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Why Use Dynamic SQL?

To process most dynamic SQL statements, you use the EXECUTE IMMEDIATE statement. To process a multi-row query (SELECT statement), you use the OPEN-FOR, FETCH, and CLOSE statements.

Why Use Dynamic SQL?

You need dynamic SQL in the following situations:

You want to execute a SQL data definition statement (such as CREATE), a data control statement (such as GRANT), or a session control statement (such as ALTER SESSION). Unlike INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements, these statements cannot be included directly in a PL/SQL program.

You want more flexibility. For example, you might want to pass the name of a schema object as a parameter to a procedure. You might want to build different search conditions for the WHERE clause of a SELECT statement.

You want to issue a query where you do not know the number, names, or datatypes of the columns in advance. In this case, you use the DBMS_SQL package rather than the OPEN-FOR statement.

If you have older code that uses the DBMS_SQL package, the techniques described in this chapter using EXECUTE IMMEDIATE and OPEN-FOR generally provide better performance, more readable code, and extra features such as support for objects and collections. (For a comparison with DBMS_SQL, see Oracle Database Application Developer's Guide - Fundamentals.)

Using the EXECUTE IMMEDIATE Statement

The EXECUTE IMMEDIATE statement prepares (parses) and immediately executes a dynamic SQL statement or an anonymous PL/SQL block.

The main argument to EXECUTE IMMEDIATE is the string containing the SQL statement to execute. You can build up the string using concatenation, or use a predefined string.

Except for multi-row queries, the dynamic string can contain any SQL statement (without the final semicolon) or any PL/SQL block (with the final semicolon). The string can also contain placeholders, arbitrary names preceded by a colon, for bind arguments. In this case, you specify which PL/SQL variables correspond to the placeholders with the INTO, USING, and RETURNING INTO clauses.

You can only use placeholders in places where you can substitute variables in the SQL statement, such as conditional tests in WHERE clauses. You cannot use placeholders for the names of schema objects. For the right way, see "Passing Schema Object Names As Parameters" on page 7-9.

Used only for single-row queries, the INTO clause specifies the variables or record into which column values are retrieved. For each value retrieved by the query, there must be a corresponding, type-compatible variable or field in the INTO clause.

Used only for DML statements that have a RETURNING clause (without a BULK COLLECT clause), the RETURNING INTO clause specifies the variables into which column values are returned. For each value returned by the DML statement, there must be a corresponding, type-compatible variable in the RETURNING INTO clause.

You can place all bind arguments in the USING clause. The default parameter mode is IN. For DML statements that have a RETURNING clause, you can place OUT arguments in the RETURNING INTO clause without specifying the parameter mode. If you use

7-2 PL/SQL User's Guide and Reference

Using the EXECUTE IMMEDIATE Statement

both the USING clause and the RETURNING INTO clause, the USING clause can contain only IN arguments.

At run time, bind arguments replace corresponding placeholders in the dynamic string. Every placeholder must be associated with a bind argument in the USING clause and/or RETURNING INTO clause. You can use numeric, character, and string literals as bind arguments, but you cannot use Boolean literals (TRUE, FALSE, and NULL). To pass nulls to the dynamic string, you must use a workaround. See "Passing Nulls to Dynamic SQL" on page 7-10.

Dynamic SQL supports all the SQL datatypes. For example, define variables and bind arguments can be collections, LOBs, instances of an object type, and refs.

As a rule, dynamic SQL does not support PL/SQL-specific types. For example, define variables and bind arguments cannot be Booleans or associative arrays. The only exception is that a PL/SQL record can appear in the INTO clause.

You can execute a dynamic SQL statement repeatedly using new values for the bind arguments. However, you incur some overhead because EXECUTE IMMEDIATE re-prepares the dynamic string before every execution.

Example 7–1 Some Examples of Dynamic SQL

The following PL/SQL block contains several examples of dynamic SQL:

DECLARE

 

sql_stmt

VARCHAR2(200);

plsql_block

VARCHAR2(500);

emp_id

NUMBER(4) := 7566;

salary

NUMBER(7,2);

dept_id

NUMBER(2) := 50;

dept_name

VARCHAR2(14) := ’PERSONNEL’;

location

VARCHAR2(13) := ’DALLAS’;

emp_rec

emp%ROWTYPE;

BEGIN

 

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE ’CREATE TABLE bonus (id NUMBER, amt NUMBER)’; sql_stmt := ’INSERT INTO dept VALUES (:1, :2, :3)’;

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE sql_stmt USING dept_id, dept_name, location; sql_stmt := ’SELECT * FROM emp WHERE empno = :id’;

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE sql_stmt INTO emp_rec USING emp_id; plsql_block := ’BEGIN emp_pkg.raise_salary(:id, :amt); END;’; EXECUTE IMMEDIATE plsql_block USING 7788, 500;

sql_stmt := ’UPDATE emp SET sal = 2000 WHERE empno = :1 RETURNING sal INTO :2’;

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE sql_stmt USING emp_id RETURNING INTO salary; EXECUTE IMMEDIATE ’DELETE FROM dept WHERE deptno = :num’

USING dept_id;

EXECUTE IMMEDIATE ’ALTER SESSION SET SQL_TRACE TRUE’; END;

/

Example 7–2 Dynamic SQL Procedure that Accepts Table Name and WHERE Clause

In the example below, a standalone procedure accepts the name of a database table and an optional WHERE-clause condition. If you omit the condition, the procedure deletes all rows from the table. Otherwise, the procedure deletes only those rows that meet the condition.

CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE delete_rows ( table_name IN VARCHAR2,

Performing SQL Operations with Native Dynamic SQL 7-3

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