4 Errors and Exception Handling

This chapter describes the flexible error trapping and error handling you can use in your PL/SQL programs.

For more information on error-handling and exceptions in PL/SQL, see "PL/SQL Error Handling" in Oracle Database PL/SQL Language Reference.

See the end of this chapter for TimesTen-specific considerations.

The following topics are covered:

Understanding exceptions

This section provides an overview of exceptions in PL/SQL programming, covering the following topics:

About exceptions

An exception is a PL/SQL error that is raised during program execution, either implicitly by TimesTen or explicitly by your program. Handle an exception by trapping it with a handler or propagating it to the calling environment.

For example, if your SELECT statement returns multiple rows, TimesTen returns an error (exception) at runtime. As the following example shows, you would see TimesTen error 8507, then the associated ORA error message. (ORA messages, originally defined for Oracle Database, are similarly implemented by TimesTen.)

Command> DECLARE
       >  v_lname VARCHAR2 (15);
       > BEGIN
       >  SELECT last_name INTO v_lname
       >  FROM employees
       >  WHERE first_name = 'John';
       >   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE ('Last name is :' || v_lname);
       >  END;
       >  /

 8507: ORA-01422: exact fetch returns more than requested number of rows
 8507: ORA-06512: at line 4
The command failed.

You can handle such exceptions in your PL/SQL block so that your program completes successfully. For example:

Command> DECLARE
       >  v_lname VARCHAR2 (15);
       > BEGIN
       >  SELECT last_name INTO v_lname
       >  FROM employees
       >  WHERE first_name = 'John';
       >   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE ('Last name is :' || v_lname);
       > EXCEPTION
       >   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE (' Your SELECT statement retrieved multiple
       >   rows. Consider using a cursor.');
       > END;
       > /
 Your SELECT statement retrieved multiple rows. Consider using a cursor.
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Exception types

There are three types of exceptions:

  • Predefined exceptions are error conditions that are defined by PL/SQL.

  • Non-predefined exceptions include any standard TimesTen errors.

  • User-defined exceptions are exceptions specific to your application.

In TimesTen, these three types of exceptions are used in the same way as in Oracle Database.

Exception Description How to handle
Predefined TimesTen error One of approximately 20 errors that occur most often in PL/SQL code You are not required to declare these exceptions. They are predefined by TimesTen. TimesTen implicitly raises the error.
Non-predefined TimesTen error Any other standard TimesTen error These must be declared in the declarative section of your application. TimesTen implicitly raises the error and you can use an exception handler to catch the error.
User-defined error Error defined and raised by the application These must be declared in the declarative section. The developer raises the exception explicitly.

Trapping exceptions

This section describes how to trap predefined TimesTen errors or user-defined errors.

Trapping predefined TimesTen errors

Trap a predefined TimesTen error by referencing its predefined name in your exception-handling routine. PL/SQL declares predefined exceptions in the STANDARD package.

Table 4-1 lists predefined exceptions supported by TimesTen, the associated ORA error numbers and SQLCODE values, and descriptions of the exceptions.

Also see "Unsupported predefined errors".

Table 4-1 Predefined exceptions

Exception name Oracle Database error number SQLCODE Description




Program attempted to assign values to the attributes of an uninitialized object.




None of the choices in the WHEN clauses of a CASE statement were selected and there is no ELSE clause.




Program attempted to apply collection methods other than EXISTS to an uninitialized nested table or varray, or program attempted to assign values to the elements of an uninitialized nested table or varray.




Program attempted to open an already opened cursor.




Program attempted to insert duplicate values in a column that is constrained by a unique index.




There is an illegal cursor operation.




Conversion of character string to number failed.




Single row SELECT returned no rows or your program referenced a deleted element in a nested table or an uninitialized element in an associative array (index-by table).




PL/SQL has an internal problem.




Host cursor variable and PL/SQL cursor variable involved in an assignment statement have incompatible return types.




PL/SQL ran out of memory or memory was corrupted.




A program referenced a nested table or varray using an index number larger than the number of elements in the collection.




A program referenced a nested table or varray element using an index number that is outside the legal range (for example, -1).




The conversion of a character string into a universal rowid failed because the character string does not represent a ROWID value.




Single row SELECT returned multiple rows.




An arithmetic, conversion, truncation, or size constraint error occurred.




A program attempted to divide a number by zero.

Example 4-1 Using the ZERO_DIVIDE predefined exception

In this example, a PL/SQL program attempts to divide by 0. The ZERO_DIVIDE predefined exception is used to trap the error in an exception-handling routine.

Command> DECLARE v_invalid PLS_INTEGER;
       > BEGIN
       >   v_invalid := 100/0;
       > EXCEPTION
       >   DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE ('Attempt to divide by 0');
       > END;
       > /
Attempt to divide by 0
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Trapping user-defined exceptions

You can define your own exceptions in PL/SQL in TimesTen, and you can raise user-defined exceptions explicitly with either the PL/SQL RAISE statement or the RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR procedure.

Using the RAISE statement

The RAISE statement stops normal execution of a PL/SQL block or subprogram and transfers control to an exception handler. RAISE statements can raise predefined exceptions, or user-defined exceptions whose names you decide.

Example 4-2 Using RAISE statement to trap user-defined exception

In this example, the department number 500 does not exist, so no rows are updated in the departments table. The RAISE statement is used to explicitly raise an exception and display an error message, returned by the SQLERRM built-in function, and an error code, returned by the SQLCODE built-in function. Use the RAISE statement by itself within an exception handler to raise the same exception again and propagate it back to the calling environment.

Command> DECLARE
       >   v_deptno NUMBER := 500;
       >   v_name VARCHAR2 (20) := 'Testing';
       >   e_invalid_dept EXCEPTION;
       >  BEGIN
       >   UPDATE departments
       >   SET department_name = v_name
       >   WHERE department_id = v_deptno;
       >     RAISE e_invalid_dept;
       >  END IF;
       >  ROLLBACK;
       >  EXCEPTION
       >    WHEN e_invalid_dept THEN
       >    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE ('No such department');
       > END;
       > /
No such department
User-Defined Exception
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
The command succeeded.


Given the same error condition in TimesTen and Oracle Database, SQLCODE returns the same error code, but SQLERRM does not necessarily return the same error message. This is also noted in "TimesTen error messages and SQL codes".


Use the RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR procedure in the executable section or exception section (or both) of your PL/SQL program. TimesTen reports errors to your application so you can avoid returning unhandled exceptions.

Use an error number between -20,000 and -20,999. Specify a character string up to 2,048 bytes for your message.

Example 4-3 Using the RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR procedure

This example attempts to delete from the employees table where last_name=Patterson. The RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR procedure raises the error, using error number -20201.

Command> DECLARE
       >   v_last_name employees.last_name%TYPE := 'Patterson';
       > BEGIN
       > DELETE FROM employees WHERE last_name = v_last_name;
       >   RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR (-20201, v_last_name || ' does not exist');
       > END IF;
       > END;
       > /
 8507: ORA-20201: Patterson does not exist
 8507: ORA-06512: at line 6
The command failed.

Showing errors in ttIsql

You can use the show errors command in ttIsql to see details about errors you encounter in executing anonymous blocks or compiling packages, procedures, or functions. This is shown in Example 4-4.

Example 4-4 ttIsql show errors command

Again consider Example 2-17. Assume the same package specification shown there, which declares the procedures and functions hire_employee, remove_employee, and num_above_salary. But instead of the body definition shown there, consider the following, which defines hire_employee and num_above_salary but not remove_employee:

-- Code for procedure hire_employee:
  PROCEDURE hire_employee (employee_id NUMBER,
    last_name VARCHAR2,
    first_name VARCHAR2,
    email VARCHAR2,
    phone_number VARCHAR2,
    hire_date DATE,
    job_id VARCHAR2,
    salary NUMBER,
    commission_pct NUMBER,
    manager_id NUMBER,
    department_id NUMBER) IS
    INSERT INTO employees VALUES (employee_id,
  END hire_employee;
-- Code for function num_above_salary:
  FUNCTION num_above_salary (emp_id NUMBER) RETURN NUMBER IS
    emp_sal NUMBER(8,2);
    num_count NUMBER;
    SELECT salary INTO emp_sal FROM employees
    WHERE employee_id = emp_id;
    SELECT COUNT(*) INTO num_count FROM employees
    WHERE salary > emp_sal;
    RETURN num_count;
  END num_above_salary;
END emp_actions;

Attempting this body definition after the original package specification results in the following:

Warning: Package body created with compilation errors.

To get more information, run ttIsql and use the command show errors. In this example, show errors provides the following:

Command> show errors;
-------- -----------------------------------------------------------------
13/13    PLS-00323: subprogram or cursor 'REMOVE_EMPLOYEE' is declared in a 
package specification and must be defined in the package body

Differences in TimesTen: exception handing and error behavior

You should be aware of some error-related behaviors that differ between TimesTen PL/SQL and Oracle Database PL/SQL:

TimesTen PL/SQL transaction and rollback behavior for unhandled exceptions

TimesTen PL/SQL differs from Oracle Database PL/SQL in a scenario where an application executes PL/SQL in the middle of a transaction, and an unhandled exception occurs during execution of the PL/SQL. Oracle Database rolls back to the beginning of the anonymous block. TimesTen does not roll back.

An application should always handle any exception that results from execution of a PL/SQL block, as in the following example, run with autocommit disabled:

create table mytable (num int not null primary key);
set serveroutput on
insert into mytable values(1);
 insert into mytable values(2);
 insert into mytable values(1);
 when dup_val_on_index then
  dbms_output.put_line('oops:' || sqlerrm);

select * from mytable;

The second INSERT fails because values must be unique, so an exception occurs and the program performs a rollback. Running this in TimesTen results in the following.

oops:TT0907: Unique constraint (MYTABLE) violated at Rowid <BMUFVUAAABQAAAADjq>
select * from mytable;
0 rows found.

The result is equivalent in Oracle Database, with the SELECT results showing no rows.

Now consider a TimesTen example where the exception is not handled, again run with autocommit disabled:

create table mytable (num int not null primary key);
set serveroutput on
insert into mytable values(1);
 insert into mytable values(2);
 insert into mytable values(1);

select * from mytable;

In TimesTen, the SELECT query indicates execution of the first two inserts:

  907: Unique constraint (MYTABLE) violated at Rowid <BMUFVUAAABQAAAADjq>
 8507: ORA-06512: at line 3
The command failed.
select * from mytable;
< 1 >
< 2 >
2 rows found.

If you execute this in Oracle Database, there is a rollback to the beginning of the PL/SQL block, so the results of the SELECT indicate execution of only the first insert:

ORA-00001: unique constraint (SYSTEM.SYS_C004423) violated
ORA-06512: at line 3


  • If there is an unhandled exception in a PL/SQL block, TimesTen leaves the transaction open only to allow the application to assess its state and determine appropriate action.

  • An application in TimesTen should not execute a PL/SQL block while there are uncommitted changes in the current transaction, unless those changes together with the PL/SQL operations really do constitute a single logical unit of work and the application is able to determine appropriate action. Such action, for example, might consist of a rollback to the beginning of the transaction.

  • If autocommit is enabled and an unhandled exception occurs in TimesTen, the entire transaction is rolled back.

TimesTen error messages and SQL codes

Given the same error condition, TimesTen does not guarantee that the error message returned by TimesTen is the same as the message returned by Oracle Database, although the SQL code is the same. Therefore, the information returned by the SQLERRM function may be different, but that returned by the SQLCODE function is the same.

For further information:

Warnings not visible in PL/SQL

Oracle Database does not have the concept of runtime warnings, so Oracle Database PL/SQL does not support warnings.

TimesTen does have the concept of warnings, but because the TimesTen PL/SQL implementation is based on the Oracle Database PL/SQL implementation, TimesTen PL/SQL does not support warnings.

As a result, in TimesTen you could execute a SQL statement and see a resulting warning, but if you execute the same statement through PL/SQL you would not see the warning.

Unsupported predefined errors

"Trapping predefined TimesTen errors" lists predefined exceptions supported by TimesTen, the associated ORA error numbers and SQLCODE values, and descriptions of the exceptions.

Table 4-2 notes predefined exceptions that are not supported by TimesTen.

Table 4-2 Predefined exceptions not supported by TimesTen

Exception name Oracle Database error number SQLCODE Description




User name or password is invalid.




Program issued a database call without being connected to the database.




Program attempted to invoke a MEMBER method, but the object was not initialized.




Timeout occurred while the database was waiting for a resource.

Possibility of runtime errors after clean compile (use of Oracle Database SQL parser)

The TimesTen PL/SQL implementation uses the Oracle Database SQL parser in compiling PL/SQL programs. (This is discussed in "PL/SQL in TimesTen versus PL/SQL in Oracle Database".) As a result, if your program uses Oracle Database syntax or built-in procedures that are not supported by TimesTen, the issue is not discovered during compilation. A runtime error occurs during program execution, however.

Use of TimesTen expressions at runtime

TimesTen SQL includes several constructs that are not present in Oracle Database SQL. The PL/SQL language does not include these constructs. To use TimesTen-specific SQL from PL/SQL, execute the SQL statements using the EXECUTE IMMEDIATE statement. This avoids compilation errors.

For lists of TimesTen-specific SQL and expressions, see "Compatibility Between TimesTen and Oracle Databases" in Oracle TimesTen Application-Tier Database Cache User's Guide.

For more information about EXECUTE IMMEDIATE, refer to "Dynamic SQL in PL/SQL (EXECUTE IMMEDIATE statement)".