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Don Burleson Blog 







host command Tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonFebruary 21, 2015

Question:  What does the host command do in Oracle SQL*Plus?  Can I use the host command from PL/SQL?

Answer:  The host SQL*Plus command (or the equivalent "bang" (!) command in UNIX/Linux), is used in Windows to shell out of SQL*Plus without exiting SQL*Plus.  Once shelled out with host, you may enter any Windows DOS command, all without having to exit SQL*Plus.

You create named files in SQL*Plus with the host command as follows.  Note that you specify the editor (notepad) and the filename to store the commands (myfile.sql)

Windows:       host notepad myfile.sql

UNIX/Linux   !vi myfile.sql   <== The "bang (!) is equal to the "host" command

You can also use the Windows host command to check file status (e.g. host dir). 

Once stored in a file with the host command, you can execute the contents of the file with the "at sign" (@) command:

host notepad myfile.sql
-- notepad session
<alt> f x   (or choose file > exit)

You can also use the host command inside PL/SQL, essentially an alternative to the utl_file PL/SQL package.  However, this is more powerful because you can issue any OS command from PL/SQL.

  cmd varchar2(100):='C:\Docs\runme.sql';
   host (cmd );

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