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Oracle PL/SQL Self Study Questions

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting


1. What are some of the advantages of using PL/SQL over traditional procedural languages?

Answer: In traditional languages such as COBOL, Fortran, or C++, the SQL statements must be embedded inside the program and the program can be run through special pre-compiler to detect the SQL statements and replace them with native calls to the database management system. PL/SQL is superior to native programming languages in the respect that didn’t the database access is somewhat transparent. PL/SQL also has the advantage of being able to be called independently from client side applications.

2. What is the concept of Row-oriented processing, and why is it important for relational database access?

Answer: SQL is not a row-oriented language. The result set from an SQL statement could be a single row or 10,000 rows. Hence, native SQL is not appropriate type of language when we need to interrogate individual rows within a set. The relational model offers us the ability to declare and use cursors in order to extract or results set, and interrogate data, one row at a time.

3. What is the basic difference between a stored procedure and a function within Oracle?

Answer: Functions and stored procedures are identical in terms of the type of code that can be placed within them, but functions have a restriction that they must always return a value to the calling program.

4. What are the three types of looping constructs within PL/SQL?

Answer: Oracle’s PL/SQL provides three types of loop structures. We have the standard for loop structure, which allows looping for specific number of iterations, the repeat until looping construct, and the while loop construct. These three types of looping constructs are very similar to those in traditional procedural languages such as Visual Basic and C++.

5. Why does Feuerstein make such a big deal about modularity in chapter 15 of your readings?

Answer: the benefits of modular programming are very well known within the IT community. Modularity allows code re-use, provides a mechanism for the elimination of code redundancy, and also makes procedural code easier to read and understand.

6. Why is it important to place stored procedures and functions within packages?

Answer: When stored procedures and functions are encapsulated into a package, the package can be cached inside the Oracle SGA thereby making it ineligible for paging and fully resident in the RAM. This will make all of the procedures run far faster than stored procedures and functions that are not pinned inside the Oracle SGA.

For a complete overview of Oracle PL/SQL, see the book "Easy Oracle PL/SQL Programming".  It's only $9.95 and has a downloadable code depot:

Note: These exercises may use the pubsdb.sql script that can be downloaded at this link.



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