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Oracle® XML DB Developer's Guide
11g Release 1 (11.1)

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35 Loading XML Data Using SQL*Loader

This chapter describes how to load XML data into Oracle XML DB with a focus on SQL*Loader.

This chapter contains these topics:

Overview of Loading XMLType Data Into Oracle Database

In Oracle9i release 1 (9.0.1) and higher, the Export-Import utility and SQL*Loader support XMLType as a column type. Starting with Oracle Database 10g, SQL*Loader also supports loading XMLType tables. You can load XMLType data with SQL*Loader using either the conventional method or the direct-path method, regardless of how it is stored (structured, unstructured, or binary XML storage).


For structured storage of XML data, if the data involves inheritance (extension or restriction) of XML Schema types, then SQL*Loader does not support direct-path loading.

That is, if an XML schema contains a complexType element that extends or restricts another complexType element (the base type), then this results in some SQL types being defined in terms of other SQL types. In this case, direct-path loading is not supported for object-relational storage.

Oracle XML DB Repository information is not exported when user data is exported. This means that neither the resources nor any information are exported.

Using SQL*Loader to Load XMLType Data

XML columns are columns declared to be of type XMLType.

SQL*Loader treats XMLType columns and tables like object-relational columns and tables. All methods described in the following sections for loading LOB data from the primary datafile or from a LOBFILE value also apply to loading XMLType columns and tables when the XMLType data is stored as a LOB.


You cannot specify a SQL string for LOB fields. This is true even if you specify LOBFILE_spec.

XMLType data can be present in a control file or in a LOB file. In the former case, the LOB file name is present in the control file.

Because XMLType data can be quite large, SQL*Loader can load LOB data from either a primary datafile (in line with the rest of the data) or from LOB files, independent of how the data is stored (the underlying storage can, for example, still be object-relational).

Using SQL*Loader to Load XMLType Data in LOBs

To load internal LOBs, Binary Large Objects (BLOBs), Character Large Objects (CLOBs), and National Character Large Object (NCLOBs), or XMLType columns and tables from a primary datafile, use the following standard SQL*Loader formats:

  • Predetermined size fields

  • Delimited fields

  • Length-value pair fields

These formats are described in the following sections and in more detail in Oracle Database Utilities.

Loading LOB Data in Predetermined Size Fields

This is a very fast and conceptually simple format to load LOBs.


Because the LOBs you are loading might not be of equal size, you can use whitespace to pad the LOB data to make the LOBs all of equal length within a particular data field.

Loading LOB Data in Delimited Fields

This format handles LOBs of different sizes within the same column (datafile field) without problem. However, this added flexibility can affect performance, because SQL*Loader must scan through the data, looking for the delimiter string.

As with single-character delimiters, when you specify string delimiters, you should consider the character set of the datafile. When the character set of the datafile is different than that of the control file, you can specify the delimiters in hexadecimal (that is, hexadecimal string). If the delimiters are specified in hexadecimal notation, then the specification must consist of characters that are valid in the character set of the input datafile. In contrast, if hexadecimal specification is not used, then the delimiter specification is considered to be in the client (that is, the control file) character set. In this case, the delimiter is converted into the datafile character set before SQL*Loader searches for the delimiter in the datafile.

Loading XML Columns Containing LOB Data from LOBFILEs

LOB data can be lengthy enough so that it makes sense to load it from a LOBFILE instead of from a primary datafile. In LOBFILEs, LOB data instances are still considered to be in fields (predetermined size, delimited, length-value), but these fields are not organized into records (the concept of a record does not exist within LOBFILEs). Therefore, the processing overhead of dealing with records is avoided. This type of organization of data is ideal for LOB loading.

There is no requirement that a LOB from a LOBFILE fit in memory. SQL*Loader reads LOBFILEs in 64 KB chunks.

In LOBFILEs the data can be in any of the following types of fields, any of which can be used to load XML columns:

  • A single LOB field into which the entire contents of a file can be read

  • Predetermined size fields (fixed-length fields)

  • Delimited fields (that is, TERMINATED BY or ENCLOSED BY)

    The clause PRESERVE BLANKS is not applicable to fields read from a LOBFILE.

  • Length-value pair fields (variable-length fields) .

    To load data from this type of field, use the  VARRAY, VARCHAR, or VARCHAR2 SQL*Loader data types.

Specifying LOBFILEs

You can specify LOBFILEs either statically (you specify the name of the file) or dynamically (you use a FILLER field as the source of the filename). In either case, when the EOF of a LOBFILE is reached, the file is closed and additional attempts to read data from that file produce results equivalent to reading data from an empty field.

You should not specify the same LOBFILE as the source of two different fields. If you do so, then typically, the two fields will read the data independently.

Using SQL*Loader to Load XMLType Data Directly From the Control File

XMLType data can be loaded directly from the control file itself. In this release, SQL*Loader treats XMLType data like any other scalar type. For example, consider a table containing a NUMBER column followed by an XMLType column stored object-relationally. The control file used for this table can contain the value of the NUMBER column followed by the value of the XMLType instance.

SQL*Loader also accommodates XMLType instances that are very large. In this case you also have the option to load the data from a LOB file.

Loading Very Large XML Documents into Oracle Database

You can use SQL*Loader to load large amounts of XML data into Oracle Database.

Example 35-1 illustrates how to load XMLType data into Oracle Database.

Example 35-1 Loading Very Large XML Documents Into Oracle Database Using SQL*Loader

This example uses the control file, load_data.ctl to load XMLType data into table foo. The code registers the XML schema, person.xsd, in Oracle XML DB, and then creates table foo. You can alternatively create the table within the XML schema registration process.

CREATE TYPE person_t AS OBJECT(name VARCHAR2(100), city VARCHAR2(100));/
  -- Delete schema if it already exists (else error)
  DBMS_XMLSCHEMA.deleteSchema('', 4);
    '<schema xmlns=""' ||
           ' xmlns:per=""' ||
           ' xmlns:xdb=""' ||
           ' elementFormDefault="qualified"' ||
           ' targetNamespace="">' ||
     ' <element name="person" type="per:persontype"' ||
              ' xdb:SQLType="PERSON_T"/>' ||
     ' <complexType name="persontype" xdb:SQLType="PERSON_T">' ||
       ' <sequence>' ||
         ' <element name="name" type="string" xdb:SQLName="NAME"' ||
                  ' xdb:SQLType="VARCHAR2"/>' ||
         ' <element name="city" type="string" xdb:SQLName="CITY"' ||
                  ' xdb:SQLType="VARCHAR2"/>' ||
       ' </sequence>' ||
     ' </complexType>' ||
   ' </schema>',
  XMLSCHEMA "" ELEMENT "person";

Here is the content of the control file, load_data.ctl, for loading XMLType data using the registered XML schema, person.xsd:

<person xmlns=""
xsi:schemaLocation=""> <name> xyz name 2</name> </person>

You can use command sqlldr to load the XML data into Oracle Database as follows:

sqlldr load_data.ctl

If you want direct-path loading, then use the following:

sqlldr load_data.ctl direct=y

In load_data.ctl, the data is present in the control file itself, and a record spanned only one line (it is split over several lines here, for printing purposes).

In the following example, the data is present in a separate file, person.dat, from the control file, lod2.ctl. File person.dat contains more than one row, and each row spans more than one line. Here is the control file, lod2.ctl:

FIELDS(fill filler CHAR(1),
       xmldata LOBFILE (CONSTANT person.dat) 
       TERMINATED BY '<!-- end of record -->')

The three zeroes (0) after BEGINDATA indicate that three records are present in the data file, person.dat. Each record is terminated by <!-- end of record -->. The contents of person.dat are as follows:

<person xmlns=""
  <name>xyz name 2</name>
<!-- end of record -->
<person xmlns=""
  <name> xyz name 2</name>
<!-- end of record -->
<person xmlns=""
  <name>xyz name 2</name>
<!-- end of record -->