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Oracle PL/SQL Built-ins Pocket Reference
by Steven Feuerstein
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This pocket reference provides quick-reference information that will help you use Oracle Corporation's extensive set of built-in functions and packages, including those new to Oracle8.
Oracle's PL/SQL language is a programming language providing procedural extensions to the SQL relational database language and to an ever-growing number of Oracle development tools. Among the most useful constructs in the PL/SQL language are the built-in functions and packages.
Built-in functions are constructs that operate on certain types of data (e.g., numeric, character) to return a result. By using functions, you can minimize the coding you need to do in your programs. Functions are described in detail in Steven Feuerstein's Oracle PL/SQL Programming; this comprehensive guide to building applications with PL/SQL has become the bible for PL/SQL developers who have raved about its completeness, readability, and practicality.
Built-in functions fall into several major categories:
Built-in packages (collections of PL/SQL objects, such as functions, procedures, and data structures) greatly expand the scope of the PL/SQL language. These packages are described in detail in Feuerstein's and Beresniewicz's book, Oracle Built-in Packages. Built-in packages are built by Oracle Corporation and stored directly in the Oracle database. The functionality of the built-ins is available from any programming environment that can call PL/SQL stored procedures, including Visual Basic, Oracle Developer/2000, Oracle Application Server (for Web-based development), and, of course, the Oracle database itself.
Built-in packages extend the capabilities and power of PL/SQL in many significant ways. For example:
The book shows how to call all of the commonly used built-in functions and packages. For packages, it also shows the RESTRICT REFERENCES pragmas (needed if you call packages from a SQL statement), as well as the exceptions, constants, and data structures defined in the packages.
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