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Convert SQL Server T-SQL to Oracle PL/SQL

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
June 3, 2009


Question:  My database is getting too large to use SQL server and I have thousands of lines of TSQL to convert to Oracle PL/SQL.  Where can I find the syntax differences between TSQL and PL/SQL?

Answer:  The TSQL language is not as robust as PL/SQL, and concerting from SQL Server is a very common activity.  The book "Migrating to Oracle" is a comprehensive reference to the syntax differences between SQL Server and Oracle.

There software programs that will convert SQL Servers T-SQL procedural language into Oracle's PL/SQL procedural language, helpful foe the thousands of people who abandon Microsoft each year to pursue Oracle.

This articles gives some tips for syntax differences between SQL server and Oracle.

Oracle SQL Server More Information
%TYPE data type No equivalent

The %TYPE data type of Oracle, lets you create a variable and have that variable's data type be defined by a table or view column or a PL/SQL package variable.

There is no equivalent for Oracle's %TYPE datatype in T-SQL, but it can be simulated (not very conveniently though) using User Defined Data types (UDT). Here is an example:

EXEC sp_addtype 'MyType', 'smallint', NULL

CREATE TABLE MyTable (i MyType)

CREATE PROC MyProc
AS
BEGIN
DECLARE @i MyType
END

BEFORE triggers INSTEAD OF triggers

Use INSTEAD OF trigger in SQL Server as an equivalent to Oracle's BEFORE trigger.

For more information on INSTEAD OF triggers, see SQL Server Books Online

DECODE() function CASE expression

DECODE can be conveniently simulated using the T-SQL CASE expression. Here's an example:

SELECT Sport,
CASE Sport
WHEN 'Cricket' THEN 'England'
WHEN 'Hockey' THEN 'India'
WHEN 'Base Ball' THEN 'America'
ELSE NULL
END AS 'Originating Country'
FROM Sports

DESCRIBE sp_help or sp_columns

There are a lot of alternatives for Oracle's DESCRIBE, in SQL Server. You could use the system stored procedure sp_help for detailed information about a table's columns and other properties.

If sp_help is providing you with too much information, then try the ODBC catalog stored procedure, sp_columns.

There are a bunch of other useful sp_help* stored procedures available in SQL Server. You can find more information about those in SQL Server Books Online.

If none of those procedures are suitable for your requirements, then you could query the system view INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS, to get the desired information. You could wrap your code inside a stored procedure named DESCRIBE, if you wish.

As a last resort, you could even query system tables like sysobjects and syscolumns, but this is not a recommended approach.

DUAL table No equivalent

There is no DUAL table in SQL Server. In fact, you don't need one in SQL Server, as you can have a SELECT statement without a FROM clause.

For example, consider the following SELECT statement in Oracle:

SELECT 'Something'
FROM DUAL

In SQL Server, the same result can be obtained by the following command:

SELECT 'Something'

If you are porting some code from Oracle into SQL Server and if you don't want to remove all references to DUAL table, then just create a DUAL table in your database using the following commands:

CREATE TABLE DUAL
(
DUMMY varchar(1)
)

INSERT INTO DUAL (DUMMY) VALUES ('X')

INTERSECT operator Not supported

Use EXISTS clause to generate the same result.

The following example illustrates the simulation of Oracle's INTERSECT operator:

SELECT OrderID, OrderDate
FROM Orders O
WHERE EXISTS
(
SELECT 1
FROM RefundsTable R
WHERE O.OrderID = R.OrderID
)

MINUS operator Not supported

Use NOT EXISTS clause in your SELECT statement to generate the same result.

The following example illustrates the simulation of Oracle's MINUS operator:

SELECT OrderID, OrderDate
FROM Orders O
WHERE NOT EXISTS
(
SELECT 1
FROM RefundsTable R
WHERE O.OrderID = R.OrderID
)

Nested tables Not supported

Oracle 8i and prior versions didn't support this feature and is introduced in Oracle 9i. This feature basically enables you to store a table, within a column. It is like having an array of records in your database columns.

SQL Server has no concept of nested tables.

As a workaround, You could store your sub-tables or child tables in the form of XML inside a char, nchar, varchar, nvarchar, text or ntext type column, and parse it as needed, at runtime. See OPENXML, sp_xml_preparedocument, sp_xml_removedocument in SQL Server 2000 Books Online.

Another possible workaround would be to store comma separated values (CSV).

Note that this is against the basic rules of normalization. Columns are nomore atomic, with nested tables.

From a design point of view, best thing to do would be, to create different tables for representing different entities and link them with primary and foreign key relationships. This will also make searching easier.

Oracle SQL Server

:-)

Packages Not supported

No equivalent in SQL Server for Oracle's Packages and Package variables concept

PL/SQL T-SQL

Every database product implements and extends the standard SQL. Oracle's implementation of SQL is called PL/SQL, while Microsoft's is called T-SQL (Transact-SQL)

Row level security No equivalent

Though there is no inbuilt support in SQL Server for row level permissions, you can implement it using view and system functions.

rownum pseudo column No equivalent

Though there is no rownum or rowid in SQL Server, there are several ways in which a row number can be generated.

SELECT...FOR UPDATE UPDLOCK hint

Use the locking hint UPDLOCK in your SELECT statement.

See SQL Server Books Online for more information.

Sequences IDENTITY

It is much simpler in SQL Server to generate a sequence value for a primary key or a non-key column.

You just need to turn on the IDENTITY property of column. IDENTITY property can be set to columns of the following data types: tinyint, smallint, int, bigint, decimal, numeric

Try this example to see how it works:

CREATE TABLE foo
(
i int IDENTITY(1, 1)
j int
)

INSERT INTO foo (j) VALUES (911)
INSERT INTO foo (j) VALUES (999)

SQL *Plus Query Analyzer

For connecting to SQL Server and executing queries and modifying data, use the built-in Query Analyzer. It is much more powerful and friendlier than Oracle's SQL *Plus

START WITH...CONNECT BY clause No equivalent

Though there's no direct equivalent in T-SQL for Oracle's START WITH...CONNECT BY, there are several ways and efficient techniques for processing and querying hierarchical data.

Synonym Views

You can simulate Oracle Synonyms in SQL Server using Views. For example, the following creates a view that returns the OrderID and OrderDate from Orders table.

CREATE VIEW vOrders
AS
SELECT OrderID, OrderDate
FROM Orders

Now you can select data from the view, using the following SELECT statement:

SELECT * FROM vOrders

The following example will create a view which is equivalent to Oracles TABS synonym or USER_TABLES data dictionary view (For simplicity, I am only including the table name in the view definition):

CREATE VIEW TABS
AS
SELECT name AS table_name
FROM sysobjects
WHERE type = 'U'

Now you can execute the following SELECT statement to return all user table names:

SELECT table_name
FROM TABS




 

 

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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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Errata?  Oracle technology is changing and we strive to update our BC Oracle support information.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback.  Just  e-mail:  and include the URL for the page.


                    









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