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This Guide describes features of the Oracle7 Server, release 7.3. Information in this Guide applies to versions of the Oracle7 Server that run on all platforms, and does not include system-specific information.

Information in this Guide

As an application developer, you should learn about the many Oracle7 features that can ease application development and improve performance.

This Guide describes Oracle7 server features that relate to application development. This Guide 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 information about the material covered. Chapter 1 also points you to other Oracle documentation that contains related information.

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 Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Call Interface describes the Oracle Call Interface, which you can use to build third-generation language (3GL) applications that access Oracle. The OCI for release 7.3 incorporates many new capabilities. See the section ``Using the Oracle Call Interface'' [*] for more information about these new calls.

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 Programmer's Guide to the Oracle Pro*C/C++ Precompiler.

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 Tools documentation.

How this Guide Is Organized

The Oracle7 Server Application Developer's Guide is divided into 13 chapters, as described below.

Chapter 1: Information about Application Development 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 and PL/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. Performance enhancements to data retrieval through the use of indexes and clusters are also discussed.

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, and binary large objects.

Chapter 6: Maintaining Data Integrity This chapter describes how to use declarative integrity constraints to provide data integrity within an Oracle database.

Chapter 7: 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.

Chapter 8: PL/SQL Input and Output This chapter describes how to use public and private pipes to allow sessions in the same instance to communicate with one another.

Chapter 9: Using Database Triggers This chapter describes how to create and debug database triggers. Numerous examples are included.

Chapter 10: Using Dynamic SQL This chapter describes how you can write stored procedures and anonymous PL/SQL blocks using dynamic SQL.

Chapter 11: Managing Dependencies Among Schema Objects This chapter describes how to manage the dependencies between related views, procedures, packages, and triggers.

Chapter 12: Signalling Events in the Database with Alerters This chapter describes how you can design your application to be notified whenever values in the database that are of interest to the application are changed.

Chapter 13: Establishing a Security Policy This chapter describes how to design a security policy using Oracle's security features.

Notational Conventions

Text Formatting


Uppercase text is used to call attention to command keywords, as well as database objects such as tables and stored procedures, procedure parameters, and so on. For example:

If you create a private rollback segment, the name of the rollback segment must be included in the ROLLBACK_SEGMENTS parameter of the parameter file.


Italicized words within text are used to indicate the first occurrence and definition of a term, as in the following example:

A database is a collection of data to be treated as a unit. The general purpose of a database is to store and retrieve related information, as needed.

Italicized words are also used for book titles and filenames.


Bold text is used to call special attention to important information. For example:

In summary, remember that this procedure provides a reasonable estimate of a table's size, not an exact number of blocks or bytes.

Examples of Commands and Statements

Server Manager and SQL*Plus commands, and SQL statements appear separated from the text of paragraphs in a fixed-width font:



Example statements can include punctuation such as commas or quotation marks. All punctuation given in example statements is required. Depending on the application being used, a semicolon or other terminator might be required to end a statement.


Uppercase words in example statements are used to indicate the keywords within Oracle SQL. For example, keywords such as SELECT or INSERT in SQL statements are uppercase in command examples, as well as in running text. However, when issuing SQL statements, you can use upper or lower case.


Lowercase words in example statements are used to indicate words supplied only for the context of the example. For example, lowercase words may indicate the name of a table, column, or file.

Unless enclosed in double quotes ("), Oracle converts the names of objects such as tables and column names to uppercase. Some operating systems are case sensitive, so refer to your operating system-specific documentation to determine whether you must pay attention to case for filenames and other operating system- or language-specific objects.

Your Comments Are Welcome

We value and appreciate your comments as an Oracle user and reader of the manuals. As we write, revise, and evaluate, your opinions are the most important input we receive. At the back of this Guide is a Reader's Comment Form, which we encourage you to use to tell us what you like and dislike about this Guide or other Oracle manuals. Even if the form has been used, please feel free to write or FAX any comments you might have. Our address is:

Oracle7 Server Documentation Manager
Oracle Corporation
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065

FAX: +1.415.506.7200.

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