptors

This section describes how to create STRUCT objects and descriptors and lists useful methods of the StructDescriptor class.

Steps in Creating StructDescriptor and STRUCT Objects

This section describes how to construct an oracle.sql.STRUCT object for a given Oracle object type. To create a STRUCT object, you must:

  1. Create a StructDescriptor object (if one does not already exist) for the given Oracle object type.

  2. Use the StructDescriptor to construct the STRUCT object.

A StructDescriptor is an instance of the oracle.sql.StructDescriptor class and describes a type of SQL structured object (Oracle object). Only one StructDescriptor is necessary for each Oracle object type. The driver caches StructDescriptor objects to avoid recreating them if the type has already been encountered.

Before you can construct a STRUCT object, a StructDescriptor must first exist for the given Oracle object type. If a StructDescriptor object does not exist, you can create one by calling the static StructDescriptor.createDescriptor() method. This method requires you to pass in the SQL type name of the Oracle object type and a connection object:

StructDescriptor structdesc = StructDescriptor.createDescriptor
                                          (sql_type_name, connection);

Where sql_type_name is a Java string containing the name of the Oracle object type (such as EMPLOYEE) and connection is your connection object.

Once you have your StructDescriptor object for the Oracle object type, you can construct the STRUCT object. To do this, pass in the StructDescriptor, your connection object, and an array of Java objects containing the attributes you want the STRUCT to contain.

STRUCT struct = new STRUCT(structdesc, connection, attributes);

Where structdesc is the StructDescriptor created previously, connection is your connection object, and attributes is an array of type java.lang.Object[].

Using StructDescriptor Methods

A StructDescriptor can be thought of as a "type object". This means that it contains information about the object type, including the typecode, the type name, and how to convert to and from the given type. Remember, there should be only one StructDescriptor object for any one Oracle object type. You can then use that descriptor to create as many STRUCT objects as you need for that type.

The StructDescriptor class includes the following methods:

Serializable STRUCT Descriptors

As "Steps in Creating StructDescriptor and STRUCT Objects" explains, when you create a STRUCT object, you first must create a StructDescriptor object. Do this by calling the StructDescriptor.createDescriptor() method. In Oracle8i release 8.1.7, the oracle.sql.StructDescriptor class is serializable, meaning that you can write the complete state of a StructDescriptor object to an output stream for later use. Recreate the StructDescriptor object by reading its serialized state from an input stream. This is referred to as deserializing. With the StructDescriptor object serialized, you do not need to call the StructDescriptor.createDescriptor() method--you simply deserialize the StructDescriptor object.

It is advisable to serialize a StructDescriptor object when the object type is complex but not changed often.

If you create a StructDescriptor object through deserialization, you must supply the appropriate database connection instance for the StructDescriptor object, using the setConnection() method.

The following code provides the connection instance for a StructDescriptor object:

public void setConnection (Connection conn) throws SQLException 


The JDBC driver does not verify that the connection object from the setConnection() method connects to the same database from which the type descriptor was initially derived.  

Retrieving STRUCT Objects and Attributes

This section discusses how to retrieve and manipulate Oracle objects and their attributes, using either Oracle-specific features or JDBC 2.0 standard features.


The JDBC driver seamlessly handles embedded objects (STRUCT objects that are attributes of STRUCT objects) in the same way that it normally handles objects. When the JDBC driver retrieves an attribute that is an object, it follows the same rules of conversion, using the type map if it is available, or using default mapping if it is not.  

Retrieving an Oracle Object as an oracle.sql.STRUCT Object

You can retrieve an Oracle object directly into an oracle.sql.STRUCT instance. In the following example, getObject() is used to get a NUMBER object from column 1 (col1) of the table struct_table. Because getObject() returns an Object type, the return is cast to an oracle.sql.STRUCT. This example assumes that the Statement object stmt has already been created.

String cmd;
cmd = "CREATE TYPE type_struct AS object (field1 NUMBER,field2 DATE)";

cmd = "CREATE TABLE struct_table (col1 type_struct)";

cmd = "INSERT INTO struct_table VALUES (type_struct(10,'01-apr-01'))";

cmd = "INSERT INTO struct_table VALUES (type_struct(20,'02-may-02'))";

ResultSet rs= stmt.executeQuery("SELECT * FROM struct_table");
oracle.sql.STRUCT oracleSTRUCT=(oracle.sql.STRUCT)rs.getObject(1);

Another way to return the object as a STRUCT object is to cast the result set to an OracleResultSet object and use the Oracle extension getSTRUCT() method:

oracle.sql.STRUCT oracleSTRUCT=((OracleResultSet)rs).getSTRUCT(1);

Retrieving an Oracle Object as a java.sql.Struct Object

Alternatively, referring back to the previous example, you can use standard JDBC functionality such as getObject() to retrieve an Oracle object from the database as an instance of java.sql.Struct (oracle.jdbc2.Struct under JDK 1.1.x). Because getObject() returns a java.lang.Object, you must cast the output of the method to a Struct. For example:

ResultSet rs= stmt.executeQuery("SELECT * FROM struct_table");
java.sql.Struct jdbcStruct = (java.sql.Struct)rs.getObject(1);

Retrieving Attributes as oracle.sql Types

If you want to retrieve Oracle object attributes from a STRUCT or Struct instance as oracle.sql types, use the getOracleAttributes() method of the oracle.sql.STRUCT class (for a Struct instance, you will have to cast to a STRUCT instance):

Referring back to the previous examples:

oracle.sql.Datum[] attrs = oracleSTRUCT.getOracleAttributes();


oracle.sql.Datum[] attrs =

Retrieving Attributes as Standard Java Types

If you want to retrieve Oracle object attributes as standard Java types from a STRUCT or Struct instance, use the standard getAttributes() method:

Object[] attrs = jdbcStruct.getAttributes();

Binding STRUCT Objects into Statements

To bind an oracle.sql.STRUCT object to a prepared statement or callable statement, you can either use the standard setObject() method (specifying the typecode), or cast the statement object to an Oracle statement object and use the Oracle extension setOracleObject() method. For example:

PreparedStatement ps= conn.prepareStatement("text_of_prepared_statement");
ps.setObject(1, mySTRUCT, Types.STRUCT); //OracleTypes.STRUCT under JDK 1.1.x


PreparedStatement ps= conn.prepareStatement("text_of_prepared_statement");
((OraclePreparedStatement)ps).setOracleObject(1, mySTRUCT);

STRUCT Automatic Attribute Buffering

The Oracle JDBC driver furnishes public methods to enable and disable buffering of STRUCT attributes. (See "ARRAY Automatic Element Buffering" for a discussion of how to buffer ARRAY elements.)

The following methods are included with the oracle.sql.STRUCT class:

The setAutoBuffering(boolean) method enables or disables auto-buffering. The getAutoBuffering() method returns the current auto-buffering mode. By default, auto-buffering is disabled.

It is advisable to enable auto-buffering in a JDBC application when the STRUCT attributes will be accessed more than once by the getAttributes() and getArray() methods (presuming the ARRAY data is able to fit into the JVM memory without overflow).


Buffering the converted attributes may cause the JDBC application to consume a significant amount of memory.  

When you enable auto-buffering, the oracle.sql.STRUCT object keeps a local copy of all the converted attributes. This data is retained so that a second access of this information does not require going through the data format conversion process.

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