Tim Bunce > DBD-Oracle > DBD::Oracle

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Module Version: 1.26   Source   Latest Release: DBD-Oracle-1.36

NAME ^

DBD::Oracle - Oracle database driver for the DBI module

SYNOPSIS ^

  use DBI;

  $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Oracle:$dbname", $user, $passwd);

  $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Oracle:host=$host;sid=$sid", $user, $passwd);

  # See the DBI module documentation for full details

  # for some advanced uses you may need Oracle type values:
  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);

DESCRIPTION ^

DBD::Oracle is a Perl module which works with the DBI module to provide access to Oracle databases.

Which version DBD::Oracle is for me? ^

From version 1.25 onwards DBD::Oracle will only support Oracle clients 9.2 or greater and it will be dropping support for ProC connections in 1.26. Sorry for this it was just getting to hard to maintain the code base for an ever shrinking user base. This is especially so with the many new functions being introduced in 10g and 11g.

If you are still stuck with an older version of Oracle or its client you might want to look at the table below.

  +---------------------+-----------------------------------------------------+
  |                     |                   Oracle Version                    | 
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  | DBD::Oracle Version | <8 | 8.0.3~8.0.6 | 8iR1~R2 | 8iR3 |   9i   | 9.2~11 |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      0.1~16         | Y  |      Y      |    Y    |  Y   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.17           | Y  |      Y      |    Y    |  Y   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.18           | N  |      N      |    N    |  Y   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.19           | N  |      N      |    N    |  Y   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.20           | N  |      N      |    N    |  Y   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.21~1.24      | N  |      N      |    N    |  N   |    Y   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+
  |      1.25+          | N  |      N      |    N    |  N   |    N   |    Y   |
  +---------------------+----+-------------+---------+------+--------+--------+

As there are dozens and dozens of different versions of Oracle's clients I did not bother to list any of them, just the major release versions of Oracle that are out there.

Note that one can still connect to any Oracle version with the older DBD::Oracle versions the only problem you will have is that some of the newer OCI and Oracle features available in later DBD::Oracle releases will not be available to you.

So to make a short story a little longer;

  1) If you are using Oracle 7 or early 8 DB and you can manage to get a 9 client and you can use any DBD::Oracle version.
  2) If you have to use an Oracle 7 client then DBD::Oracle 1.17 should work
  3) Same thing for 8 up to R2, use 1.17, if you are lucky and have the right patch-set you might go with 1.18.
  4) For 8iR3 you can use any of the DBD::Oracle versions up to 1.21. Again this depends on your patch-set, If you run into trouble go with 1.19
  5) After 9.2 you can use any version you want.
  6) For you Luddites out there ORAPERL still works and is still included but not updated or supported anymore and will be removed in 1.27.
  7) It seems that the 10g client can only connect to 9 and 11 DBs while the 9 can go back to 7 and even get to 10. 
     I am not sure what the 11g client can connect to.
  8) DBD::Oracle still has the code in place for ProC. But good luck trying to get it to work with any of the instant clients 
     as Oracle no longer ships the correct .mk files.  I was unable to get it to work with Oracle 11+ as it ships with only 
     part of the full ProC install.  You may have to get a full version of ProC from Oracle to get it to compile. It is also slated
     to be removed in 1.27

CONNECTING TO ORACLE ^

This is a topic which often causes problems. Mainly due to Oracle's many and sometimes complex ways of specifying and connecting to databases. James Taylor and Lane Sharman have contributed much of the text in this section. Unfortunately it is only really relative for connecting into older Oracle (<9) versions. Most of this stuff is well out of date but it will be left in for now. See the next section "CONNECTING TO ORACLE II" for some more up to date connection hints.

Connecting without environment variables or tnsnames.ora file

If you use the host=$host;sid=$sid style syntax, for example:

  $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Oracle:host=myhost.com;sid=ORCL", $user, $passwd);

then DBD::Oracle will construct a full connection descriptor string for you and Oracle will not need to consult the tnsnames.ora file.

If a port number is not specified then the descriptor will try both 1526 and 1521 in that order (e.g., new then old). You can check which port(s) are in use by typing "$ORACLE_HOME/bin/lsnrctl stat" on the server.

Oracle Environment Variables

Oracle typically no longer needs two environment variables to specify default connections: ORACLE_SID and TWO_TASK.

ORACLE_SID is really unnecessary to set since TWO_TASK provides the same functionality in addition to allowing remote connections.

  % setenv //xxx.yyy.zzz:1521/ORACLE_SID           # for csh shell
  $ TWO_TASK=T:hostname:ORACLE_SID export TWO_TASK   # for sh shell

  % sqlplus username/password

Note that if you have *both* local and remote databases, and you have ORACLE_SID *and* TWO_TASK set, and you don't specify a fully qualified connect string on the command line, TWO_TASK takes precedence over ORACLE_SID (i.e. you get connected to remote system).

  TWO_TASK=P:sid

will use the pipe driver for local connections using SQL*Net v1.

  TWO_TASK=T:machine:sid

will use TCP/IP (or D for DECNET, etc.) for remote SQL*Net v1 connection.

  TWO_TASK=dbname

will use the info stored in the SQL*Net v2 tnsnames.ora configuration file for local or remote connections.

Support for 'T:' syntax of Oracle SQL*Net V1 is only supported on older 7 clients and I have my doubts it will even work if the DB or client has been patched and I know it will not work on any later clients.

The ORACLE_HOME environment variable should be set correctly. In general, the value used should match the version of Oracle that was used to build DBD::Oracle. If using dynamic linking then ORACLE_HOME should match the version of Oracle that will be used to load in the Oracle client libraries (via LD_LIBRARY_PATH, ldconfig, or similar on Unix).

ORACLE_HOME can be left unset if you aren't using any of Oracle's executables, but it is not recommended and error messages may not display. It should be set to the ORACLE_HOME directory of the version of Oracle that DBD::Oracle was compiled with.

Discouraging the use of ORACLE_SID makes it easier on the users to see what is going on. (It's unfortunate that TWO_TASK couldn't be renamed, since it makes no sense to the end user, and doesn't have the ORACLE prefix).

Also remember that depending on the operating system you are using the differing "ORACLE" environment variables may be case sensitive, so if you are not connecting as you should double check the case of both the variable and its value.

Connection Examples Using DBD::Oracle

First, how to connect to a local database without using a Listener:

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:SID','scott', 'tiger');

you can also leave the SID empty:

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','scott', 'tiger');

in which case Oracle client code will use the ORACLE_SID environment variable (if TWO_TASK env var isn't defined).

Below are various ways of connecting to an oracle database using SQL*Net 1.x and SQL*Net 2.x. "Machine" is the computer the database is running on, "SID" is the SID of the database, "DB" is the SQL*Net 2.x connection descriptor for the database.

Note: Some of these formats may not work with Oracle 9+.

  BEGIN {
     $ENV{ORACLE_HOME} = '/home/oracle/product/10.x.x';
     $ENV{TWO_TASK}    = 'DB';
  }
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','scott', 'tiger');
  #  - or -
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','scott/tiger');

Refer to your Oracle documentation for valid values of TWO_TASK.

Here are some variations (not setting TWO_TASK) in order of preference:

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username','password')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username/password','')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','username@DB','password')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:host=foobar;sid=ORCL;port=1521', 'scott/tiger', '')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:', q{scott/tiger@(DESCRIPTION=
  (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST= foobar)(PORT=1521))
  (CONNECT_DATA=(SID=ORCL)))}, "")

If you are having problems with login taking a long time (>10 secs say) then you might have tripped up on an Oracle bug. You can try using one of the ...@DB variants as a workaround. E.g.,

  $dbh = DBI->connect('','username/password@DB','');

On the other hand, that may cause you to trip up on another Oracle bug that causes alternating connection attempts to fail! (In reality only a small proportion of people experience these problems.)

To connect to a local database with a user which has been set-up to authenticate via the OS ("ALTER USER username IDENTIFIED EXTERNALLY"):

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','/','');

Note the lack of a connection name (use the ORACLE_SID environment variable). If an explicit SID is used you'll probably get an ORA-01004 error.

That only works for local databases. (Authentication to remote Oracle databases using your Unix login name without a password and is possible but it's not secure and not recommended so not documented here. If you can't find the information elsewhere then you probably shouldn't be trying to do it.)

CONNECTING TO ORACLE II ^

If you are reading this it is assumed that DBD::Oracle has been successfully installed on you PERL instance and you are having some problems connecting to Oracle.

First off you will have to tell DBD::Oracle where the binaries reside for the Oracle client it was compiled against. This is the case when you encounter a

 DBI connect('','system',...) failed: ERROR OCIEnvNlsCreate. 

error in Linux or in Windows when you get

  OCI.DLL not found

The solution to this problem in the case of Linux is to ensure your 'ORACLE_HOME' environment variable points to the correct directory.

  export ORACLE_HOME=/app/oracle/product/xx.x.x

For Windows solution is to add this value to you PATH

  PATH=c:\app\oracle\product\xx.x.x;%PATH%

If you get past this stage and get a

  ORA-12154: TNS:could not resolve the connect identifier specified 

error then the most likely cause is DBD::ORACLE cannot find your .ORA (TNSNAMES.ORA, LISTENER.ORA, SQLNET.ORA) files. This can be solved by setting the TNS_ADMIN environment variable to the directory where these files can be found.

If you get to this stage and you then either one of the following errors;

  ORA-12560: TNS:protocol adapter error
  ORA-12162: TNS:net service name is incorrectly specified 

usually means that DBD::Oracle can find the listener but the it cannot connect to the DB because the listener cannot find the DB you asked for.

Connection Examples Using DBD::Oracle

It is best to not use ORACLE_SID or TWO_TASK as both of these are rather out of date. You are better off keeping it simple like the following examples

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username','password');

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username/password','');

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','username@DB','password');

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:host=foobar;sid=DB;port=1521', 'scott/tiger', '');

For those who really want to use ORACLE_SID and TWO_TASK here are examples of it in use;

Given this TNS entry;

 DB.TEST = 
    (DESCRIPTION =    
         (ADDRESS =
            (PROTOCOL = TCP)
            (HOST = xxx.xxx.xxx.xx)
            (PORT = 1523))    
         (CONNECT_DATA =      (SID = DB)    )  
)

and this code

  BEGIN {
     $ENV{ORACLE_SID} = 'DB';
  }
  
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','username/password','');

you will be able to connect to DB. Note this may not work for Windows.

TWO_TASK works the same way except it should override the value in ORACLE_SID so this

  BEGIN {
     $ENV{ORACLE_SID} = 'DB';
     $ENV{TWO_TASK}  = 'DB.TEST';
     
  }
  
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','username/password','');

will work as well. Note this may not work for Windows.

Oracle DRCP

DBD::Oracle now supports DRCP (Database Resident Connection Pool) so if you have an 11.2 database and the DRCP is turned on you can now direct all of your connections to it simply adding ':POOLED' to the SID or setting a connection attribute of ora_drcp, or set the SERVER=POOLED when using a TNSENTRY style connection or even by setting an environment variable ORA_DRCP. All of which are demonstrated below;

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB:POOLED','username','password')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','username@DB:POOLED','password')
  
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username','password',{ora_drcp=>1})
  
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username','password',{ora_drcp=>1, ora_drcp_class=>'my_app', ora_drcp_min=>10})
 
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:host=foobar;sid=ORCL;port=1521;SERVER=POOLED', 'scott/tiger', '')

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:', q{scott/tiger@(DESCRIPTION=
  (ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST= foobar)(PORT=1521))
  (CONNECT_DATA=(SID=ORCL)(SERVER=POOLED)))}, "")

  if ORA_DRCP environment var is set the just this
  
  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:DB','username','password')

You can find a white paper on setting up DRCP and its advantages here http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/oci/pdf/oracledrcp11g.pdf

At this point in time this is just the first crack at DRCP and DBD::Oracle so the mechanics or its implementation are subject to change.

Optimizing Oracle's listener

[By Lane Sharman <lane@bienlogic.com>] I spent a LOT of time optimizing listener.ora and I am including it here for anyone to benefit from. My connections over tnslistener on the same humble Netra 1 take an average of 10-20 milli seconds according to tnsping. If anyone knows how to make it better, please let me know!

  LISTENER =
   (ADDRESS_LIST =
    (ADDRESS =
      (PROTOCOL = TCP)
      (Host = aa.bbb.cc.d)
      (Port = 1521)
      (QUEUESIZE=10)
    )
   )

  STARTUP_WAIT_TIME_LISTENER = 0
  CONNECT_TIMEOUT_LISTENER = 10
  TRACE_LEVEL_LISTENER = OFF
  SID_LIST_LISTENER =
   (SID_LIST =
    (SID_DESC =
      (SID_NAME = xxxx)
      (ORACLE_HOME = /xxx/local/oracle7-3)
        (PRESPAWN_MAX = 40)
        (PRESPAWN_LIST=
        (PRESPAWN_DESC=(PROTOCOL=tcp) (POOL_SIZE=40) (TIMEOUT=120))
      )
     )
   )

1) When the application is co-located on the host AND there is no need for outside SQLNet connectivity, stop the listener. You do not need it. Get your application/cgi/whatever working using pipes and shared memory. I am convinced that this is one of the connection bugs (sockets over the same machine). Note the $ENV{ORAPIPES} env var. The essential code to do this at the end of this section.

2) Be careful in how you implement the multi-threaded server. Currently I am not using it in the initxxxx.ora file but will be doing some more testing.

3) Be sure to create user rollback segments and use them; do not use the system rollback segments; however, you must also create a small rollback space for the system as well.

5) Use large tuning settings and get lots of RAM. Check out all the parameters you can set in v$parameters because there are quite a few not documented you may to set in your initxxx.ora file.

6) Use svrmgrl to control oracle from the command line. Write lots of small SQL scripts to get at V$ info.

  use DBI;
  # Environmental variables used by Oracle
  $ENV{ORACLE_SID}   = "xxx";
  $ENV{ORACLE_HOME}  = "/opt/oracle7";
  $ENV{EPC_DISABLED} = "TRUE";
  $ENV{ORAPIPES} = "V2";
  my $dbname = "xxx";
  my $dbuser = "xxx";
  my $dbpass = "xxx";
  my $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Oracle:$dbname", $dbuser, $dbpass)
             || die "Unable to connect to $dbname: $DBI::errstr\n";

Oracle utilities

If you are still having problems connecting then the Oracle adapters utility may offer some help. Run these two commands:

  $ORACLE_HOME/bin/adapters
  $ORACLE_HOME/bin/adapters $ORACLE_HOME/bin/sqlplus

and check the output. The "Protocol Adapters" section should be the same. It should include at least "IPC Protocol Adapter" and "TCP/IP Protocol Adapter".

If it generates any errors which look relevant then please talk to your Oracle technical support (and not the dbi-users mailing list). Thanks. Thanks to Mark Dedlow for this information.

Constants ^

:ora_session_modes

ORA_SYSDBA ORA_SYSOPER

:ora_types
  ORA_VARCHAR2 ORA_STRING ORA_NUMBER ORA_LONG ORA_ROWID ORA_DATE ORA_RAW
  ORA_LONGRAW ORA_CHAR ORA_CHARZ ORA_MLSLABEL ORA_XMLTYPE ORA_CLOB ORA_BLOB 
  ORA_RSET ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE ORA_NUMBER_TABLE SQLT_INT SQLT_FLT ORA_OCI 
  SQLT_CHR SQLT_BIN  
SQLCS_IMPLICIT
SQLCS_NCHAR

SQLCS_IMPLICIT and SQLCS_NCHAR are character set form values. See notes about Unicode elsewhere in this document.

SQLT_INT
SQLT_FLT

These types are used only internally, and may be specified as internal bind type for ORA_NUMBER_TABLE. See notes about ORA_NUMBER_TABLE elsewhere in this document

ORA_OCI

Oracle doesn't provide a formal API for determining the exact version number of the OCI client library used, so DBD::Oracle has to go digging (and sometimes has to more or less guess). The ORA_OCI constant holds the result of that process.

In string context ORA_OCI returns the full "A.B.C.D" version string.

In numeric context ORA_OCI returns the major.minor version number (8.1, 9.2, 10.0 etc). But note that version numbers are not actually floating point and so if Oracle ever makes a release that has a two digit minor version, such as 9.10 it will have a lower numeric value than the preceding 9.9 release. So use with care.

The contents and format of ORA_OCI are subject to change (it may, for example, become a version object in later releases). I recommend that you avoid checking for exact values.

:ora_fetch_orient
  OCI_FETCH_CURRENT OCI_FETCH_NEXT OCI_FETCH_FIRST OCI_FETCH_LAST
  OCI_FETCH_PRIOR OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE 

These constants are used to set the orientation of a fetch on a scrollable cursor.

:ora_exe_modes
  OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY 

Attributes ^

Connect Attributes

ora_ncs_buff_mtpl

You can now customize the size of the buffer when selecting LOBs with the built in AUTO Lob. The default value is 4 which should is actually excessive for most situations but is needed for backward compatibility. If you not converting between a NCS on the DB and the Client then you might want to set this to 1 to free up memory.

For convenience I have added support for a 'ORA_DBD_NCS_BUFFER' environment variable that you can use at the OS level to set this value. If used it will take the value at the connect stage.

See more details in the LOB section of the POD

ora_drcp

If you have an 11.2 or greater database your can utilize the DRCP by setting this attribute to 1 at connect time.

For convenience I have added support for a 'ORA_DRCP' environment variable that you can use at the OS level to set this value.

ora_drcp_class

If you are using DRCP, you can set a CONNECTION_CLASS for your pools as well. As sessions from a DRCP cannot be shared by users, you can use this setting to identify the same user across different applications. OCI will ensure that session belonging to a 'class' are not shared outside the class'.

The values for ora_drcp_class cannot contain an '*' and must be less than 1024 characters.

This value can be set at the environment level with 'ORA_DRCP_CLASS'.

ora_drcp_min

Is an optional value that specifies the minimum number of sessions that are initially opened. New sessions are only opened after this value has been reached.

The default value is '4' and any value above '0' is valid.

Generally, it should be set to the number of concurrent statements the application is planning or expecting to run.

This value can be set at the environment level with 'ORA_DRCP_MIN'.

ora_drcp_max

Is an optional value that specifies the maximum number of sessions that can be open at one time. Once reached no more session can be opened until one becomes free. The default value is '40' and any value above '1' is valid. You should not set this value lower than ora_drcp_min as that will just waste resources.

This value can be set at the environment level with 'ORA_DRCP_MAX'.

ora_drcp_incr

Is an optional value that specifies the next increment for sessions to be started if the current number of sessions are less than ora_drcp_max. The default value is '2' and any value above '0' is valid as long as the value of ora_drcp_min + ora_drcp_incr is not greater than ora_drcp_max.

This value can be set at the environment level with 'ORA_DRCP_INCR'.

ora_session_mode

The ora_session_mode attribute can be used to connect with SYSDBA authorization and SYSOPER authorization. The ORA_SYSDBA and ORA_SYSOPER constants can be imported using

  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_session_modes);

This is one case where setting ORACLE_SID may be useful since connecting as SYSDBA or SYSOPER via SQL*Net is frequently disabled for security reasons.

Example:

  $dsn = "dbi:Oracle:";       # no dbname here
  $ENV{ORACLE_SID} = "orcl";  # set ORACLE_SID as needed
  delete $ENV{TWO_TASK};      # make sure TWO_TASK isn't set

  $dbh = DBI->connect($dsn, "", "", { ora_session_mode => ORA_SYSDBA });

It has been reported that this only works if $dsn does not contain a SID so that Oracle then uses the value of the ORACLE_SID (not TWO_TASK) environment variable to connect to a local instance. Also the username and password should be empty, and the user executing the script needs to be part of the dba group or osdba group.

ora_oratab_orahome

Passing a true value for the ora_oratab_orahome attribute will make DBD::Oracle change $ENV{ORACLE_HOME} to make the Oracle home directory specified in the /etc/oratab file if the database to connect to is specified as a SID that exists in the oratab file, and DBD::Oracle was built to use the Oracle 7 OCI API (not Oracle 8+).

ora_module_name

After connecting to the database the value of this attribute is passed to the SET_MODULE() function in the DBMS_APPLICATION_INFO PL/SQL package. This can be used to identify the application to the DBA for monitoring and performance tuning purposes. For example:

  DBI->connect($dsn, $user, $passwd, { ora_module_name => $0 });
ora_dbh_share

Needs at least Perl 5.8.0 compiled with ithreads. Allows to share database connections between threads. The first connect will make the connection, all following calls to connect with the same ora_dbh_share attribute will use the same database connection. The value must be a reference to a already shared scalar which is initialized to an empty string.

  our $orashr : shared = '' ;

  $dbh = DBI->connect ($dsn, $user, $passwd, {ora_dbh_share => \$orashr}) ;
ora_context

Use this attribute to send a pointer to a ProC connection when the your dbname is set to extproc.

ora_use_proc_connection

This attribute allows to create a DBI handle for an existing SQLLIB database connection. This can be used to share database connections between Oracle ProC code and DBI running in an embedded Perl interpreter. The SQLLIB connection id is appended after the "dbi:Oracle:" initial argument to DBI::connect.

For example, if in ProC a connection is made like

  EXEC SQL CONNECT 'user/pass@db' AT 'CONID';

the connection may be used from DBI after running something like

  my $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Oracle:CONID", "", "",
                        { ora_use_proc_connection => 1 });

To disconnect, first call $dbh->disconnect(), then disconnect in ProC.

This attribute requires DBD::Oracle to be built with the -ProC option to Makefile.PL. It is not available with OCI_V7. Not tested with Perl ithreads or with the ora_dbh_share connect attribute.

ora_envhp

The first time a connection is made a new OCI 'environment' is created by DBD::Oracle and stored in the driver handle. Subsequent connects reuse (share) that same OCI environment by default.

The ora_envhp attribute can be used to disable the reuse of the OCI environment from a previous connect. If the value is 0 then a new OCI environment is allocated and used for this connection.

The OCI environment is what holds information about the client side context, such as the local NLS environment. So by altering %ENV and setting ora_envhp to 0 you can create connections with different NLS settings. This is most useful for testing.

ora_charset, ora_ncharset

For oracle versions >= 9.2 you can specify the client charset and ncharset with the ora_charset and ora_ncharset attributes. You still need to pass ora_envhp = 0 for all but the first connect.

These attributes override the settings from environment variables.

  $dbh = DBI->connect ($dsn, $user, $passwd,
                       {ora_charset => 'AL32UTF8'});
ora_verbose

Use this value to enable DBD::Oracle only tracing. Simply either set the ora_verbose attribute on the connect() method to the trace level you desire like this

  my $dbh = DBI->connect($dsn, "", "", {ora_verbose=>6});

or set it directly on the DB handle like this;

  $dbh->{ora_verbose} =6;

In both cases the DBD::Oracle trace level to 6, which is this level that will trace most of the calls to OCI.

ora_oci_success_warn

Use this value to print silent OCI warnings that may happen when an execute or fetch returns "Success With Info" or when you want to tune RowCaching and LOB Reads

  $dbh->{ora_oci_success_warn} =1;
ora_objects

Use this value to enable extended embedded oracle objects mode. In extended:

  1. Embedded objects are returned as <DBD::Oracle::Object> instance (including type-name etc.) instead of simple ARRAY.
  2. Determine object type for each instance. All object attributes are returned (not only super-type's attributes).
  $dbh->{ora_objects} = 1;
ora_ph_type

The default placeholder datatype for the database session. The TYPE or "ora_type" attributes to "bind_param" in DBI and "bind_param_inout" in DBI override the datatype for individual placeholders. The most frequent reason for using this attribute is to permit trailing spaces in values passed by placeholders.

Constants for the values allowed for this attribute can be imported using

  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);

Only the following values are permitted for this attribute.

ORA_VARCHAR2

Oracle clients using OCI 8 will strip trailing spaces and allow embedded \0 bytes. Oracle clients using OCI 9.2 do not strip trailing spaces and allow embedded \0 bytes. This is the normal default placeholder type.

ORA_STRING

Don't strip trailing spaces and end the string at the first \0.

ORA_CHAR

Don't strip trailing spaces and allow embedded \0. Force 'blank-padded comparison semantics'.

For example:

  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);
  
  $SQL="select username from all_users where username = ?";
  #username is a char(8)
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL)";
  $sth->bind_param(1,'bloggs',{ ora_type => ORA_CHAR});

Will pad bloggs out to 8 characters and return the username.

ora_parse_error_offset

If the previous error was from a failed prepare due to a syntax error, this attribute gives the offset into the Statement attribute where the error was found.

ora_array_chunk_size

Because of OCI limitations, DBD::Oracle needs to buffer up rows of bind values in its execute_for_fetch implementation. This attribute sets the number of rows to buffer at a time (default value is 1000).

The execute_for_fetch function will collect (at most) this many rows in an array, send them of to the DB for execution, then go back to collect the next chunk of rows and so on. This attribute can be used to limit or extend the number of rows processed at a time.

Note that this attribute also applies to execute_array, since that method is implemented using execute_for_fetch.

Prepare Attributes

These attributes may be used in the \%attr parameter of the "prepare" in DBI database handle method.

ora_placeholders

Set to false to disable processing of placeholders. Used mainly for loading a PL/SQL package that has been wrapped with Oracle's wrap utility.

ora_parse_lang

Tells the connected database how to interpret the SQL statement. If 1 (default), the native SQL version for the database is used. Other recognized values are 0 (old V6, treated as V7 in OCI8), 2 (old V7), 7 (V7), and 8 (V8). All other values have the same effect as 1.

ora_auto_lob

If true (the default), fetching retrieves the contents of the CLOB or BLOB column in most circumstances. If false, fetching retrieves the Oracle "LOB Locator" of the CLOB or BLOB value.

See "LOBs and LONGs" for more details. See also the LOB tests in 05dbi.t of Oracle::OCI for examples of how to use LOB Locators.

ora_pers_lob

If true the "Simple Fetch for CLOBs and BLOBs" method for the "Data Interface for Persistent LOBs" will be used for LOBs rather than the default method "Data Interface for LOB Locators".

ora_clbk_lob

If true the "Piecewise Fetch with Callback" method for the "Data Interface for Persistent LOBs" will be used for LOBs.

ora_piece_lob

If true the "Piecewise Fetch with Polling" method for the "Data Interface for Persistent LOBs" will be used for LOBs.

ora_piece_size

This is the max piece size for the "Piecewise Fetch with Callback" and "Piecewise Fetch with Polling" methods, in chars for CLOBS, and bytes for BLOBS.

ora_check_sql

If 1 (default), force SELECT statements to be described in prepare(). If 0, allow SELECT statements to defer describe until execute().

See "Prepare postponed till execute" for more information.

ora_exe_mode

This will set the execute mode of the current statement. Presently only one mode is supported;

  OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY - make result set scrollable

See "Scrollable Cursors" for more details.

ora_prefetch_rows

Sets the number of rows to be prefetched. If it is not set, then the default value is 1. See "Row Prefetching" for more details.

ora_prefetch_memory

Sets the memory level for rows to be prefetched. The application then fetches as many rows as will fit into that much memory. See "Row Prefetching" for more details.

ora_row_cache_off

By default DBD::Oracle will use a row cache when fetching to cut down the number of round trips to the server. If you do not want to use an array fetch set this value to any value other than 0; See "Prefetching Rows" for more details.

ora_verbose

Use this value to enable DBD::Oracle only tracing. Simply set the attribute to the trace level you desire.

ora_oci_success_warn

Use this value to print silent OCI warnings that may happen when a fetch returns "Success With Info".

Placeholder Binding Attributes

These attributes may be used in the \%attr parameter of the "bind_param" in DBI or "bind_param_inout" in DBI statement handle methods.

ora_type

Specify the placeholder's datatype using an Oracle datatype. A fatal error is raised if ora_type and the DBI TYPE attribute are used for the same placeholder. Some of these types are not supported by the current version of DBD::Oracle and will cause a fatal error if used. Constants for the Oracle datatypes may be imported using

  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);

Potentially useful values when DBD::Oracle was built using OCI 7 and later:

  ORA_VARCHAR2, ORA_STRING, ORA_LONG, ORA_RAW, ORA_LONGRAW,
  ORA_CHAR, ORA_MLSLABEL, ORA_RSET   

Additional values when DBD::Oracle was built using OCI 8 and later:

  ORA_CLOB, ORA_BLOB, ORA_XMLTYPE, ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE, ORA_NUMBER_TABLE

Additional values when DBD::Oracle was built using OCI 9.2 and later:

  SQLT_CHR, SQLT_BIN 

See "Binding Cursors" for the correct way to use ORA_RSET.

See "LOBs and LONGs" for how to use ORA_CLOB and ORA_BLOB.

See "SYS.DBMS_SQL datatypes" for ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE, ORA_NUMBER_TABLE.

See "Data Interface for Persistent LOBs" for the correct way to use SQLT_CHR and SQLT_BIN.

See "Other Data Types" for more information.

See also "Placeholders and Bind Values" in DBI.

ora_csform

Specify the OCI_ATTR_CHARSET_FORM for the bind value. Valid values are SQLCS_IMPLICIT (1) and SQLCS_NCHAR (2). Both those constants can be imported from the DBD::Oracle module. Rarely needed.

ora_csid

Specify the integer OCI_ATTR_CHARSET_ID for the bind value. Character set names can't be used currently.

ora_maxdata_size

Specify the integer OCI_ATTR_MAXDATA_SIZE for the bind value. May be needed if a character set conversion from client to server causes the data to use more space and so fail with a truncation error.

ora_maxarray_numentries

Specify the maximum number of array entries to allocate. Used with ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE, ORA_NUMBER_TABLE. Define the maximum number of array entries Oracle can pass back to you in OUT variable of type TABLE OF ... .

ora_internal_type

Specify internal data representation. Currently is supported only for ORA_NUMBER_TABLE.

Optimizing Results ^

Prepare postponed till execute

The DBD::Oracle module can avoid an explicit 'describe' operation prior to the execution of the statement unless the application requests information about the results (such as $sth->{NAME}). This reduces communication with the server and increases performance (reducing the number of PARSE_CALLS inside the server).

However, it also means that SQL errors are not detected until execute() (or $sth->{NAME} etc) is called instead of when prepare() is called. Note that if the describe is triggered by the use of $sth->{NAME} or a similar attribute and the describe fails then an exception is thrown even if RaiseError is false!

Set "ora_check_sql" to 0 in prepare() to enable this behaviour.

Prefetching & Row Caching ^

DBD::Oracle now supports both Server pre-fetch and Client side row caching. By default both are turned on to give optimum performance. Most of the time one can just let DBD::Oracle figure out the best optimization.

Row Caching

Row caching occurs on the client side and the object of it is to cut down the number of round trips made to the server when fetching rows. At each fetch a set number of rows will be retrieved from the server and stored locally. Further calls the server are made only when the end of the local buffer(cache) is reached.

Rows up to the specified top level row count RowCacheSize are fetched if it occupies no more than the specified memory usage limit. The default value is 0, which means that memory size is not included in computing the number of rows to prefetch. If the RowCacheSize value is set to a negative number then the positive value of RowCacheSize is used to compute the number of rows to prefetch.

By default RowCacheSize is automatically set. If you want to totally turn off prefetching set this to 1.

For any SQL statement that contains a LOB, Long or Object Type Row Caching will be turned off. However server side caching still works. If you are only selecting a LOB Locator then Row Caching will still work.

Row Prefetching

Row prefetching occurs on the server side and uses the DBI database handle attribute RowCacheSize and or the Prepare Attribute 'ora_prefetch_memory'. Tweaking these values may yield improved performance.

   $dbh->{RowCacheSize} = 100;
   $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_exe_mode=>OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY,ora_prefetch_memory=>10000});

In the above example 10 rows will be prefetched up to a maximum of 10000 bytes of data. The Oracle® Call Interface Programmer's Guide, suggests a good row cache value for a scrollable cursor is about 20% of expected size of the record set.

The prefetch settings tell the DBD::Oracle to grab x rows (or x-bytes) when it needs to get new rows. This happens on the first fetch that sets the current_positon to any value other than 0. In the above example if we do a OCI_FETCH_FIRST the first 10 rows are loaded into the buffer and DBD::Oracle will not have to go back to the server for more rows. When record 11 is fetched DBD::Oracle fetches and returns this row and the next 9 rows are loaded into the buffer. In this case if you fetch backwards from 10 to 1 no server round trips are made.

With large record sets it is best not to attempt to go to the last record as this may take some time, A large buffer size might even slow down the fetch. If you must get the number of rows in a large record set you might try using an few large OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTEs and then an OCI_FETCH_LAST, this might save some time. So if you had a record set of 10000 rows and you set the buffer to 5000 and did a OCI_FETCH_LAST one would fetch the first 5000 rows into the buffer then the next 5000 rows. If one requires only the first few rows there is no need to set a large prefetch value.

If the ora_prefetch_memory less than 1 or not present then memory size is not included in computing the number of rows to prefetch otherwise the number of rows will be limited to memory size. Likewise if the RowCacheSize is less than 1 it is not included in the computing of the prefetch rows.

Spaces & Padding ^

Trailing Spaces

Please note that only the Oracle OCI 8 strips trailing spaces from VARCHAR placeholder values and uses Nonpadded Comparison Semantics with the result. This causes trouble if the spaces are needed for comparison with a CHAR value or to prevent the value from becoming '' which Oracle treats as NULL. Look for Blank-padded Comparison Semantics and Nonpadded Comparison Semantics in Oracle's SQL Reference or Server SQL Reference for more details.

To preserve trailing spaces in placeholder values for Oracle clients that use OCI 8, either change the default placeholder type with "ora_ph_type" or the placeholder type for a particular call to "bind" in DBI or "bind_param_inout" in DBI with "ora_type" or TYPE. Using ORA_CHAR with ora_type or SQL_CHAR with TYPE allows the placeholder to be used with Padded Comparison Semantics if the value it is being compared to is a CHAR, NCHAR, or literal.

Please remember that using spaces as a value or at the end of a value makes visually distinguishing values with different numbers of spaces difficult and should be avoided.

Oracle Clients that use OCI 9.2 do not strip trailing spaces.

Padded Char Fields

Oracle Clients after OCI 9.2 will automatically pad CHAR placeholder values to the size of the CHAR. As the default placeholder type value in DBD::Oracle is ORA_VARCHAR2 to access this behaviour you will have to change the default placeholder type with "ora_ph_type" or placeholder type for a particular call with "bind" in DBI or "bind_param_inout" in DBI with "ORA_CHAR".

Metadata ^

get_info()

DBD::Oracle supports get_info(), but (currently) only a few info types.

table_info()

DBD::Oracle supports attributes for table_info().

In Oracle, the concept of user and schema is (currently) the same. Because database objects are owned by an user, the owner names in the data dictionary views correspond to schema names. Oracle does not support catalogs so TABLE_CAT is ignored as selection criterion.

Search patterns are supported for TABLE_SCHEM and TABLE_NAME.

TABLE_TYPE may contain a comma-separated list of table types. The following table types are supported:

  TABLE
  VIEW
  SYNONYM
  SEQUENCE

The result set is ordered by TABLE_TYPE, TABLE_SCHEM, TABLE_NAME.

The special enumerations of catalogs, schemas and table types are supported. However, TABLE_CAT is always NULL.

An identifier is passed as is, i.e. as the user provides or Oracle returns it. table_info() performs a case-sensitive search. So, a selection criterion should respect upper and lower case. Normally, an identifier is case-insensitive. Oracle stores and returns it in upper case. Sometimes, database objects are created with quoted identifiers (for reserved words, mixed case, special characters, ...). Such an identifier is case-sensitive (if not all upper case). Oracle stores and returns it as given. table_info() has no special quote handling, neither adds nor removes quotes.

primary_key_info()

Oracle does not support catalogs so TABLE_CAT is ignored as selection criterion. The TABLE_CAT field of a fetched row is always NULL (undef). See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

If the primary key constraint was created without an identifier, PK_NAME contains a system generated name with the form SYS_Cn.

The result set is ordered by TABLE_SCHEM, TABLE_NAME, KEY_SEQ.

An identifier is passed as is, i.e. as the user provides or Oracle returns it. See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

foreign_key_info()

This method (currently) supports the extended behaviour of SQL/CLI, i.e. the result set contains foreign keys that refer to primary and alternate keys. The field UNIQUE_OR_PRIMARY distinguishes these keys.

Oracle does not support catalogs, so $pk_catalog and $fk_catalog are ignored as selection criteria (in the new style interface). The UK_TABLE_CAT and FK_TABLE_CAT fields of a fetched row are always NULL (undef). See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

If the primary or foreign key constraints were created without an identifier, UK_NAME or FK_NAME contains a system generated name with the form SYS_Cn.

The UPDATE_RULE field is always 3 ('NO ACTION'), because Oracle (currently) does not support other actions.

The DELETE_RULE field may contain wrong values. This is a known Bug (#1271663) in Oracle's data dictionary views. Currently (as of 8.1.7), 'RESTRICT' and 'SET DEFAULT' are not supported, 'CASCADE' is mapped correctly and all other actions (incl. 'SET NULL') appear as 'NO ACTION'.

The DEFERABILITY field is always NULL, because this columns is not present in the ALL_CONSTRAINTS view of older Oracle releases.

The result set is ordered by UK_TABLE_SCHEM, UK_TABLE_NAME, FK_TABLE_SCHEM, FK_TABLE_NAME, ORDINAL_POSITION.

An identifier is passed as is, i.e. as the user provides or Oracle returns it. See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

column_info()

Oracle does not support catalogs so TABLE_CAT is ignored as selection criterion. The TABLE_CAT field of a fetched row is always NULL (undef). See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

The CHAR_OCTET_LENGTH field is (currently) always NULL (undef).

Don't rely on the values of the BUFFER_LENGTH field! Especially the length of FLOATs may be wrong.

Datatype codes for non-standard types are subject to change.

Attention! The DATA_DEFAULT (COLUMN_DEF) column is of type LONG.

The result set is ordered by TABLE_SCHEM, TABLE_NAME, ORDINAL_POSITION.

An identifier is passed as is, i.e. as the user provides or Oracle returns it. See "table_info()" for more detailed information.

It is possiable with Oracle to make the names of the various DB objects (table,column,index etc) case sensitive.

  alter table bloggind add ("Bla_BLA" NUMBER)

So in the example the exact case "Bla_BLA" must be used to get it info on the column. While this

 alter table bloggind add (Bla_BLA NUMBER)

any case can be used to get info on the column.

Unicode ^

DBD::Oracle now supports Unicode UTF-8. There are, however, a number of issues you should be aware of, so please read all this section carefully.

In this section we'll discuss "Perl and Unicode", then "Oracle and Unicode", and finally "DBD::Oracle and Unicode".

Information about Unicode in general can be found at: http://www.unicode.org/. It is well worth reading because there are many misconceptions about Unicode and you may be holding some of them.

Perl and Unicode

Perl began implementing Unicode with version 5.6, but the implementation did not mature until version 5.8 and later. If you plan to use Unicode you are strongly urged to use Perl 5.8.2 or later and to carefully read the Perl documentation on Unicode:

   perldoc perluniintro    # in Perl 5.8 or later
   perldoc perlunicode

And then read it again.

Perl's internal Unicode format is UTF-8 which corresponds to the Oracle character set called AL32UTF8.

Oracle and Unicode

Oracle supports many characters sets, including several different forms of Unicode. These include:

  AL16UTF16  =>  valid for NCHAR columns (CSID=2000)
  UTF8       =>  valid for NCHAR columns (CSID=871), deprecated
  AL32UTF8   =>  valid for NCHAR and CHAR columns (CSID=873)

When you create an Oracle database, you must specify the DATABASE character set (used for DDL, DML and CHAR datatypes) and the NATIONAL character set (used for NCHAR and NCLOB types). The character sets used in your database can be found using:

  $hash_ref = $dbh->ora_nls_parameters()
  $database_charset = $hash_ref->{NLS_CHARACTERSET};
  $national_charset = $hash_ref->{NLS_NCHAR_CHARACTERSET};

The Oracle 9.2 and later default for the national character set is AL16UTF16. The default for the database character set is often US7ASCII. Although many experienced DBAs will consider an 8bit character set like WE8ISO8859P1 or WE8MSWIN1252. To use any character set with Oracle other than US7ASCII, requires that the NLS_LANG environment variable be set. See the "Oracle UTF8 is not UTF-8" section below.

You are strongly urged to read the Oracle Internationalization documentation specifically with respect the choices and trade offs for creating a databases for use with international character sets.

Oracle uses the NLS_LANG environment variable to indicate what character set is being used on the client. When fetching data Oracle will convert from whatever the database character set is to the client character set specified by NLS_LANG. Similarly, when sending data to the database Oracle will convert from the character set specified by NLS_LANG to the database character set.

The NLS_NCHAR environment variable can be used to define a different character set for 'national' (NCHAR) character types.

Both UTF8 and AL32UTF8 can be used in NLS_LANG and NLS_NCHAR. For example:

   NLS_LANG=AMERICAN_AMERICA.UTF8
   NLS_LANG=AMERICAN_AMERICA.AL32UTF8
   NLS_NCHAR=UTF8
   NLS_NCHAR=AL32UTF8

Oracle UTF8 is not UTF-8

AL32UTF8 should be used in preference to UTF8 if it works for you, which it should for Oracle 9.2 or later. If you're using an old version of Oracle that doesn't support AL32UTF8 then you should avoid using any Unicode characters that require surrogates, in other words characters beyond the Unicode BMP (Basic Multilingual Plane).

That's because the character set that Oracle calls "UTF8" doesn't conform to the UTF-8 standard in its handling of surrogate characters. Technically the encoding that Oracle calls "UTF8" is known as "CESU-8". Here are a couple of extracts from http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr26/:

  CESU-8 is useful in 8-bit processing environments where binary
  collation with UTF-16 is required. It is designed and recommended
  for use only within products requiring this UTF-16 binary collation
  equivalence. It is not intended nor recommended for open interchange.

  As a very small percentage of characters in a typical data stream
  are expected to be supplementary characters, there is a strong
  possibility that CESU-8 data may be misinterpreted as UTF-8.
  Therefore, all use of CESU-8 outside closed implementations is
  strongly discouraged, such as the emittance of CESU-8 in output
  files, markup language or other open transmission forms.

Oracle uses this internally because it collates (sorts) in the same order as UTF16, which is the basis of Oracle's internal collation definitions.

Rather than change UTF8 for clients Oracle chose to define a new character set called "AL32UTF8" which does conform to the UTF-8 standard. (The AL32UTF8 character set can't be used on the server because it would break collation.)

Because of that, for the rest of this document we'll use "AL32UTF8". If you're using an Oracle version below 9.2 you'll need to use "UTF8" until you upgrade.

DBD::Oracle and Unicode

DBD::Oracle Unicode support has been implemented for Oracle versions 9 or greater, and Perl version 5.6 or greater (though we strongly suggest that you use Perl 5.8.2 or later).

You can check which Oracle version your DBD::Oracle was built with by importing the ORA_OCI constant from DBD::Oracle.

Fetching Data

Any data returned from Oracle to DBD::Oracle in the AL32UTF8 character set will be marked as UTF-8 to ensure correct handling by Perl.

For Oracle to return data in the AL32UTF8 character set the NLS_LANG or NLS_NCHAR environment variable must be set as described in the previous section.

When fetching NCHAR, NVARCHAR, or NCLOB data from Oracle, DBD::Oracle will set the Perl UTF-8 flag on the returned data if either NLS_NCHAR is AL32UTF8, or NLS_NCHAR is not set and NLS_LANG is AL32UTF8.

When fetching other character data from Oracle, DBD::Oracle will set the Perl UTF-8 flag on the returned data if NLS_LANG is AL32UTF8.

Sending Data using Placeholders

Data bound to a placeholder is assumed to be in the default client character set (specified by NLS_LANG) except for a few special cases. These are listed here with the highest precedence first:

If the ora_csid attribute is given to bind_param() then that is passed to Oracle and takes precedence.

If the value is a Perl Unicode string (UTF-8) then DBD::Oracle ensures that Oracle uses the Unicode character set, regardless of the NLS_LANG and NLS_NCHAR settings.

If the placeholder is for inserting an NCLOB then the client NLS_NCHAR character set is used. (That's useful but inconsistent with the other behaviour so may change. Best to be explicit by using the ora_csform attribute.)

If the ora_csform attribute is given to bind_param() then that determines if the value should be assumed to be in the default (NLS_LANG) or NCHAR (NLS_NCHAR) client character set.

   use DBD::Oracle qw( SQLCS_IMPLICIT SQLCS_NCHAR );
   ...
   $sth->bind_param(1, $value, { ora_csform => SQLCS_NCHAR }); 

or

   $dbh->{ora_ph_csform} = SQLCS_NCHAR; # default for all future placeholders

Binding with bind_param_array and execute_array is also UTF-8 compatible in the same way. If you attempt to insert UTF-8 data into a non UTF-8 Oracle instance or with an non UTF-8 NCHAR or NVARCHAR the insert will still happen but a error code of 0 will be returned with the following warning;

  DBD Oracle Warning: You have mixed utf8 and non-utf8 in an array bind in parameter#1. This may result in corrupt data. 
  The Query charset id=1, name=US7ASCII

The warning will report the parameter number and the NCHAR setting that the query is running.

Sending Data using SQL

Oracle assumes the SQL statement is in the default client character set (as specified by NLS_LANG). So Unicode strings containing non-ASCII characters should not be used unless the default client character set is AL32UTF8.

DBD::Oracle and Other Character Sets and Encodings

The only multi-byte Oracle character set supported by DBD::Oracle is "AL32UTF8" (and "UTF8"). Single-byte character sets should work well.

SYS.DBMS_SQL datatypes ^

DBD::Oracle has built-in support for SYS.DBMS_SQL.VARCHAR2_TABLE and SYS.DBMS_SQL.NUMBER_TABLE datatypes. The simple example is here:

    my $statement='
    DECLARE
        tbl     SYS.DBMS_SQL.VARCHAR2_TABLE;
    BEGIN
        tbl := :mytable;
        :cc := tbl.count();
        tbl(1) := \'def\';
        tbl(2) := \'ijk\';
        :mytable := tbl;
    END;
    ';

    my $sth=$dbh->prepare( $statement );

    my @arr=( "abc","efg","hij" );

    $sth->bind_param_inout(":mytable", \\@arr, 10, {
            ora_type => ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE,
            ora_maxarray_numentries => 100
    } ) ;
    $sth->bind_param_inout(":cc", \$cc, 100  );
    $sth->execute();
    print       "Result: cc=",$cc,"\n",
        "\tarr=",Data::Dumper::Dumper(\@arr),"\n";

N.B.

   Take careful note that we use '\\@arr' here because  the 'bind_param_inout'
   will only take a reference to a scalar. 
ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE

SYS.DBMS_SQL.VARCHAR2_TABLE object is always bound to array reference. ( in bind_param() and bind_param_inout() ). When you bind array, you need to specify full buffer size for OUT data. So, there are two parameters: max_len (specified as 3rd argument of bind_param_inout() ), and ora_maxarray_numentries. They define maximum array entry length and maximum rows, that can be passed to Oracle and back to you. In this example we send array with 1 element with length=3, but allocate space for 100 Oracle array entries with maximum length 10 of each. So, you can get no more than 100 array entries with length <= 10.

If you set max_len to zero, maximum array entry length is calculated as maximum length of entry of array bound. If 0 < max_len < length( $some_element ), truncation occur.

If you set ora_maxarray_numentries to zero, current (at bind time) bound array length is used as maximum. If 0 < ora_maxarray_numentries < scalar(@array), not all array entries are bound.

ORA_NUMBER_TABLE

SYS.DBMS_SQL.NUMBER_TABLE object handling is much alike ORA_VARCHAR2_TABLE. The main difference is internal data representation. Currently 2 types of bind is allowed : as C-integer, or as C-double type. To select one of them, you may specify additional bind parameter ora_internal_type as either SQLT_INT or SQLT_FLT for C-integer and C-double types. Integer size is architecture-specific and is usually 32 or 64 bit. Double is standard IEEE 754 type.

ora_internal_type defaults to double (SQLT_FLT).

max_len is ignored for OCI_NUMBER_TABLE.

Currently, you cannot bind full native Oracle NUMBER(38). If you really need, send request to dbi-dev list.

The usage example is here:

    $statement='
    DECLARE
            tbl     SYS.DBMS_SQL.NUMBER_TABLE;
    BEGIN
            tbl := :mytable;
            :cc := tbl(2);
            tbl(4) := -1;
            tbl(5) := -2;
            :mytable := tbl;
    END;
    ';
    
    $sth=$dbh->prepare( $statement );
    
    if( ! defined($sth) ){
            die "Prepare error: ",$dbh->errstr,"\n";
    }
    
    @arr=( 1,"2E0","3.5" );
    
    # note, that ora_internal_type defaults to SQLT_FLT for ORA_NUMBER_TABLE .
    if( not $sth->bind_param_inout(":mytable", \\@arr, 10, {
                    ora_type => ORA_NUMBER_TABLE,
                    ora_maxarray_numentries => (scalar(@arr)+2),
                    ora_internal_type => SQLT_FLT
              } ) ){
            die "bind :mytable error: ",$dbh->errstr,"\n";
    }
    $cc=undef;
    if( not $sth->bind_param_inout(":cc", \$cc, 100 ) ){
            die "bind :cc error: ",$dbh->errstr,"\n";
    }
    
    if( not $sth->execute() ){
            die "Execute failed: ",$dbh->errstr,"\n";
    }
    print   "Result: cc=",$cc,"\n",
            "\tarr=",Data::Dumper::Dumper(\@arr),"\n";

The result is like:

    Result: cc=2
            arr=$VAR1 = [
              '1',
              '2',
              '3.5',
              '-1',
              '-2'
            ];

If you change bind type to SQLT_INT, like:

    ora_internal_type => SQLT_INT

you get:

    Result: cc=2
            arr=$VAR1 = [
              1,
              2,
              3,
              -1,
              -2
            ];

Other Data Types ^

DBD::Oracle does not explicitly support most Oracle datatypes. It simply asks Oracle to return them as strings and Oracle does so. Mostly. Similarly when binding placeholder values DBD::Oracle binds them as strings and Oracle converts them to the appropriate type, such as DATE, when used.

Some of these automatic conversions to and from strings use NLS settings to control the formatting for output and the parsing for input. The most common example is the DATE type. The default NLS format for DATE might be DD-MON-YYYY and so when a DATE type is fetched that's how Oracle will format the date. NLS settings also control the default parsing of strings into DATE values. An error will be generated if the contents of the string don't match the NLS format. If you're dealing in dates which don't match the default NLS format then you can either change the default NLS format or, more commonly, use TO_CHAR(field, "format") and TO_DATE(?, "format") to explicitly specify formats for converting to and from strings.

A slightly more subtle problem can occur with NUMBER types. The default NLS settings might format numbers with a fullstop (".") to separate thousands and a comma (",") as the decimal point. Perl will generate warnings and use incorrect values when numbers, returned and formatted as strings in this way by Oracle, are used in a numeric context. You could explicitly convert each numeric value using the TO_CHAR(...) function but that gets tedious very quickly. The best fix is to change the NLS settings. That can be done for an individual connection by doing:

  $dbh->do("ALTER SESSION SET NLS_NUMERIC_CHARACTERS = '.,'");

There are some types, like BOOLEAN, that Oracle does not automatically convert to or from strings (pity). These need to be converted explicitly using SQL or PL/SQL functions.

Examples:

   # DATE values
   my $sth0 = $dbh->prepare( <<SQL_END );
   SELECT username, TO_CHAR( created, ? )
      FROM all_users
      WHERE created >= TO_DATE( ?, ? )
   SQL_END
   $sth0->execute( 'YYYY-MM-DD HH24:MI:SS', "2003", 'YYYY' );

   # BOOLEAN values
   my $sth2 = $dbh->prepare( <<PLSQL_END );
   DECLARE
      b0 BOOLEAN;
      b1 BOOLEAN;
      o0 VARCHAR2(32);
      o1 VARCHAR2(32);

      FUNCTION to_bool( i VARCHAR2 ) RETURN BOOLEAN IS
      BEGIN
         IF    i IS NULL          THEN RETURN NULL;
         ELSIF i = 'F' OR i = '0' THEN RETURN FALSE;
         ELSE                          RETURN TRUE;
         END IF;
      END;
      FUNCTION from_bool( i BOOLEAN ) RETURN NUMBER IS
      BEGIN
         IF    i IS NULL THEN RETURN NULL;
         ELSIF i         THEN RETURN 1;
         ELSE                 RETURN 0;
         END IF;
      END;
   BEGIN
      -- Converting values to BOOLEAN
      b0 := to_bool( :i0 );
      b1 := to_bool( :i1 );

      -- Converting values from BOOLEAN
      :o0 := from_bool( b0 );
      :o1 := from_bool( b1 );
   END;
   PLSQL_END
   my ( $i0, $i1, $o0, $o1 ) = ( "", "Something else" );
   $sth2->bind_param( ":i0", $i0 );
   $sth2->bind_param( ":i1", $i1 );
   $sth2->bind_param_inout( ":o0", \$o0, 32 );
   $sth2->bind_param_inout( ":o1", \$o1, 32 );
   $sth2->execute();
   foreach ( $i0, $b0, $o0, $i1, $b1, $o1 ) {
      $_ = "(undef)" if ! defined $_;
   }
   print "$i0 to $o0, $i1 to $o1\n";
   # Result is : "'' to '(undef)', 'Something else' to '1'"

PL/SQL Examples ^

Most of these PL/SQL examples come from: Eric Bartley <bartley@cc.purdue.edu>.

   /*
    * PL/SQL to create package with stored procedures invoked by
    * Perl examples.  Execute using sqlplus.
    *
    * Use of "... OR REPLACE" prevents failure in the event that the
    * package already exists.
    */

    CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE plsql_example
    IS
      PROCEDURE proc_np;

      PROCEDURE proc_in (
          err_code IN NUMBER
      );

      PROCEDURE proc_in_inout (
          test_num IN NUMBER,
          is_odd IN OUT NUMBER
      );

      FUNCTION func_np
        RETURN VARCHAR2;

    END plsql_example;
  /

    CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE BODY plsql_example
    IS
      PROCEDURE proc_np
      IS
        whoami VARCHAR2(20) := NULL;
      BEGIN
        SELECT USER INTO whoami FROM DUAL;
      END;

      PROCEDURE proc_in (
        err_code IN NUMBER
      )
      IS
      BEGIN
        RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR(err_code, 'This is a test.');
      END;

      PROCEDURE proc_in_inout (
        test_num IN NUMBER,
        is_odd IN OUT NUMBER
      )
      IS
      BEGIN
        is_odd := MOD(test_num, 2);
      END;

      FUNCTION func_np
        RETURN VARCHAR2
      IS
        ret_val VARCHAR2(20);
      BEGIN
        SELECT USER INTO ret_val FROM DUAL;
        RETURN ret_val;
      END;

    END plsql_example;
  /
  /* End PL/SQL for example package creation. */

  use DBI;

  my($db, $csr, $ret_val);

  $db = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:database','user','password')
        or die "Unable to connect: $DBI::errstr";

  # So we don't have to check every DBI call we set RaiseError.
  # See the DBI docs now if you're not familiar with RaiseError.
  $db->{RaiseError} = 1;

  # Example 1   Eric Bartley <bartley@cc.purdue.edu>
  #
  # Calling a PLSQL procedure that takes no parameters. This shows you the
  # basic's of what you need to execute a PLSQL procedure. Just wrap your
  # procedure call in a BEGIN END; block just like you'd do in SQL*Plus.
  #
  # p.s. If you've used SQL*Plus's exec command all it does is wrap the
  #      command in a BEGIN END; block for you.

  $csr = $db->prepare(q{
    BEGIN
      PLSQL_EXAMPLE.PROC_NP;
    END;
  });
  $csr->execute;


  # Example 2   Eric Bartley <bartley@cc.purdue.edu>
  #
  # Now we call a procedure that has 1 IN parameter. Here we use bind_param
  # to bind out parameter to the prepared statement just like you might
  # do for an INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or SELECT statement.
  #
  # I could have used positional placeholders (e.g. :1, :2, etc.) or
  # ODBC style placeholders (e.g. ?), but I prefer Oracle's named
  # placeholders (but few DBI drivers support them so they're not portable).

  my $err_code = -20001;

  $csr = $db->prepare(q{
        BEGIN
            PLSQL_EXAMPLE.PROC_IN(:err_code);
        END;
  });

  $csr->bind_param(":err_code", $err_code);

  # PROC_IN will RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR which will cause the execute to 'fail'.
  # Because we set RaiseError, the DBI will croak (die) so we catch that with eval.
  eval {
    $csr->execute;
  };
  print 'After proc_in: $@=',"'$@', errstr=$DBI::errstr, ret_val=$ret_val\n";


  # Example 3   Eric Bartley <bartley@cc.purdue.edu>
  #
  # Building on the last example, I've added 1 IN OUT parameter. We still
  # use a placeholders in the call to prepare, the difference is that
  # we now call bind_param_inout to bind the value to the place holder.
  #
  # Note that the third parameter to bind_param_inout is the maximum size
  # of the variable. You normally make this slightly larger than necessary.
  # But note that the Perl variable will have that much memory assigned to
  # it even if the actual value returned is shorter.

  my $test_num = 5;
  my $is_odd;

  $csr = $db->prepare(q{
        BEGIN
            PLSQL_EXAMPLE.PROC_IN_INOUT(:test_num, :is_odd);
        END;
  });

  # The value of $test_num is _copied_ here
  $csr->bind_param(":test_num", $test_num);

  $csr->bind_param_inout(":is_odd", \$is_odd, 1);

  # The execute will automagically update the value of $is_odd
  $csr->execute;

  print "$test_num is ", ($is_odd) ? "odd - ok" : "even - error!", "\n";


  # Example 4   Eric Bartley <bartley@cc.purdue.edu>
  #
  # What about the return value of a PLSQL function? Well treat it the same
  # as you would a call to a function from SQL*Plus. We add a placeholder
  # for the return value and bind it with a call to bind_param_inout so
  # we can access it's value after execute.

  my $whoami = "";

  $csr = $db->prepare(q{
        BEGIN
            :whoami := PLSQL_EXAMPLE.FUNC_NP;
        END;
  });

  $csr->bind_param_inout(":whoami", \$whoami, 20);
  $csr->execute;
  print "Your database user name is $whoami\n";

  $db->disconnect;

You can find more examples in the t/plsql.t file in the DBD::Oracle source directory.

Oracle 9.2 appears to have a bug where a variable bound with bind_param_inout() that isn't assigned to by the executed PL/SQL block may contain garbage. See http://www.mail-archive.com/dbi-users@perl.org/msg18835.html

Avoid Using "SQL Call"

Avoid using the "SQL Call" statement with DBD:Oracle as you might find that DBD::Oracle will not raise an exception in some case. Specifically if you use "SQL Call" to run a procedure all "No data found" exceptions will be quietly ignored and returned as null. According to Oracle support this is part of the same mechanism where;

  select (select * from dual where 0=1) from dual

returns a null value rather than an exception.

Private database handle functions ^

Some of these functions are called through the method func() which is described in the DBI documentation. Any function that begins with ora_ can be called directly.

plsql_errstr

This function returns a string which describes the errors from the most recent PL/SQL function, procedure, package, or package body compile in a format similar to the output of the SQL*Plus command 'show errors'.

The function returns undef if the error string could not be retrieved due to a database error. Look in $dbh->errstr for the cause of the failure.

If there are no compile errors, an empty string is returned.

Example:

    # Show the errors if CREATE PROCEDURE fails
    $dbh->{RaiseError} = 0;
    if ( $dbh->do( q{
        CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE perl_dbd_oracle_test as
        BEGIN
            PROCEDURE filltab( stuff OUT TAB ); asdf
        END; } ) ) {} # Statement succeeded
    }
    elsif ( 6550 != $dbh->err ) { die $dbh->errstr; } # Utter failure
    else {
        my $msg = $dbh->func( 'plsql_errstr' );
        die $dbh->errstr if ! defined $msg;
        die $msg if $msg;
    }

dbms_output_enable / dbms_output_put / dbms_output_get

These functions use the PL/SQL DBMS_OUTPUT package to store and retrieve text using the DBMS_OUTPUT buffer. Text stored in this buffer by dbms_output_put or any PL/SQL block can be retrieved by dbms_output_get or any PL/SQL block connected to the same database session.

Stored text is not available until after dbms_output_put or the PL/SQL block that saved it completes its execution. This means you CAN NOT use these functions to monitor long running PL/SQL procedures.

Example 1:

  # Enable DBMS_OUTPUT and set the buffer size
  $dbh->{RaiseError} = 1;
  $dbh->func( 1000000, 'dbms_output_enable' );

  # Put text in the buffer . . .
  $dbh->func( @text, 'dbms_output_put' );

  # . . . and retrieve it later
  @text = $dbh->func( 'dbms_output_get' );

Example 2:

  $dbh->{RaiseError} = 1;
  $sth = $dbh->prepare(q{
    DECLARE tmp VARCHAR2(50);
    BEGIN
      SELECT SYSDATE INTO tmp FROM DUAL;
      dbms_output.put_line('The date is '||tmp);
    END;
  });
  $sth->execute;

  # retrieve the string
  $date_string = $dbh->func( 'dbms_output_get' );
dbms_output_enable ( [ buffer_size ] )

This function calls DBMS_OUTPUT.ENABLE to enable calls to package DBMS_OUTPUT procedures GET, GET_LINE, PUT, and PUT_LINE. Calls to these procedures are ignored unless DBMS_OUTPUT.ENABLE is called first.

The buffer_size is the maximum amount of text that can be saved in the buffer and must be between 2000 and 1,000,000. If buffer_size is not given, the default is 20,000 bytes.

dbms_output_put ( [ @lines ] )

This function calls DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE to add lines to the buffer.

If all lines were saved successfully the function returns 1. Depending on the context, an empty list or undef is returned for failure.

If any line causes buffer_size to be exceeded, a buffer overflow error is raised and the function call fails. Some of the text might be in the buffer.

dbms_output_get

This function calls DBMS_OUTPUT.GET_LINE to retrieve lines of text from the buffer.

In an array context, all complete lines are removed from the buffer and returned as a list. If there are no complete lines, an empty list is returned.

In a scalar context, the first complete line is removed from the buffer and returned. If there are no complete lines, undef is returned.

Any text in the buffer after a call to DBMS_OUTPUT.GET_LINE or DBMS_OUTPUT.GET is discarded by the next call to DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE, DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT, or DBMS_OUTPUT.NEW_LINE.

reauthenticate ( $username, $password )

Starts a new session against the current database using the credentials supplied.

ora_nls_parameters ( [ $refresh ] )

Returns a hash reference containing the current NLS parameters, as given by the v$nls_parameters view. The values fetched are cached between calls. To cause the latest values to be fetched, pass a true value to the function.

ora_can_unicode ( [ $refresh ] )

Returns a number indicating whether either of the database character sets is a Unicode encoding. Calls ora_nls_parameters() and passes the optional $refresh parameter to it.

0 = Neither character set is a Unicode encoding.

1 = National character set is a Unicode encoding.

2 = Database character set is a Unicode encoding.

3 = Both character sets are Unicode encodings.

Private statement handle functions ^

ora_stmt_type

Returns the OCI Statement Type number for the SQL of a statement handle.

ora_stmt_type_name

Returns the OCI Statement Type name for the SQL of a statement handle.

Scrollable Cursors ^

Oracle supports the concept of a 'Scrollable Cursor' which is defined as a 'Result Set' where the rows can be fetched either sequentially or non-sequentially. One can fetch rows forward, backwards, from any given position or the n-th row from the current position in the result set.

Rows are numbered sequentially starting at one and client-side caching of the partial or entire result set can improve performance by limiting round trips to the server.

Oracle does not support DML type operations with scrollable cursors so you are limited to simple 'Select' operations only. As well you can not use this functionality with remote mapped queries or if the LONG datatype is part of the select list.

However, LOBSs, CLOBSs, and BLOBs do work as do all the regular bind, and fetch methods.

Only use scrollable cursors if you really have a good reason to. They do use up considerable more server and client resources and have poorer response times than non-scrolling cursors.

Enabling Scrollable Cursors

To enable this functionality you must first import the 'Fetch Orientation' and the 'Execution Mode' constants by using;

   use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_fetch_orient :ora_exe_modes);

Next you will have to tell DBD::Oracle that you will be using scrolling by setting the ora_exe_mode attribute on the statement handle to 'OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY' with the prepare method;

  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_exe_mode=>OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY});

When the statement is executed you will then be able to use 'ora_fetch_scroll' method to get a row or you can still use any of the other fetch methods but with a poorer response time than if you used a non-scrolling cursor. As well scrollable cursors are compatible with any applicable bind methods.

Scrollable Cursor Methods

The following driver-specific methods are used with scrollable cursors.

ora_scroll_position
  $position =  $sth->ora_scroll_position();

This method returns the current position (row number) attribute of the result set. Prior to the first fetch this value is 0. This is the only time this value will be 0 after the first fetch the value will be set, so you can use this value to test if any rows have been fetched. The minimum value will always be 1 after the first fetch. The maximum value will always be the total number of rows in the record set.

ora_fetch_scroll
  @ary =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll($fetch_orient,$fetch_offset);

Works the same as fetchrow_array method however, one passes in a 'Fetch Orientation' constant and a fetch_offset value which will then determine the row that will be fetched. It returns the row as a list containing the field values. Null fields are returned as undef values in the list.

The valid orientation constant and fetch offset values combination are detailed below

  OCI_FETCH_CURRENT, fetches the current row, the fetch offset value is ignored.
  OCI_FETCH_NEXT, fetches the next row from the current position, the fetch offset value is ignored.
  OCI_FETCH_FIRST, fetches the first row, the fetch offset value is ignored.
  OCI_FETCH_LAST, fetches the last row, the fetch offset value is ignored.
  OCI_FETCH_PRIOR, fetches the previous row from the current position, the fetch offset value is ignored.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, fetches the row that is specified by the fetch offset value.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, fetches the row relative from the current position as specified by the fetch offset value.

  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value of 1 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_FIRST.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value of 0 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.

  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value of 0 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value of 1 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_NEXT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value of -1 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_PRIOR.

The effect that a ora_fetch_scroll method call has on the current_positon attribute is detailed below.

  OCI_FETCH_CURRENT, has no effect on the current_positon attribute.
  OCI_FETCH_NEXT, increments current_positon attribute by 1
  OCI_FETCH_NEXT, when at the last row in the record set does not change current_positon attribute, it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT 
  OCI_FETCH_FIRST, sets the current_positon attribute to 1.
  OCI_FETCH_LAST, sets the current_positon attribute to the total number of rows in the record set.
  OCI_FETCH_PRIOR, decrements current_positon attribute by 1.
  OCI_FETCH_PRIOR, when at the first row in the record set does not change current_positon attribute, it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, sets the current_positon attribute to the fetch offset value.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value that is less than 1 does not change current_positon attribute, it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value that is greater than the number of records in the record set, does not change current_positon attribute, it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, sets the current_positon attribute to (current_positon attribute + fetch offset value).
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value that makes the current position less than 1, does not change fetch offset value so it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value that makes it greater than the number of records in the record set, does not change fetch offset value so it is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.

The effects of the differing orientation constants on the first fetch (current_postion attribute at 0) are as follows.

  OCI_FETCH_CURRENT, dose not fetch a row or change the current_positon attribute.
  OCI_FETCH_FIRST, fetches row 1 and sets the current_positon attribute to 1.
  OCI_FETCH_LAST, fetches the last row in the record set and sets the current_positon attribute to the total number of rows in the record set.
  OCI_FETCH_NEXT, equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_FIRST.
  OCI_FETCH_PRIOR, equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value that is less than 1 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE, and a fetch offset value that is greater than the number of records in the record set is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value that is less than 1 is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.
  OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE, and a fetch offset value that makes it greater than the number of records in the record set, is equivalent to a OCI_FETCH_CURRENT.

Scrollable Cursor Usage

Given a simple code like this:

  use DBI;
  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types :ora_fetch_orient :ora_exe_modes);
  my $dbh = DBI->connect($dsn, $dbuser, '');
  my $SQL = "select id,
                     first_name,
                     last_name
                from employee";
  my $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_exe_mode=>OCI_STMT_SCROLLABLE_READONLY});
  $sth->execute();
  my $value;

and one assumes that the number of rows returned from the query is 20, the code snippets below will illustrate the use of ora_fetch_scroll method;

Fetching the Last Row
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_LAST,0);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute to will be 20 after this snippet. This is also a way to get the number of rows in the record set, however, if the record set is large this could take some time.

Fetching the Current Row
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_CURRENT,0);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will still be 20 after this snippet.

Fetching the First Row
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_FIRST,0);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 1 after this snippet.

Fetching the Next Row
  for(my $i=0;$i<=3;$i++){
     $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_NEXT,0);
     print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  }
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 5 after this snippet.

Fetching the Prior Row
  for(my $i=0;$i<=3;$i++){
     $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_PRIOR,0);
     print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  }
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 1 after this snippet.

Fetching the 10th Row
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE,10);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 10 after this snippet.

Fetching the 10th to 14th Row
  for(my $i=10;$i<15;$i++){
      $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE,$i);
      print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  }
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 14 after this snippet.

Fetching the 14th to 10th Row
  for(my $i=14;$i>9;$i--){
    $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_ABSOLUTE,$i);
    print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  }
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 10 after this snippet.

Fetching the 5th Row From the Present Position.
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE,5);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 15 after this snippet.

Fetching the 9th Row Prior From the Present Position
  $value =  $sth->ora_fetch_scroll(OCI_FETCH_RELATIVE,-9);
  print "id=".$value->[0].", First Name=".$value->[1].", Last Name=".$value->[2]."\n";
  print "current scroll position=".$sth->ora_scroll_position()."\n";

The current_positon attribute will be 6 after this snippet.

Use Finish
  $sth->finish();

When using scrollable cursors it is required that you use the $sth->finish() method when you are done with the cursor as this type of cursor has to be explicitly canceled on the server. If you do not do this you may cause resource problems on your database.

LOBs and LONGs ^

The key to working with LOBs (CLOB, BLOBs) is to remember the value of an Oracle LOB column is not the content of the LOB. It's a 'LOB Locator' which, after being selected or inserted needs extra processing to read or write the content of the LOB. There are also legacy LONG types (LONG, LONG RAW, VARCHAR2) which are presently deprecated by Oracle but are still in use. These LONG types do not utilize a 'LOB Locator' and also are more limited in functionality than CLOB or BLOB fields.

DBD::Oracle now offers three interfaces to LOB and LONG data,

"Data Interface for Persistent LOBs"

With this interface DBD::Oracle handles your data directly utilizing regular OCI calls, Oracle itself takes care of the LOB Locator operations in the case of BLOBs and CLOBs treating them exactly as if they were the same as the legacy LONG or LONG RAW types.

"Data Interface for LOB Locators"

With this interface DBD::Oracle handles your data utilizing LOB Locator OCI calls so it only works with CLOB and BLOB datatypes. With this interface DBD::Oracle takes care of the LOB Locator operations for you.

"LOB Locator Method Interface"

This allows the user direct access to the LOB Locator methods, so you have to take case of the LOB Locator operations yourself.

Generally speaking the interface that you will chose will be dependent on what end you are trying to achieve. All have their benefits and drawbacks.

One point to remember when working with LOBs (CLOBs, BLOBs) is if your LOB column can be in one of three states;

NULL

The table cell is created, but the cell holds no locator or value. If your LOB field is in this state then there is no LOB Locator that DBD::Oracle can work so if your encounter a

  DBD::Oracle::db::ora_lob_read: locator is not of type OCILobLocatorPtr

error when working with a LOB.

You can correct this by using an SQL UPDATE statement to reset the LOB column to a non-NULL (or empty LOB) value with either EMPTY_BLOB or EMPTY_CLOB as in this example;

  UPDATE lob_example 
     SET bindata=EMPTY_BLOB()
   WHERE bindata IS NULL.
Empty

A LOB instance with a locator exists in the cell, but it has no value. The length of the LOB is zero. In this case DBD::Oracle will return 'undef' for the field.

Populated

A LOB instance with a locator and a value exists in the cell. You actually get the LOB value.

Data Interface for Persistent LOBs

This is the original interface for LONG and LONG RAW datatypes and from Oracle 9iR1 and later the OCI API was extended to work directly with the other LOB datatypes. In other words you can treat all LOB type data (BLOB, CLOB) as if it was a LONG, LONG RAW, or VARCHAR2. So you can perform INSERT, UPDATE, fetch, bind, and define operations on LOBs using the same techniques you would use on other datatypes that store character or binary data. In some cases there are fewer round trips to the server as no 'LOB Locators' are used, normally one can get an entire LOB is a single round trip.

Simple Fetch for LONGs and LONG RAWs

As the name implies this is the simplest way to use this interface. DBD::Oracle just attempts to get your LONG datatypes as a single large piece. There are no special settings, simply set the database handle's 'LongReadLen' attribute to a value that will be the larger than the expected size of the LONG or LONG RAW. If the size of the LONG or LONG RAW exceeds the 'LongReadLen' DBD::Oracle will return a 'ORA-24345: A Truncation' error. To stop this set the database handle's 'LongTruncOk' attribute to '1'. The maximum value of 'LongReadLen' seems to be dependent on the physical memory limits of the box that Oracle is running on. You have most likely reached this limit if you run into an 'ORA-01062: unable to allocate memory for define buffer' error. One solution is to set the size of 'LongReadLen' to a lower value.

For example give this table;

  CREATE TABLE test_long (
            id NUMBER,
            long1 long)

this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 2*1024*1024; #2 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,long1 from test_long';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL);
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$long )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "long=".$long."\n";
  }

Will select out all of the long1 fields in the table as long as they are all under 2MB in length. A value in long1 longer than this will throw an error. Adding this line;

  $dbh->{LongTruncOk}=1;

before the execute will return all the long1 fields but they will be truncated at 2MBs.

Using ora_ncs_buff_mtpl

When getting CLOBs and NCLOBs in or out of Oracle, the Server will translate from the Server's NCharSet to the Client's. If they happen to be the same or at least compatible then all of these actions are a 1 char to 1 char bases. Thus if you set your LongReadLen buffer to 10_000_000 you will get up to 10_000_000 char.

However if the Server has to translate from one NCharSet to another it will use bytes for conversion. The buffer value is set to 4 * LONG_READ_LEN which was very wasteful as you might only be asking for 10_000_000 bytes but you were actually using 40_000_000 bytes of buffer under the hood. You would still get 10_000_000 bytes (maybe less characters though) but you are using allot more memory that you need.

You can now customize the size of the buffer by setting the 'ora_ncs_buff_mtpl' either on the connection or statement handle. You can also set this as 'ORA_DBD_NCS_BUFFER' OS environment variable so you will have to go back and change all your code if you are getting into trouble.

The default value is still set to 4 for backward compatibility. You can lower this value and thus increase the amount of data you can retrieve. If the ora_ncs_buff_mtpl is too small DBD::Oracle will throw and error telling you to increase this buffer by one.

If the error is not captured then you may get at some random point later on, usually at a finish() or disconnect() or even a fetch() this error;

  ORA-03127: no new operations allowed until the active operation ends

This is one of the more obscure ORA errors (have some fun and report it to Meta-Link they will scratch their heads for hours)

If you get this, simply increment the ora_ncs_buff_mtpl by one until it goes away.

This should greatly increase your ability to select very large CLOBs or NCLOBs, by freeing up a large block of memory.

You can tune this value by setting ora_oci_success_warn which will display the following

  OCILobRead field 2 of 3 SUCCESS: csform 1 (SQLCS_IMPLICIT), LOBlen 10240(characters), LongReadLen 20(characters), BufLen 80(characters), Got 28(characters)

In the case above the query Got 28 characters (well really only 20 characters of 28 bytes) so we could use ora_ncs_buff_mtpl=>2 (20*2=40) thus saving 40bytes of memory.

Simple Fetch for CLOBs and BLOBs

To use this interface for CLOBs and LOBs datatypes set the 'ora_pers_lob' attribute of the statement handle to '1' with the prepare method, as well set the database handle's 'LongReadLen' attribute to a value that will be the larger than the expected size of the LOB. If the size of the LOB exceeds the 'LongReadLen' DBD::Oracle will return a 'ORA-24345: A Truncation' error. To stop this set the database handle's 'LongTruncOk' attribute to '1'. The maximum value of 'LongReadLen' seems to be dependent on the physical memory limits of the box that Oracle is running on in the same way that LONGs and LONG RAWs are.

For CLOBs and NCLOBs the limit is 64k chars if there is no truncation, this is an internal OCI limit complain to them if you want it changed. However if you CLOB is longer than this and also larger than the 'LongReadLen' than the 'LongReadLen' in chars is returned.

It seems with BLOBs you are not limited by the 64k.

For example give this table;

  CREATE TABLE test_lob (id NUMBER,
               clob1 CLOB, 
               clob2 CLOB, 
               blob1 BLOB, 
               blob2 BLOB)

this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 2*1024*1024; #2 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,lob_1,lob_2,blob_2 from test_lobs';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_pers_lob=>1});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$log,$log2,$log3,$log4 )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "clob1=".$clob1."\n";
    print "clob2=".$clob2."\n";
    print "blob1=".$blob2."\n";
    print "blob2=".$blob2."\n";
  }

Will select out all of the LOBs in the table as long as they are all under 2MB in length. Longer lobs will throw an error. Adding this line;

  $dbh->{LongTruncOk}=1;

before the execute will return all the lobs but they will be truncated at 2MBs.

Piecewise Fetch with Callback

With a piecewise callback fetch DBD::Oracle sets up a function that will 'callback' to the DB during the fetch and gets your LOB (LONG, LONG RAW, CLOB, BLOB) piece by piece. To use this interface set the 'ora_clbk_lob' attribute of the statement handle to '1' with the prepare method. Next set the 'ora_piece_size' to the size of the piece that you want to return on the callback. Finally set the database handle's 'LongReadLen' attribute to a value that will be the larger than the expected size of the LOB. Like the "Simple Fetch for LONGs and LONG RAWs" and "Simple Fetch for CLOBs and BLOBs" the if the size of the LOB exceeds the is 'LongReadLen' you can use the 'LongTruncOk' attribute to truncate the LOB or set the 'LongReadLen' to a higher value. With this interface the value of 'ora_piece_size' seems to be constrained by the same memory limit as found on the Simple Fetch interface. If you encounter an 'ORA-01062' error try setting the value of 'ora_piece_size' to a smaller value. The value for 'LongReadLen' is dependent on the version and settings of the Oracle DB you are using. In theory it ranges from 8GBs in 9iR1 up to 128 terabytes with 11g but you will also be limited by the physical memory of your PERL instance.

Using the table from the last example this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 20*1024*1024; #20 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,lob_1,lob_2,blob_2 from test_lobs';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_clbk_lob=>1,ora_piece_size=>5*1024*1024});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$log,$log2,$log3,$log4 )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "clob1=".$clob1."\n";
    print "clob2=".$clob2."\n";
    print "blob1=".$blob2."\n";
    print "blob2=".$blob2."\n";
  }

Will select out all of the LOBs in the table as long as they are all under 20MB in length. If the LOB is longer than 5MB (ora_piece_size) DBD::Oracle will fetch it in at least 2 pieces to a maximum of 4 pieces (4*5MB=20MB). Like the Simple Fetch examples Lobs longer than 20MB will throw an error.

Using the table from the first example (LONG) this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 20*1024*1024; #2 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,long1 from test_long';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_clbk_lob=>1,ora_piece_size=>5*1024*1024});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$long )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "long=".$long."\n";
  }

Will select all of the long1 fields from table as long as they are is under 20MB in length. If the long1 filed is longer than 5MB (ora_piece_size) DBD::Oracle will fetch it in at least 2 pieces to a maximum of 4 pieces (4*5MB=20MB). Like the other examples long1 fields longer than 20MB will throw an error.

Piecewise Fetch with Polling

With a polling piecewise fetch DBD::Oracle iterates (Polls) over the LOB during the fetch getting your LOB (LONG, LONG RAW, CLOB, BLOB) piece by piece. To use this interface set the 'ora_piece_lob' attribute of the statement handle to '1' with the prepare method. Next set the 'ora_piece_size' to the size of the piece that you want to return on the callback. Finally set the database handle's 'LongReadLen' attribute to a value that will be the larger than the expected size of the LOB. Like the "Piecewise Fetch with Callback" and Simple Fetches if the size of the LOB exceeds the is 'LongReadLen' you can use the 'LongTruncOk' attribute to truncate the LOB or set the 'LongReadLen' to a higher value. With this interface the value of 'ora_piece_size' seems to be constrained by the same memory limit as found on the "Piecewise Fetch with Callback".

Using the table from the example above this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 20*1024*1024; #20 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,lob_1,lob_2,blob_2 from test_lobs';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_piece_lob=>1,ora_piece_size=>5*1024*1024});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$log,$log2,$log3,$log4 )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "clob1=".$clob1."\n";
    print "clob2=".$clob2."\n";
    print "blob1=".$blob2."\n";
    print "blob2=".$blob2."\n";
  }

Will select out all of the LOBs in the table as long as they are all under 20MB in length. If the LOB is longer than 5MB (ora_piece_size) DBD::Oracle will fetch it in at least 2 pieces to a maximum of 4 pieces (4*5MB=20MB). Like the other fetch methods LOBs longer than 20MB will throw an error.

Finally with this code;

  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 20*1024*1024; #2 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,long1 from test_long';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_piece_lob=>1,ora_piece_size=>5*1024*1024});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$long )=$sth->fetchrow()){
    print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
    print "long=".$long."\n";
  }

Will select all of the long1 fields from table as long as they are is under 20MB in length. If the long1 field is longer than 5MB (ora_piece_size) DBD::Oracle will fetch it in at least 2 pieces to a maximum of 4 pieces (4*5MB=20MB). Like the other examples long1 fields longer than 20MB will throw an error.

Binding for Updates and Inserts for CLOBs and BLOBs

To bind for updates and inserts all that is required to use this interface is to set the statement handle's prepare method 'ora_type' attribute to 'SQLT_CHR' in the case of CLOBs and NCLOBs or 'SQLT_BIN' in the case of BLOBs as in this example for an insert;

  my $in_clob = "<document>\n";
  $in_clob .= "  <value>$_</value>\n" for 1 .. 10_000;
  $in_clob .= "</document>\n";
  my $in_blob ="0101" for 1 .. 10_000;

  $SQL='insert into test_lob3@tpgtest (id,clob1,clob2, blob1,blob2) values(?,?,?,?,?)';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL );
  $sth->bind_param(1,3);
  $sth->bind_param(2,$in_clob,{ora_type=>SQLT_CHR});
  $sth->bind_param(3,$in_clob,{ora_type=>SQLT_CHR});
  $sth->bind_param(4,$in_blob,{ora_type=>SQLT_BIN});
  $sth->bind_param(5,$in_blob,{ora_type=>SQLT_BIN});
  $sth->execute();

So far the only limit reached with this form of insert is the LOBs must be under 2GB in size.

Support for Remote LOBs;

Starting with Oracle 10gR2 the interface for Persistent LOBs was expanded to support remote LOBs (access over a dblink). Given a database called 'lob_test' that has a 'LINK' defined like this;

  CREATE DATABASE LINK link_test CONNECT TO test_lobs IDENTIFIED BY tester USING 'lob_test';

to a remote database called 'test_lobs', the following code will work;

  $dbh = DBI->connect('dbi:Oracle:','test@lob_test','test');
  $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 2*1024*1024; #2 meg
  $SQL='select p_id,lob_1,lob_2,blob_2 from test_lobs@link_test';
  $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL,{ora_pers_lob=>1});
  $sth->execute();
  while (my ( $p_id,$log,$log2,$log3,$log4 )=$sth->fetchrow()){
     print "p_id=".$p_id."\n";
     print "clob1=".$clob1."\n";
     print "clob2=".$clob2."\n";
     print "blob1=".$blob2."\n";
     print "blob2=".$blob2."\n";
  }

Below are the limitations of Remote LOBs;

Queries involving more than one database are not supported;

so the following returns an error:

  SELECT t1.lobcol, 
         a2.lobcol 
    FROM t1, 
         t2.lobcol@dbs2 a2 W
   WHERE LENGTH(t1.lobcol) = LENGTH(a2.lobcol);

as does:

     SELECT t1.lobcol 
       FROM t1@dbs1
  UNION ALL
     SELECT t2.lobcol 
       FROM t2@dbs2;
DDL commands are not supported;

so the following returns an error:

  CREATE VIEW v AS SELECT lob_col FROM tab@dbs;  
Only binds and defines for data going into remote persistent LOBs are supported.

so that parameter passing in PL/SQL where CHAR data is bound or defined for remote LOBs is not allowed .

These statements all produce errors:

  SELECT foo() FROM table1@dbs2;
  
  SELECT foo()@dbs INTO char_val FROM DUAL;
  
  SELECT XMLType().getclobval FROM table1@dbs2;
If the remote object is a view such as
  CREATE VIEW v AS SELECT foo() FROM ...

the following would not work:

  SELECT * FROM v@dbs2;
Limited PL/SQL parameter passing

PL/SQL parameter passing is not allowed where the actual argument is a LOB type and the remote argument is one of VARCHAR2, NVARCHAR2, CHAR, NCHAR, or RAW.

RETURNING INTO does not support implicit conversions between CHAR and CLOB.

so the following returns an error:

  SELECT t1.lobcol as test, a2.lobcol FROM t1, t2.lobcol@dbs2 a2 RETURNING test

Locator Data Interface

Simple Usage

When fetching LOBs with this interface a 'LOB Locator' is created then used to get the lob with the LongReadLen and LongTruncOk attributes. The value for 'LongReadLen' is dependent on the version and settings of the Oracle DB you are using. In theory it ranges from 8GBs in 9iR1 up to 128 terabytes with 11g but you will also be limited by the physical memory of your PERL instance.

When inserting or updating LOBs some major magic has to be performed behind the scenes to make it transparent. Basically the driver has to insert a 'LOB Locator' and then refetch the newly inserted LOB Locator before being able to write the data into it. However, it works well most of the time, and I've made it as fast as possible, just one extra server-round-trip per insert or update after the first. For the time being, only single-row LOB updates are supported.

To insert or update a large LOB using a placeholder, DBD::Oracle has to know in advance that it is a LOB type. So you need to say:

  $sth->bind_param($field_num, $lob_value, { ora_type => ORA_CLOB });

The ORA_CLOB and ORA_BLOB constants can be imported using

  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);

or use the corresponding integer values (112 and 113).

One further wrinkle: for inserts and updates of LOBs, DBD::Oracle has to be able to tell which parameters relate to which table fields. In all cases where it can possibly work it out for itself, it does, however, if there are multiple LOB fields of the same type in the table then you need to tell it which field each LOB param relates to:

  $sth->bind_param($idx, $value, { ora_type=>ORA_CLOB, ora_field=>'foo' });

There are some limitations inherent in the way DBD::Oracle makes typical LOB operations simple by hiding the LOB Locator processing:

 - Can't read/write LOBs in chunks (except via DBMS_LOB.WRITEAPPEND in PL/SQL)
 - To INSERT a LOB, you need UPDATE privilege.

The alternative is to disable the automatic LOB Locator processing. If "ora_auto_lob" is 0 in prepare(), you can fetch the LOB Locators and do all the work yourself using the ora_lob_*() methods. See the "Data Interface for LOB Locators" section below.

LOB support in PL/SQL

LOB Locators can be passed to PL/SQL calls by binding them to placeholders with the proper ora_type. If "ora_auto_lob" is true, output LOB parameters will be automatically returned as strings.

If the Oracle driver has support for temporary LOBs (Oracle 9i and higher), strings can be bound to input LOB placeholders and will be automatically converted to LOBs.

Example: # Build a large XML document, bind it as a CLOB, # extract elements through PL/SQL and return as a CLOB

     # $dbh is a connected database handle 
     # output will be large

     local $dbh->{LongReadLen} = 1_000_000;

     my $in_clob = "<document>\n";
     $in_clob .= "  <value>$_</value>\n" for 1 .. 10_000;
     $in_clob .= "</document>\n";

     my $out_clob;
     
     
     my $sth = $dbh->prepare(<<PLSQL_END);
     -- extract 'value' nodes
     DECLARE
       x XMLTYPE := XMLTYPE(:in);
     BEGIN
       :out := x.extract('/document/value').getClobVal();
     END;

     PLSQL_END
     
     # :in param will be converted to a temp lob
     # :out parameter will be returned as a string.

     $sth->bind_param( ':in', $in_clob, { ora_type => ORA_CLOB } );
     $sth->bind_param_inout( ':out', \$out_clob, 0, { ora_type => ORA_CLOB } );
     $sth->execute;

If you ever get an

  ORA-01691 unable to extend lob segment sss.ggg by nnn in tablespace ttt

error, while attempting to insert a LOB, this means the Oracle user has insufficient space for LOB you are trying to insert. One solution it to use "alter database datafile 'sss.ggg' resize Mnnn" to increase the available memory for LOBs.

Persistent & Locator Interface Caveats

Now that one has the option of using the Persistent or the Locator interface for LOBs the questions arises which one to use. For starters, if you want to access LOBs over a dblink you will have to use the Persistent interface so that choice is simple. The question of which one to use after that is a little more tricky. It basically boils down to a choice between LOB size and speed.

The Callback and Polling piecewise fetches are very very slow when compared to the Simple and the Locator fetches but they can handle very large blocks of data. Given a situation where a large LOB is to be read the Locator fetch may time out while either of the piecewise fetches may not.

With the Simple fetch you are limited by physical memory of your server but it runs a little faster than the Locator, as there are fewer round trips to the server. So if you have small LOBs and need to save a little bandwidth this is the one to use. It you are going after large LOBs then the Locator interface is the one to use.

If you need to update more than a single row of with LOB data then the Persistent interface can do it while the Locator can't.

If you encounter a situation where you have to access the legacy LOBs (LONG, LONG RAW) and the values are to large for you system then you can use the Callback or Polling piecewise fetches to get all of the data.

Not all of the Persistent interface has been implemented yet, the following are not supported;

  1) Piecewise, polling and callback binds for INSERT and UPDATE operations.
  2) Piecewise array binds for SELECT, INSERT and UPDATE operations.

Most of the time you should just use the "Locator Data Interface" as this is in one that has the best combination of speed and size.

All this being said if you are doing some critical programming I would use the "Data Interface for LOB Locators" as this gives you very fine grain control of your LOBs, of course the code for this will be somewhat more involved.

Data Interface for LOB Locators

The following driver-specific methods let you manipulate "LOB Locators" directly. To select a LOB locator directly set the if the ora_auto_lob attribute to false, or alternatively they can be returned via PL/SQL procedure calls.

(If using a DBI version earlier than 1.36 they must be called via the func() method. Note that methods called via func() don't honour RaiseError etc, and so it's important to check $dbh->err after each call. It's recommended that you upgrade to DBI 1.38 or later.)

Note that LOB locators are only valid while the statement handle that created them is valid. When all references to the original statement handle are lost, the handle is destroyed and the locators are freed.

ora_lob_read
  $data = $dbh->ora_lob_read($lob_locator, $offset, $length);

Read a portion of the LOB. $offset starts at 1. Uses the Oracle OCILobRead function.

ora_lob_write
  $rc = $dbh->ora_lob_write($lob_locator, $offset, $data);

Write/overwrite a portion of the LOB. $offset starts at 1. Uses the Oracle OCILobWrite function.

ora_lob_append
  $rc = $dbh->ora_lob_append($lob_locator, $data);

Append $data to the LOB. Uses the Oracle OCILobWriteAppend function.

ora_lob_trim
  $rc = $dbh->ora_lob_trim($lob_locator, $length);

Trims the length of the LOB to $length. Uses the Oracle OCILobTrim function.

ora_lob_length
  $length = $dbh->ora_lob_length($lob_locator);

Returns the length of the LOB. Uses the Oracle OCILobGetLength function.

ora_lob_is_init
  $is_init = $dbh->ora_lob_is_init($lob_locator);

Returns true(1) if the Lob Locator is initialized false(0) if it is not, or 'undef' if there is an error. Uses the Oracle OCILobLocatorIsInit function.

ora_lob_chunk_size
  $chunk_size = $dbh->ora_lob_chunk_size($lob_locator);

Returns the chunk size of the LOB. Uses the Oracle OCILobGetChunkSize function.

For optimal performance, Oracle recommends reading from and writing to a LOB in batches using a multiple of the LOB chunk size. In Oracle 10g and before, when all defaults are in place, this chunk size defaults to 8k (8192).

LOB Locator Method Examples

Note: Make sure you first read the note in the section above about multi-byte character set issues with these methods.

The following examples demonstrate the usage of LOB Locators to read, write, and append data, and to query the size of large data.

The following examples assume a table containing two large object columns, one binary and one character, with a primary key column, defined as follows:

   CREATE TABLE lob_example (
      lob_id      INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,
      bindata     BLOB,
      chardata    CLOB
   )

It also assumes a sequence for use in generating unique lob_id field values, defined as follows:

   CREATE SEQUENCE lob_example_seq

Example: Inserting a new row with large data

Unless enough memory is available to store and bind the entire LOB data for insert all at once, the LOB columns must be written interactively, piece by piece. In the case of a new row, this is performed by first inserting a row, with empty values in the LOB columns, then modifying the row by writing the large data interactively to the LOB columns using their LOB locators as handles.

The insert statement must create token values in the LOB columns. Here, we use the empty string for both the binary and character large object columns 'bindata' and 'chardata'.

After the INSERT statement, a SELECT statement is used to acquire LOB locators to the 'bindata' and 'chardata' fields of the newly inserted row. Because these LOB locators are subsequently written, they must be acquired from a select statement containing the clause 'FOR UPDATE' (LOB locators are only valid within the transaction that fetched them, so can't be used effectively if AutoCommit is enabled).

   my $lob_id = $dbh->selectrow_array( <<"   SQL" );
      SELECT lob_example_seq.nextval FROM DUAL
   SQL

   my $sth = $dbh->prepare( <<"   SQL" );
      INSERT INTO lob_example
      ( lob_id, bindata, chardata )
      VALUES ( ?, EMPTY_BLOB(),EMPTY_CLOB() )
   SQL
   $sth->execute( $lob_id );

   $sth = $dbh->prepare( <<"   SQL", { ora_auto_lob => 0 } );
      SELECT bindata, chardata
      FROM lob_example
      WHERE lob_id = ?
      FOR UPDATE
   SQL
   $sth->execute( $lob_id );
   my ( $bin_locator, $char_locator ) = $sth->fetchrow_array();
   $sth->finish();

   open BIN_FH, "/binary/data/source" or die;
   open CHAR_FH, "/character/data/source" or die;
   my $chunk_size = $dbh->ora_lob_chunk_size( $bin_locator );

   # BEGIN WRITING BIN_DATA COLUMN
   my $offset = 1;   # Offsets start at 1, not 0
   my $length = 0;
   my $buffer = '';
   while( $length = read( BIN_FH, $buffer, $chunk_size ) ) {
      $dbh->ora_lob_write( $bin_locator, $offset, $buffer );
      $offset += $length;
   }

   # BEGIN WRITING CHAR_DATA COLUMN
   $chunk_size = $dbh->ora_lob_chunk_size( $char_locator );
   $offset = 1;   # Offsets start at 1, not 0
   $length = 0;
   $buffer = '';
   while( $length = read( CHAR_FH, $buffer, $chunk_size ) ) {
      $dbh->ora_lob_write( $char_locator, $offset, $buffer );
      $offset += $length;
   }

In this example we demonstrate the use of ora_lob_write() interactively to append data to the columns 'bin_data' and 'char_data'. Had we used ora_lob_append(), we could have saved ourselves the trouble of keeping track of the offset into the lobs. The snippet of code beneath the comment 'BEGIN WRITING BIN_DATA COLUMN' could look as follows:

   my $buffer = '';
   while ( read( BIN_FH, $buffer, $chunk_size ) ) {
      $dbh->ora_lob_append( $bin_locator, $buffer );
   }

The scalar variables $offset and $length are no longer needed, because ora_lob_append() keeps track of the offset for us.

Example: Updating an existing row with large data

In this example, we demonstrate a technique for overwriting a portion of a blob field with new binary data. The blob data before and after the section overwritten remains unchanged. Hence, this technique could be used for updating fixed length subfields embedded in a binary field.

   my $lob_id = 5;   # Arbitrary row identifier, for example

   $sth = $dbh->prepare( <<"   SQL", { ora_auto_lob => 0 } );
      SELECT bindata
      FROM lob_example
      WHERE lob_id = ?
      FOR UPDATE
   SQL
   $sth->execute( $lob_id );
   my ( $bin_locator ) = $sth->fetchrow_array();

   my $offset = 100234;
   my $data = "This string will overwrite a portion of the blob";
   $dbh->ora_lob_write( $bin_locator, $offset, $data );

After running this code, the row where lob_id = 5 will contain, starting at position 100234 in the bin_data column, the string "This string will overwrite a portion of the blob".

Example: Streaming character data from the database

In this example, we demonstrate a technique for streaming data from the database to a file handle, in this case STDOUT. This allows more data to be read in and written out than could be stored in memory at a given time.

   my $lob_id = 17;   # Arbitrary row identifier, for example

   $sth = $dbh->prepare( <<"   SQL", { ora_auto_lob => 0 } );
      SELECT chardata
      FROM lob_example
      WHERE lob_id = ?
   SQL
   $sth->execute( $lob_id );
   my ( $char_locator ) = $sth->fetchrow_array();

   my $chunk_size = 1034;   # Arbitrary chunk size, for example
   my $offset = 1;   # Offsets start at 1, not 0
   while(1) {
      my $data = $dbh->ora_lob_read( $char_locator, $offset, $chunk_size );
      last unless length $data;
      print STDOUT $data;
      $offset += $chunk_size;
   }

Notice that the select statement does not contain the phrase "FOR UPDATE". Because we are only reading from the LOB Locator returned, and not modifying the LOB it refers to, the select statement does not require the "FOR UPDATE" clause.

A word of caution when using the data returned from an ora_lob_read in a conditional statement. for example if the code below;

   while( my $data = $dbh->ora_lob_read( $char_locator, $offset, $chunk_size ) ) {
        print STDOUT $data;
        $offset += $chunk_size;
   }

was used with a chunk size of 4096 against a blob that requires more than 1 chunk to return the data and the last chunk is one byte long and contains a zero (ASCII 48) you will miss this last byte as $data will contain 0 which PERL will see as false and not print it out.

Example: Truncating existing large data

In this example, we truncate the data already present in a large object column in the database. Specifically, for each row in the table, we truncate the 'bindata' value to half its previous length.

After acquiring a LOB Locator for the column, we query its length, then we trim the length by half. Because we modify the large objects with the call to ora_lob_trim(), we must select the LOB locators 'FOR UPDATE'.

   my $sth = $dbh->prepare( <<"   SQL", { ora_auto_lob => 0 } );
      SELECT bindata
      FROM lob_example
      FOR UPATE
   SQL
   $sth->execute();
   while( my ( $bin_locator ) = $sth->fetchrow_array() ) {
      my $binlength = $dbh->ora_lob_length( $bin_locator );
      if( $binlength > 0 ) {
         $dbh->ora_lob_trim( $bin_locator, $binlength/2 );
      }
   }

Binding Cursors ^

Cursors can be returned from PL/SQL blocks, either from stored functions (or procedures with OUT parameters) or from direct OPEN statements, as shown below:

  use DBI;
  use DBD::Oracle qw(:ora_types);
  my $dbh = DBI->connect(...);
  my $sth1 = $dbh->prepare(q{
      BEGIN OPEN :cursor FOR
          SELECT table_name, tablespace_name
          FROM user_tables WHERE tablespace_name = :space;
      END;
  });
  $sth1->bind_param(":space", "USERS");
  my $sth2;
  $sth1->bind_param_inout(":cursor", \$sth2, 0, { ora_type => ORA_RSET } );
  $sth1->execute;
  # $sth2 is now a valid DBI statement handle for the cursor
  while ( my @row = $sth2->fetchrow_array ) { ... }

The only special requirement is the use of bind_param_inout() with an attribute hash parameter that specifies ora_type as ORA_RSET. If you don't do that you'll get an error from the execute() like: "ORA-06550: line X, column Y: PLS-00306: wrong number or types of arguments in call to ...".

Here's an alternative form using a function that returns a cursor. This example uses the pre-defined weak (or generic) REF CURSOR type SYS_REFCURSOR. This is an Oracle 9 feature.

  # Create the function that returns a cursor
  $dbh->do(q{
      CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION sp_ListEmp RETURN SYS_REFCURSOR
      AS l_cursor SYS_REFCURSOR;
      BEGIN
          OPEN l_cursor FOR select ename, empno from emp
              ORDER BY ename;
          RETURN l_cursor;
      END;
  });

  # Use the function that returns a cursor
  my $sth1 = $dbh->prepare(q{BEGIN :cursor := sp_ListEmp; END;});
  my $sth2;
  $sth1->bind_param_inout(":cursor", \$sth2, 0, { ora_type => ORA_RSET } );
  $sth1->execute;
  # $sth2 is now a valid DBI statement handle for the cursor
  while ( my @row = $sth2->fetchrow_array ) { ... }

A cursor obtained from PL/SQL as above may be passed back to PL/SQL by binding for input, as shown in this example, which explicitly closes a cursor:

  my $sth3 = $dbh->prepare("BEGIN CLOSE :cursor; END;");
  $sth3->bind_param(":cursor", $sth2, { ora_type => ORA_RSET } );
  $sth3->execute;

It is not normally necessary to close a cursor explicitly in this way. Oracle will close the cursor automatically at the first client-server interaction after the cursor statement handle is destroyed. An explicit close may be desirable if the reference to the cursor handle from the PL/SQL statement handle delays the destruction of the cursor handle for too long. This reference remains until the PL/SQL handle is re-bound, re-executed or destroyed.

See the curref.pl script in the Oracle.ex directory in the DBD::Oracle source distribution for a complete working example.

Fetching Nested Cursors ^

Oracle supports the use of select list expressions of type REF CURSOR. These may be explicit cursor expressions - CURSOR(SELECT ...), or calls to PL/SQL functions which return REF CURSOR values. The values of these expressions are known as nested cursors.

The value returned to a Perl program when a nested cursor is fetched is a statement handle. This statement handle is ready to be fetched from. It should not (indeed, must not) be executed.

Oracle imposes a restriction on the order of fetching when nested cursors are used. Suppose $sth1 is a handle for a select statement involving nested cursors, and $sth2 is a nested cursor handle fetched from $sth1. $sth2 can only be fetched from while $sth1 is still active, and the row containing $sth2 is still current in $sth1. Any attempt to fetch another row from $sth1 renders all nested cursor handles previously fetched from $sth1 defunct.

Fetching from such a defunct handle results in an error with the message ERROR nested cursor is defunct (parent row is no longer current).

This means that the fetchall... or selectall... methods are not useful for queries returning nested cursors. By the time such a method returns, all the nested cursor handles it has fetched will be defunct.

It is necessary to use an explicit fetch loop, and to do all the fetching of nested cursors within the loop, as the following example shows:

    use DBI;
    my $dbh = DBI->connect(...);
    my $sth = $dbh->prepare(q{
        SELECT dname, CURSOR(
            SELECT ename FROM emp
                WHERE emp.deptno = dept.deptno
                ORDER BY ename
        ) FROM dept ORDER BY dname
    });
    $sth->execute;
    while ( my ($dname, $nested) = $sth->fetchrow_array ) {
        print "$dname\n";
        while ( my ($ename) = $nested->fetchrow_array ) {
            print "        $ename\n";
        }
    }

The cursor returned by the function sp_ListEmp defined in the previous section can be fetched as a nested cursor as follows:

    my $sth = $dbh->prepare(q{SELECT sp_ListEmp FROM dual});
    $sth->execute;
    my ($nested) = $sth->fetchrow_array;
    while ( my @row = $nested->fetchrow_array ) { ... }

Pre-fetching Nested Cursors

By default, DBD::Oracle pre-fetches rows in order to reduce the number of round trips to the server. For queries which do not involve nested cursors, the number of pre-fetched rows is controlled by the DBI database handle attribute RowCacheSize (q.v.).

In Oracle, server side open cursors are a controlled resource, limited in number, on a per session basis, to the value of the initialization parameter OPEN_CURSORS. Nested cursors count towards this limit. Each nested cursor in the current row counts 1, as does each nested cursor in a pre-fetched row. Defunct nested cursors do not count.

An Oracle specific database handle attribute, ora_max_nested_cursors, further controls pre-fetching for queries involving nested cursors. For each statement handle, the total number of nested cursors in pre-fetched rows is limited to the value of this parameter. The default value is 0, which disables pre-fetching for queries involving nested cursors.

Returning A Value from an INSERT ^

Oracle supports an extended SQL insert syntax which will return one or more of the values inserted. This can be particularly useful for single-pass insertion of values with re-used sequence values (avoiding a separate "select seq.nextval from dual" step).

  $sth = $dbh->prepare(qq{
      INSERT INTO foo (id, bar)
      VALUES (foo_id_seq.nextval, :bar)
      RETURNING id INTO :id
  });
  $sth->bind_param(":bar", 42);
  $sth->bind_param_inout(":id", \my $new_id, 99);
  $sth->execute;
  print "The id of the new record is $new_id\n";

If you have many columns to bind you can use code like this:

  @params = (... column values for record to be inserted ...);
  $sth->bind_param($_, $params[$_-1]) for (1..@params);
  $sth->bind_param_inout(@params+1, \my $new_id, 99);
  $sth->execute;

If you have many rows to insert you can take advantage of Oracle's built in execute array feature with code like this:

  my @in_values=('1',2,'3','4',5,'6',7,'8',9,'10');
  my @out_values;
  my @status;
  my $sth = $dbh->prepare(qq{
        INSERT INTO foo (id, bar)
        VALUES (foo_id_seq.nextval, ?)
        RETURNING id INTO ?
  });
  $sth->bind_param_array(1,\@in_values);
  $sth->bind_param_inout_array(2,\@out_values,0,{ora_type => ORA_VARCHAR2});
  $sth->execute_array({ArrayTupleStatus=>\@status}) or die "error inserting";
  foreach my $id (@out_values){
        print 'returned id='.$id.'\n';
  }

Which will return all the ids into @out_values.

Note:

1) This will only work for numbered (?) placeholders,

2) The third parameter of bind_param_inout_array, (0 in the example), "maxlen" is required by DBI but not used by DBD::Oracle

3) The "ora_type" attribute is not needed but only ORA_VARCHAR2 will work.

Returning A Recordset ^

DBD::Oracle does not currently support binding a PL/SQL table (aka array) as an IN OUT parameter to any Perl data structure. You cannot therefore call a PL/SQL function or procedure from DBI that uses a non-atomic datatype as either a parameter, or a return value. However, if you are using Oracle 9.0.1 or later, you can make use of table (or pipelined) functions.

For example, assume you have the existing PL/SQL Package :

  CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE Array_Example AS
    --
    TYPE tRec IS RECORD (
        Col1    NUMBER,
        Col2    VARCHAR2 (10),
        Col3    DATE) ;
    --
    TYPE taRec IS TABLE OF tRec INDEX BY BINARY_INTEGER ;
    --
    FUNCTION Array_Func RETURN taRec ;
    --
  END Array_Example ;

  CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE BODY Array_Example AS
  --
  FUNCTION Array_Func RETURN taRec AS
  --
    l_Ret       taRec ;
  --
  BEGIN
    FOR i IN 1 .. 5 LOOP
        l_Ret (i).Col1 := i ;
        l_Ret (i).Col2 := 'Row : ' || i ;
        l_Ret (i).Col3 := TRUNC (SYSDATE) + i ;
    END LOOP ;
    RETURN l_Ret ;
  END ;
  --
  END Array_Example ;
  /

Currently, there is no way to directly call the function Array_Example.Array_Func from DBI. However, by making the following relatively painless additions, its not only possible, but extremely efficient.

First, you need to create database object types that correspond to the record and table types in the package. From the above example, these would be :

  CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE tArray_Example__taRec
  AS OBJECT (
      Col1    NUMBER,
      Col2    VARCHAR2 (10),
      Col3    DATE
  ) ;

  CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE taArray_Example__taRec
  AS TABLE OF tArray_Example__taRec ;

Now, assuming the existing function needs to remain unchanged (it is probably being called from other PL/SQL code), we need to add a new function to the package. Here's the new package specification and body :

  CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE Array_Example AS
      --
      TYPE tRec IS RECORD (
          Col1    NUMBER,
          Col2    VARCHAR2 (10),
          Col3    DATE) ;
      --
      TYPE taRec IS TABLE OF tRec INDEX BY BINARY_INTEGER ;
      --
      FUNCTION Array_Func RETURN taRec ;
      FUNCTION Array_Func_DBI RETURN taArray_Example__taRec PIPELINED ;
      --
  END Array_Example ;

  CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE BODY Array_Example AS
  --
  FUNCTION Array_Func RETURN taRec AS
      l_Ret  taRec ;
  BEGIN
      FOR i IN 1 .. 5 LOOP
          l_Ret (i).Col1 := i ;
          l_Ret (i).Col2 := 'Row : ' || i ;
          l_Ret (i).Col3 := TRUNC (SYSDATE) + i ;
      END LOOP ;
      RETURN l_Ret ;
  END ;

  FUNCTION Array_Func_DBI RETURN taArray_Example__taRec PIPELINED AS
      l_Set  taRec ;
  BEGIN
      l_Set := Array_Func ;
      FOR i IN l_Set.FIRST .. l_Set.LAST LOOP
          PIPE ROW (
              tArray_Example__taRec (
                  l_Set (i).Col1,
                  l_Set (i).Col2,
                  l_Set (i).Col3
              )
          ) ;
      END LOOP ;
      RETURN ;
  END ;
  --
  END Array_Example ;

As you can see, the new function is very simple. Now, it is a simple matter of calling the function as a straight-forward SELECT from your DBI code. From the above example, the code would look something like this :

  my $sth = $dbh->prepare('SELECT * FROM TABLE(Array_Example.Array_Func_DBI)');
  $sth->execute;
  while ( my ($col1, $col2, $col3) = $sth->fetchrow_array {
    ...
  }

Timezones ^

If TWO_TASK isn't set, Oracle uses the TZ variable from the local environment.

If TWO_TASK IS set, Oracle uses the TZ variable of the listener process running on the server.

You could have multiple listeners, each with their own TZ, and assign users to the appropriate listener by setting TNS_ADMIN to a directory that contains a tnsnames.ora file that points to the port that their listener is on.

[Brad Howerter, who supplied this info said: "I've done this to simulate running a Perl script at the end of the previous month even though it was the 6th of the new month. I had the dba start up a listener with TZ=X+144. (144 hours = 6 days)"]

Object & Collection Data Types ^

Oracle databases allow for the creation of object oriented like user-defined types. There are two types of objects, Embedded--an object stored in a column of a regular table and REF--an object that uses the REF retrieval mechanism.

DBD::Oracle supports only the 'selection' of embedded objects of the following types OBJECT, VARRAY and TABLE in any combination. Support is seamless and recursive, meaning you need only supply a simple SQL statement to get all the values in an embedded object. You can either get the values as an array of scalars or they can be returned into a DBD::Oracle::Object.

Array example, given this type and table;

  CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE  "PHONE_NUMBERS" as varray(10) of varchar(30);
  
  CREATE TABLE  "CONTACT" 
     (  "COMPANYNAME" VARCHAR2(40), 
        "ADDRESS" VARCHAR2(100), 
        "PHONE_NUMBERS"  "PHONE_NUMBERS" 
   )

The code to access all the data in the table could be something like this;

   my $sth = $dbh->prepare('SELECT * FROM CONTACT');
   $sth->execute;
   while ( my ($company, $address, $phone) = $sth->fetchrow()) {
        print "Company: ".$company."\n";
        print "Address: ".$address."\n";
        print "Phone #: ";
        
        foreach my $items (@$phone){
           print $items.", ";
        }
        print "\n";
   }

Note that values in PHONE_NUMBERS are returned as an array reference '@$phone'.

As stated before DBD::Oracle will automatically drill into the embedded object and extract all of the data as reference arrays of scalars. The example below has OBJECT type embedded in a TABLE type embedded in an SQL TABLE;

   CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE GRADELIST AS TABLE OF NUMBER;

   CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE STUDENT AS OBJECT(
       NAME          VARCHAR2(60),
       SOME_GRADES   GRADELIST);

   CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE STUDENTS_T AS TABLE OF STUDENT;

   CREATE TABLE GROUPS( 
       GRP_ID        NUMBER(4),
       GRP_NAME      VARCHAR2(10),
       STUDENTS      STUDENTS_T)
     NESTED TABLE STUDENTS STORE AS GROUP_STUDENTS_TAB
      (NESTED TABLE SOME_GRADES STORE AS GROUP_STUDENT_GRADES_TAB);

The following code will access all of the embedded data;

   $SQL='select grp_id,grp_name,students as my_students_test from groups';
   $sth=$dbh->prepare($SQL);
   $sth->execute();
   while (my ($grp_id,$grp_name,$students)=$sth->fetchrow()){
      print "Group ID#".$grp_id." Group Name =".$grp_name."\n";
      foreach my $student (@$students){
         print "Name:".$student->[0]."\n";
         print "Marks:";
         foreach my $grades (@$student->[1]){
            foreach my $marks (@$grades){
               print $marks.",";     
            }
         }
         print "\n";
      }
      print "\n";
   }

Object example, given this object and table;

   CREATE OR REPLACE TYPE Person AS OBJECT (
     name    VARCHAR2(20),
     age     INTEGER)
   ) NOT FINAL;

   CREATE TYPE Employee UNDER Person (
     salary  NUMERIC(8,2)
   );

   CREATE TABLE people (id INTEGER, obj Person);
   
   INSERT INTO people VALUES (1, Person('Black', 25));
   INSERT INTO people VALUES (2, Employee('Smith', 44, 5000));

The following code will access the data;

   $dbh{'ora_objects'} =>1;
   
   $sth = $dbh->prepare("select * from people order by id");
   $sth->execute();
   
   # object are fetched as instance of DBD::Oracle::Object
   my ($id1, $obj1) = $sth->fetchrow();
   my ($id2, $obj2) = $sth->fetchrow();
   
   # get full type-name of object
   print $obj1->type_name."44\n";     # 'TEST.PERSON' is printed
   print $obj2->type_name."4\n";      # 'TEST.EMPLOYEE' is printed
   
   # get attribute NAME from object 
   print $obj1->attr('NAME')."3\n";   # 'Black' is printed
   print $obj2->attr('NAME')."3\n";   # 'Smith' is printed
   
   # get all atributes as hash reference
   my $h1 = $obj1->attr;        # returns {'NAME' => 'Black', 'AGE' => 25}
   my $h2 = $obj2->attr;        # returns {'NAME' => 'Smith', 'AGE' => 44,
                                #          'SALARY' => 5000 }
   
   # get all attributes (names and values) as array
   my @a1 = $obj1->attributes;  # returns ('NAME', 'Black', 'AGE', 25)
   my @a2 = $obj2->attributes;  # returns ('NAME', 'Smith', 'AGE', 44,
                                #          'SALARY', 5000 )

So far DBD::Oracle has been tested on a table with 20 embedded Objects, Varrays and Tables nested to 10 levels.

Any NULL values found in the embedded object will be returned as 'undef'.

Support for Insert of XMLType (ORA_XMLTYPE) ^

Inserting large XML data sets into tables with XMLType fields is now supported by DBD::Oracle. The only special requirement is the use of bind_param() with an attribute hash parameter that specifies ora_type as ORA_XMLTYPE. For example with a table like this;

   create table books (book_id number, book_xml XMLType);

one can insert data using this code

   $SQL='insert into books values (1,:p_xml)';
   $xml= '<Books>
                <Book id=1>
                        <Title>Programming the Perl DBI</Title>
                        <Subtitle>The Cheetah Book</Subtitle>
                        <Authors>
                                <Author>T. Bunce</Author>
                                <Author>Alligator Descartes</Author>
                        </Authors>
                        
                </Book>
                <Book id=10000>...
            </Books>';
   my $sth =$dbh-> prepare($SQL);
   $sth-> bind_param("p_xml", $xml, { ora_type => ORA_XMLTYPE }); 
   $sth-> execute();

In the above case we will assume that $xml has 10000 Book nodes and is over 32k in size and is well formed XML. This will also work for XML that is smaller than 32k as well. Attempting to insert malformed XML will cause an error.

Oracle Related Links ^

DBD::Oracle Tutorial

  http://www.pythian.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/introduction-dbd-oracle.html

Oracle Instant Client

  http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/oci/instantclient/index.html

Oracle on Linux

  http://www.eGroups.com/list/oracle-on-linux

  http://www.ixora.com.au/

Free Oracle Tools and Links

  ora_explain supplied and installed with DBD::Oracle.

  http://www.orafaq.com/

  http://vonnieda.org/oracletool/

Commercial Oracle Tools and Links

Assorted tools and references for general information. No recommendation implied.

  http://www.platinum.com/products/oracle.htm
  http://www.SoftTreeTech.com
  http://www.databasegroup.com

Also PL/Vision from RevealNet and Steven Feuerstein, and "Q" from Savant Corporation.

SEE ALSO ^

DBI

http://search.cpan.org/~timb/DBD-Oracle/MANIFEST for all files in the DBD::Oracle source distribution including the examples in the Oracle.ex directory

  http://search.cpan.org/search?query=Oracle&mode=dist

AUTHOR ^

DBD::Oracle by Tim Bunce. DBI by Tim Bunce.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ^

A great many people have helped me with DBD::Oracle over the 14 years between 1994 and 2008. Far too many to name, but I thank them all. Many are named in the Changes file.

See also "ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS" in DBI.

MAINTAINER ^

As of release 1.17 in February 2006 The Pythian Group, Inc. (http://www.pythian.com) are taking the lead in maintaining DBD::Oracle with my assistance and gratitude. That frees more of my time to work on DBI for Perl 5 and Perl 6.

COPYRIGHT ^

The DBD::Oracle module is Copyright (c) 1994-2006 Tim Bunce. Ireland. The DBD::Oracle module is Copyright (c) 2006-2008 John Scoles (The Pythian Group). Canada.

The DBD::Oracle module is free open source software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl 5.

CONTRIBUTING ^

If you'd like DBD::Oracle to do something new or different the best way to make that happen is to do it yourself and email to dbi-dev@perl.org a patch of the source code (using 'diff' - see below) that shows the changes.

How to create a patch using Subversion

The DBD::Oracle source code is maintained using Subversion (a replacement for CVS, see http://subversion.tigris.org/). To access the source you'll need to install a Subversion client. Then, to get the source code, do:

  svn checkout http://svn.perl.org/modules/dbd-oracle/trunk

If it prompts for a username and password use your perl.org account if you have one, else just 'guest' and 'guest'. The source code will be in a new subdirectory called trunk.

To keep informed about changes to the source you can send an empty email to dbd-oracle-changes-subscribe@perl.org after which you'll get an email with the change log message and diff of each change checked-in to the source.

After making your changes you can generate a patch file, but before you do, make sure your source is still upto date using:

  svn update 

If you get any conflicts reported you'll need to fix them first. Then generate the patch file from within the trunk directory using:

  svn diff > foo.patch

Read the patch file, as a sanity check, and then email it to dbi-dev@perl.org.

How to create a patch without Subversion

Unpack a fresh copy of the distribution:

  tar xfz DBD-Oracle-1.40.tar.gz

Rename the newly created top level directory:

  mv DBD-Oracle-1.40 DBD-Oracle-1.40.your_foo

Edit the contents of DBD-Oracle-1.40.your_foo/* till it does what you want.

Test your changes and then remove all temporary files:

  make test && make distclean

Go back to the directory you originally unpacked the distribution:

  cd ..

Unpack another copy of the original distribution you started with:

  tar xfz DBD-Oracle-1.40.tar.gz

Then create a patch file by performing a recursive diff on the two top level directories:

  diff -r -u DBD-Oracle-1.40 DBD-Oracle-1.40.your_foo > DBD-Oracle-1.40.your_foo.patch

Speak before you patch

For anything non-trivial or possibly controversial it's a good idea to discuss (on dbi-dev@perl.org) the changes you propose before actually spending time working on them. Otherwise you run the risk of them being rejected because they don't fit into some larger plans you may not be aware of.

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