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CURSOR Expressions

A CURSOR expression returns a nested cursor. This form of expression is equivalent to the PL/SQL REF CURSOR and can be passed as a REF CURSOR argument to a function.

Description of cursor_expression.gif follows
Description of the illustration cursor_expression.gif

A nested cursor is implicitly opened when the cursor expression is evaluated. For example, if the cursor expression appears in a select list, a nested cursor will be opened for each row fetched by the query. The nested cursor is closed only when:

  • The nested cursor is explicitly closed by the user

  • The parent cursor is reexecuted

  • The parent cursor is closed

  • The parent cursor is cancelled

  • An error arises during fetch on one of its parent cursors (it is closed as part of the clean-up)

Restrictions on CURSOR Expressions The following restrictions apply to CURSOR expressions:

  • If the enclosing statement is not a SELECT statement, then nested cursors can appear only as REF CURSOR arguments of a procedure.

  • If the enclosing statement is a SELECT statement, then nested cursors can also appear in the outermost select list of the query specification or in the outermost select list of another nested cursor.

  • Nested cursors cannot appear in views.

  • You cannot perform BIND and EXECUTE operations on nested cursors.

Examples  The following example shows the use of a CURSOR expression in the select list of a query:

SELECT department_name, CURSOR(SELECT salary, commission_pct 
   FROM employees e
   WHERE e.department_id = d.department_id)
   FROM departments d
   ORDER BY department_name;

The next example shows the use of a CURSOR expression as a function argument. The example begins by creating a function in the sample OE schema that can accept the REF CURSOR argument. (The PL/SQL function body is shown in italics.)

CREATE FUNCTION f(cur SYS_REFCURSOR, mgr_hiredate DATE) 
   RETURN NUMBER IS
   emp_hiredate DATE;
   before number :=0;
   after number:=0;
begin
  loop
    fetch cur into emp_hiredate;
    exit when cur%NOTFOUND;
    if emp_hiredate > mgr_hiredate then
      after:=after+1;
    else
      before:=before+1;
    end if;
  end loop;
  close cur;
  if before > after then
    return 1;
  else
    return 0;
  end if;
end;
/

The function accepts a cursor and a date. The function expects the cursor to be a query returning a set of dates. The following query uses the function to find those managers in the sample employees table, most of whose employees were hired before the manager.

SELECT e1.last_name FROM employees e1
   WHERE f(
   CURSOR(SELECT e2.hire_date FROM employees e2
   WHERE e1.employee_id = e2.manager_id),
   e1.hire_date) = 1
   ORDER BY last_name;
 
LAST_NAME
-------------------------
Cambrault
Higgins
Hunold
Kochhar
Mourgos
Zlotkey