What is PL/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
Even though the programming concepts discussed in this tutorial is 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 syntax. This 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:
A 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.
This is how a sample PL/SQL Block looks.