Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OCM Goal

Well, it has been two months since my last post, but I can't say that I'm surprised. I've been keeping very busy and this blog has yet to make it into my psyche. To help spur my drive I'm going to go on a similar venture that
Gavin Parish is currently pursuing. I'm going to embark on becoming an Oracle Certified Master. I have already fulfilled the prerequisites (being an OCP and having attended two advanced Oracle courses) so all I need to do is take the test. Oh, and fork out $2000. There happens to be an exam in NYC on March 3-4. This will give me roughly 2 and half months to prepare. How hard can it be? We shall see. The threat of losing two grand and publically failing is enough pressure to keep me going. Should be a hoot, so wish me luck.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

CSV File Creator Procedure

There is often a need to create comma separated values (CSV) files from an Oracle query, whether it be a whole table or just a subset. Many database utilities like Toad or Oracle SQL Developer offer such functionality. In fact, our application has this built in using Java. But what if you want to create a file using sqlplus? Some of our support staff asked for something like this so I put something together for them and thought I would share. I borrowed generously from Tom Kyte's PRINT_TABLE procedure, but just added some additional parameters to save to a delimited file. To make this work, you will need a directory that can be accessed with UTL_FILE. One that you've defined in your utl_file_dir system parameter or an Oracle directory you've created. The procedure defaults to a directory defined as CSV_DIR.


So, if you are using an Oracle directory use CSV_DIR (or whatever you've defined for your directory name) or a directory you've defined in utl_file_dir (i.e. /tmp).

Here is the code:

create or replace
procedure create_csv
( p_query in varchar2,
p_file_name in varchar2,
p_dir_name in varchar2 default 'CSV_DIR',
p_delimiter in varchar2 default ',',
p_date_fmt in varchar2 default 'dd-mon-yyyy hh24:mi:ss' )

-- this utility is designed to be installed ONCE in a database and used
-- by all. Also, it is nice to have roles enabled so that queries by
-- DBA's that use a role to gain access to the DBA_* views still work
-- that is the purpose of AUTHID CURRENT_USER
l_theCursor integer default dbms_sql.open_cursor;
l_columnValue varchar2(4000);
l_status integer;
l_descTbl dbms_sql.desc_tab;
l_colCnt number;
l_cs varchar2(255);
l_date_fmt varchar2(255);
l_line_cols long;
l_line_vals long;
l_file UTL_FILE.File_Type;

-- small inline procedure to restore the sessions state
-- we may have modified the cursor sharing and nls date format
-- session variables, this just restores them
procedure restore
if ( upper(l_cs) not in ( 'FORCE','SIMILAR' ))
execute immediate
'alter session set cursor_sharing=exact';
end if;
if ( p_date_fmt is not null )
execute immediate
'alter session set nls_date_format=''' || l_date_fmt || '''';
end if;
end restore;
-- I like to see the dates print out with times, by default, the
-- format mask I use includes that. In order to be "friendly"
-- we save the date current sessions date format and then use
-- the one with the date and time. Passing in NULL will cause
-- this routine just to use the current date format
if ( p_date_fmt is not null )
select sys_context( 'userenv', 'nls_date_format' )
into l_date_fmt
from dual;

execute immediate
'alter session set nls_date_format=''' || p_date_fmt || '''';
end if;

-- to be bind variable friendly on this ad-hoc queries, we
-- look to see if cursor sharing is already set to FORCE or
-- similar, if not, set it so when we parse -- literals
-- are replaced with binds
if ( dbms_utility.get_parameter_value
( 'cursor_sharing', l_status, l_cs ) = 1 )
if ( upper(l_cs) not in ('FORCE','SIMILAR'))
execute immediate
'alter session set cursor_sharing=force';
end if;
end if;

-- parse and describe the query sent to us. we need
-- to know the number of columns and their names.
dbms_sql.parse( l_theCursor, p_query, dbms_sql.native );
( l_theCursor, l_colCnt, l_descTbl );

-- define all columns to be cast to varchar2's, we
-- are just printing them out
for i in 1 .. l_colCnt loop
if ( l_descTbl(i).col_type not in ( 113 ) )
(l_theCursor, i, l_columnValue, 4000);
-- seperate column names by a comma
if(i =1) then
end if;
end if;
end loop;

-- execute the query, so we can fetch
l_status := dbms_sql.execute(l_theCursor);

--open file
l_file := UTL_FILE.FOPEN(p_dir_name,p_file_name,'w');

-- print column headers

while ( dbms_sql.fetch_rows(l_theCursor) > 0 )
for i in 1 .. l_colCnt
if ( l_descTbl(i).col_type not in ( 113 ) )
( l_theCursor, i, l_columnValue );
-- seperate column values by a comma
if(i =1) then
end if;
end if;
end loop;
--print line values
end loop;

-- close file

-- now, restore the session state, no matter what
when others then

As with PRINT_TABLE, I'm avoiding BLOB columns. So, if they are included in the query, they will be ignored.

Here it is in action:

SQL> exec create_csv('select * from emp','emp.csv','CSV_DIR');

SQL> host type C:\temp\emp.csv

7369,SMITH,CLERK,7902,17-dec-1980 00:00:00,800,,20
7499,ALLEN,SALESMAN,7698,20-feb-1981 00:00:00,1600,300,30
7521,WARD,SALESMAN,7698,22-feb-1981 00:00:00,1250,500,30
7566,JONES,MANAGER,7839,02-apr-1981 00:00:00,2975,,20
7654,MARTIN,SALESMAN,7698,28-sep-1981 00:00:00,1250,1400,30
7698,BLAKE,MANAGER,7839,01-may-1981 00:00:00,2850,,30
7782,CLARK,MANAGER,7839,09-jun-1981 00:00:00,2450,,10
7788,SCOTT,ANALYST,7566,19-apr-1987 00:00:00,3000,,20
7839,KING,PRESIDENT,,17-nov-1981 00:00:00,5000,,10
7844,TURNER,SALESMAN,7698,08-sep-1981 00:00:00,1500,0,30
7876,ADAMS,CLERK,7788,23-may-1987 00:00:00,1100,,20
7900,JAMES,CLERK,7698,03-dec-1981 00:00:00,950,,30
7902,FORD,ANALYST,7566,03-dec-1981 00:00:00,3000,,20
7934,MILLER,CLERK,7782,23-jan-1982 00:00:00,1300,,10

Simple as that.

Friday, August 24, 2007


People often ask me whether the Oracle Certifications are a worthy endeaver. I think it really depends on why you want one. They are sometimes helpful if you are looking for a job since some recruiters and employers require them. That mentality weeds out a lot of talented Oracle experts. My certifications have been current since Oracle 8 and I don't think it was ever a factor in getting employed. Personally I like an "Oracle quantified" goal and I use it as another excuse to read the Concepts and New Features guides when Oracle has a new release. I feel like I'm staying current and I always learn something about an old release that I didn't previously know. So, yes. I think they are worthy.

However, I don't think they are worth a grain of salt when it comes to sizing someone up. The other day I was interviewing a candidate who had a 9i certification. I usually reframe my questions if they do have a certification since they tend to have an idea what an Oracle instance is. This guy did not. He had eight years of Oracle experience and somewhere in the interview he said that a controlfile was needed to start an instance. I let it slide since I was trying to get something else out of him, but quickly pointed out that they were only needed to mount the database. He then went into a huge defense of how they were and then drew a line in the sand. I like this sort of a conviction in an interview. Unfortunately he was just wrong.

I booted up my laptop. Showed him what services I was currently running and then created a file called C:\TEMP\andy.pfile with one line:


I then set my ORACLE_SID to be ANDY and ran oradim:

oradim -new -sid andy -pfile C:\temp\andy.pfile

Logged into sqlplus as sys:

sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL> startup nomount pfile=C:\temp\andy.pfile
"ORACLE instance started."

SQL> select status from v$instance;

SQL>select name from v$controlfile;
no rows selected

SQL>show parameter control_files
------------------------- ---------- -------------------------------------------
control_files string C:\ORACLE\ORA10G\DATABASE\CTL1 ANDY.ORA

SQL>host dir C:\ORACLE\ORA10G\DATABASE\CTL1ANDY.ORA Volume in drive C has no label. Volume Serial Number is 3445-7DFD
File Not Found

Certifications aren't everything.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First post

I've decided to track my latest technology endeavers here on the the web. I may also post tips and other items that I find useful to me. If you see blatant errors please feel free to point them out to me. Also point out better ways to do things since I hate wasting my time.