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Dr. Hall on Oracle10g conditional PL/SQL compilation

Dr. Tim Hall removes the mystery of Oracle10g conditional compilation in this great article.  Hall notes that PL/SQL conditional compilation is ideal for debugging PL/SQL.

As an example, let's assume that all application debugging is performed by calling a procedure called DEBUG. Conditional compilation can be used to provide an on/off switch for the debug, as well as influencing the debug information that is produced. The following procedure implements a variety of debug behavior using conditional compilation.


  $IF $$debug_on $THEN

    l_text  VARCHAR2(32767);



  $IF $$debug_on $THEN


      l_text := SUBSTR(p_text, 1 ,233);


      l_text := p_text;


    $IF $$show_date $THEN

      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line(TO_CHAR(SYSDATE, 'DD-MON-YYYY HH24:MI:SS') || ': ' || l_text);







END debug;


The debug_on flag acts as an on/off switch, as a value of FALSE will result in an empty procedure. Assuming debug is enabled, the DBMS_DB_VERSION package is used to determine if the input text should be truncated to prevent errors in DBMS_OUTPUT. If the code is running on a Release 2 server this truncation is not necessary due to the enhancements in the DBMS_OUTPUT package. The show_date flag is used to determine if a date prefix should be added to the debug message.


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