What is PL/SQL?
PL/SQL stands for Procedural Language extension of SQL.
PL/SQL is a combination of SQL along with the procedural features of programming languages.
It was developed by Oracle Corporation in the early 90’s to enhance the capabilities of SQL.
The PL/SQL Engine:
Oracle uses a PL/SQL engine to processes the PL/SQL statements. A PL/SQL code can be stored in the client system (client-side) or in the database (server-side).
About This PL SQL Programming Tutorial
This Oracle PL SQL tutorial teaches you the basics of database programming in PL/SQL with appropriate PL/SQL tutorials with examples. You can use these free online tutorials as your guide to practice, learn, for training, or reference while programming with PL SQL. I will be making more Oracle PL SQL programming tutorials as often as possible to share my knowledge in PL SQL and help you in learning PL SQL better.
Even though the programming concepts discussed in this tutorial are specific to Oracle PL SQL. The concepts like cursors, functions and stored procedures can be used in other database systems like Sybase , Microsoft SQL server etc, with some change in SQL syntax. This PL/SQL tutorial will be growing regularly; let us know if any topic related to PL SQL needs to be added or you can also share your knowledge on PL SQL with us. Lets share our knowledge about PL SQL with others.
A Simple PL/SQL Block:
Each PL/SQL program consists of SQL and PL/SQL statements which from a PL/SQL block.
PL/SQL Block consists of three sections:
- The Declaration section (optional).
- The Execution section (mandatory).
- The Exception (or Error) Handling section (optional).
The Declaration section of a PL/SQL Block starts with the reserved keyword DECLARE. This section is optional and is used to declare any placeholders like variables, constants, records and cursors, which are used to manipulate data in the execution section. Placeholders may be any of Variables, Constants and Records, which stores data temporarily. Cursors are also declared in this section.
The Execution section of a PL/SQL Block starts with the reserved keyword BEGIN and ends with END. This is a mandatory section and is the section where the program logic is written to perform any task. The programmatic constructs like loops, conditional statement and SQL statements form the part of execution section.
The Exception section of a PL/SQL Block starts with the reserved keyword EXCEPTION. This section is optional. Any errors in the program can be handled in this section, so that the PL/SQL Blocks terminates gracefully. If the PL/SQL Block contains exceptions that cannot be handled, the Block terminates abruptly with errors.
Every statement in the above three sections must end with a semicolon ; . PL/SQL blocks can be nested within other PL/SQL blocks. Comments can be used to document code.
How a Sample PL/SQL Block Looks
SQL Command Categories
SQL commands are grouped into four major categories depending on their functionality. They are as follows:
Data Definition Language (DDL)
These SQL commands are used for creating, modifying, and dropping the structure of database objects. The commands are CREATE, ALTER, DROP, RENAME, and TRUNCATE.
Data Manipulation Language (DML)
These SQL commands are used for storing, retrieving, modifying, and deleting data. These commands are SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE.
Transaction Control Language (TCL)
These SQL commands are used for managing changes affecting the data. These commands are COMMIT, ROLLBACK, and SAVEPOINT.
Data Control Language (DCL)
These SQL commands are used for providing security to database objects. These commands are GRANT and REVOKE.