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PL/SQL Autonomous Transaction Tips

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

February 7,  2012

Question:  What is the idea of an automous transaction in PL/SQL?  I understand that there is the pragma automous transaction but I am unclear about when to use automous transactions. 

Answer:  Autonomous transactions are used when you wan to roll-back some code while continuing to process an error logging procedure.

The term "automous transaction" refers to the ability of PL/SQL temporarily suspend the current transaction and begin another, fully independent transaction (which will not be rolled-back if the outer code aborts).  The second transaction is known as an autonomous transaction. The autonomous transaction functions independently from the parent code.

An autonomous transaction has the following characteristics:

There are many times when you might want to use an autonomous transaction to commit or roll back some changes to a table independently of a primary transaction's final outcome.

We use a compiler directive in PL/SQL (called a pragma) to tell Oracle that our transaction is autonomous. An autonomous transaction executes within an autonomous scope. The PL/SQL compiler is instructed to mark a routine as autonomous (i.e. independent) by the AUTONMOUS_TRANSACTIONS pragma from the calling code.

As an example of autonomous transactions, let's assume that you need to log errors into a Oracle database log table. You need to roll back the core transaction because of the resulting error, but you don’t want the error log code to rollback.  Here is an example of a PL/SQL error log table used as an automous transaction:

As we can see, the error is logged in the autonomous transaction, but the main transaction is rolled back.

For more details on automous transactions, see the "Easy Oracle Series"


 

 

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